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DVDs: ‘Madagascar 2,’ ‘Secret Life of Bees’

Also new: ‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno,’ ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” The pampered refugees from the New York zoo resume their adventures in their ancestral lands with the hit sequel reuniting voice stars Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer. This time, the gang leaves the island of Madagascar headed back to the big city in a rickety plane that crashes on the mainland, conveniently near the spot where Stiller’s dancing lion was separated from his parents as a cub. A single-disc DVD comes with games, music videos, making-of segments and commentary from the filmmakers. The Blu-ray release and a two-pack DVD set also includes two new episodes of the TV spinoff “The Penguins of Madagascar,” along with a few more background featurettes. DVD, $29.99; two-disc DVD set, $34.99; Blu-ray, $39.99. (Paramount) Read the review.

“The Secret Life of Bees” Dakota Fanning is joined by music divas Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys, plus Sophie Okonedo, in the story of a hard-luck teenager who finds a surrogate family among a group of Southern sisters and their beekeeping operation. The DVD and Blu-ray come with the theatrical release of the film and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s extended director’s cut. Other extras include eight deleted scenes; segments on author Sue Monk Kidd, whose book was the basis for the film; and two commentary tracks featuring Fanning, Latifah, Prince-Bythewood and other collaborators. DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99. (20th Century Fox) Read the review.

“Zack and Miri Make a Porno” Writer-director Kevin Smith offers up a sweet, old-fashioned romance in foul-mouthed, hard-core fashion with his comedy that nearly got an NC-17 rating for explicitness. Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks play lifelong best pals and roommates who fight back against economic hard times by starring in an amateur skin flick to pay off their bills. The two-disc DVD set and Blu-ray release include a huge batch of deleted scenes, plus a behind-the-scenes featurette, outtakes and bloopers, a look at the movie’s preview at Comic-Con 2008 and a segment on Rogen and co-star Justin Long’s improvisational duels. DVD set, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.99. (Genius) Read the review.

“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” “Juno” and “Superbad” co-star Michael Cera extends his run of nice young man roles with this oddball romance that plays out over the course of one long, wild night. Cera’s a lovelorn musician pining over the shallow girlfriend that dumped him, then hooks up with a soulful new companion (Kat Dennings) on a quest to find their favorite band’s elusive gig. Along with deleted scenes, the DVD and Blu-ray feature a behind-the-scenes video diary kept by co-star Ari Graynor, who also joins Cera, Dennings and director Peter Sollett for commentary. DVD, $28.96; Blu-ray, $39.95. (Sony) Read the review.

“Yentl” Barbra Streisand’s 1983 musical epic finally makes its way to DVD with a two-disc set packing the filmmaker and star’s extended director’s cut. Set in Eastern Europe at the start of the 20th century, the film stars Streisand as an independent-minded woman who masquerades as a boy so she can get an education at a Jewish academy, where she lands in an awkward love triangle with another student (Mandy Patinkin) and his ex-fiance (Amy Irving). Streisand provides an introduction and commentary, and the film is accompanied by deleted scenes and rehearsal footage of the musical numbers. DVD set, $29.98. (MGM)

“Being There” Peter Sellers’ next-to-last film gives him one of his most restrained and darkly comic roles, as a childlike gardener raised in isolation whose simple-minded phrases are mistaken by Washington power brokers as deep insights, rocketing him onto the national political scene. Co-starring Shirley MacLaine, the 1979 film won the supporting-actor Academy Award for Melvyn Douglas. A new DVD version and the Blu-ray debut include a retrospective segment with Douglas’ granddaughter, actress Illeana Douglas. The Blu-ray release also has an alternate ending and two newly discovered scenes. DVD, $19.96; Blu-ray, $28.99. (Warner Bros.)

TV on DVD:

“The Partridge Family: The Fourth and Final Season” — Shirley Jones, David Cassidy, Susan Dey and the rest of the family that sings together wrap up a four-year tour with a three-disc set packing the last 22 episodes of the 1970s comedy. DVD set, $29.95. (Sony)

“Bewitched: The Complete Seventh Season” — Elizabeth Montgomery returns as the witch who doubles as a housewife in the comedy that debuted in the 1960s. A four-disc set has year seven’s 28 episodes. DVD set, $39.95. (Sony)

“Becker: Season 2” — Life after “Cheers” continues for Ted Danson, who plays a gruff doctor with a circle of associates helping him through his lack of people skills. All 24 episodes from the second season are included in a three-disc set. DVD set, $36.98. (Paramount)

“Night Court: The Complete Second Season” — The 1980s comedy sets Harry Anderson on the bench as a judge with a supreme sense of humor. Year two’s 22 episodes are contained in a three-disc package. DVD set, $29.98. (Warner Bros.)

“Dave’s World: The Second Season” — Harry Anderson followed “Night Court” with this comedy inspired by the life of humor columnist Dave Barry. A three-disc set has year two’s 25 episodes. DVD set, $39.98. (Paramount)