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New DVDs: ‘Beowulf,’ ‘30 Days of Night’

Also new: ‘The Darjeeling Limited,’ ‘Comanche Moon,’ season one ‘Newhart’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Beowulf”The monster Grendel is as repugnant as ever, but his mom gets a facelift, with Angelina Jolie playing the creature as a gorgeous seductress in Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation of the epic poem. The film uses the same technology Zemeckis applied to “The Polar Express,” with actors’ performances digitally captured and costumes, sets, effects and other details then completed through computer animation. Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright Penn and John Malkovich join Jolie for this revisionist version of “Beowulf,” in which the mythic hero battles murderous Grendel but falls under the spell of his foe’s vengeful mother. The movie comes in a bare-bones DVD with the theatrical version and a making-of featurette and in a more-explicit director’s cut on DVD and high-definition HD DVD two-disc set, with deleted scenes and segments on creatures, art design and story development that went into the modern rendition of the ancient story. DVD, $29.99; HD DVD set, $39.99. (Paramount) Read the review

“30 Days of Night”

Vampires head north to Alaska to take advantage of the endless winter nights when the sun stays down for weeks above the Arctic Circle. Josh Hartnett and Melissa George lead the human cast as a sheriff and his estranged wife struggling with a small band of survivors to outlast the bloodsuckers’ rampage, with Danny Huston playing the king of the snarling vampires. The DVD and Blu-ray high-definition disc come with featurettes that examine bloody effects, set design, stunts and the rigors of shooting at night, while Hartnett, George and producer Rob Tapert offer commentary. The Blu-ray release also has a gallery of photos comparing the movie to the graphic novel on which it was based. DVD, $28.95; Blu-ray, $38.96. (Sony) Read the review

“The Darjeeling Limited”

The Darjeeling Limited
Fox Searchlight Pictures provided this photo of (left to right) Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody and Owen Wilson in \"The Darjeeling Limited.\" (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight/James Hamilton)James Hamilton / Fox Searchlight

Shortly after Owen Wilson’s apparent suicide attempt last summer, his latest collaboration with director Wes Anderson (“The Royal Tenenbaums,” “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou”) began making the festival rounds before its fall theatrical debut. Wilson this time teams with Adrien Brody and Anderson’s “Rushmore” star Jason Schwartzman, the three playing brothers at odds who set out to mend their relationship on a spiritual quest through India. The DVD includes Anderson’s “Hotel Chevalier,” a short film featuring Schwartzman and Natalie Portman in a prologue to “Darjeeling,” plus a behind-the-scenes featurette. DVD, $29.98. (20th Century Fox) Read the review

“The Last Emperor”The Academy Awards champ for 1987, sweeping all nine categories in which it was nominated including best picture and director, Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic saga of China’s final monarch gets royal DVD treatment. The film stars John Lone, Joan Chen and Peter O’Toole in the life story of an emperor elevated to the throne as a child, precariously maintaining his rule through World War II and falling from power amid the communist revolution. Previously available only in a bare-bones DVD release long out of print, the film returns in a four-disc set with the nearly three-hour theatrical release plus an extended television version running almost an hour longer. Bertolucci offers commentary, is profiled in a behind-the-scenes documentary and is featured in an interview from the late 1980s. Other extras include interviews with composers David Byrne and Ryuichi Sakamoto. DVD set, $59.95. (Criterion)

TV on DVD:

“Comanche Moon” — Larry McMurtry’s prequel to “Lonesome Dove” stars Val Kilmer and features Steve Zahn and Karl Urban as the Texas Rangers originated by Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones in the tale of Old West lawmen pursuing rebel Indians and Mexican bandits. The two-disc set packs an extended version of the miniseries, plus three making-of featurettes. DVD, $29.95. (Sony)

“Newhart: The Complete First Season” — Bob Newhart returned in the 1980s with his second hit sitcom, this time as a how-to book author who gives up city life and moves with his wife from New York to Vermont, where they run a small inn. A three-disc set has the first 22 episodes, plus four featurettes. DVD set, $39.98. (20th Century Fox)

“The Fugitive: Season One, Volume Two” — David Janssen is back on the run as a doctor falsely accused of murdering his wife, racing to stay ahead of the law and find the real killer. The second half of season one, 15 episodes, comes in a four-disc collection. DVD set, $42.99. (Paramount)

“Family Affair: Season 5” — Brian Keith stars in the comedy about an urban bachelor who takes on the care of his two nieces and nephew after their parents are killed in a plane crash. Year five’s 24 episodes are packed in a four-disc set. DVD set, $39.98. (MPI)

“The Color Honeymooners: Collection 2” — Jackie Gleason and Art Carney reprised their roles as loudmouth bus driver Ralph Kramden and his goofy pal Ed Norton from the 1950s comedy “The Honeymooners” in new episodes that aired as part of Gleason’s variety series that debuted in the 1960s. A three-disc set has eight episodes of the variety show. DVD set, $39.98. (MPI)

“Dark Shadows: The Beginning — Collection 3” — Creepy life among the Collins family continues with more tales from the supernatural soap opera. The four-disc package has 35 episodes of the show from its early days, before vampire Barnabas Collins joined the cast and lifted the show to devoted cult status. DVD set, $59.98. (MPI)