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New DVDs: ‘The Da Vinci Code’

Also new: complete series of ‘Friends,’ ‘Six Feet Under,’ ‘Get Smart’ and ‘Homicide — Life on the Streets.’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“The Da Vinci Code”The literary sensation makes a safe, unimaginative leap to the big screen in the hands of director Ron Howard, who keeps the action in fairly close sync to Dan Brown’s best-seller. That, and Tom Hanks, were good enough to elevate the film to blockbuster status, with $750 million at the box office worldwide. Hanks stars as an American symbologist who teams with a French police cryptographer (Audrey Tautou) to solve a 2,000-year-old riddle about Christ’s status as a husband and father. The two-disc set has a chat with author Brown and a huge range of featurettes including segments on Hanks and Tautou’s characters, the supporting cast led by Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany, Alfred Molina and Jean Reno, and the filmmakers’ experiences shooting around the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. DVD set, $29.96. (Sony) Read the review

“John Tucker Must Die”

Jesse Metcalfe, who plays Eva Longoria’s boy-toy on “Desperate Housewives,” stars as a high-school cad whose three vengeful girlfriends (Ashanti, Arielle Kebbel and Sophia Bush) team with a newcomer (Brittany Snow) to give him a taste of his own medicine. The DVD has the theatrical cut and an extended version of the teen comedy, along with deleted scenes accompanied by commentary from director Betty Thomas. She also joins her editor for commentary on the full movie. The disc also has a handful of behind-the-scenes featurettes. DVD, $29.98. (20th Century Fox) Read the review

“Accepted”

Universal Pictures

When all the colleges of your choice turn you down, there’s only one thing to do: Start your own institution of higher learning, then get down to some serious partying. Justin Long stars as a teen rejected by real campuses, who concocts a fake tech school that winds up becoming a haven for freaks, geeks, wackos and other “Animal House”-style misfits. Along with deleted scenes and outtakes, the DVD offers making-of and cast featurettes, a couple of music videos, and commentary featuring Long, director Steve Pink and such co-stars as Lewis Black, who plays the fake college’s burned-out dean. DVD, $29.98. (Universal) Read the review

“King Kong: Deluxe Extended Edition”

Kong is the gigantic ape captured in the wild and brought to civilization, where he meets his tragic fate in this undated image from the movie footage. A new version of "King Kong", the greatest "Beauty and the Beast" movie ever made, is about to frighten and inspire audiences -- this time with modern special effects, a more realistic gorilla and more loving glances between ape and girl than ever before. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY NO SALES NO ARCHIVE To accompany feature LEISURE-KONG REUTERS/© 2005 Universal Pictures/HandoutX80001

Already topping three hours when it swung into theaters last year, Peter Jackson’s update of the great-ape saga runs 13 minutes longer in this extended edition, a three-disc set that also packs 38 minutes of deleted scenes. The new footage incorporated into the extended edition is more of the same, mostly extra moments with dinosaurs, giant bugs and other creatures Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody and their fellow adventurers discover on Kong’s island hideaway. The theatrical release could have stood some cutting to begin with, so this longer version is for hardcore fans only. Jackson provides commentary, and the set is loaded with documentary segments. The set also comes in a “Limited Edition” package that includes a King Kong figurine. “Deluxe Edition” DVD set, $34.98; “Limited Edition” DVD set, $79.98. (Universal) Read the review

“The Paul Newman Collection”Seven Newman films from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s make their DVD debuts, led by the Rocky Graziano boxing saga “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” the legal melodrama “The Young Philadelphians,” the private-eye flick “Harper” and its sequel “The Drowning Pool.” The seven-disc set also features the espionage thriller “The Mackintosh Man,” the Billy the Kid Western “The Left Handed Gun” and the cowboy comedy “Pocket Money.” Newman offers commentary on “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” and the other DVDs include a range of commentary and featurettes. “Harper” also is available separately, while the other six films come only in the boxed set. DVD set, $59.92; “Harper” DVD, $19.97. (Warner Bros.)

“Forbidden Planet”The 1950s sci-fi classic that introduced Robby the Robot comes to DVD in a variety of formats to mark its 50th anniversary. An outer-space take on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” the film stars Leslie Nielsen as leader of a team of astronauts investigating the fate of a planetary colony where only a mysterious doctor (Walter Pidgeon) and his daughter (Anne Francis) have survived. The two-disc DVD set and high-definition HD DVD version have deleted scenes and long-lost footage of early special-effects shots, along with documentaries on the film, Robby the Robot and 1950s science fiction. A “Collector’s Edition” DVD release has the two-disc set, a Robby the Robot action figure and reproductions of original lobby cards in a lunchbox-size metal case. Two-disc set, $26.99; “Collector’s Edition,” $59.92; HD DVD, $28.99. (Warner Bros.)

TV on DVD:

“Friends: The Complete Series” — For those who feel they can’t have enough friends, TV’s favorite pals are back in a 40-disc set with all 236 episodes starring Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer. The beautifully packaged set has commentary on 25 episodes and a 60-page booklet. DVD set, $299.98. (Warner Bros.)

“Six Feet Under: The Complete Series” — The show that put the fun back in funerals is loaded into a 24-disc set with the entire 63-episode series centered on a Los Angeles mortuary family. Cleverly packaged with a headstone replica on a bed of fuzzy green Astroturf, the set includes about 25 commentary tracks. DVD set, $279.99. (HBO)

“Homicide: Life on the Street — The Complete Series” — All 122 episodes of the gritty cop show are packed in a 35-disc set, elaborately designed to resemble a file-cabinet drawer loaded with police files. The set also has the show’s three crossover episodes from “Law & Order” and the follow-up TV film “Homicide: The Movie.” DVD set, $299.95. (A&E)

“Get Smart: The Complete Series” — Don Adams is back to spoof the spy game in a 25-disc set with all 138 episodes of the comedy that debuted in 1965. The set has commentary from series creators Mel Brooks and Buck Henry and co-star Barbara Feldon, who also offers a tribute to the late Adams. The series is not due in retail stores for another year; meantime, it’s available exclusively online (www.getsmartondvd.com). DVD set, $199.96. (Time Life)

Other TV titles:

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation — The Complete Sixth Season” — A six-disc set with 24 episodes. $54.99. (Paramount)

“NCIS: The Complete Second Season” — Year two’s 23 episodes in a six-disc set. $64.99. (Paramount)

“Reba: The Complete Fourth Season” — A three-disc set with 22 episodes. $29.98. (20th Century Fox)

“Family Guy: Volume Four” — Fourteen episodes in a three-disc set. $39.98. (20th Century Fox)

“Columbo: The Complete Sixth & Seventh Seasons” — The final two seasons, with eight episodes on three discs. $39.98. (Universal)

“Home Improvement: The Complete Fifth Season” — A three-disc set with 26 episodes. $39.99. (Disney)

“The Golden Girls: The Complete Sixth Season” — Three discs with 26 episodes. $39.99 (Disney)

“Northern Exposure: The Complete Fifth Season” — A five-disc set with 24 episodes. $59.98. (Universal)

“Adventures of Superman: The Complete Fifth and Sixth Seasons” — The final 26 episodes on five discs. $39.98. (Warner Bros.)

“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” — A six-disc set with the last 22 episodes. $59.98. (Warner Bros.)

“That Girl: Season Two” — Thirty episodes in a four-disc set. $39.98. (Shout)

Other new releases:

In this photo provided by ThinkFilm, Mr. Charles "Chuck" Noblet (Stephen Colbert) is handed a paper from Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris, right), a forty-seven year old ex-con, who decides to returns home and turn her life around by picking it up exactly where she left off as a high school freshman, in "Strangers with Candy." (AP Photo/ThinkFilm)Thinkfilm

“Lassie” — A fine, family-friendly update about the resourceful collie, who runs away from her new two-legged keepers to return to her best friend, a young boy forced to give up the beloved canine. DVD, $28.95. (Genius) Read the review

“Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man” — U2, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Beth Orton and others sing the praises of brooding poet, musician and songwriter Cohen in this documentary featuring a tribute concert and interview segments. DVD, $27.98. (Lionsgate) Read the review

“Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas)” — Nominated for best foreign-language film at the 2005 Academy Awards, this moving drama traces a Christmas respite from combat among German, French and Scottish troops in the trenches of World War I. DVD, $26.96. (Sony) Read the review

“49 Up” — Director Michael Apted continues the “Seven Up” documentary series that chronicles the lives of Brits first interviewed at age 7 in 1964. Apted has returned for an update every seven years, the latest installment catching the group at age 49. DVD, $29.95. (First Run)