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New DVDs: ‘Happy Feet,’ ‘Happyness’

Also new: ‘Children of Men,’ ‘Curse of the Golden Flower’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Happy Feet”Hollywood’s march of the penguins continues with director George Miller’s Academy Award-winning animated feature about a dancing fool of an Antarctic bird who doesn’t fit in among his singing kinfolk. Featuring the voices of Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Brittany Murphy, the film follows the adventures of a misfit penguin named Mumble whose talent for tap-dancing may prove the salvation of his endangered community. The disc has two new animated sequences, two music videos and a segment on Savion Glover, the tap-dancing master who provided the moves for Mumble. Also included is the classic 1930s Merrie Melodies cartoon “I Love to Singa.” The movie is available in a standard DVD release, a high-definition Blu-ray disc and a combination disc with HD DVD and standard DVD versions. DVD, $28.98; Blu-ray disc, $34.99; HD DVD combo disc, $39.99. (Warner Bros.) Read the review

The Oscar-winning hit documentary “March of the Penguins” debuts at the same time on Blu-ray and HD DVD releases ($28.99 each, Warner Bros.), along with a new DVD version of the 1995 cartoon feature “The Pebble and the Penguin” (two-disc set, $19.98, MGM), featuring the voice of Martin Short.

“The Pursuit of Happyness”

When it comes to delivering a commercial crowd-pleaser, Will Smith is at the top of the list. Smith charmed his way to another $100 million hit and his second Oscar nomination in this tear-jerker based on the true story of a single dad whose struggle to provide for his young son while taking on an unpaid internship at a prestigious stockbroker lands them both on the streets, homeless. The film was a real father-son partnership, with Smith’s boy Jaden Christopher Syre Smith playing his on-screen child. Along with a making-of featurette, the disc has a segment on Smith and his young co-star, plus a look at Chris Gardner, the man whose story inspired the movie. Director Gabriele Muccino provides commentary. DVD, $28.95; Blu-ray disc, $38.96. (Sony) Read the review

“Children of Men”

Humanity experiences the empty-nest syndrome on a global scale in this bleak tale of a near future in which all the kids have flown the coop. Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine star in the story set in 2027, when ethnic and socio-economic chaos have swept the planet after a plague of infertility leaves the human race barren. Owen plays the reluctant protector of a miraculously pregnant woman pursued by forces aiming to use her offspring for their own ends. Extras include deleted scenes, an interview segment with Owen and Moore and a documentary featuring scholars examining the social strife presented in the film. There’s also a featurette on director Alfonso Cuaron’s design concepts for his future world. The film is available as a standard DVD or in a combination disc with HD DVD and DVD versions. DVD, $29.98; HD DVD combo disc, $39.98. (Universal) Read the review

“Early Bergman”

Criterion launches its new line, the Eclipse series, presenting overlooked or forgotten films, in this case, five formative offerings from future cinema genius Ingmar Bergman. The five-disc set opens with 1944’s “Torment,” with Bergman writing his first produced screenplay for filmmaker Alf Sjoberg, who directs the drama of a student tortured both by love and a sinister teacher. Bergman made his directing debut with 1946’s “Crisis,” the story of a foster daughter in a dark reunion with her real mother. The set also has three other films directed by Bergman: 1948’s working-class drama “Port of Call”; 1949’s “Thirst,” a portrait of relationships haunted by past passions; and 1950s’ “To Joy,” about two musicians whose marriage goes sour. DVD set, $69.95. (Criterion)

“Errol Flynn: Signature Collection, Volume 2”Hollywood’s grand swashbuckler returns in a five-disc set featuring five films from the 1930s and ’40s. “Adventures of Don Juan” stars Flynn as the legendary lover dueling with bad guys to rescue Spain’s queen. “The Charge of the Light Brigade” has him leading British horsemen against a Russian army. “The Dawn Patrol” stars Flynn and David Niven as World War I pilots battling the Germans. “Dive Bomber” features Flynn and Fred MacMurray in a tale of early flight research to help fighter pilots withstand the rigors of air combat. “Gentleman Jim” presents Flynn as the classy boxer James C. Corbett. The discs include vintage shorts, cartoons and newsreels. DVD set, $49.92; single DVDs, $19.97 each. (Warner Bros.)

TV on DVD:

“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman: Volume 1” — The 1970s soap-opera spoof stars Louise Lasser as a housewife beset by crises large and small. The first 25 episodes come in a three-disc set. DVD set, $29.95. (Sony)

“Whose Line Is It Anyway? The Complete Seasons 1 & 2” — The hit British show that inspired Drew Carey’s U.S. version features actors improvising comedy sketches at a moment’s notice. The first 30 episodes of the show that debuted in 1988 are packed in a four-disc set. DVD set, $49.95. (A&E)

“The Judi Dench Collection” — An eight-disc set features selections from Dench’s long BBC career, ranging from a 1962 TV production of “The Cherry Orchard” to 1991’s “Absolute Hell,” in which she plays a boozy nightclub manager in post-World War II London. DVD set, $99.98. (BBC)

“Minnesota Twins: 1987 World Series” — A seven-disc set holds all seven games of the Twins’ series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, along with a team history and highlights from the regular season and league-championship series. DVD set, $69.95. (A&E)

Other TV releases:

“The Shield: Season 5” — Four-disc set with 11 episodes, $59.98. (20th Century Fox)

“The Jeffersons: The Complete Sixth Season” — Three-disc set with 24 episodes, $29.95. (Sony)

“Touched by an Angel: The Fourth Season, Volume 1” — Four-disc set with 13 episodes, $42.99. (Paramount)

“7th Heaven: The Fourth Season” — Six-disc set with 22 episodes, $54.99. (Paramount)

“Full House: The Complete Sixth Season” — Four-disc set with 24 episodes, $29.98. (Warner Bros.)

“Family Affair: Season Three” — Five-disc set with 28 episodes, $39.98. (MPI)

Other new releases:

“Candy” — Heath Ledger stars as a poet whose relationship with the title character (Abbie Cornish) is rivaled only by their mutual attraction to heroin. DVD, $27.98. (ThinkFilm) Read the review

“National Lampoon’s Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj” — Kal Penn graduates from sidekick to lead player in this sequel that sends him off to party at a prestigious British university. DVD, $29.98. (20th Century Fox) Read the review