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New DVDs: ‘United 93,’ ‘Lost’ season 2

Also, first season of ‘Supernatural,’ cancelled ‘Commander in Chief’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“United 93”
Hollywood’s first big-screen dramatization of the Sept. 11 attacks is one of the year’s best films yet almost unbearable to watch. Using a cast of unknowns that lends an authentic sense of the strangers-on-a-plane feeling of air flight, director Paul Greengrass re-creates the plight of doomed passengers aboard one of the four hijacked jets. The film’s documentary style makes it seem as though viewers are watching the actual events surrounding Flight 93, the plane that crashed in rural Pennsylvania, killing all aboard, after passengers fought back against the terrorists. A single DVD release includes a documentary segment with interviews from passengers’ families, who gave their blessing to Greengrass’ film. The disc also has biographical capsules of the 40 passengers and crew who died on the flight, plus commentary from Greengrass. A two-disc set also includes a documentary segment on the air-traffic controllers and military personnel coordinating the response to the hijackings. Single DVD, $29.98; two-disc set, $30.98. (Universal) Read the review.

“The Seven Samurai”
The previous single-disc Criterion release of Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece came with minimal extras. A new three-disc set has a new digital transfer of the 3½-hour version of the 1954 film that was the basis for “The Magnificent Seven,” following a group of mercenary samurai hired by villagers to protect their town from marauders. Accompanying the film are a great range of background documentaries, including a two-hour conversation with Kurosawa from 1993 and a making-of segment. The set also has two commentary tracks featuring a group of film experts and a booklet with essays by and conversations with critics, filmmakers and frequent Kurosawa star Toshiro Mifune. DVD set, $49.95. (Criterion)

“Amarcord,” “Playtime”
Two playful films satirizing serious matters get fabulous two-disc makeovers with new digital transfers. Federico Fellini’s 1973 tale “Amarcord” applies the filmmaker’s carnival visual style to a portrait of the longings, family ties and politics of his youth in fascist Italy. Jacques Tati’s 1967 masterpiece “Playtime” features the director’s comic hero Monsieur Hulot in a manic romp through the confusions and convulsions of modern times in Paris. Both films are accompanied by commentary from film scholars, while “Playtime” comes with an introduction by Tati admirer Terry Jones of the Monty Python troupe, and “Amarcord” includes a deleted scene. The sets come with interviews with the filmmakers and collaborators, plus background documentaries. “Amarcord” also has a booklet featuring a lengthy Fellini recollection of his hometown that was something of a blueprint for the film. DVD sets, $39.95 each. (Criterion)

TV on DVD:

“Commander in Chief: Inaugural Edition — Part 2” — After inheriting the White House, President Geena Davis continues her battles as the nation’s first female president, squaring off against the wily House speaker (Donald Sutherland) who’s angling for her job. A two-disc set has the final eight of season one’s 18 episodes, along with deleted scenes and Davis’ reflections on the notion of a woman as president. DVD set, $29.99. (Disney)

“Lost: The Complete Second Season” — The castaways from a plane crash uncover fresh mysteries about their home, strike up new attachments and rivalries and encounter the menacing others who share the island. The seven-disc set has 23 episodes, with deleted footage including unaired flashback scenes. Featurettes include one with viewers and the show’s overseers discussing the fan mania about the series’ conspiracy theories. DVD set, $59.99. (Disney)

“Supernatural: The Complete First Season” — Two brothers take up the family business — hunting paranormal evil — as they try to find out what happened to their vanished father. The first 22 episodes come in a six-disc set, with commentary on two episodes, deleted scenes and two featurettes. DVD set, $59.98. (Warner Bros.)

“Broken Trail” — Robert Duvall is back in the saddle for this Western miniseries about a rancher and his nephew (Thomas Haden Church) whose horse drive is interrupted when they become protectors to five Chinese girls condemned to prostitution. The two-disc set includes a making-of segment. DVD set, $28.96. (Sony)

“Family: The Complete First and Second Seasons” — The domestic drama that debuted in 1976 is back in a six-disc set with the first 28 episodes. The cast includes James Broderick, Sada Thompson, Meredith Baxter Birney and Kristy McNichol in the saga of a Pasadena family’s good and bad times. DVD set, $49.95. (Sony)

“Oz: The Complete Sixth Season” — Violence and vengeance still rule at Oswald prison as the series concludes with the final eight episodes, which come in a three-disc set. Series creator Tom Fontana and cast members provide commentary, and the set includes deleted scenes and an extended version of the series finale. DVD set, $64.98. (HBO)

“The Bob Newhart Show: The Complete Fourth Season” — Television’s favorite shrink is back with season four of the sit-com about a psychologist, his offbeat home life and strange patients. The three-disc set has 24 episodes, plus commentary and a featurette. DVD set, $29.98. (20th Century Fox)

“The Flintstones: The Complete Sixth Season” — The prehistoric world’s answer to “The Honeymooners” closes with the last 26 episodes of the cartoon series, which come in a four-disc set. Extras include a featurette on pop-culture trappings woven into “The Flintstones.” DVD set, $44.98. (Warner Bros.)

“Fraggle Rock: Complete Second Season” — The Muppet-like denizens of a weird underground realm return in year two of Jim Henson’s family series. The five-disc set has 24 episodes, packaged with a replica of a booklet Henson used to pitch the show to TV executives. DVD set, $49.98. (20th Century Fox)