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‘V for Vendetta’ explodes onto DVD

Also new: ‘Shaggy Dog,’ seasons one of ‘The Comeback,’ ‘Girls Next Door’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“V for Vendetta”Part Batman, part Robin Hood, part musketeer, masked title character V (Hugo Weaving) walks a thin line between social good and vigilantism in this sci-fi tale of an Orwellian fascist state that has taken root in Britain of the near future. Natalie Portman stars as V’s reluctant protege, a woman drawn into his one-man violent revolution to inflame the submissive populace and restore democracy. Written and produced by “The Matrix” creators Andy and Larry Wachowski, the film comes in a bare-bones single-DVD edition or a two-disc set whose documentary segments include a look at V’s forerunner Guy Fawkes, the executed 17th century rebel who became a symbol for freedom-fighting for many Brits, and a chronicle of how the film evolved over the years from its roots as a graphic novel created during Margaret Thatcher’s reign. Two-disc set, $34.99; single DVD, $28.98. (Warner Bros.) Read the review

“The Shaggy Dog”

The Shaggy Dog (voiced by Tim Allen) in Walt Disney Pictures' The Shaggy Dog - 2006
The Shaggy Dog (voiced by Tim Allen) in Walt Disney Pictures' The Shaggy Dog - 2006Walt Disney Pictures

After updates of “Freaky Friday” and “The Love Bug,” Disney continues to mine its live-action vaults, unfortunately hitting on a painfully unfunny new take on its family comedies “The Shaggy Dog” and “The Shaggy D.A.” Tim Allen trades in his “Santa Clause” beard for a canine one as a prosecutor whose family’s new bearded collie — a mystery dog that has escaped from a lab — nips our hero on the hand, causing periodic mutations from lawyer to pooch. The lame script neuters the comic talents of co-stars Robert Downey Jr. and Kristin Davis, while Allen’s left to run around on all fours growling. The DVD features deleted scenes and commentary with director Brian Robbins and producer David Hoberman. DVD, $29.99. (Disney) Read the review

“What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole”Marlee Matlin goes back through the looking glass with this DVD set that includes an expanded follow-up to the 2004 mini-hit “What the Bleep Do We Know,” using dramatizations and documentary segments to explore the nature of reality at a quantum level. Matlin plays a photographer hurtled onto an Alice in Wonderland adventure in which scientists, mystics and other thinkers theorize over life, creation and all that good stuff. The three-disc set includes the 2½-hour theatrical cut of “What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole,” an augmentation of the original film’s premise and ideas, plus a five-hour version that also appropriately can be viewed with interview and dramatic segments playing in random order. The set also has a batch of bonus interviews that can be watched separately. DVD set, $29.98. (20th Century Fox)

“Olivier’s Shakespeare”A boxed set packs all three of the excellent Criterion releases — “Henry V,” “Hamlet” and “Richard III” — from Laurence Olivier, the big-screen’s greatest interpreter of Shakespeare. The single-disc edition of “Hamlet,” which won the 1948 best-picture Academy Award and earned Olivier the best-actor prize, comes with no DVD extras, but the other films are accompanied by a nice range of materials. Olivier’s first Shakespeare adaptation, “Henry V,” has audio commentary from film historian Bruce Eder and a chronology of English monarchs in a single-disc edition. The two-disc release of “Richard III” has commentary from playwright Russell Lees and John Wilders, a former governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company, plus a 1966 BBC interview with Olivier. DVD set, $79.95. (Criterion)

“Mr. Moto Collection: Volume 1”Peter Lorre became a Hollywood star in the late 1930s as the popularity of Charlie Chan mysteries led to big-screen treatment for author John P. Marquand’s unassuming, diminutive detective. Lorre’s Mr. Moto trots the globe, quietly taking on bad guys and cracking cases. A four-disc set has the first four of Lorre’s eight flicks as Moto: The debut film “Think Fast, Mr. Moto,” with Lorre taking on diamond smugglers; “Thank You, Mr. Moto,” a tale of thieves seeking treasures in Genghis Khan’s tomb; “Mr. Moto Takes a Chance,” with our hero tracking a military uprising in Asia; and “Mysterious Mr. Moto,” in which the detective hunts the mastermind of a ring of assassins. DVD set, $59.98. (20th Century Fox)

TV on DVD:

“The Comeback: The Complete First Season” — Lisa Kudrow copes with life as a Hollywood has-been in this comedy series about a former TV sensation so desperate to get back in the limelight she signs on as star of a reality show whose cameras follow her everywhere. The two-disc set has 13 episodes, with commentary on six featuring Kudrow and executive producer Michael Patrick King. DVD set, $39.98. (HBO)

“The Girls Next Door: Season One” — Reality TV heats up — assuming life in the Playboy mansion qualifies as reality — with the show following the racy lives of Hugh Hefner’s three girlfriends. The first 15 episodes come in a three-disc set, along with commentary and deleted scenes. DVD set, $29.98. (20th Century Fox)

“Hazel: The Complete First Season” — Housekeeping was a noble profession in Hazel’s day. The sitcom that debuted in 1961 — starring Shirley Booth as a brassy, super-capable live-in maid — returns in a four-disc set packing the first 35 episodes. DVD set, $39.95. (Sony)

“Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Fifth Season” — Year five for all-around pain-in-the-butt Larry David has him searching for his “real” parents and fending off buddy Richard Lewis, who needs a kidney transplant. The two-disc set has 10 episodes, plus a making-of featurette. DVD set, $39.98. (HBO)

“Beavis And Butt-head: The Mike Judge Collection — Volume 3” — Judge, creator of the cartoon teen layabouts, picks 42 more favorite episodes in a three-disc set that also packs a featurette and 15 music videos with Beavis and Butt-head’s sardonic commentary. DVD set, $39.99. (Paramount)

“Dallas: The Complete Fifth Season” — Scheming Texas oilman J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) and his equally conniving clan are back for another year of greed and adultery. Season five’s 26 episodes come in a five-disc set. DVD set, $39.98. (Warner Bros.)

“Good Times: The Complete Sixth Season” — The final season of the sitcom starring Jimmie Walker features the return of Esther Rolle as matriarch of the family. The last 24 episodes are packaged in a three-disc set. DVD set, $29.95. (Sony)