New DVD releases include 'Alvin and the Chipmunks," 'Sweeney Todd'

Selected home-video releases:

"Alvin and the Chipmunks"

The beloved rodents scampered to the big-screen and scored a blockbuster family hit that combines computer-generated animation and live action. Jason Lee heads the human cast as a songwriter who takes in the three mischievous 'munks " Alvin, Simon and Theodore (voiced by Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney) " with the furry singers becoming pop stars that face exploitation by a conniving producer (David Cross). The DVD and high-definition Blu-ray discs have featurettes examining the long history of the Chipmunks and their music. The DVD has widescreen and full-screen versions, plus a behind-the-scenes look at the studio's new family hit, "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!" DVD, $29.99; Blu-ray disc, $39.98. (20th Century Fox)

"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

Johnny Depp's customers check in, they don't check out. Teaming with frequent collaborators Tim Burton and co-star Helena Bonham Carter, Depp scored an Academy Award nomination for the title role in the Stephen Sondheim musical about a vengeful barber slitting throats in old London and the landlady who makes a killing serving up the victims as mystery meat in her pies. Single-disc and two-disc releases each have a featurette on the collaboration of Depp, director Burton and his real-life romantic partner Bonham Carter. The two-disc set also packs a huge range of extras, among them segments on Sondheim, the production design and the actual events that inspired the tale. Single DVD, $29.99; two-disc set, $39.99. (Paramount)

"Bette Davis Collection: Volume Three"

The Hollywood legend gets another boxed-set treatment with this six-disc collection packing half a dozen movies from the 1930s and '40: "The Old Maid" features Bette Davis as an unmarried woman who gives up her daughter to be raised by a cousin and poses as the child's spinster aunt; "All This, and Heaven Too" casts Davis as a governess romanced by her employer (Charles Boyer) and suspected of helping him do away with his wife; "The Great Lie" pits Davis and concert pianist-pal Mary Astor as friends at odds over a child and a man; "In This Our Life" pairs Davis and Olivia de Havilland in John Huston's melodrama about a sister who betrays her sibling; "Watch on the Rhine" has Davis as the wife of a German underground leader during World War II as the family finds continued intrigue after relocating to America; and "Deception" is a World War II tale of separated lovers that reunites Davis with her "Now, Voyager" co-stars Claude Rains and Paul Henreid and director Irving Rapper. DVD set, $59.92. (Warner Bros.)

"The Night of the Shooting Stars," "Kaos," "Fiorile"

Three foreign-language favorites from Italian siblings Paolo and Vittorio Taviani come to DVD, led by a new edition of "Night of the Shooting Stars," with "Kaos" and "Fiorile" making their U.S. debuts on disc. From 1982, "Night of the Shooting Stars" is a loving portrait of a small Italian town whose residents are in limbo between Nazi occupiers and their American liberators as World War II nears an end. The 1984 drama "Kaos" is an anthology of tales based on stories by Luigi Pirandello, dealing with family, separation, passion, mourning, mortality and the art of storytelling itself. "Fiorile," from 1993, chronicles the consequences of a curse that has beset a family for 200 years. "Night of the Shooting Stars" is accompanied by an interview with the Tavianis, while the "Fiorile" DVD includes a documentary about the brothers. Each DVD also comes with an essay booklet. DVDs, $26.98 each. (Koch Lorber)

TV on DVD:

"Becker: The First Season" " Ted Danson finds life after "Cheers" with this sitcom that presents him as the flipside of the easygoing dope Sam Malone he played on his earlier show. Danson stars as a brainy but gruff doctor who spreads his brand of charming misery among acquaintances, including diner owner Terry Farrell. The three-disc set has the first 22 episodes. DVD set, $39.99. (Paramount)

"John From Cincinnati" " The arrival of a stranger changes the odd fortunes of a California surfing family in this drama whose cast includes Rebecca De Mornay, Bruce Greenwood and Luke Perry. A three-disc set packs all 10 episodes of the short-lived series, along with a featurette and commentary on two episodes. DVD set, $59.99. (HBO)

"Father Knows Best: Season One" " Before he was friendly Dr. Marcus Welby, Robert Young epitomized the ideal dad in this 1950s comedy that co-starred Jane Wyatt. The first 26 episodes come in a four-disc package that includes cast interviews, an unaired episode underwritten by the U.S. Treasury Department to promote savings bonds, and the pilot for Young's early 1960s series, "Window on Main Street." DVD set, $34.99. (Shout)

"Terry Jones' Medieval Lives" " Besides being a member of the Monty Python comedy troupe, Jones is a wry history scholar. This two-disc set has all eight episodes of his series that challenges preconceptions of the Middle Ages, offering portraits of mercenary monks, literate peasants, emancipated damsels and outlaws who were the era's equivalent of white-collar criminals. DVD set, $29.98. (BBC)

"The BBC Natural History Collection" " Here's a far-ranging illumination of the natural world in a box. Timed to Earth Day on April 22, the 17-disc set collects four BBC documentary series: "Planet Earth," "The Blue Planet: Seas of Life," "The Life of Mammals" and "The Life of Birds." DVD set, $199.92. (BBC)

"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit " Year Six" " The crime and court spinoff that focuses on sex offenses returns with a five-disc set containing 23 episodes of the show starring Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni. DVD set, $59.98. (Universal)

"Martin: The Complete Fourth Season" " Martin Lawrence begins married life in year four of his 1990s sitcom, whose 27 episodes come in a four-disc package. DVD set, $29.98. (HBO)

"That '70s Show: Season Eight" " After the departure of star Topher Grace, the series that lasted nearly as long as the decade it fondly recalled concluded with this final season, whose 22 episodes come in a four-disc set. DVD set, $49.98. (20th Century Fox)

"Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Eighth Season" " Angela Lansbury resumes her sleuthing ways as a mystery writer who solves crime on the side. Year eight's 22 episodes are included in a five-disc set. DVD set, $49.98. (Universal)


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