New DVD releases include 'Across the Universe,' 'The Brave One'

Selected home-video releases:

"Across the Universe"

Songs by the Beatles and wild visuals crafted by director Julie Taymor take center stage in this musical romance set against the social upheaval of the 1960s and the Vietnam War. Evan Rachel Wood stars as a sheltered American teen whose eyes are gradually opened to the era's injustices and idealism, while Jim Sturgess plays a working-class Brit who comes to America searching for his father and falls for Wood. The largely unknown cast is augmented by musical performances from Joe Cocker, Eddie Izzard and Bono, along with a cameo by Salma Hayek, who starred in Taymor's "Frida." The two-disc DVD set and Blu-ray high-definition disc have eight extended musical numbers and a deleted one " the tune "And I Love Her" featuring co-stars Dana Fuchs and Martin Luther McCoy. Taymor and composer Elliot Goldenthal also provide commentary. DVD set, $28.96; Blu-ray, $38.96. (Sony)

"The Brave One"

Jodie Foster gets mad and gets even in a female variation of "Taxi Driver," the 1970s film that brought the actress her first Academy Award nomination. Foster stars as a New York radio host who turns into a vengeful vigilante prowling the streets with a gun after she's seriously injured and her fiance is killed by thugs. Terrence Howard co-stars as a cop who befriends her, unaware she's the perpetrator making headlines as judge, jury and executioner of wrongdoers. The DVD has deleted footage and a featurette. DVD, 28.98; Blu-ray and HD DVD, $35.99 each. (Warner Bros.)

"Elizabeth: The Golden Age"

Cate Blanchett returns to the role that made her movie career, again earning a best-actress Oscar nomination as the British monarch of centuries past. The follow-up to 1998's "Elizabeth" reunites Blanchett, co-star Geoffrey Rush and director Shekhar Kapur as the Protestant spinster queen faces a holy war with Roman Catholic Spain while engaging in a dalliance with the dashing explorer Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen). Among the extras are deleted scenes, featurettes on locations, battle scenes and production design, and commentary from Kapur. DVD, $29.98; HD DVD, $39.98. (Universal)

"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"

The movie whose title is its own plot spoiler stars Brad Pitt as legendary 19th century outlaw James, an 1880s media star coming undone amid his own self-created myths, while Casey Affleck plays the spurned admirer who decides to take out his idol. The role earned Affleck an Oscar nomination as supporting actor, while cinematographer Roger Deakins also was nominated for the dreamlike imagery captured in director Andrew Dominik's portrait of James. High-definition HD DVD and Blu-ray releases of the film follow on Feb. 26. The HD DVD release includes a behind-the-scenes documentary segment. DVD, $27.95; Blu-ray and HD DVD, $35.99. (Warner Bros.)

"The Aristocats"

A feline variation of "Lady and the Tramp," Disney's 1970 animated feature returns to DVD. The musical cartoon features Eva Gabor providing the voice of a pampered society cat dumped in the French countryside by a butler scheming to deprive her and her kittens of an inheritance left by their rich owner. Phil Harris provides the voice of a pragmatic alley cat who helps escort the kitties back home. The new DVD version includes a deleted song and a 1946 Disney short cartoon. DVD, $29.99. (Disney)

TV on DVD:

"Third Watch: The Complete First Season" " Police, firefighters and paramedics work side by side to protect and serve New Yorkers in this action series. The first 22 episodes come in a six-disc set, accompanied by deleted scenes and a featurette. DVD set, $59.98. (Warner Bros.)

"Perfect Strangers: The Complete First and Second Seasons" " The sitcom that debuted in 1986 stars Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot in the story of an American bunking with his immigrant cousin. The four-disc set has the first 28 episodes. DVD set, $29.98. (Warner Bros.)

"Beauty and the Beast: The Final Season" " The third and final year of the fantasy romance comes to DVD in a three-disc set with 12 episodes. Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman star in the love story about a prosecutor and her subterranean beau. DVD set, $49.99. (Paramount)

"Slings and Arrows: The Complete Collection" " All three seasons of the acclaimed Canadian series are packed in a seven-disc set with 18 episodes. Starring Paul Gross, Don McKellar, Martha Burns and Mark McKinney and featuring such guest stars as Sarah Polley and Rachel McAdams, the show follows the ups and downs of an eccentric theater troupe. DVD set, $59.99. (Acorn)

"McLeod's Daughters: The Complete Fifth Season" " Women continue to rule the ranch in this Australian series about half-sisters who inherit a cattle farm and staff it with a group of all-female cow hands. DVD set, $76.98. (Koch Vision)

Other new releases:

"The Jane Austen Book Club" " An ensemble including Maria Bello, Kathy Baker, Jimmy Smits, Emily Blunt and Amy Brenneman plays out modern variations of Austen's romantic entanglements as a book club meets once a month to discuss the author's works. Extras include deleted scenes and commentary. DVD, $26.96; Blu-ray $38.96. (Sony)

"Feast of Love" " Another ensemble led by Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, Radha Mitchell and Selma Blair is featured in director Robert Benton's tale of love and heartache set at an Oregon coffee shop. Benton provides commentary, and the DVD has a couple of featurettes. DVD, $29.99. (MGM)


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