New DVD releases include ‘Live Free or Die Hard,’ ‘Hairspray’
AP Movie Writer
Bruce Willis’ wiseguy cop John McClane has gotten a little more serious with age, but he can still give and take a punch ” a lot of punches.
After a 12-year hiatus, Willis returned to his action franchise with this hit sequel that has McClane racing to foil a plot by a technology-whiz (Timothy Olyphant) to shut down vital services and infrastructure over the Fourth of July.
The movie is available in two single-disc versions, a full-screen edition with the PG-13-rated theatrical release and a widescreen edition with an unrated cut.
The unrated version also comes in a two-disc set whose extras include a making-of segment and a conversation with Willis and filmmaker Kevin Smith, who co-stars as a tech geek living in his mom’s basement.
Willis teams for commentary with director Len Wiseman.
It started as cult filmmaker John Waters’ little flick, went on to become a Broadway smash and returned to the big-screen in a musical adaptation of the stage version.
Newcomer Nikki Blonsky stars as a plump, plucky Baltimore teen who enlists friends and family ” including John Travolta in a cross-dressing role as her equally portly mother and Queen Latifah as a saucy record-shop owner ” to racially integrate a TV dance show in the 1960s.
The movie comes in a bare-bones single-disc release and a two-disc DVD or Blu-ray high-definition disc loaded with extras.
Among the bonus features are deleted scenes with commentary from Blonsky and director Adam Shankman, who also offer commentary for the full film.
Other extras include a new musical number and a segment chronicling the history of “Hairspray.”
Tim Allen is coming to town again in the third installment of his holiday franchise.
This time out, Allen’s Santa Claus is transported back to the moment in the first movie when he became jolly old St.
Nick, with the scheming Jack Frost (Martin Short) stepping in to hijack the Claus persona and turn the holiday in an even gaudier exercise in commercialism than it already is.
Extras on the DVD and Blu-ray releases include an alternate opening, a featurette on comics Allen and Short, a music video and commentary from director Michael Lembeck.
Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Bonham and John Paul Jones return in one of the all-time great rock concert films, a 1976 release that captures Zeppelin at its prime in New York City performances three years earlier.
The film comes in a two-disc set whose extras include unreleased performances, TV coverage of the tour, a BBC interview with plant and a radio piece by a young rock journalist named Cameron Crowe, who would go on to chronicle his experiences in the fictionalized comic drama “Almost Famous.”
The movie also is available in a collector’s edition that packs a Led Zeppelin T-shirt, concert reviews and other memorabilia.
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1938 classic spy caper “The Lady Vanishes” gets a top-notch DVD update, while Ingmar Bergman’s 1953 battle-of-the-sexes saga “Sawdust and Tinsel” makes its DVD debut.
“The Lady Vanishes” features May Whitty as a kindly old woman who makes pals with a fellow train passenger (Margaret Lockwood), then disappears as though she never existed, prompting the younger woman to race to crack the case and convince everyone else she’s not crazy.
The two-disc set has a choice extra, the 1941 feature film “Crook’s Tour,” starring Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne reprising the comic supporting characters they played in “The Lady Vanishes.”
The set also has excerpts of a 1962 interview Francois Truffaut did with Hitchcock. “Sawdust and Tinsel” stars Ake Gronberg as a circus owner in a heated relationship with one of his performers (Harriet Andersson). The film is accompanied by a video introduction Bergman made in 2003.
Propaganda also can be high art in the right hands. The 1964 Soviet-Cuban production was brought to America courtesy of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, and it now makes its DVD debut in a terrific three-disc set with clever cigar-box packaging.
Praised for technical achievements years ahead of its time, the film from director Mikhail Kalatozov spins four interwoven stories meant to show the economic disparities between hedonistic haves and exploited have-nots in pre-Castro Cuba.
The set includes an interview with Scorsese, another with the film’s screenwriter and documentaries on the film’s production and on Kalatozov.
Everyone’s favorite forensics geeks, led by William Petersen and Marg Helgenberg, return to crack new cases of the bizarre in Las Vegas. The seven-disc set has all 24 episodes from year seven, plus commentary and a handful of featurettes.
The frontman for KISS continues to balance his indulgent ways with the pressures of family life in the reality show that features Simmons’ longtime companion Shannon Tweed and their two kids. The three-disc set has 21 episodes.
The comedy anthology show about dating, marriage, adultery and all things romantic debuted in 1969 and went on to feature a parade of celebrity guest stars. A three-disc set has the first 12 episodes from season one.