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New on DVD: ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’

Captain America: The First Avenger

Paramount, $29.99; Blu-ray, $42.99/$54.99

After the disappointing comic book films “Green Lantern” and “Thor,” it’s refreshing to see a superhero movie as enjoyably can-do as “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Chris Evans plays the iconic patriot, a former weakling named Steve Rogers who undergoes a “super soldier” treatment and then is set loose to fight the Nazis’ own powerhouse, Red Skull (Hugo Weaving). Director Joe Johnston, who made the similarly appealing “The Rocketeer,” doesn’t try anything too psychologically deep, postmodern, mythopoetic or tongue-in-cheek here. He’s got a handsome leading man, a cool-looking costume and hiss-able villains. Tab A folds into Tab B; the audience goes home happy. The “Captain America” DVD and Blu-ray come with a Johnston commentary track, deleted scenes and copious featurettes.

Attack the Block

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Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

In the tradition of British comedy/horror mash-ups like “Shaun of the Dead,” writer-director Joe Cornish’s “Attack the Block” imagines what would happen if an alien invasion were met by a gang of South London street toughs. The joke — which wears thin fairly quickly — is that these kids are more resourceful and fearless than the proper authorities, and yet they still don’t get the respect they deserve from “respectable” folks. But what makes “Attack the Block” work so well is that it’s exciting and well-constructed as a genre film, with cool-looking aliens and clever plans to repel them. It’s a lot like the American teens-vs.-extraterrestrials blockbuster “Super 8,” but grittier. The packed DVD and Blu-ray add three commentary tracks and hours of behind-the-scenes footage.

Barney Miller: The Complete Series

Shout! Factory, $159.99

Sure, sure, “The Wire” is awesome — but if you want to see a true-to-life TV show about the daily drudgery of police work that’s also funny, it’s time to take a second look at “Barney Miller.” The quintessential ‘70s sitcom, “Barney Miller” was set in a grimy squad room in an economically ravaged New York, populated by petty criminals and worn-out-but-still-committed cops. With a few exceptions, almost every episode was shot on one set — sporting a few cluttered desks, a dingy holding cell and a short hallway with a visible bathroom — and followed stories that were more about good guys and bad guys having low-key conversations than about big confrontations. Shout! Factory’s “Barney Miller: The Complete Series” finally gives a classic its due, compiling every episode of the show (plus the first season of the spinoff “Fish”) and adding commentary tracks, interviews and other goodies.

Winnie the Pooh

Walt Disney, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99/$44.99

The new “Winnie the Pooh” movie honors both A.A. Milne’s original Pooh books and the heyday of Walt Disney cel animation, resulting in one of the most purely delightful feature-length cartoons in years. The plot takes two classic Milne stories — one in which Eeyore loses his tail, and one in which the animals of the Hundred Acre Wood fear that Christopher Robin has been captured by a monster — and mixes them together with catchy songs and cheeky fourth-wall-breaking that parents should find just as funny as their children will. The DVD and Blu-ray are more kid-oriented though, with bonus shorts and sing-alongs.

And…

City of Life and Death

Kino, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95

Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy

Universal, $49.98; Blu-ray, $79.98/$119.98

The People vs. George Lucas

Lionsgate, $27.98

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Oscilloscope, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99

A Serbian Film

Invincible, $19.95; Blu-ray, $19.95

calendar@latimes.com


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