NEW ON DVD AND BLU-RAY

“Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” starring Jason Lee and David Cross. CGI rodents apply their moderately ingratiating falsettos to a variety of familiar radio hits in between engaging in agreeable hijinks related to school, the devious antics of their ex-agent Ian (Cross, who provides a good number of laughs for the grown-ups), and their conflicted feelings for their rivals, the Chipettes (voiced by Amy Poehler, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate, and good luck telling which one’s which). As before, it’s filmic junk food, but it’s all harmless enough, and the tunes are catchy. It’s no “Lawrence of Arabia: The Sheikquel,” but it’ll do in a pinch. Special features includes several making-of featurettes and music videos. Rated PG for some mild rude humor. Running time: 1:28.

Suggested retail price: DVD $29.98; Blu-ray $39.99.

 

“An Education,” starring Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard. One of those rare movies able to garner equal accolades from critics and audiences alike, “An Education” puts a new and intelligent spin on an old scenario, thanks to a wonderful script by Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity”) and brilliant performances from leads Mulligan (“Bleak House”) as the cooped-up teen eager to see the world, and Sarsgaard as the older, conniving con man who offers to whisk her away from her drab existence. Set in 1961 England, “Education” gets just about everything right, from the look of the era to the angst of its protagonist’s age, and Mulligan’s Oscar-nominated performance is a starmaker for sure. Superbly realized through and through, “Education” is this week’s surest bet. Special features include deleted scenes and a commentary from director Lone Scherfig (“Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself”), Mulligan and Sarsgaard. Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including sexual content, and for smoking. Running time: 1:40.

Suggested retail price: DVD $28.96; Blu-ray $38.96.

 

“Sherlock Holmes,” starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Guy Ritchie applies his overcaffeinated, hellzapoppin’ sensibilities to the beloved Sir Arthur Conan Doyle detective, with hugely entertaining, if not exactly respectful, results. Downey does his mumbling antihero thing, continuing to prove himself the Elliot Gould of his generation (a compliment, we assure you), and his tics prove quite in keeping with Holmes’ often off-kilter techniques. Law manages to keep up quite nicely with a more involved sidekick Watson than we’re used to seeing. Purists might not cotton to the kitchen-sink approach (which even manages to throw some martial arts into the mix), but as relatively mindless popcorn flicks go, “Sherlock” is great fun. Special features include a making-of featurette. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material. Running time: 2:28.

Suggested retail price: DVD $28.98; Blu-ray $35.99.

 

NEW ON DVD

“3 Idiots,” starring Aamir Khan and Kareen Kapoor. Incredibly charming Bollywood dramedy finds a pair of college pals banding together to track down their long-lost friend, Rancho (the irrepressible Khan of “Like Stars on Earth”), a carefree young man whose free- thinking ways liberated their own uptight mindsets back in their school days. As with the best Bollywood efforts, it’s impossible not to be won over by the sheer energy and good will of the film. Not rated, contains language, crude humor and thematic material. Running time: 2:22.

Suggested retail price: $19.99.

 

“Weapons of Self Destruction,” starring Robin Williams. The first stand-up special from loose cannon Williams since 2002, the seasoned comic riffs manically on such topics as health care, global warming and his recent open-heart surgery in this foul-mouthed 90-minute rant. Special features include footage from Williams’ past stand-up specials. Not rated, contains nonstop language and crude humor. Running time: 1:29.

Suggested retail price: $14.98.

 

NEW TO BLU-RAY

“Collateral,” starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. Director Michael Mann’s (“Public Enemies”) kinetic yet affecting thriller provides the former in Cruise’s intense hitman and the latter in Foxx’s put-upon cab driver, who finds himself the unwilling chauffeur for a series of increasingly violent errands. A well-crafted thriller that gives Cruise the all-too-rare chance to play the bad guy, an opportunity he attacks with his customary vigor. Special features include a making-of featurette and a commentary from Mann. Rated R for violence and language. Running time: 2:00.

Suggested retail price: $29.99.

 

“The Killer,” starring Yun-Fat Chow and Danny Lee. The 1989 Hong Kong thriller that introduced the world at large to the stylish and endlessly inventive bloodletting of director John Woo, not to mention quintessential tough guy Chow, “The Killer” is the type of film Blu-ray technology was invented for. Special features include an interview with Woo. Rated R for pervasive strong violence and some language. Running time: 2:24.

Suggested retail price: $29.99.

 

VIDEPORT PICKS

“Afghan Star,” starring Setara and Rafi. The constant parade of young hopefuls on “American Idol” is now an institution that we take for granted, but in Afghanistan their wildly successful version of the worldwide talent show phenomenon is far more than the glorified “Star Search” we know and love. In a land where the Taliban once banned all forms of music, “Afghan Star” is a rare victory for personal creative expression for this unbelievably oppressed country, and this fascinating documentary follows four contestants, some of whom risk their lives to make their talents and voices heard. Prepare to look upon Simon Cowell and company with a newfound general lack of respect and enthusiasm after viewing this wrenching doc from director Havana Marking (“The Crippendales”), which casts a whole new light on a seemingly frivolous program. Not rated, contains thematic material. Running time: 1:27.

Suggested retail price: $29.99.

 

“The Baader Meinhof Complex,” starring Martina Gedeck and Mortiz Bleibtreu. Based on Stefan Aust’s book about the Red Army Faction, Germany’s homespun ’60s terrorist group that purported to strive to combat the supposed fascist undercurrent in politics at that time. The faction’s motives soon became indistinguishable from that of any other criminal, and this Oscar-nominated period piece from director Uli Edel (“Last Exit to Brooklyn”) does an excellent job chronicling the group’s genesis and downfall, all the while capturing both the style of the era and the messy, uncinematic quality of the violence wrought by this tragic undertaking. Rated R for strong bloody violence, disturbing images, sexual content, graphic nudity and language. Running time: 2:30.

Suggested retail price: DVD $27.98; Blu-ray $34.98.