“Robin Hood,” starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. Director Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”) and Crowe re-team for this earthy retooling of the Nottingham legend, with Blanchett making for a comely and fiery Maid Marion alongside an excellent supporting cast that includes Max von Sydow, William Hurt and Matthew Macfadyen. A more thoughtful epic than modern audiences have perhaps become accustomed to, Scott is refreshingly willing to slow down the pace to benefit plot development without skimping over much on the bloody, primitive battles that we’ve rightly come to expect from this sort of historical action. Rated PG-13. Running time: 2:20.

Suggested retail price: DVD $34.98; Blu-ray $39.98. 

“Modern Family: The Complete First Season,” starring Ed O’Neill and Julie Bowen. That rare comedy that manages to please both critics and audiences in equal measure, “Family” presents us with a number of vastly different but thoroughly relatable (not to mention hilarious) households, turns on the cameras and lets the chaos ensue. Running time: 10:44.

Suggested retail price: DVD $59.98; Blu-ray $69.99. 

“Spartacus: Blood and Sand — The Complete First Season,” starring Andy Whitfield and John Hannah. A lurid love letter to “sword and sandals” epics, not to mention excess in general, “Spartacus” is a blood-drenched, sexually charged account of ancient Rome that must be seen to be believed, and even then you’re sure to do one or two double takes. Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead”) is the executive producer, so you know you’re in for some top-shelf schlock. That being said, the writing and acting here are well above average for this type of enterprise. Running time: 11:32.

Suggested retail price: DVD $59.97; Blu-ray $79.97. 


“Community: First Season,” starring Joel McHale and Chevy Chase. Maintaining good-natured, silly humor through a potentially fatal sheen of smarminess is a balancing act that not all sitcoms can pull off, but “Community” is a prime example of how to do it right. It helps to have smarm masters McHale (host of “The Soup”) and comedy veteran Chase (putting forth some of his best work since his days as Clark Griswold) front and center, and their outlandish, and at times, downright surreal antics at an underachieving community college never fail to entertain. Running time: 8:55.

Suggested retail price: $39.95. 

“30 Rock: Season Four,” starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. The behind-the-scenes sketch show send-up shows no signs of slowing down in what is hard to believe is already its fourth season, with Baldwin and Tracy Morgan continuing to steal the show as an insane CEO and TV star, respectively. Still one of the smartest and funniest shows on television, and here’s hoping we’ll be saying the same about the 10th season. Running time: 8:06.

Suggested retail price: $49.98. 


“American Beauty,” starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening. The cynical darling of the 1999 Academy Awards, “Beauty” comes across as a bit much a decade later, but what continues to impress is the beautiful cinematography (particularly considering the deliberately mundane suburban setting), the bravely unlikable performances from Spacey and Bening, and the distinctive tone from then-newcomer Sam Mendes. A bitter pill of a modern fantasy, but thoroughly entertaining nonetheless. Running time: 2:04.

Suggested retail price: $29.99. 


“Bored to Death: The Complete First Season,” starring Jason Schwartzman and Zach Galifianakis. Author Jonathan Ames has been aptly compared to an edgier David Sedaris for his ability to render potentially harrowing real-life situations hilarious through uncannily perceptive, attitude-infused prose.

He also has a firm grasp on the mind of the listless, meandering American male (given that he is one himself), and this singular psyche is at the heart of “Bored to Death,” a deadpan, unpredictable little series wherein adrift writer Schwartzman (“Rushmore”) decides to take a break from his literary pursuits in favor of starting up his own private detective agency, meeting with clients, bumbling upon clues and pretty much flying by the seat of his pants. “Helping” him with his affairs is the always enjoyable Galifianakis (“The Hangover”) as the prerequisite wacky best friend, and good ol’ Ted Danson as his well-meaning boss. Fans of Ames or the terrific cast would do well to check out this low-key, under-the-radar winner. Running time: 4:00.

Suggested retail price: DVD $39.98; Blu-ray $49.99. 

“The Secret in Their Eyes,” starring Ricardo Darin and Soledad Villamil. Broad in scope and imbued with a number of frankly staggering emotional payoffs, director Juan Jose Campanella went home with the Best Foreign Film Oscar in a surprise upset for this genre-defying tale of reunited would-be lovers (Darin and Villamil, both excellent), a retired criminal investigator and judge, respectively, who once worked together on a brutal rape-murder case and now find themselves drawn back into the investigation and each other’s lives in ways they never would have imagined possible. Flawed yet fascinating, often plodding yet hugely emotional, “El Secreto de Sus Ojos” is more ambitious than 10 similar films, and for that alone deserves all the accolades it receives. Rated R. Running time: 2:09.

Suggested retail price: DVD $28.95; Blu-ray $38.96.