New DVD Releases: 'Stay Alive,' 'Stick It,' 'My Name Is Earl'

Plus: 'Spirited Killer,' 'Battlestar Galactica' and 'He-Man.'

Every week takes a look at the most promising DVD releases, from recent big-screen hits to Hollywood classics to television shows finally getting their due.

"Stay Alive" Unrated Director's Cut (2006)

Director William Brent Bell spent many of his formative years working on various projects for über-producer Roger Corman. It seems to have paid off as his sophomore effort, "Stay Alive," is an above-average fright flick that greatly benefits from the addition of 15 minutes of footage Bell was forced to cut to earn the film's PG-13 rating for theatrical release. Filmed on location in pre-hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, a group of teens (including Samaire Armstrong of "The O.C.," Frankie Muniz of "Malcolm in the Middle," Sophia Bush of "One Tree Hill" and Jon Foster of "Windfall") discover a mysterious video game following the death of their friend. They soon find themselves sharing the same grisly fates as their characters at the hands of the "Blood Countess," who may be the spirit of 17th century madwoman Elizabeth Bathory.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has included the following extras:

  • Commentary by filmmakers
  • Visual-effects reel

"Stick It" (2006)

Writer Jessica Bendinger has a knack for showing girls the way they really are that has guaranteed the success of films like "Bring It On," "First Daughter, "Aquamarine" and even an episode of girl-power manifesto "Sex and the City." For her directorial debut, "Stick It," Bendinger doesn't stray far from her comfort zone: namely all girls, all the time. And what could be girlier than the world of women's gymnastics? Haley (Missy Peregrym) was a gymnast at the top of her game before she walked out on Team USA during a major competition. After a run-in with the law, she's given a choice: She can either attend the world-renowned Vickerman Gymnastics Academy or serve her time in a juvenile detention facility. Grudgingly, she returns to the rigid world of gymnastics, but her new instructor, Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges), teaches her to embrace her talents and shows her that she can still be an individual even while following the rules.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has included the following extras:

  • "Read My Mind: Commentaries Featuring the Director, Actors and Filmmakers"
  • "Buttaharas: Outrageous Bloopers & Outtakes"
  • "Skinny Fat: Hilarious Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentaries"
  • "Hard Corps: The Real Gymnasts for 'Stick It' "
  • "The Elites: Full Gymnastics Routines Performed by the World's Best With Optional Commentary"
  • "The Judges' Table: Uneven Bar Routines in Slow Motion With Optional Commentary"
  • Missy Elliott's "We Run This" video
  • Jeannie Ortega's "Crowded" video

"Spirited Killer" (1996)

Thailand action star Tony Jaa has been a refreshing addition to the world of martial-arts films in an age of "wire-fu." Jaa's seemingly unbelievable and unassisted stunt work makes him a natural successor to Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan. Thai action director and martial-arts choreographer Panna Rittikrai discovered Jaa and cast him in this, his debut film. Fortunately for Panna, Jaa's mastery of "Muay Thai" kickboxing and his budding charisma more than make up for the meager plot.

BCI Home Entertainment has included the following extras in this two-disc set:

  • "Master of Action: Panna Rittikrai"
  • "Best of Panna's Fight Scenes"
  • "Thailand Dangerous: The 'Other' Cinema of the East"
  • Tony Jaa interview
  • Tony Jaa martial arts demo
  • "Tony Jaa: Thailand's Favorite Son" featurette
  • "Muay Thai Boran: Ong Bak's Deadly Fighting Art"

"Battlestar Galactica" Season 2.5 (2006)

Writer/producer Ron Moore continues the tradition of excellence established by the first one and a half seasons of his stellar re-imagining of the classic '70s cult hit "Battlestar Galactica." This portion is set at the climax of the 100-year war between the Cylons and their former human masters, the survivors of which hope to find salvation on the fabled planet of Earth. The midseason cliffhanger found the Galactica confronted by a second Battlestar, Pegasus, captained by the merciless Admiral Kain (Michelle Forbes), Commander Adama's (Edward James Olmos) superior officer, who wants control of his fleet. Later episodes chronicle the ever-complicated relationships between the various characters and the two-part season finale, "Lay Down Your Burdens," finds the fleet civilian crews colonizing the planet New Caprica, only to be invaded by Cylons.

In addition to the final 10 episodes of the second season, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has also included the following extras in this three-disc set:

  • Deleted scenes
  • Podcasts
  • Producer's video logs
  • "On the Set of the 'New' Pegasus" featurette
  • "The 'Magic' of 'Battlestar Galactica' "
  • "Never Let the Inmates Run the Asylum" featurette
  • "Scenes From a Video Blog Floor" featurette
  • "Sex, Lies and a Video Blog" featurette

"My Name Is Earl" The Complete First Season (2005)

Before the offbeat sitcom became a hit, Jason Lee was best known for his body of work with director Kevin Smith, and it may have been this newfound small-screen success that doomed Smith and Lee's proposed "Fletch" film. Regardless, "My Name Is Earl" has brought Lee, and fellow Smith alum Ethan Suplee, to the attention of America at large. In a very Smith-like premise, lovable loser Earl Hickey (Lee) wins $100,000 and is hit by a car on the same day. While he's in the hospital, he decides that he needs to make up for all the harm he's caused other people in order to restore his karma.

In addition to all 24 episodes of the first season, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has also included the following extras in this four-disc set:

  • Commentary by creator Greg Garcia, stars Jason Lee and Ethan Suplee, and more on select episodes
  • Commentary by the mothers of Greg Garcia (Natalie Garcia), Marc Buckland (Mary Buckland), Jason Lee (Carol Lee) and Ethan Suplee (Debbie Suplee) on the episode "Dad's Car"
  • Exclusive Earl misadventure "Bad Karma"
  • "Karma Is a Funny Thing" blooper reel
  • "Making Things Right: Behind the Scenes of 'My Name Is Earl' " featurette
  • Deleted scenes

"He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" Season 2, Volume 2 (1985)

"He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" may have begun as a brilliant stroke of mid-'80s marketing by toymaker Mattel, but in the 20 years since its premiere, the series has proven itself a cultural icon rather than a toy "infomercial." Following the many adventures of Prince Adam who, along with his loyal friends — including his mentor, Man-At-Arms; his beautiful daughter Teela; and the magician Orko — protect Eternia from the evil forces of the maniacal Skeletor. Adam is also aided in his battle by the "Sword of Power" given to him by the mysterious Sorceress, which transforms him into the all-powerful warrior He-Man.

In addition to episodes 99-130, BCI Home Entertainment has included the following extras on this six-disc set:

  • Two documentary features: "The Secret Stories of 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe' Season 2" and "Animating 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe' "
  • Commentaries by the cast and crew on select episodes
  • Animated storyboard with interactive episode comparison for the episode "The Problem With Power"
  • Collectible "art cards" by artists Dan Brereton and Mike McKone
  • Fifty detailed profiles of various characters, creatures and artifacts
  • Commercial spots

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