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The new, old aliens among us

ILM/Universal Studios

Oh, what a fine line between adorably grody little aliens whose phone-home request only the heartless would deny and malevolent space horrors best left on call-waiting forever. We get a little of both this week with the hi-def debut of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982; above) and the 3-D Blu-ray release of Ridley Scott’s “Alien” quasi-prequel, “Prometheus” (2012). For throwback entertainment, it’s no contest: “E.T.” is as heartwarming as you remember (and maybe slightly more edgy than you remember in its PG-scripted sibling rivalry). The disc includes a new interview with Steven Spielberg that packs a lot into 12 minutes, tracing the film’s roots in a divorce-themed project that Spielberg had been developing to revisit his own adolescence. “This was, indeed, my first personal movie,” he says, noting that he expected the film to play like Disney fare of the era — i.e., not a box-office draw of any major note, despite its family-friendliness. Another new segment offers nearly an hour’s worth of minimally edited on-set footage, including Spielberg directing a Halloween scene in drag to have a little fun with kid stars Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore.

“Prometheus,” meanwhile, is a dissatisfying case of 2012 effects technology not doing much to ratchet up ’70s sci-fi tension — although fatally curious space archeologist Noomi Rapace has a stomach-lurching moment to rival the original’s chestburster shock. Scott provides commentary, with co-writer Damon Lindelof (“Lost”) supplying another track. (“E.T.” Universal, $34.98; “Prometheus,” Fox, $49.99)




Hair band culture gets to sing out loud and, yes, proud in “Hairspray” director Adam Shankman’s adaptation of the Broadway nostalgia fest. Julianne Hough (“Footloose”) and Diego Boneta are the slightly vanilla small-town girl and city boy searching for stardom on the ’80s Sunset Strip club scene. The movie benefits from stunt-casting Tom Cruise as Axl Rose-y rock god Stacee Jaxx. (Try watching this one with Cruise’s similarly unexpected roles in “Magnolia” and “Tropic Thunder.”) Extras: Poison singer Bret Michaels hosts a look back, Cruise meets Def Leppard, and we get background on the stage version. (Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99)


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Ever catch one of Bill Belichick’s torturously monotone press conferences and wonder, say, how the heck the guy rallies the troops at halftime? We get some answers in a two-part, two-hour documentary, in which a film crew shadows him for the 2009 season. The well-done program was a highlight of the NFL Network’s new profile series, whose first season also included segments on Walter Payton and Tom Landry. The most surprisingly compelling material: a program on NFL Films founder Ed Sabol and his iconic perspectives on the game, produced by his recently deceased son and partner, Steve. (Vivendi, $39.93; available now)

Tom Russo can be reached at