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TOP PICKS

‘Les Miz’ is just as epic on DVD

Universal Pictures via AP

Watching “Les Misérables” (2012) on disc, you can easily see the point ­— and the power — of translating the musical mega-phenomenon to film. Despite a clutch of Oscar nominations, critical reception was mixed for this sweeping incarnation of Victor Hugo’s story, directed by Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”), and starring Hugh Jackman as redemption-seeking Jean Valjean; best supporting actress winner Anne Hathaway (above) as lost woman Fantine; and Russell Crowe as Valjean’s relentless pursuer, Inspector Javert. Even on a smaller screen, Hathaway’s heartbreaking, tight-close-up rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” is something the stage version can’t give us (and a number that vaults her from solid work to Oscar gold in a single scene). Blu-ray featurettes include a look at the unconventional live recording process that helped Hathaway, Jackman, and the rest to emote the way they do. Eddie Redmayne (“My Week With Marilyn”), who tackles revolutionary-in-love Marius, notes that normally, the cast would pre-record songs in a studio, and “you have to make all your acting choices three months before you’ve even met the actor you’re working with.” Wondering what vocally limited Crowe is doing here? Maybe take a look on disc for “30 Odd Foot of Grunts — Texas,” a decade-old documentary about his bar band sideline. Other tie-in picks from the DVD back catalog: the 25th anniversary concert salute to “Les Misérables,” recorded in London in 2010; Jackman’s career-making work in the West End revival of “Oklahoma!” in 1999. (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98; available Friday)

DRAMA

ZERO DARK THIRTY (2012)

Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal bookend their look at combat culture in “The Hurt Locker” with an equally unflinching chronicle of the CIA’s lengthy pursuit of Osama bin Laden. Jessica Chastain (inset) is edgy as advertised playing an intelligence operative (actually a composite) thoroughly consumed by the search. (For more bookend viewing, check out Bigelow’s earlier female heroism portrait, “Blue Steel,” with Jamie Lee Curtis.) Extras: Credit the film for not overexplaining chaotic aspects of the hunt, but director’s commentary might have been the place to elaborate, if the disc offered any. Featurettes are a bit glossy, considering the subject. (Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $40.99)

Photo/Warner Bros., James Fisher

“The Hobbit.”

FANTASY

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (2012)

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Sorry, Ringers, but you know the routine: This release is just a straight encore of Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-earth, with the director’s video blogs thrown in. For the extended cut, you’ll have to wait for a release slated for Christmas. Still, you do get a code for joining Jackson in a live first look at the next installment, “The Desolation of Smaug,” on March 24. For our part, we just like having the chance to further appreciate Martin Freeman’s casting as Bilbo Baggins (above). If you’ve caught Freeman in “Sherlock” and the BBC’s “The Office,” you know how deserving he is. (Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99; 3-D, $44.95)

Tom Russo can be reached at trusso2222@gmail.com.
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