Grohl’s ‘Sound City’ debuts

New this week on DVD and Blu-ray:

“Sound City” – In his directing debut, Dave Grohl takes what could have easily been a collection of talking heads reminiscing about a fabled southern California recording studio and turns it into so much more. The documentary celebrates Sound City – the place where Nirvana, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Rick Springfield, Rage Against the Machine and others recorded seminal albums – but it also is a celebration of the collaborative and communal nature of great music.

Musicians may be able to record an album on a laptop that can recreate any musical instrument and use ProTools to smooth out any wrong notes. But they can’t duplicate what happens when a bunch of players are in a room together reacting to each other, pushing each other and trying to impress the hot receptionist with each take. (RCA, $18.98 DVD, $24.98 Blu-ray)

“Life of Pi” – Ang Lee won the Academy Award for Best Director and this film picked up three other Oscars this month as it adapts Yann Martel’s best selling novel about a young man who finds himself fighting for survival on a lifeboat where his only companion is a deadly Bengal tiger.

Extras include storyboards, an art gallery and the featurettes “A Filmmaker’s Epic Journey,” “A Remarkable Vision” and “Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright.” (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, $29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray)

“Rise of the Guardians” – This animated feature, based on William Joyce’s books, imagines that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy the Easter Bunny and others are part of an Avengers-like crew of superheroes. They put their powers to use to battle the Boogeyman – Pitch Black.

Extras include a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film and interactive games. (DreamWorks Animation, $29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo, $54.99 3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo)

“Hitchcock” – Remember decades ago when biofilms used to feature better-looking actors in stories that smoothed away the rough edges in the characters they portray? This film about Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma, which focuses on the making of “Psycho,” is sort of like that.

The film shows the battles Hitchcock went through to get “Psycho” made, but it also tells a story of a director who learns to appreciate his wife as both a spouse and a collaborator. It’s essentially the exact opposite story as the HBO film “The Girl,” which focused on Hitchcock’s obsession with Tippi Hedren while making “The Birds.” I don’t know which film is more accurate. I suspect “The Girl” might be, but this one is more entertaining.

Director Sacha Gervasi and Stephen Rebello, who wrote the book on which the movie is based, provide a commentary track. The disc also includes a deleted scenes and multiple featurettes. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, $39.99 Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo)

  • “Smashed” – Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“Live Free or Die Hard”) star in a drama about a young married couple whose boozy relationship is threatened when the wife decides to join Alcoholics Anonymous and get sober. Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Mary Kay Place and Octavia Spencer co-star in the film, which won the Special Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Winstead joins director James Ponsoldt for a commentary track, and the disc also includes deleted scenes and two featurettes. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, $30.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray)

  • “This Must Be the Place” – Sean Penn plays a Goth rocker who travels from Dublin to New York to reconnect with his dying father. When he arrives too late, he decides to continue his father’s quest for revenge against a former Nazi war criminal living in the U.S. Frances McDormand and Judd Hirsh co-star. (Anchor Bay, $24.98 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray)
  • “Jay and Silent Bob Get Irish” – These days Kevin Smith spends more time talking about making movies than actually making movies. This DVD features two hours of highlights from Smith’s and Jason Mewes’ Dublin, Ireland, appearance on their “Tea Bagging in the U.K.” tour. (Industrial Entertainment Releasing, $19.95 DVD)
  • “The First Time” – A teen put in the friend zone by the hottest girl in school finds romance with a young woman from a nearby school in this romantic comedy starring Dylan O’Brien, Victoria Justice, Britt Robertson, Joshua Malina and Christine Taylor. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, $30.99 DVD)