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Those old gangsters look great

September 21, 2008|Noel Murray

The Godfather:

The Coppola Restoration

Paramount, $69.99; Blu-ray, $124.99

The arrival of Francis Ford Coppola's "Godfather" trilogy on DVD in 2001 was a turning point for the format -- buyers could pick up nice-looking transfers of terrific movies with comprehensive special features for a reasonable price. The latest re-packaging doesn't add much in the way of new extras, but the recently restored films have never looked better and the standard DVD price remains low. Although the Blu-ray set costs more, seeing "The Godfather" series on Blu-ray is like seeing the movies for the first time, so it's worth the extra coin. In fact, "The Godfather's" arrival on Blu-ray might wind up being a boon for that format, in a case of history happily repeating.

Sex and the City:

The Movie

New Line, $28.98/$34.98; Blu-ray, $35.99

Critics grumbled that the big screen incarnation of "Sex and the City" was too long and too convoluted, but fans of the show appreciated the chance to catch up with their favorite New York fashionistas in what amounted to about five episodes' worth of story. Those fans should appreciate the special-edition DVD even more, since it contains a cut that runs 12 minutes longer, along with a commentary by director Michael Patrick King, deleted scenes, interviews with the cast and a digital copy of the film.

Leatherheads

Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.98

As a director, George Clooney showed a facility with period detail in the Oscar-nominated "Good Night, and Good Luck," but his return to the past in this '20s football farce tries so hard to charm that it comes off looking desperate. Winning performances by Clooney as an over-the-hill player-coach, John Krasinski as his hotshot new star and Renee Zellweger as the reporter who loves them both can't quite excuse the excessive zaniness. The DVD includes a Clooney commentary and multiple behind-the-scenes looks.

Deception

20th Century Fox, $27.98. Blu-ray, $39.98

Strictly late-night-on-cable material, "Deception" follows a schlubby accountant (Ewan McGregor) who accidentally acquires the cellphone of a smooth-talking insider (Hugh Jackman) and subsequently discovers a clandestine circle of yuppie swingers. A few cheap thrills and a couple of charismatic performances aside, this routine erotic thriller plays out exactly as expected. The DVD adds a detail-oriented commentary track by director Marcel Langenegger, plus deleted scenes and a pair of featurettes -- one about the making of the film and one about underground sex clubs.

Run, Fat Boy, Run

Warner, $27.98; Blu-ray, $35.99

Simon Pegg plays an arrested adolescent who tries to win back the woman he abandoned at the altar five years earlier in this debut directorial effort from "Friends" star David Schwimmer. The story -- penned by Pegg and American comedian Michael Ian Black -- is predictable, but Pegg's a likable rogue and supporting turns by Hank Azaria and Thandie Newton add flavor. The DVD features outtakes, deleted scenes and a commentary by Pegg, Newton and Schwimmer.

And . . .

"Samantha Who: The Complete First Season" (Buena Vista, $29.99); "Saturn in Opposition" (Strand, $27.99); "This American Life: Season One" (Showtime, $19.99)

-- Noel Murray

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