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DVD / NEW THIS WEEK

'Transformers' sequel targets the small screen

Also new: 'Cheri,' 'Fawlty Towers,' 'Homicide: Life on the Street,'

October 18, 2009|Noel Murray

Transformers:

Revenge of the Fallen

Paramount, $29.98/$34.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

It's useless at this point to gripe about Michael Bay's "Transformers" sequel being even more nonsensical and clamorous than its predecessor. The movie is the biggest box office hit of 2009 for one simple reason: It's fun to watch giant robots hit each other. And though dueling hardware plays better on a big screen than a small one, the "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" DVD and Blu-ray offer plenty of distractions, including a Bay commentary track and a slew of featurettes about how the movie was made. (Spoiler alert: They used computers.) The Blu-ray also adds cutting-edge interactive features, allowing users to create customized robots and vehicles.

Cheri

Miramax, $29.99

Twenty years ago, director Stephen Frears, screenwriter Christopher Hampton and star Michelle Pfeiffer collaborated on "Dangerous Liaisons," a handsome, award-winning adaptation of an 18th-century French novel.

The trio raids Gallic lit again for an adaptation of Colette's "Cheri," about a middle-aged courtesan who can't shake the love she feels for a much younger, now-married client.

The film isn't as complex or as lavish as "Dangerous Liaisons," but Pfeiffer's a wonder as a woman who craves youth because it defines who she is. The DVD includes deleted scenes and a featurette.

Fawlty Towers

The Complete Collection

BBC Warner, $49.98

Monty Python's John Cleese was already the British comedy equivalent of a rock star in 1975 when he and then-wife Connie Booth created the BBC series "Fawlty Towers," about an irascible hotel manager and his long-suffering wife. This latest "Complete Collection" set is the best, featuring Cleese commentaries on every episode and multiple featurettes (including an interview with the reclusive Booth).

Homicide: Life

on the Street

The Complete Series

A&E, $149.95

For seven years in the '90s, the NBC cop show "Homicide: Life on the Street" set the standard for gritty, distinctive TV drama, thanks to its handheld-camera-derived immediacy, its caustic wit and its emphasis on the mundane details of crime-solving. The newest "Complete Series" DVD edition contains all 122 episodes of the show plus the concluding 2000 TV movie, the three "Law & Order" episodes that cross over with "Homicide" and enough commentary tracks and interviews to keep fans busy for another decade.

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All titles released Tuesday.

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