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‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ bounds on to DVD

Also new: ‘Transamerica,’ ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and ‘The Closer’ season one
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Cheaper by the Dozen 2”It was bad enough that Hollywood had to defame the name of a nice, old comic drama — 1950’s “Cheaper by the Dozen” — with the 2003 update that borrowed the title but replaced the original’s heart with bad slapstick and cloying kids. Now we get another dose of Steve Martin in his lamest big-studio mode, returning as patriarch of a brood of 12 children, including Hilary Duff and Tom Welling of “Smallville.” This painful sequel has father Martin and his wife (Bonnie Hunt) taking the clan to a lake resort, where they square off against a rival family led by Eugene Levy, who has never been less funny on screen. The DVD has a couple of featurettes and commentary by director Adam Shankman. DVD, $29.98. (20th Century Fox) Read the review


In this photo provided by The Weinstein Company, Kevin Zegers as Toby and Felicity Huffman as Bree in 'Transamerica.\" (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company/Rafael Winer)Rafael Winer / The Weinstein Com

Felicity Huffman delivers one of last year’s best performances and one of the finest gender-bending turns ever as a man about to become a woman, whose final preparations for sex-change surgery are sidetracked when a previously unknown son appears on the scene. Writer-director Duncan Tucker offers DVD commentary and joins with Huffman and co-star Kevin Zegers in two separate conversations about the film. The disc also has Dolly Parton’s music video for her Academy Award-nominated song “Travelin’ Through.” The clever cover has one of those morphing three-dimensional surfaces whose images change when you turn it, but it reflects the beauty obsession of Hollywood and the culture at large: You only see Huffman in her dowdy, masculine mode of the film when you stare at the cover sideways; looked at straight-on, you see Huffman glamorously dolled up, like a publicity still for “Desperate Housewives.” DVD, $28.95. (Genius) Read the review

“Kingdom of Heaven”

As if we really needed a three-hour-plus version of Ridley Scott’s historical snoozer that tanked last year. This new four-disc set pads the Crusades epic starring Orlando Bloom with about 50 minutes of extra footage. Bloom stars as a grieving blacksmith whisked away from his personal troubles by his knightly dad (Liam Neeson) who launches his boy toward a new destiny as defender of Jerusalem during the medieval Christian-Muslim conflicts. Scott offers an introduction and teams with Bloom and many of his behind-the-scenes collaborators for commentary. The set also has two full discs of background material documenting the movie from conception through its release. DVD set, $34.98. (20th Century Fox) Read the review

World War II:
Memorial Day brings the usual rush of war releases, led by new DVD versions of some combat favorites and the debut of an intriguing documentary on the Nazi propaganda machine:

“The Dirty Dozen” — Lee Marvin and his team of cutthroats, including Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas and Donald Sutherland, are drafted to take out Nazi leaders in a commando raid preceding D-Day in the 1967 hit. The two-disc set is packed with documentary segments and includes 1985’s “The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission,” with Marvin and Ernest Borgnine reprising their roles. DVD set, $26.99. (Warner Bros.)

“Patton,” “The Longest Day,” “Tora! Tora! Tora!” — Three military favorites return in two-disc updates, featuring George C. Scott in his brilliant portrayal of Gen. George Patton, a star-studded cast in the D-Day saga “The Longest Day” and the Oscar-winning visual effects of the Pearl Harbor epic “Tora! Tora! Tora!” New DVD extras include an introduction and commentary for “Patton” by co-writer Francis Ford Coppola. DVD sets, $19.98 each. (20th Century Fox)

“The Goebbels Experiment” — Kenneth Branagh narrates this fascinating, disturbing documentary on Joseph Goebbels, the fanatic spin doctor who orchestrated Adolf Hitler’s propaganda and the brainwashing of a generation of Germans. Branagh reads from diaries Goebbels wrote from 1924-45, the dialogue accompanied by rare footage from German film and TV archives. DVD, $29.95. (First Run)

Criterion titles:

“Harlan County, U.S.A.” — Barbara Kopple’s Oscar-winning documentary from 1976 masterfully chronicles a miners strike that tears a Kentucky town apart. Kopple provides commentary and interviews and is featured in a panel discussion with critic Roger Ebert at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. The DVD also has interviews with filmmaker John Sayles and singer Hazel Dickens, who is featured on the soundtrack. DVD, $39.95. (Criterion)

“Viridiana” — “The Da Vinci Code” is not the only troublesome tale for the Vatican. Luis Bunuel’s 1961 film, about a nun whose religious ideals are dragged through the muck by her lustful uncle, was denounced by the church. The DVD includes an interview with the film’s star, Silvia Pinal, and an essay by Bunuel scholar Michael Wood. DVD, $29.95. (Criterion)

TV on DVD:

“Boston Legal: Season One” — James Spader, Candice Bergen and William Shatner lead the cast in David E. Kelley’s latest lawyerly series, a mix of comedy and drama at a Boston firm where ethics and ambition clash. The first 17 episodes come in a five-disc set, with two featurettes, including one on Spader and Shatner’s characters. DVD set, $49.98. (20th Century Fox)

“The Closer: The Complete First Season” — Kyra Sedgwick goes on the beat as a Southern investigative ace transplanted to Los Angeles, where she heads a police unit handling high-profile crimes involving Hollywood’s rich and famous. The four-disc set has the first 13 episodes, plus 22 minutes of deleted scenes. DVD set, $39.98. (Warner Bros.)

“Deadwood: The Complete Second Season” — Expletives fill the air again in the drama about an Old West town teetering between lawlessness and civilization. A six-disc set packs year two’s 12 episodes of the show whose cast includes Timothy Olyphant as an upright lawman and shopkeeper and Ian McShane as a lovably depraved brothel owner and town kingpin. DVD set, $99.98. (HBO)

“The 4400: The Complete Second Season” — Those pesky alien abductees who mysteriously reappeared reveal otherworldly powers that shake up the equilibrium on planet Earth. The four-disc set has season two’s 12 episodes and three featurettes. DVD set, $42.99. (Paramount)

“Wings: The Complete First & Second Seasons” — Timothy Daly, Steven Weber, Crystal Bernard, Thomas Haden Church and Tony Shalhoub lead the oddballs at a small Nantucket airfield. The sitcom’s first 28 episodes debut in a four-disc set. DVD set, $42.99. (Paramount)

“M*A*S*H: Season Ten” — The next-to-last season of the Korean War comedy set at a military hospital includes a visit from the USO and an installment in which Hawkeye (Alan Alda) decides to write his will. The three-disc set has 21 episodes. DVD set, $39.98. (20th Century Fox)