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Armchair Cinephile 

PICK OF THE WEEK: Before he made the brilliantly strange The Naked Kiss and Shock Corridor, newspaperman-turned-auteur Fuller tried his hand at Westerns (one featuring Vincent Price) and a more personal war film, The Steel Helmet, that dealt with the Korean War (and attracted government scrutiny).

Extreme even for David Lynch, Empire is borderline impenetrable and often difficult to endure. Those of us plumbing its digital-video depths have extra evidence here, with new scenes labeled “More Things That Happened” and clues straight from the director’s mouth.

Surprisingly under-exploited in the DVD world of proliferating re-issues, Scorsese’s oft-quoted masterpiece of alienation gets a double-disc edition here, with new featurettes, reminiscences from the director, and a commentary from screenwriter Paul Schrader.

Muppets or David Bowie: Which is best suited to headline a fantasy flick? Discuss among yourselves while reliving these some-would-deem-guilty pleasures from the ’80s.

THE SHAKESPEARE COLLECTION (Warner Bros.): It took a while for Kenneth Branagh’s full-text version of Hamlet (1996) to make its way to stores. Keeping it company this week are from-the-vaults highlights like a 1935 Midsummer Night’s Dream, Leslie Howard in Romeo and Juliet, and Othello as played by Laurence Olivier.

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More by John DeFore

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