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Armchair Cinephile 

PICK OF THE WEEK: Sony digs into its catalog for films with visual richness that demands high-tech remastering, and emerges with Francis Ford Coppola’s take on Vlad the Bad. An excellent choice, from the costumes by Eiko Ishioka to the exquisitely weird makeup that transformed Gary Oldman into a withered, ickily sensual Count. Bonus: the release gets us in the mood for Coppola’s upcoming comeback effort, Youth Without Youth.

For a movie about the depths of Roman depravity, a new three-disc “Imperial Edition” sounds about right. Whether the deluxe treatment suffices to build respect for this notorious novelty — an actual hardcore porn flick with high production values and a cast including John Gielgud and Helen Mirren — is another question.

With so much of the high-def shelf cluttered with dumb action and overblown blockbusters, here’s a title appealing to a more mature crowd, capturing those famed Merchant-Ivory production values (and a young Helena Bonham Carter’s round cheeks) in all their lushness.

Please disregard the previous paragraph. This is what high-def was made for, baby! I feel the need for speed! Take my breath away! You’ve lost that lovin’ — ah, you get the idea.

TREE-HUGGERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!: BBC Atlas of the Natural World: Africa/Europe; BBC Atlas of the Natural World: Wild Africa; Blue Planet: Seas of Life (BBC)


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