Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Releases On Blu Ray & DVD: 3/18/14

A few big new titles hit home video this week starting with: David O. Russell's AMERICAN HUSTLE, which although it won no Oscars, it certainly won most critics' hearts (it's at 93% on the Rotten Tomatometer). Russell's glitzy take on the '70s ABSCAM scandal starring Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, and Jennifer Lawrence is now available in 2-disc Blu ray and 1 disc DVD editions that contain as Special Features almost a half an hour of Deleted and Extended Scenes, and a 16 minute “Making of” mini-doc. Read my review: “David O. Russell's AMERICAN HUSTLE Pulls A Scorsese On ABSCAM” (12/20/13).

I still haven't seen FROZEN, but as it also drops today on Blu ray (2-discs) and DVD (single disc) I should really catch up with it. Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, and Adele Dezeem (sorry, Idina Menzel) star in Disney's ginormous animated smash that comes with a bunch of bonus material: a 7 minute featurette “D'Frosted: Disney's Journey from Hans Christian Andersen to FROZEN,” “The Making Of FROZEN” (3 min.), Deleted Scenes (7 min.), Music Videos (16 min.), and the Oscar nominated short GET A HORSE! (6 min.) starring Mickey Mouse.

A Disney project that I did see also releases this week: John Lee Hancock's SAVING MR. BANKS, out in both single disc Blu ray and DVD editions. Despite Tom Hanks charming performance as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson prickly portrayal of “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers, the film didn't work for me aas you can read in my review from last December. Special Features include a couple of featurettes (“From POPPINS to the Present,” and Let's Go Fly A Kite”), and 7 minutes of Deleted Scenes.

Also out this week: a movie that barely anyone saw (not even sure if it came to my area), Justin Chadwick's biopic MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, starring Idris Elba; Peter Howitt's thriller REASONABLE DOUBT, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Dominic Cooper; Adrián García Bogliano's Spanish horror flick HERE COMES THE DEVIL, and Ping Wang's historical action epic KINGDOM OF CONQUERORS (DVD only).

On the older film front, the Criterion Collection is presenting two essential and extremely entertaining titles: Errol Morris' 1991 documentary about Stephen Hawking A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME, and Akira Kurosawa's 1958 epic adventure THE HIDDEN FORTRESS (huge influence on STAR WARS), for the first time on Blu ray.

TV series sets out this week: Beetlejuice (animated series): Seasons Two & Three , Devious Maids: Season 1, and Flashpoint: Final Season.

More later...

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