There are only three new DVD and Blu-ray movies this week. They include Frozen (review), American Hustle (Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper), and Saving Mr. Banks (Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson). My youngest daughter loves Frozen, so will probably watch that again. I’m also looking forward to seeing American Hustle, and Saving Mr. Banks. Read on for a summary of the new Blu-ray and DVD releases.
Blu-ray and DVD movie coming out the week of March 18, 2014
A sweet, magical film filled with great music, likable characters, and striking effects, Frozen is a fairy tale about overcoming obstacles and the power of true love. Princesses Anna and Elsa are sisters and the closest friends until one day Elsa discovers that she can no longer control her power to create ice and snow. Terrified for the safety of her sister and everyone around her, Elsa isolates herself and vows to never feel any sort of passionate emotion again in hopes of suppressing her powers. But when Elsa comes of age and is set to be crowned queen, she must open the gates of the palace and let in the public, not to mention her sister Anna. Things go horribly wrong and Anna pursues her sister into the mountains in an attempt to save Elsa and reverse the deep freeze that Elsa has inadvertently released on the kingdom of Arendelle. Along the way, Anna joins forces with Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), an ice seller with a strangely close relationship with his reindeer Sven, and Olaf (Josh Gad), a goofy snowman whom she suddenly remembers from early childhood. In the end, Anna and Elsa discover that only by embracing their deepest feelings do they have a chance of saving themselves and the kingdom. Inspired by “The Snow Queen” story by Hans Christian Andersen, the film has plenty of quirky, lovable characters along with a nice blend of corny humor, serious sentiment, suspense, and peril. Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel deliver rousing performances of great music that includes original songs by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and an original score by Christophe Beck, and the visual effects are simply stunning.
A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock America, American Hustle tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that’s as dangerous as it is enchanting. Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving’s unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down.
Saving Mr. Banks
Saving Mr. Banks is a fascinating look at the circuitous “collaborative” process Walt Disney, his creative team, and author P.L. Travers engaged in in bringing the character Mary Poppins to life on the big screen in the early 1960s. This touching, funny film is really two stories nicely tied up in one appealing package. The first story is of P.L. Travers’s childhood in Australia in the early 1900s. This story starts out idyllically enough, emphasizing her father’s immense love for his children and his uncanny ability to make everything fun and exciting, but it’s one that has a darker side that ends up shaping the adult that Travers eventually becomes. The other story is of the adult P.L. Travers. A proper Englishwoman completely set in her ways, she grudgingly embarks on a trip from England to Los Angeles to discuss the possibility of turning her highly successful book Mary Poppins into a Disney motion picture. Walt Disney has a vested personal interest in the project, but Travers and the Disney team clash on virtually every level and their interactions run the gamut from perplexing to infuriating and downright funny. The juxtaposition of the two stories is quite masterful, with the stories continually intertwining and each shedding light on the other to create a cohesive film that is highly engaging and emotionally poignant.