New releases: Disney’s Oscar-winning heartwarmer ‘Frozen’



Disney/Buena Vista, $29.99; Blu-ray, $44.99

Available on VOD beginning March 18

Disney’s clever, heartwarming Rapunzel riff “Tangled” was a surprise smash back in 2010, setting the stage for last year’s billon-dollar-grossing, multi-Oscar-winning Snow Queen revamp “Frozen,” and — if all goes well — a renewed emphasis on animation at the studio synonymous with the medium. At the least, between the grosses and the accolades, it’s pretty clear that “Frozen” will have lasting impact on the generation of children who are going to grow up watching it over and over, while belting out the hit song “Let It Go” into their bedroom mirrors. And that’s just fine, because this is a movie that wears well, thanks to its emotionally involving, frequently surprising, genuinely thrilling tale of royal sisters divided by an ancient curse. The DVD and Blu-ray sets add extensive behind-the-scene featurettes.

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Saving Mr. Banks

Disney, $29.99; Blu-ray, $36.99

Available on VOD beginning March 18

The story of how Walt Disney persuaded author P.L. Travers to let him make a sunny, partly animated musical version of her somewhat sour “Mary Poppins” stories is a rich one, involving the clash of strong-willed individuals shaped by divergent cultural values. But as dramatized in “Saving Mr. Banks” — with Tom Hanks playing Disney and Emma Thompson playing Travers — the relationship between the principals is simplified, with Travers’ objections made out to be more stubbornly personal and Disney’s demands more reasonable. Then again, that’s to be expected from a Disney-approved movie, and though it’s a slick bit of corporate self-promotion, it’s highly entertaining, with a message about how messy stories must be cleaned up so they can touch hearts. The DVD and Blu-ray include a featurette.


American Hustle

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $40.99

Available on VOD beginning March 18

Although it recently joined the shortlist of movies that received double-digit Oscar nominations but zero wins, weep not for director David O. Russell’s hit caper dramedy about small-time con artists teaming with ambitions G-men to entrap government officials. Russell’s fictionalized version of the real-life Abscam scandal shamelessly rips off Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” and “Casino” and tries too hard to say something profound about the power of pretense, but it’s also funny as hell, with snappy performances by Russell regulars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. It’s the kind of movie that’ll play over and over on basic cable for years. In the meantime, it comes to DVD and Blu-ray accompanied by a featurette and deleted scenes.

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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Starz/Anchor Bay, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Idris Elba gives an outstanding performance as Nelson Mandela in director Justin Chadwick’s biopic about the late South African leader, which covers his rise to prominence as a political leader, his long stretch as a convicted dissident and his election to the presidency of the nation that imprisoned him for nearly 30 years. Elba has the gravitas and humanity to bring Mandela to life; it’s just too bad that the movie around him is so blandly earnest and by-the-numbers. Chadwick provides a commentary track to the DVD and Blu-ray, which also has a few rote featurettes.


The Jungle Book 2

Disney, $29.99; Blu-ray, $36.99

Mysterious Skin

Strand Blu-ray, $29.99