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posted: 3/15/2014 5:45 AM

DVD previews: 'American Hustle,' 'Frozen'

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  • An agent (Bradley Cooper), left, recruits a con man (Christian Bale) for a sting operation in "American Hustle."

      An agent (Bradley Cooper), left, recruits a con man (Christian Bale) for a sting operation in "American Hustle."

  • The Oscar-winning animated tale "Frozen" comes to DVD March 18.

      The Oscar-winning animated tale "Frozen" comes to DVD March 18.

 
The Washington Post

Here's a look at DVDs coming out Tuesday, March 18:

"American Hustle" (R, 138 minutes, Sony): A larky, anarchic life force runs through David O. Russell's screwball homage to the strivers and connivers who wreak playful havoc with what could easily have been a straight-up, if antic, FBI procedural. Notionally based on the 1978 Abscam investigation, wherein an FBI sting used fake Arab sheiks to ferret out corruption, "American Hustle" cheerfully jettisons any pretense of historical accuracy. Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper develop a credible, explosively volatile chemistry. Contains language, sexual situations and brief violence. Extras include a making-of featurette, deleted and extended scenes.

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"Frozen" (PG, 108 minutes, Disney): Disney is back in the game with this Oscar winner for best animated feature and best song "Let It Go." The movie might not have potential pop hits -- the songs sound much more like musical theater show tunes -- but the animated comedy-adventure has a sweet and very modern message, plus strong characters. More important, the movie blends the music-minded mentality of yore with the more recent ambition of truly appealing to all ages. Extras include deleted scenes; the Oscar-nominated animated short "Get A Horse"; and "Let It Go" music videos by Demi Lovato, Martina Stoessel and Marsha Milan Londoh. Also, on Blu-ray: two making-of featurettes.

"Saving Mr. Banks" (PG-13, 125 minutes, Disney): A spoonful of sugar and all the cheap sentiment and facile whimsy it represents are precisely what author P.L. Travers abhors in this richly rendered, engrossing dramatization of Walt Disney's efforts to adapt Travers' novel "Mary Poppins" into one of his confectionery extravaganzas. Played by Emma Thompson in a deliciously brittle turn, Travers emerges in the film as a humorless, imperious, unfailingly prim martinet, who when she arrives at the Disney studios in 1961 to collaborate on the script, insists that everyone -- even Uncle Walt -- address her as "Mrs. Travers." Reluctant to hand over Mary Poppins -- never just "Mary," please -- Travers wages a two-week war of attrition on the screenwriter and composers assigned to bring the magical governess to the screen, wearing the boys down with constant criticisms and suggestions, all to keep her most cherished creation from becoming yet another casualty of Disneyfication. Contains thematic elements. Extras include the deleted scene "Nanny Song." Also, on Blu-ray: deleted scenes; a featurette on the history of Walt Disney Studios; "Let's Go Fly a Kite," in which the cast and crew break out in a tribute to composer Richard Sherman.

"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" (PG-13, 129 minutes, The Weinstein Co./Anchor Bay): This film does a worthy job of honoring both its subject and its audience. It can feel, at times, both overlong and oversimplified, but the story propels itself along while awakening in viewers some profound emotions. That latter achievement is thanks largely to the film's star, British actor Idris Elba. Contains violence, language and sexual situations. Extras include commentary with director Justin Chadwick and "Mandela: The Leader You Know, The Man You Didn't" featurette. Also, on Blu-ray: behind-the-scenes featurettes and a tribute video gallery.

Also: "Kill Your Darlings," "Reasonable Doubt," "The Patience Stone" (Afghanistan), "Sparks," "The Hidden Fortress," "Swerve," "A Brief History of Time," "Almost Sharkproof," "Flu" (South Korea), "Kingdom of Conquerors" (China), "20 Ft. Below: The Darkness Descending," "Here Comes the Devil" (Mexico), "Doc McStuffins: Mobile Clinic," "Cybergeddon," "Tom Holland's Twisted Tales," "The Horror at 37,000 Feet" and "The Wrath of Vajra" (China).

Television series: "Flashpoint: The Final Season," "Atlantis: Season One," "Monsters: The Complete Series" (1988-90) and "Peppa Pig: My Birthday Party."

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