American Hustle (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, VOD, On Demand) was this year’s Oscar bridesmaid with ten nominations and no wins. No shame in that for it is an entertaining, energetic, and very clever take on the real-life Abscam sting operation put in motion by the FBI with the help of a Jersey con artist and his British partner. As the film promises right up front: “Some of this stuff actually happened.”
Leading actors Christian Bale and Amy Adams (playing the con artist couple) and supporting performers Bradley Cooper (as the FBI agent) and Jennifer Lawrence (as Bale’s dizzy young wife) all earned Oscar nominations, as did director David O. Russell and screenwriters Russell and Eric Warren Singer, and the film was one of nine nominees for Best Picture.
Blu-ray and DVD with a featurette and 11 deleted and extended scenes. The Blu-ray also features a bonus DVD and Ultraviolet Digital copy of the film.
Frozen (Disney, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, On Demand) comes to home video with two Oscar wins, for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (“Let it Go”), under its sash. Disney Animation isn’t about to this success go: this is their most successful animated feature in years and their best animated musical since The Lion King. And they did it by giving reworking the tragic fairy tale “The Snow Queen” into a dynamic story of Disney Princess sisters who find their strength not in a savior prince but within themselves, and more importantly in the strength of their bond. Plus there’s a goofy snowman sidekick, a reindeer with the personality of puppy, and a really cool ice palace. Kristin Bell and Idina Menzel voice sisters Anna and Elsa and Josh Gad voices the talking snowman Olaf.
The Who: Sensation – The Story of Tommy (Eagle Rock, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital) is the latest of the “Classic Albums” series of BBC documentaries to comes to stateside home video in an expanded edition. Like the best of these programs, it offers a snapshot of the band’s career while focusing on a significant turning point, in this case one of the most unique projects in the history in of rock and roll: the first rock opera. It tackles the album song by song, with new interviews with Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey along with various music journalists and historians, and fills in a portrait of a band in transition from a purveyor of hit singles to pioneers of a more sophisticated brand of music, yet were still the die-hard rockers determined to perform their work in front of a live audience. The disc also features complete 35-minute appearance by The Who on the German rock TV show Beat Club in 1969 (brief clips of it can be seen in The Kids Are Alright) as a supplement.