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New on DVD

'Tangled,' 'Black Swan,' 'Fair Game,' 'Treme: The Complete First Season.'

March 27, 2011|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Rapunzel uses her hair to tie up Flynn Rider in "Tangled."
Rapunzel uses her hair to tie up Flynn Rider in "Tangled." (MCT, MCT )

Tangled

Walt Disney, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99/$49.99

It's a testament to how strong a year 2010 was for animation that Disney released its best non-Pixar feature in two decades yet didn't even get a best animated feature Oscar nomination. Ah, well. The studio will just have to settle for a half-billion-dollar worldwide gross and the satisfaction of having produced a new classic. "Tangled's" riff on Rapunzel sees the long-haired princess adventuring outside her tower with the help of a handsome thief in a movie full of catchy songs, clever visual gags and gorgeous computer-generated imagery. But more important: The movie explores a powerful, sophisticated theme about the complicated (or, ahem, "tangled") relationship between parents and children. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes and featurettes.

Black Swan

Fox Searchlight, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Can a movie be an acclaimed, Oscar-winning, box-office smash and still be kind of hard to recommend? Director Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" is a brilliant film, mixing the high-art expressionism of Michael Powell with the low-art suspense of Dario Argento, while featuring a career-best performance by Natalie Portman as a ballerina who pushes herself beyond the mental and physical breaking point as she prepares to star in "Swan Lake." The movie is pitched very high — over the top, really — and may not appeal to people who resist overt theatricality. For those who can get on the "Black Swan" wavelength though, it's gloriously transporting. The DVD and Blu-ray include more than an hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Fair Game

Summit, $22.99; Blu-ray, $30.49

The true story of Valerie Plame's outing as a CIA agent gets the Hollywood treatment with "Fair Game," starring Naomi Watts as Plame and Sean Penn as her husband, diplomat Joseph C. Wilson. Director Doug Liman and screenwriters Jez and John Butterworth do their best to make something gripping out of a wonky political drama where most of the significant action takes place in offices and meeting rooms. And that's the problem: "Fair Game" plays like an exaggerated, stagey version of events that are still fairly fresh. That said, the DVD and Blu-ray are worth a look for their lone special feature: a fascinating commentary track from Plame and Wilson.

Treme: The Complete First Season

HBO, $59.99; Blu-ray, $79.98

The HBO drama "Treme" may not have the sharp hook of co-creator David Simon and Eric Overmyer's more genre-bound series "The Wire," but it does bear the producers' unmistakable stamp of quality. Set in New Orleans three months after Hurricane Katrina, "Treme" has an eclectic cast (including Wendell Pierce, Melissa Leo, Khandi Alexander, Steve Zahn, John Goodman, Clarke Peters and Kim Dickens) playing Big Easy residents trying to rebuild lives that in some cases were broken even before disaster struck. Full of great music and subtle commentary on race and politics, "Treme" is top-flight TV. The DVD and Blu-ray sets add featurettes and commentary tracks on select episodes.

And...

"All Good Things" (Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98); "Cool It" (Lionsgate, $27.98); "Dennis the Menace: Season One" (Shout! Factory, $29.93); "Mad Men: Season Four" (Lionsgate, $49.98; Blu-ray, $49.99); "Made in Dagenham" (Sony Pictures Classics, $28.95; Blu-ray, $34.95); "Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1, Pt. 2" (Music Box, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95); "Teenage Paparazzo" (HBO, $19.98); "The Ten Commandments" (Paramount, $19.99; Blu-ray, $39.99/$80.99); "Topsy Turvy" (Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95); "Upstairs Downstairs: The Complete Series" (Acorn, $199.99)

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