'American Hustle' comes to DVD on Tuesday

Akron Beacon JournalMarch 20, 2014 


    These DVDs were released this week:

    Films: Frozen (Disney's Oscar-winning animated smash); The Wolf of Wall Street (digital only); Saving Mr. Banks; Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Kill Your Darlings; Reasonable Doubt; The Patience Stone (Afghanistan); Sparks; The Hidden Fortress (1958, Akira Kurosawa classic, Criterion Collection); Swerve; A Brief History of Time (1991, Errol Morris documentary on astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, Criterion Collection); Almost Sharkproof; Flu (South Korea); Kingdom of Conquerors (China); 20 Ft. Below: The Darkness Descending; Here Comes the Devil (Mexico); Doc McStuffins: Mobile Clinic (animated); Cybergeddon; Tom Holland's Twisted Tales; The Horror at 37,000 Feet (1973, Exorcist meets Airplane made-for-TV mashup starring William Shatner, Buddy Ebsen, Chuck Connors and others); The Wrath of Vajra (China).

    TV series: Flashpoint: The Final Season; Atlantis: Season One; Monsters: The Complete Series (1988-90); Peppa Pig: My Birthday Party.


When Martin Scorsese changed the way we looked at mobsters with GoodFellas and Casino, he also set the stage for movies about American business.

Scorsese's own The Wolf of Wall Street, which hits digital on Tuesday and DVD and Blu-ray on March 25, finds the director applying his narrative and tonal techniques to the tale of an unscrupulous moneymaker played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Tuesday brings American Hustle, writer-director David O. Russell's tale of crime, cons and the pursuit of fortune.

The performances are terrific but the movie is no more than good, too stretched out and rambling in places. That, along with its focus on trust and betrayal, made it seem like Russell's reworking of Casino. I even tried to work out a binding theory in which Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper were the mates to Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in Casino — and maybe that Amy Adams was accordingly Sharon Stone. (De Niro, by the way, has worked with both directors and makes an appearance in American Hustle.)

Anyway, American Hustle ($30.99 DVD/digital combo, $40.99 Blu-ray/DVD/digital combo), based on a real case, offers the adventures of con artists (Bale and Adams) roped into working for a federal agent (Cooper) trying to bring down corrupt politicians. The attempts are intermittently comedic and terrifying, and the actors — including Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner — are at full throttle. But there were times when I wanted to throttle Russell for letting scenes go on too long.

Extras include a making-of piece and more than 20 minutes of deleted and extended scenes.

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