‘Beauty’ casts its own spell
New on Blu-ray Beauty and the Beast (2017) Disney/Buena Vista DVD/Blu-ray, $39.99
Given that director Bill Condon’s live-action remake of the Disney animated classic “Beauty and the Beast” carries over the songs, story and a lot of the dialogue from the 1991 film, it’s fair to ask whether there’s any reason for it to exist. (Well, besides money; the movie has already grossed more than a billion dollars.) But judged on its own merits, this “Beauty” is quite enchanting, with winning performances by Emma Watson as a plucky bookworm and Dan Stevens as the furry prince cursed by his selfishness. Plus, Condon brings some of his own visual panache to scenes of anthropomorphic furniture dancing Special features: Deleted scenes, a “songs only” option, and hours of detailed behind-the-scenes material an enlightening and moving introduction to what some find to be a confusing issue: what it means to be transgender. While following the female-to-male transition of a middle-aged Seattle resident (and dealing with the medical aspects of the change as well as the cultural), Bear cuts in interviews with wellknown LGBTQ personalities Dan Savage, Carmen Carrera and Buck Angel, who put what Kim’s going through in a larger context. The result is a film as informative as it is personal.
TV set of the week The Young Pope HBO DVD, $49.99; Blu-ray, $59.99
Social media had fun with the baroque imagery and weird premise of HBO’s prestige drama, but while the show’s 10-episode first season isn’t seamless, Jude Law is consistently riveting as the title character: a gruff, reactionary New Yorker who’s elected to the papacy and immediately starts pushing back against progressivism. Writer-director Paolo Sorrentino revels in the Italian opulence (much as he did in his Oscar-winning film “The Great Beauty”), and in between the eye-popping spectacle, he and Law bring a lot of nuance to a study of faith, culture, and the limits of what even the most powerful man in the Catholic Church can accomplish. Special features: Several behind-the-scenes featurettes
From the archives Bambi: The Signature Collection Disney/Buena Vista DVD/Blu-ray combo, $39.99
During the first five years that Walt Disney produced animated features, the studio experimented with different ways of using the medium, looking for stories and characters that would justify the expense and effort of a full-length film. Back in 1942, critics weren’t sure that Disney’s adaptation of Felix Salten’s book “Bambi” fit the bill, because it was grim, plotless, and relied on images from the natural world that could’ve just as easily been photographed. But time has been kind to the primal pull of “Bambi,” with its cute, rounded woodland animals and its vision of a breathtaking but dangerous wilderness. Today, the lavish re-creations of rainstorms, blizzards, and forest fires — coupled with a simple, often harsh comingof-age story — mark this movie as one of Disney’s premiere achievements. Special features: Extensive featurettes and an innovative commentary track in which actors re-create one of Walt Disney’s old story meetings Three more to see Aftermath Lionsgate DVD, $19.99; Blu-ray, $24.99; also available on VOD A Cure for Wellness 20th Century Fox DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99; also available on VOD Land of Mine Sony, $26.99; also available on VOD
DAN STEVENS and Emma Watson in “Beauty and the Beast,” which has the familiar story and songs from the 1991 film.