"The Princess and the Frog"

"The Princess and the Frog"

By DNA Smith
“The Princess and the Frog” (Rated G) — From the directors of “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” with music by Randy Newman, Disney returns to the classic 2-D animation that made the studio famous. “The Princess and the Frog” is noteworthy because it is the first Disney cartoon to feature an African-American girl as its hero.

The story takes place in New Orleans, and the film’s heroine, Tiana, has dreams of opening a restaurant. Her dream is put on hold when a Prince, turned into a frog by a voodoo spell, mistakes the girl for a princess. He gets her to kiss him, hoping the curse will be lifted. Instead, Tiana is also turned into a frog and the two must go on a journey to find a way to restore themselves to their human forms.

While not up to the standards of, say, “The Lion King” or “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Princess and the Frog” is still better than the CGI animated fare we’ve been getting from Disney these past few years, and a notch or two above the studio’s wretched straight-to-DVD offerings.

“Mr. Bean’s Most Memorable Moments” (Unrated) — In the tradition of Charlie Chaplin and Jacques “Mr. Hulot” Tati, Rowan Atkinson’s Mr. Bean is pure comedic genius. With virtually zero dialogue, Atkinson has created an internationally beloved character whose battles with life’s little challenges escalate to epic slapstick situations. Only in the world of Mr. Bean could the simple act of preparing a Christmas dinner degenerate into a chaotic mess wherein our hero finds himself with his head embedded in an enormous turkey. If you’ve never seen the award-winning TV series, this inexpensive compilation of a few of the show’s funniest moments is the perfect introduction.

“South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season” (TV-MA) — Colorado’s vulgar moppets return for another solid season of satirically skewering current events and pop culture. From the Jonas Brothers and their purity rings, to Somali pirates, Kanye West, “Whale Wars” and professional wrestling, no one is safe from ridicule — not even the ghost of Michael Jackson. My favorite episode of the season, though, is “The Coon,” which spoofs the “dark” comic-book films like “The Watchmen,” “Dark Knight” and just about everything Frank Miller has ever written.

“Breaking Bad” The Complete Second Season
“Monk” Season Eight
“Deadliest Catch” Seasons One to Five
“Caillou: Caillou Pretends to Be”
“Hawaii Five-O” Eighth Season

© 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.