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article imageReview: New on DVD for July 16 Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jul 16, 2013 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include a heroic tale; a retrospective of a cult favourite; the second bloody chapter in expanding the frontier; a half-baked horror movie; and a remake that misses the point.
42 (Blu-ray, DVD and Ultraviolet)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, took a stand against Major League Baseball’s infamous colour line when he signed Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team. The deal put both men in the crosshairs of the public, the press and even other players. Facing unabashed racism from every side, Robinson was forced to demonstrate tremendous courage and let his talent on the field win over fans and his teammates – silencing his critics and forever changing the world by changing the game of baseball.
This is not just the story of how Robinson broke the colour barrier in baseball. It's also a history of racism and the slow changing tide of racial relations in America. The opening narrative points out that it was okay for black men to fight for the country during WWII, but at home they weren't allowed to use "white" restrooms. Men like Robinson and Rickey changed things by pushing through the hate – and if the film is accurate, there was a lot of it from all directions. Ford's Rickey is a bit of a curmudgeon. He’s exactly as you’d imagine old school owners with a cigar in one hand and a bat in the other. Boseman is a humble off the field and self-assured when he’s bewildering pitchers and stealing bases. The story, spanning Robinson’s first two years in the majors, is funny, moving and told in a way that really envelopes the audience.
Special features include: “Stepping into History”; “Full-contact Baseball”; and “The Legacy of the Number 42.” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Doctor Who – The Doctors Revisited: One to Four (DVD)
BBC Home Entertainment
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, the longest running science fiction show in television history. To celebrate, BBC released a look back at the best of the Time Lord’s eleven incarnations. The first features a select story ark from the eras of William Hartnell (the First Doctor), Patrick Troughton (the Second Doctor), Jon Pertwee (the Third Doctor), and Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor), spanning from 1963-1981. The special includes a profile of each Doctor and one classic program for each: The Aztecs, a time-travel story that takes the First Doctor to 15th century Mexico, inside the tomb of one-time Aztec High Priest Yetaxa; The Tomb of the Cybermen, which finds the Second Doctor arriving on Telos – the last resting place of the infamous Cybermen – where he discovers a band of archaeologists on a secret expedition to uncover his old enemies’ lost tomb; Spearhead from Space, the first story to feature the newly-regenerated Third Doctor, banished by the Time Lords to Earth where the Nestene consciousness has also just arrived; and Pyramids of Mars, where an Egyptologist possessed by the god-like Sutekh needs the Fourth Doctor’s help.
Doctor Who is a phenomenon that has endured half a century, but many of the newest Whovians may not be familiar with the Doctor's origins. This collection of stories is the perfect way to introduce (or revisit) the old guard. The four-episode arcs are a solid reflection of the Doctors' personalities and approach to conflict. Though there are commonalities, each Doctor was unique; and watching them in this format really highlights the differences. The fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, stands out because of the ease in which he embodied the role. The bonus feature profiles provide an in-depth look into that particular Doctor's reign, style and behind-the-scenes anecdotes.
Special features include: a profile for each Doctor; and an introduction to each story by current series Executive Producer Steven Moffat. (BBC Home Entertainment)
Endeavour – Series 1 (DVD)
Entertainment One
The continuing stories of rookie Constable Morse. See the young Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) before his signature red Jaguar, but with his deductive powers already running in high gear.
Special features not available. (Entertainment One)
Evil Dead (Blu-ray)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Five young friends have found the mysterious and fiercely powerful Book of the Dead. Unable to resist its temptation, they release a violent demon on a blood-thirsty quest to possess them all. Who will be left to fight for their survival and defeat this unearthly force of murderous carnage?
This is a remake of a 1981 cult favorite of the same name. Where Sam Raimi's film was low-budget entertainment, this picture attempts to replace the camp with funded terror. Writer/director Fede Alvarez's decision to make the horror serious removes the most enjoyable element of the original. Furthermore, because it's trying to transition from a humorous source, there are several unintentionally funny moments due to the comparison. Fortunately, since the original never really lacked in creepy demons, rather than try to reinvent the monster they simply polish the rough edges. A significant difference between the two plots changes the audience's relationship with the characters. Other than the common sense that a book bound in human skin probably isn't good news, Ash had no idea what he was reading. Eric, on the other hand, ignores multiple warnings and purposely disobeys them. It's difficult to root for characters who seal their own fate. In the end, the remake turns a genre classic ordinary by making it another run-of-the-mill, bloody cabin movie.
Special features include: “Making Life Difficult”; “Being Mia”; and “Directing the Dead.” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Hell on Wheels: The Complete Second Season (DVD)
Entertainment One
The second season continues the story of former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), whose journey is filled with turmoil and danger as he struggles to leave a troubled past behind. Centered around the traveling town that follows the construction of the transcontinental railroad, the series examines the greed and corruption in man's fight for power.
When they said the West was a wild place, they weren't kidding. The closer the railroad gets to completion, the more problems emerge in the tent city -- and the more death. The first episode kills someone in the opening minutes and the first disc contains more than a dozen dead, most of which are quite bloody. The timelines can be a little jarring as relationships often appear to skip a step, and suddenly they're in bed together. But it's all still compelling. Cullen's tough tactics for ensuring the railroad moves forward are unpredictable as are many of the character developments.
Special features include: “Where Season 1 Left Off”; “Back with a Vengeance: The Making of Season 2”; “The Cast on Season 2”; “Set Tour with Anson Mount”; and 10 “Inside the Episode” featurettes. (Entertainment One)
Orphan Black: Season One (DVD)
BBC Home Entertainment
Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) is an outsider and orphan whose life changes dramatically after witnessing the suicide of a woman, “Beth,” who looks just like her. Sarah takes her identity, her boyfriend and her money. But instead of solving her problems, the street-smart chameleon is thrust headlong into a kaleidoscopic mystery. She makes the dizzying discovery that she and the dead woman are clones… but are they the only ones? Sarah quickly finds herself caught in the middle of a deadly conspiracy, racing to find answers.
Special features not available. (BBC Home Entertainment)
Under the Bed (DVD)
M.O. Pictures
Two years ago Neal (Jonny Weston) knew there was something under his bed but no one believed him. When he burned down the family home trying to kill it he was sent to live with relatives. Now he's back, but his little brother Paul is being terrorized by the same monster. With no support from their parents, the two brothers must band together to get rid of the creature and their nightmares once and for all.
There are certain movies in which you can almost see the order of fruition. In this case, it would seem the creators decided on the monster and Jack's background, and how the monster would be defeated, and then figured out how to fill in the time in between. The result is a mishmash of attacks and near misses that don't follow any logic. The monster's abilities and limitations contradict each other constantly, as do the kids' theories and actions. The father is an unwarranted bully and his girlfriend's purpose doesn't extend much farther than the scene in which she's obviously not wearing a bra. The lesson: a good monster movie requires more than just a competent creature artist.
There are no special features. (M.O. Pictures)
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
The G.I. JOE team not only faces off against its mortal enemy COBRA, it is also forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize its very existence. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
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