RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: 42, Evil Dead, and More

Plus, another pulp hero hits the screen, and Sly Stallone continues to beat people up.

This week on home video, we've got a classic horror remake, an inspirational sports tale, the latest pulp hero to hit the big screen, and a Sylvester Stallone actioner. In addition, we've got a select number of noteworthy indie films and a few high quality reissues, including one from Criterion. See below for the full list:

42

79%

If you're going to do a movie about racism in this day and age, you have to be careful to strike the proper tonal balance, particularly when the film is also an inspirational sports movie. Lay the message on a bit thick, and it's preachy; lean a little too heavy on the schmaltz, and it's patronizing. Luckily, critics largely felt the makers of 42, the Jackie Robinson biopic, did a solid job. The film tells the story of Negro League star Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman), who is recruited in 1945 by Brooklyn Dodgers exec Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) to be the first black player in the MLB. Newly married and expecting a child, Robinson works his way through the farm system and earns a spot on the team, much to the chagrin of some of his teammates and other players around the league, before earning the country's respect with his thick skin and outstanding play. It's a tricky prospect to pull off an effective inspirational sports movie -- just ask Cuba Gooding Jr. -- but Certified Fresh at 76%, 42 is an old-fashioned but earnest and respectfully told portrait of an American sports icon.

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Evil Dead

62%

Speaking of tricky prospects, how about remaking a widely beloved horror movie classic? Such was the task before Fede Alvarez, who made his feature directing debut with (and helped write the script for) 2013's Evil Dead, a reimagining of the 1981 Sam Raimi cult favorite The Evil Dead. The story -- about a handful of beautiful young people spending some time in an isolated cabin and accidentally unleashing a demon upon themselves -- is essentially the same, though the characters were given some extra impetus to stay put: Jane Levy's Mia is a junkie looking to get clean, and her brother and friends have brought her into the woods to help wean her off her dangerous drug habit. The film was produced by Raimi himself, along with original star Bruce Campbell, and it was noted for employing practical effects over CGI, which helped raise the hopes of fans who were initially afraid this would end up like other recent classic horror reboots. Though it didn't earn rave reviews, Evil Dead still achieved a respectable 63% Tomatometer score and earned a heap of money at the box office; the film was too brutally violent for some, but that was also one of the film's major selling points, so be prepared for that if you decide on a viewing.

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Bullet to the Head

46%

Remember the Sylvester Stallone of Cobra, Demolition Man, and the Rambo movies? Of course you do, because even in his late 60s, Sly keeps accepting roles in movies that won't let you forget what a badass he was back in the day. The latest effort comes in the form of Bullet to the Head, in which Stallone plays a New Orleans hitman named Jimmy Bobo who assassinates a corrupt policeman and attracts the attention of DC detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang). When Kwon is attacked by other corrupt officers seeking to silence him, Bobo rescues him, and together, the duo begin to unravel a vast criminal conspiracy. Based on a French graphic novel and directed by Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 Hrs.), Bullet to the Head failed to elicit the kind of thrills both Hill and Stallone were known for in their heyday, but for some critics, the film succeeded admirably enough in mimicking their earlier work. At 47% on the Tomatometer, this might satisfy an action itch, but it plays more like a high caliber B movie with plenty of apologetically trashy thrills.

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Solomon Kane

66%

Pulp heroes have recently had a rough go of it on the big screen (see: John Carter and Conan the Barbarian), due to various reasons, but Hollywood's fallen in love with mining old stories for new franchises, so now we have Solomon Kane, based on a character created by Robert E. Howard (the same guy who gave us Conan) that made his first appearance via the fantasy magazine Weird Tales back in 1928. In the 2012 film adaptation, James Purefoy plays Kane, a ruthless early 17th century mercenary who experiences a supernatural encounter during a North African raid and decides to turn his life around and adopt a philosophy of peace. Upon returning home to England, he's taken in by a Puritan family; when they are attacked and the family's daughter is abducted, Kane realizes he must use his skills to battle evil. There's probably nothing here you haven't seen before, obviously, but critics mostly found Solomon Kane an effective genre exercise packed with grit, action, and enough of a storyline to keep the pace moving. At 65% on the Tomatometer, it might surprise you.

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Also available this week:

  • Wild Bill (100%), a crime drama about an ex-con learning to reconnect with his sons.
  • Hunky Dory (56%), a British musical comedy starring Minnie Driver as a high school drama teacher hoping to inject some passion into her students through an end-of-the-year play.
  • The End of Love (56%), a drama about a deadbeat actor who changes his ways after the mother of his son dies suddenly.
  • Erased (28%), starring Aaron Eckhart and Olga Kurylenko in a conspiracy thriller about a betrayed CIA agent on the run from the government.
  • Criterion's release this week is for Peter Brook's haunting 1963 version of Lord of the Flies (100%), with a number of decent extras.
  • For those who simply can't live without all the latest developments in technology, Sony Pictures is releasing a handful of Blu-rays that have been "Mastered in 4K," including Moneyball (94%), Men in Black (91%), Spider-Man 2 (93%), and Pineapple Express (68%).

Comments

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Evil Dead was better off left alone.

Jul 15 - 04:37 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"...like someone walked over my grave..."

Jul 15 - 04:50 PM

The MFer

The Mother Fucker

One of the worst films I've seen in a while.

Jul 15 - 07:24 PM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

Any of us could have said that before it was released.

Jul 16 - 08:27 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I think some fans were in a wait-and-see mode, early reviews were positive but just didn't match what I watched.

Jul 16 - 08:40 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

What's up with Sylvester's head? Did they photoshop it to look like a Bruce Timm cartoon?

"Solomon Kane" interested me last year, but then it disappeared. I'll give it a try, why not? Still need to see "42", and the Walter Hill fan-in-me in conflicted. What must I do? The '63 "Lord of the Flies" is the best version of that great book, and the B&W is beautiful. And new Criterions announced: Eyes Without a Face, Uninvited, La Notte, Cassevetes set. They're like an Italian grandmother.

Jul 15 - 04:48 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"...like someone walked over my grave..."

Jul 15 - 04:50 PM

Gary Devenport

Gary Devenport

You guys mixed up the trailer for Bullet to the Head. You have a trailer for Admission underneath it instead...

Jul 15 - 05:50 PM

rt-ryan

Ryan Fujitani

Oops, good call. Fixed.

Jul 15 - 06:30 PM

Vits

Vicente Torres

I'll watch EVIL DEAD as soon as I watch the original trilogy (I haven't been able to because its release was banned in my country (and several others). Not sure about "42", though. I tend to be more harsh on formulaic movies than most people.

Jul 15 - 06:24 PM

Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis

Got my Evil Dead shirt ready to go so that I can buy that movie in style! This film did the unthinkable and went beyond my wildly high expectations and I am welcoming it with open arms into my home!

Jul 15 - 06:28 PM

rt-ryan

Ryan Fujitani

Oops, good call. Fixed.

Jul 15 - 06:30 PM

Edward Boachie

Edward Boachie

cant wait to cee watch this mind blowin movie

Jul 15 - 06:39 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Solomon Kane has literally taken 4 years to get to the DVD shelves.

Jul 15 - 06:46 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I noticed this as well. I remember hearing rumblings about it back before the newest Conan film was even in production.

Jul 15 - 07:28 PM

The MFer

The Mother Fucker

Evil Dead was complete shit. Nothing was scary.

Jul 15 - 07:24 PM

The MFer

The Mother Fucker

One of the worst films I've seen in a while.

Jul 15 - 07:24 PM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

The Evil Dead is frickin' awesome. Buy It.

42 = I hope it should get Oscar buzz for this Jackie Robinson biopic.

Bullet to the Head = Not a good Stallone movie, but B movie gold. Rent it.

Jul 15 - 07:26 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I noticed this as well. I remember hearing rumblings about it back before the newest Conan film was even in production.

Jul 15 - 07:28 PM

vinsig0011

vincent Signorile

Going to Rent "42" and "Bullet to the head" and saw evil dead in theaters since im a hugeeee horror fan might buy the blu-ray

Jul 15 - 07:32 PM

Sir Phobos

Sir Phobos

Ugh, nothing this week again. Anything good coming out soon?

Jul 15 - 08:24 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Saw Evil Dead. It was better then I expected but still forgettable. And the final ending was simply pandering. It had no real relation (aside from premise) to the original beyond Bruce and his paycheck cashing cameo.

Solomon Kane is decent enough. It sort of reminded me of Brotherhood of the Wolf.

Jul 15 - 08:27 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Is Solomon Kane corny? It looks like it might be a Steven Sommers movie.

Jul 15 - 08:57 PM

The MFer

The Mother Fucker

It is stupid.

Jul 16 - 07:00 PM

J.D Dean

J.D Dean

The ending was terrible, made no sense whatsoever.

Jul 16 - 09:51 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

ThAts why it reminded me of Brotha Hood Of The Wolf

Jul 16 - 08:54 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Is Solomon Kane corny? It looks like it might be a Steven Sommers movie.

Jul 15 - 08:57 PM

The MFer

The Mother Fucker

It is stupid.

Jul 16 - 07:00 PM

Jon Cox

Jon Cox

picking up 'Evil Dead' (2013) on Blu-Ray! :)

Jul 15 - 09:10 PM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

Any of us could have said that before it was released.

Jul 16 - 08:27 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I think some fans were in a wait-and-see mode, early reviews were positive but just didn't match what I watched.

Jul 16 - 08:40 PM

J.D Dean

J.D Dean

The ending was terrible, made no sense whatsoever.

Jul 16 - 09:51 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

ThAts why it reminded me of Brotha Hood Of The Wolf

Jul 16 - 08:54 PM

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