One of the year’s best movies, “42,” the biography of Jackie Robinson, arrives on DVD and Blu-ray this week.
“42” (Warner/Blu-ray, 2013, PG-13, two discs, $35.99; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; featurettes). This is an excellent biography of Robinson (Chadwick Boseman), the baseball player who broke the color barrier in the major leagues by playing for the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers under the tutelage of general manager Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford).
Despite cinematic liberties, the story is pretty faithful to the truth and Boseman is terrific in the lead role as the talented ballplayer subjected to horrible treatment by fans and teammates, but who sublimates his natural anger to achieve a greater good. And Ford, in an unusual character role, is also convincing as an idealistic executive who says it’s all business but who is obviously motivated by something more than money.
Some may call it old-fashioned but I consider that a compliment. It’s not gritty or crude or vulgar or explicit, but it’s also real and highly entertaining, a combination that is all too rare in modern movies. (Also on DVD, $28.98)
“Letters From Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson” (Lionsgate/MLB, 2013, not rated, $9.98). Released to cash in on the disc date of “42,” this 49-minute documentary is about Robinson’s feelings as he made history according to unedited letters written to such important figures as Martin Luther King Jr. and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In addition, Robinson’s daughter is interviewed, along with a historian, a pen pal and several Major League Baseball players.
“Bullet to the Head” (Warner/Blu-ray, 2013; R for violence, language, nudity, drugs; $35.99; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; featurette). Sylvester Stallone and veteran action director Walter Hill (“48 HRS.”) team up to inject an ’80s vibe (complete with gratuitous female nudity and lame one-liners) into this very violent, by-the-numbers buddy-cop thriller as a hitman (Stallone) and a Washington, D.C., detective (Sung Kang) warily team up to take on corrupt police in New Orleans.
“Erased” (Anchor Bay, 2013, R for violence, $22.99, featurette). BYU graduate Aaron Eckhart (“Olympus Has Fallen”) stars with Olga Kurylenko (“Oblivion”) in this overly familiar, straight-to-video thriller about an ex-CIA agent whose identity is erased and who, along with his estranged daughter, is targeted for termination. (Also on Blu-ray, $26.99)
“The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day: Director’s Cut” (Sony/Blu-ray, 2009; R for violence, language, nudity; two discs, $19.99, theatrical and extended “director’s cut” versions, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes). Sequel to the 1999 action thriller has the MacManus brothers living quietly with their father in Ireland when a priest is killed in Boston, forcing them to return for “justice.”
“Hecho en Mexico” (Lionsgate, 2012; R for language, drugs; $19.98, in Spanish with English subtitles). Documentary exploring what it means to be Mexican primarily through various forms of contemporary music.
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