New DVDs this week

Published: Friday, Jul. 19, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 15TICKET

"42" (PG-13, 127 minutes, Warner): Brian Helgeland has succeeded in "42," a soaring portrayal of Jackie Robinson's entry into major league baseball in 1947. Anchored by a quietly compelling lead performance by Chadwick Boseman, "42" begins in 1945, when Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) decides to integrate the team. Rickey settles on Robinson, a gifted athlete from California with an impressive record in the Negro leagues. The film is suffused with the casual racism of the era and captures Robinson as a character whose meaning and power is primarily existential. It was his very being around which the vortex swirled – a vortex of defiance, pride, pathological racism and, finally, awe. Filmed with the gauzy, nostalgic light of an American summer and insistently underlined by Mark Isham's overwrought, Copland-esque orchestral score, "42" is unapologetically corny, but it never succumbs to offensive condescension. Contains thematic elements, including racial epithets and profanity.

"Evil Dead" (R, 91 minutes, Sony): This reboot of the beloved cult horror film about five young friends terrorized by a demonic spirit does exactly what it's supposed to do: scare you to the chiropractor. The new version, by Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez, making his feature debut, is more stomach-churning than soul-chilling. The action revolves around a derelict cabin in the woods, but this time, it's the site of a drug intervention. What follows is a descent into madness, homicide and self-mutilation, first by one, then another of the cohorts, until it is literally raining blood.

Also: "Bullet to the Head," "Letters From Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson" (documentary from Major League Baseball Productions), "An Affair of the Heart" (documentary on Grammy- winning songwriter and actor Rick Springfield), "Joanna Lumley's Nile" (cheeky travelogue from half of the iconic duo from "Absolutely Fabulous"), "Bidder 70," "Bert Stern: Original Mad Man," "Bill Moyers: On the Hudson – America's First River" (2002, PBS documentary), "Erased," "Lord of the Flies" (1963, the Criterion Collection), "White Frog," "American Courtesans," "Arthur Stands Up to Bullying" (PBS), "The Definitive Guide to the Mob" (History Channel), "The Good Life," "Tom and Jerry: No Mice Allowed!" and "The Life After Death Project 1 and 2" (Syfy Channel).

Television Series: "Doctor Who – The Doctors Revisited: One-Four" (1963-1981, 50th anniversary of the enduring science fiction show; BBC Home Entertainment), "Combat!: The Complete Fourth Season," "Matlock: The Ninth & Final Season" (1994-95), "Damages: The Final Season," "Endeavour Series 1" (PBS).

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