[caption id="attachment_172518" align="alignleft" width="300"] FilmDistrict[/caption]
This week: The Deadites get an upgrade in "Evil Dead," a remake/reboot of Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead" about an ancient book that unleashes terrible demonic forces on a group of young people staying at a remote cabin in the woods.
Also new this week is the Jackie Robertson sports biopic "42" with Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman, "Bullet to the Head" with Sylvester Stallone and a Criterion Collection Blu-ray for the 1963 version of "Lord of the Flies."
[caption id="attachment_185846" align="alignright" width="220"] Sony[/caption]
Box Office: $54 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 63% Fresh
Storyline: In this new variation on Sam Raimi's 1981 horror classic "The Evil Dead" directed by Fede Alvarez, Mia (Jane Levy) heads to a remote cabin in the woods with her brother (Shiloh Fernandez) and three friends (Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore) who are trying to support her in her fight for sobriety. When one of them discovers the Book of the Dead and reads the cursed text out loud, an ancient evil is awakened in the woods that is hell-bent on possessing and destroying each of them.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain cast and crew commentary, "Being Mia," "Directing the Dead," "'Evil Dead' the Reboot," "Making Life Difficult" and "Unleashing the Evil Force."
We Say: This reimagining of "The Evil Dead" lacks the slapstick humor of Raimi's original trilogy and its boomstick-wielding hero Ash (Bruce Campbell). Instead, Alvarez has put together a wicked, unbelievably gory horror movie that is not for the squeamish — the characters are not above chopping or tearing off their own limbs to escape a terrifying situation. This is an R-rated horror movie unafraid to push an audience's limits, and gore hounds will scream for more. Be sure to watch after the credits for a little nod to the original series.
[caption id="attachment_185844" align="alignright" width="220"] Warner Bros.[/caption]
Box Office: $95 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 77% Fresh
Storyline: This baseball biopic is set in 1946 when Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) broke Major League Baseball's color line when he signed Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team. The deal put both Robinson and Rickey in the firing line of the public, the press and other players, but Number 42 soldiered on with dignity and ultimately won over the fans, silenced his critics and paved the way for other minorities in the sport.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain the short behind-the-scenes look at the casting and characters called "Stepping into History." The Blu-ray also contains a featurette on how green screen technology was used to re-create old 1940s ballparks and the training the actors went through to get in shape for the movie as well as "The Legacy of Number 42," which has reflections on Robinson from the cast, crew and retired MLB players like Ed Charles, Don Newcombe, Ralph Branca and more.
We Say: Thanks to some expert direction by Brian Helgeland and top-notch performances by Ford and Boseman, the inspirational "42" is easily one of the best baseball movies ever made and a must-see for fans of Robinson. A solid tribute to an important baseball figure like Robinson should have included meatier supplements on disc for a grand slam, but the Blu-ray is still a home run.
'Bullet to the Head'
[caption id="attachment_185845" align="alignright" width="220"] Warner Bros.[/caption]
Box Office: $9.5 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 47% Rotten
Storyline: Sylvester Stallone stars as a New Orleans hit man who forms an uneasy alliance with a New York City cop (Sung Kang) to bring down the killer of their respective partners in this action thriller directed by Walter Hill. Jason Momoa, Christian Slater and Sarah Shahi also star.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain "'Bullet to the Head': Mayhem Inc." in which you can watch Sly prepare for the climatic ax fight.
We Say: "Bullet to the Head"'s tagline is "Revenge never gets old," and neither does Stallone's desire to play these roles, apparently. Even at 67, Stallone is still built like a brick house and seems evenly matched with "Conan the Barbarian"'s Momoa, who is only 33. If you're still down with Sly, this is how you want him: in a hard-R action picture surrounded by a solid supporting cast and, as the title promises, with plenty of bullets to heads … and other body parts.
'Lord of the Flies' Criterion Collection Blu-ray
[caption id="attachment_185847" align="alignright" width="220"] Criterion Collection[/caption]
Box Office: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% Fresh
Storyline: Director Peter Brook's universally acclaimed 1963 British adaptation of William Golding's novel explores the darker side of the human condition when an airliner is shot down and the 30 school-age boy survivors form tribes on a remote island. James Aubrey, Tom Chapin and Hugh Edwards star in the film that was shot entirely in Puerto Rico.
Extras!: This Criterion Collection Blu-ray has an audio commentary with Brook and others, audio recordings of Golding reading from his novel accompanied by scenes from the film, a deleted scene, a 2008 interview with Brook, plus vintage home movies, screen tests, outtakes and more. The Blu-ray is packaged with a booklet that has an essay by film critic Geoffrey Macnab as well as an excerpt from Brook's book "The Shifting Point."
We Say: Although this version of "Lord of the Flies" may not be as familiar to contemporary audiences as the 1990 film starring Balthazar Getty, it remains a more faithful adaptation of Golding's novel and has never looked better than it does now with this royal Criterion high-def upgrade.
Also New This Week:
"Godzilla" Mastered in 4K Blu-ray
"Moneyball" Mastered in 4K Blu-ray
"Spider-Man 2" Mastered in 4K Blu-ray
"Men in Black" Mastered in 4K Blu-ray
"Arlington Road" Blu-ray
"Heavy Traffic" Blu-ray