“42”: Chadwick Boseman stars as baseball legend Jackie Robinson. Like most biopics about well-liked historical figures, Brian Helgeland’s (“A Knight’s Tale”) film errs on the side of hagiography, painting its subject as man of uncommon patience and resistant beset on all sides by racial hostility. While the Hall of Famer’s virtues should be lauded, it would have been preferable to have the film convey a greater sense of what Robinson was like as a man. Still, “42” has some top-notch baseball photography and a rare cognizant performance from Harrison Ford. Also starring Christopher Meloni, Alan Tudyk and John C. McGinley.
Special features: A digital copy of the film and three featurettes.
“Bullet to the Head”: Sylvester Stallone stars as a New Orleanian hitman who must team with a D.C. detective (Sung Kang) to bring down a vicious ex-mercenary (Jason Minoa). This isn’t a good movie but not because director Walter Hill didn’t do a good job making New Orleans a living breathing place or because Kang was anything other than his ultra-cool self (He’d be perfect for a “Rockford Files” remake). The problem is since pulling himself out of the Direct-to-Video ghetto by giving his two most famous characters beautifully realized grace notes, Stallone has fallen into making the kind of soft batch pap that saw his star dim in the first place. If the next “Expendables” is a flop, Stallone will rejoin his fellow ‘90s action stars in making cheap Netflix’s filler. Also starring Sarah Shahi, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Christian Slater.
Special features: A digital copy of the film and one featurette.
“Evil Dead”: Fede Alvarez remakes Sam Raimi’s 1981 horror classic about four young people who fall prey to an evil spirit. If this film wasn’t a remake, it would have been the most audacious genre debut in years. If Alvarez wasn’t toiling in the shadow of a giant, his relentless paced and aggressively showy take on some musty horror tropes would have made him the new Edgar Wright. Hopefully once Alvarez’s time as a franchise player is over, he can turn a decently written splatter punk script into his “Shivers.” Starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez and Lou Taylor Pucci.
Special features: A digital copy of the film, five featurettes, and commentary with Fernandez, Pucci, Levy and Jessica Lucas.
Mario McKellop has written about film on Examiner for the last three years and can be reached directly at email@example.com