Recent releases preserve Rangers’ finest moments, ‘Walking Dead’ and other small-screen favorites
This week, we begin right here in North Texas:
The Essential Games of the Texas Rangers
Not rated, 546 minutes.
Now available on DVD.
As the Texas Rangers close in on their third consecutive divisional championship, the complete televised broadcasts of four select games from their past have been boxed into this four-disc set by Major League Baseball and A&E Networks.
The four games will rekindle fond memories for fans, including 44-year-old Nolan Ryan’s record seventh no-hitter, against Toronto in 1991; the Rangers’ first postseason game in 1996, against the Yankees; winning their first American League pennant, 2010, against the Yankees; and winning their second consecutive pennant, versus the Detroit Tigers, 2011.
One in the Chamber (**1/2) This action-filled thriller stars Cuba Gooding Jr. as the Fixer, a Bible-toting, Bible-quoting hit man hired by one of two feuding Eastern European mob families.
When he botches a job in picturesque Prague, the other side calls in the Wolf (Dolph Lundgren), a masochistic killing machine who eventually faces off against the Fixer. Meanwhile, the bad guys sit around chain-smoking, speaking in whispers, and looking grim in this passable piece of entertainment.
Rated R, 91 minutes. The DVD, in various formats and combo packs, also includes commentary and a 10-minute “making of” featurette.
Barack Obama: From His Childhood to the Presidency (***) This brief biopic examines the high points of President Obama’s eventful life, from his early days in Hawaii, and on to Columbia and Harvard universities, his early political days and his community work. Not rated, 47 minutes.
And now, something for the kids:
Pocahontas and Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World Disney has packaged its two feature animated films based on the famous American Indian figure, giving the movies their Blu-ray debut with extra supplements.
Pocahontas (1995, 81 minutes, rated G) won two Oscars, for Best Original Song and Best Original Score, by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. The film tells the well-known story of the title character (voiced by Irene Bedard) and Capt. John Smith (Mel Gibson). The sequel Journey to a New World (1998, 72 minutes, unrated) follows Pocahontas as she travels to England.
Among the set’s new supplements are a fascinating documentary on Disney’s initial attempt to make a film on Hiawatha, which eventually helped pave the way for Pocahontas. Plus: commentaries, a deleted song, extra cartoons, deleted scenes and more. Several earlier supplements are also included, so check labels.
Looney Tunes: Mouse Chronicles — The Chuck Jones Collection This two-disc collection offers 19 cartoons from Chuck Jones, possibly animation’s greatest name not named Disney. Twelve of the animated shorts feature once-popular mouse Sniffles, while the rodent comedy team of Hubie and Bertie are prominently featured in the others.
Not rated, 145 minutes. The collection includes five commentaries, a storyboard, 11 bonus Warner Brothers cartoons, and the featurette “Of Mice and Pens.”
Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation The 1992 animated feature from the once-popular Warner Bros. cartoon series makes its DVD debut, telling the story of Babs (voiced by Tress MacNeille) and Buster Bunny (Charles Adler) and their whitewater rafting trip. Plucky Duck, Hampton Pig and Elmyra Duff also end up sharing the adventure. Not rated, 73 minutes.
Bob, Sam and Angelina make appearances this week:
Bob the Builder: The Ultimate Can-Do Crew Collection Bob and friends return in 10 new episodes along with two bonus games. Not rated, 103 minutes.
Fireman Sam: Heroic Rescue Adventures Sam and buddies Elvis, Penny and Trevor are back in these seven episodes. Not rated, 55 minutes.
Angelina Ballerina: Dreams Do Come True The dancing mouse joins Alice, Viki, Gracie, A.Z. and others for a dance competition and more in this feature-length movie. Not rated, 56 minutes. Includes an Angelina sing-and-dance game.
And, finally, from this week’s many TV releases:
Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season After penning Lost, the feverishly creative minds of Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis came up with the idea of this new mega-hit ABC TV series.
The initial season’s 22 episodes, on five discs with supplements on each, showcase an imaginative yet earthly fairy-tale world. Characters from various tales assemble in Storybrooke, Maine, a town inhabited by not only an evil queen (Lana Parrilla), who is also the town’s mayor, but by an assortment of classic storybook characters who take double identities, such as Robert Carlyle appearing as Rumpelstiltskin, as well as the town’s pawnbroker and most prosperous citizen. Innovative, colorful and filled with stellar special effects.
Rated TV-PG-LSV, 946 minutes. The collection also has commentary, three minutes of bloopers and deleted scenes on each disc. Plus: featurettes of around seven minutes each titled “Fairy Tales in the Modern World,” “Building Character” and more. Ginnifer Goodwin offers a tour of the set, and childhood memories of Snow White are shared by the cast.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season TV’s creepiest zombies return along with a batch of increasingly stressed-out “normals” in AMC’s popular horror series.
These 13 episodes, on four discs, pick up the group from last year, as they flee Atlanta, with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) again leading the pack. But this season, he faces rebellion from former partner Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) as the now fractious group assembles on the grounds of a friendly farmer (Scott Wilson) and his family.
Not rated, 600 minutes. The collection contains bounteous extras, such as five commentaries, eight deleted scenes, six webisodes, and 11 featurettes totaling more than an hour on such topics as the music, effects, sound engineering, wardrobe and more.
And, finally, A&E Networks releases a flavorful batch of reality series:
Dance Moms: Season One These 13 episodes, on four discs, of the new Lifetime series showcase Abby Lee Miller, the owner and operator of Pittsburgh’s Abby Lee Dance Company. She forcefully instructs her young wards in dance while doting mothers look on — in fear. Not rated, 546 minutes. The collection also contains additional footage and a featurette on “The Most Outrageous Moments” from the season.
Pawn Stars: Volume 5 The three generations of Las Vegas’ Harrison family still run Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on the fringe of town. In this offering of 16 episodes, on two discs, from the third and fourth seasons, the family lands the opportunity to uncover several possible jewels, including an authentic Picasso. Not rated, 352 minutes.
American Pickers: Volume 4 Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz continue their quest for undiscovered treasures in these eight episodes on two discs. In one episode, William Shatner hires them for a special assignment. Not rated, 356 minutes.
Also available Tuesday on DVD: Battleship, Darling Companion, Headhunters, Lovely Molly, The Lucky One.