New DVDs this week are all about family.
"Belle," Grade B: The movie is inspired by a 1779 painting of Dido Elizabeth Belle and her cousin, Lady Elizabeth Murray, which means writer Misan Sagay had to take great liberties with the script. Other than the image in the painting, little is known about Belle. Sagay fleshes out both the political elements and the personal story through a forward-thinking aspiring lawyer who comes into the life of Belle and Mansfield.
"Belle" treats racism with kid gloves. Because of that approach, the film ends up little more than a light period drama.
It is good, but it never reaches the dark political and emotional tones of a movie like "12 Years a Slave."
"Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return." Grade C+: Lea Michele and Megan Hilty star in a feature film musical based on characters from "The Wizard of Oz." "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return" is a fun family feature that benefits from the pair's strong singing voices. Although the screenplay by Adam Balsam and Randi Barnes wanders off the Yellow Brick Road of Roger Baum's book, it does keep to the central story about love, courage and happiness.
"Blended," Grade F: If you can get through the first 20 minutes — a nonstop regurgitation of old jokes, annoying characters and unfunny ideas — don't relax. It gets worse.
The Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore comedy (their word, not mine) looks at what happens when two single parents end up on the same vacation through an absurd and contrived plot line.
The movie should have been called "Deported" so we could send these two unlikable people — and their equally unlikable offspring — home. Instead, director Frank Coraci keeps trying to milk something funny out of the painfully trite script.
ALSO NEW ON DVD AUG. 26
"The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season": A small group continues to battle for survival in a world full of zombies.
"The Normal Heart": Cable film based on the play about the early battles with AIDs.
"Welcome Back, Kotter: The Complete Series": Box set contains all 95 episodes from the series.
"Sons of Anarchy: Season 6": Jax looks to the future of the club, his family with Clay and Tara behind bars.
"Murder in Suburbia Complete Collection": Two detectives patrol an upscale suburb where perfect-looking lives reveal all kinds of depravity.
"Jersey Shore Massacre": Typical weekend down the shore takes a bizarre turn as six girls and five guys become the targets of a killer.
"Blandings, Series 2": Based on P.G. Wodehouse's Blandings Castle stories.
"Lucky In Love": Romance starring Jessica Szohr.
"Medieval Lives": Glimpse into the experiences of birth, marriage and death in the Middle Ages.
"Jackpot": Based on a short story by Jo Nesbo.
"Criminal Minds: Season 9": CBS series that delves into the twisted thoughts of terrifying offenders.
"My Gal Sunday": Rachel Blanchard and Cameron Mathison play husband-and-wife private eye team.
"Gene Autry Movie Collection 7": Features four fully restored films from Gene Autry's personal archives.
"The Twilight Zone: The Complete '80s Series": Anthology series that aired from 1985 to 1989.
"The Forbidden Girl": Young man must resist the seductive lure of an ancient witch.
"Triad": Three friends face harsh realities of being a member of the Triads.
"Western Double Feature": Includes "The Hills Run Red (1967)," Apache (1954).
"Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas": Obscure man becomes a hero of the people.
"Elementary — The Second Season": Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu play a modern Holmes and Watson.
"Quicksand": Mickey Rooney plays a young man who turns to crime.
"Aftermath": Horror of a nuclear apocalypse is a reality for nine people.
"Masterpiece: Breathless": Follows the exploits of doctors, nurses, and spouses connected with a busy obstetrics ward.
"The Double": Lookalike changes a man's life.
"Classic in the Jurassic": Special from the series "Dinosaur Train."
"Deadbeat": Supernatural comedy series starring Tyler Labine.
"75 Years of WWII": History series examines the deadliest conflict in human history.
"The Stream": Tragedy sends five boys on an adventure of a lifetime.
"Discovery Channel's Earth: The Sequel": Based on the New York Times bestselling book.
"The Possession of Michael King": Documentarian looks for proof of the supernatural.