On DVD & Blu-Ray: March 29, 2016


At this point in his career writer/director Quentin Tarantino runs the risk of being a parody of himself. Playing up the most obvious and popular aspects of the kinds of films he tends to make his latest, The Hateful Eight, tends to skirt that line more than a few times, but dammit if overall this is an experience like no other. What is being said? What is the objective? What is the point, if you will, of collecting eight or more disparate souls in a single confined space and allowing them to exhaust each of their personal vendettas against the world on one another? It would seem Tarantino would need to have some type of idea or larger theme he intends to tackle when setting out to write a project that concerns the relations of a variety of characters shortly after the end of the Civil War. As with his two previous efforts that have addressed history and it's inconsistencies in equality, The Hateful Eight looks to bring up old wounds and address them freely. Unlike his previous two efforts though, The Hateful Eight is not a revenge tale in the larger sense of the genre, but more it is a contained mystery that asks whodunit and has the audience play a guessing game as it holds the answers just out of arms reach until the inevitable bloody end. Of course, the similarities to playing a game of Clue don't detract from the quality of the film as Tarantino goes back to more fully relying on what made his initial films all the more engaging and distinct: the talking. At ten minutes shy of three hours The Hateful Eight is certainly something of a journey, but it never feels like an endeavor. More, the film is an exercise in detailing a portrait of this point in time and the varying perspectives that contributed to the climate of America. By confining these eight very different, very volatile individuals into a single location Tarantino is able to make many statements, but mainly the guy seems to offer the idea that the state this country was founded on and how it came to fruition after we finished fighting ourselves is that of an unstable one-with qualities seeming to still echo into today. Full review here. A-

Concussion is a really solid movie that wants to be as important as the topic it’s discussing. The problem with approaching a film in this manner though, is that it immediately sets a precedent for the film to be as weighty and influential in its cultural impact as the topic it's discussing and Concussion simply isn't that. It will start conversations, sure, and if it does its job well enough it may even convert a few football fans to the belief there are serious long-run repercussions to playing the game, but as a piece of art or simply infotainment, is it only as effective as it sets out to be part of the time. Through writer/director Peter Landesman (Parkland) the film has some really inspiring moments as it attempts to not simply irritate those who are huge fans of the sport, but attempts to logically explain why we need to step back and take a serious look at if the type of lifestyle these men experience down the road is worth a few hours of entertainment on Sunday. Other times, in between the scenes of Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) drawing some kind of scientific conclusion or making his case with an NFL board member, the film tends to have lull's that concern itself with a romantic subplot that doesn't connect or one too many time lapses that aren't clearly illustrated. Where the film does tend to stand out is in the scenes that feature Smith's protagonist pushing back against any force that comes between him and his research. If you've seen the trailer you've heard Omalu's speech about how America is the next best thing to heaven and that he was the wrong man to discover such a disease as his entire life he's dreamed of being an American. That, to have discovered a disease that more or less states human beings were never made to play football, makes him public enemy number one and it is in the face of this adversity that Smith and the film shine most. Full review here. C+

I had next to zero interest in the Point Break re-make when it was released last Christmas and I think that interest has only gone down since.