(PG-13, 123 minutes, Sony): Will Smith got a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of real-life neuropathologist Bennet Omalu, who took on the NFL over brain trauma injuries to players. Smith renders Omalu as a pious, if quirky, genius, one who talks to cadavers and decorates the rearview mirror of his Mercedes with a cross. His life revolves around his work, until he meets a Kenyan immigrant, Prema (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). Albert Brooks is especially good as Omalu’s wry boss and chief advocate, Cyril Wecht. The film is a little heavy-handed, especially in its handling of the narrative of a put-upon immigrant losing faith in the American dream. That thread only serves to overshadow a far more troubling story: one about the NFL’s stop-at-nothing smear campaign and how easily the public bought into it.
Contains some disturbing images and strong language. Extras: “Inside the True Story” featurette, commentary with director Peter Landesman. Blu-ray: Deleted scenes, “Crafting Concussion” featurette. Washington Post
‘The Hateful Eight’
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(R, 168 minutes, The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay): Quentin Tarantino’s latest is set in post-Civil War Wyoming. John Ruth (Kurt Russell) is escorting fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to Red Rock, where she will face justice for murder. An epic work of self-indulgence and smug riffing, stringing together tropes from TV and screen westerns and closed-room whodunits, “The Hateful Eight” announces itself with all the pomp and circumstance of a midcentury cinema spectacle. Tarantino, whose earliest pictures – “Reservoir Dogs,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Jackie Brown” – crackled with wiseguy dialogue and cool digressions into pop-cult spheres, clearly thinks his wordsmithing is without equal, and without need of editing. So the actors embark on long soliloquies less meaningful than mundane, full of anachronistic argot, arch jabber, and cowpoke exclamations such as “I’ll be double-dog damned.”
Contains strong bloody violence, a scene of violent sexual content, crude language and some graphic nudity. Extras: Two featurettes: “Beyond the Eight: A Behind-the-Scenes Look” and “Sam Jackson’s Guide to Glorious 70mm.” Philadelphia Inquirer
(PG-13, 114 minutes, Warner): Critically panned remake of the 1991 Patrick Swayze/Keanu Reeves/Gary Busey action thriller about a gang of athletic criminals. The first film was no masterpiece, but it was memorable. The redo seems to exist solely to confuse DVRs. Bland Aussie hunk Luke Bracey struggles to fill Keanu Reeves’ shoes as Johnny Utah, a headstrong FBI agent who has a rocky past as an extreme athlete. Édgar Ramírez steps in for Patrick Swayze as Bodhi, a philosophical activist and adventurer who steals from the rich and gives to the poor, all while leading a squad of globe-hopping thrill-seekers.
The preposterousness of the 2015 “Point Break” isn’t any more of a deal breaker now than it was in 1991. But while Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 version featured charismatic lead performances and ample pop, Ericson Core’s cast mumbles slowly and sparingly at one another until it’s time to jump off something. The result is a movie that becomes enough of an extreme endurance test that Bodhi could easily add it to his to-do list.
Contains perilous activity, some sexuality, strong language and drug use. Extras: Deleted scenes. Blu-ray: Trailers and four featurettes. Los Angeles Times
Also out March 29
- “Bicycle Thieves”
- “Chantal Akerman: Four Films”
- “Cherry Falls”
- “Hero Quest”
- “The Making of Trump”
- “A Poem is a Naked Person”
- “Sam Klemke’s Time Machine”
- “The Winter”
- “Archer Season 6”
- “CPO Sharkey: The Best of Season Two”