Movies

DVD RELEASES

‘Concussion’ and ‘Hateful Eight’ arrive on disc

Melinda Sue Gordon

We hoped that the arrival on disc of “Concussion” (2015) would answer lingering questions about this chronicle of a truth-seeking pathologist’s efforts to establish a link between pro football and degenerative brain disease. For starters, why wasn’t the film bigger? The connection between football-related head trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) remains the most significant issue confronting the National Football League right now. And despite some blunt material, Will Smith gives a fully inhabited, Golden Globe-nominated performance as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian-born forensic neuropathologist who first recognized the disease in late Pittsburgh Steelers great Mike Webster (David Morse). Yet the week “Concussion” opened in theaters, most of the hot-button football talk was about Peyton Manning’s recently alleged steroid use. It’s hard to figure. Maybe the filmmakers underestimated moviegoers’ willingness to examine the dark side of the contradiction laid out by Alec Baldwin’s neurosurgeon character: “You know, it is a mindless, violent game — and then it’s Shakespeare.” Or maybe there’s something to be indirectly gleaned from writer-director Peter Landesman’s commentary on Omalu’s workplace intro: “I wrote this little scene about a birthday party he wasn’t invited to just to give a sense of [the disconnect]: ‘Bennet is strange, other, black, African.’” Bonus materials also leave us guessing about how a movie that’s hardly “Draft Day” managed to commandeer the NFL shield, team logos, even classic game footage. Again, perhaps Landesman’s commentary offers a clue: “The individual men who populate the NFL of course [aren’t villains],” he says of a league damage-control confab. “But the corporation itself. . . .” (Sony, $26.99; Blu-ray, $34.99)

WESTERN

THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015)

Well, Quentin Tarantino does caution us right in the title — there’s plenty to detest about Samuel L. Jackson, Oscar nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the rest of this motley crew of snowed-in outlaws and lawmen. It’s impressive that Tarantino can still revolt us all these years after Michael Madsen (also here) played ENT in “Reservoir Dogs” — but do we really want to further expand our catalog of moments we can’t unsee? The palatable draws: Ennio Morricone’s throwback score and bounty hunter Kurt Russell getting a showcase a damn sight worthier than “Death Proof.” Extras: segment on Tarantino’s much-publicized 70-mm fixation. (Anchor Bay, $29.98; Blu-ray, $35.99)

ACTION

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POINT BREAK (2015)

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What direction to take in updating Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze’s addictively preposterous original cops-and-surfers flick? This fashionably color-desaturated, tattoos-abounding version casts Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) as an extreme sports “polyathlete” who joins the FBI. His felonious target, Bodhi (Édgar Ramírez), is a Robin Hood-sy environmentalist daredevil who leads Utah around the globe, from rogue waves to fight clubs to vertiginous mountaintops. The stunts are 3-D stunners, but for all the adrenalizing positives, there’s also an awful lot of distracting silliness. Extras: featurettes on the stunt work, naturally. (Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99; 3-D, $44.95)

Titles are in stores Tuesday.
Tom Russo can be reached at trusso2222@gmail.com.