Friday, January 15, 2016

Movie Reviews: "Concussion," "Daddy’s Home," "The Hateful Eight" & "The Revenant"

   Rated PG-13

Concussion is the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, an African immigrant forensic neuropathologist, who discovered Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative brain disease found in people who have a history of repetitive brain trauma.  The film also chronicles the NFL’s efforts to discredit Dr. Omalu and his findings.

Movies that combine art and education are often difficult to do well.  But when all of the elements come together, like in Concussion, the synergy produces a magnificent film.  Concussion is a must-see film!

   Daddy’s Home
   Rated PG-13

Just after Brad (Will Ferrell) won over his stepchildren’s affections, their father Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) returns and throws the family into chaos.  Seeing Brad and Dusty compete for the kids’ and their mother’s love is an adventure.

I went into Daddy’s Home with pretty low expectations and didn’t think it would make it to the blog.  While it was childish and silly, it was also sweet and touching.  Daddy’s Home showed many different facets of humanity-how we’re sometimes petty and envious but that we all do the best we can.  If you’re looking for a light comedy, this is the movie for you!

   The Hateful Eight
   Rated R

The Hateful Eight lives up to its name with eight completely despicable characters.  Among them are two bounty hunters, a captured fugitive who is en route to the hangman, and a southern renegade who claims to be the new sheriff.  Set shortly after the civil war, the group is stranded at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stop, while waiting for a blizzard to pass.  But what fate awaits this unlikeable group?

A typical Quentin Tarantino film, The Hateful Eight is macabre and violent.  It’s also unpredictable and hilariously funny.  If the sight of blood and the idea of violence don’t bother you, this is a great film!

   The Revenant
   Rated R

A revenant is defined as a person who comes back from the dead.  This movie, however, is not a zombie movie.  The Revenant is based on the true story of Hugh Glass, an explorer/guide who was mauled by a bear and then left for dead by the other members of his party.  His fierce love for his family and his determination to exact revenge helped him survive life threatening injuries, freezing conditions, and hostile Native Americans.  Will Glass survive the wilderness or will he perish as expected?

The Revenant was much more violent than I expected.  That said, if you can live through this film’s brutality (created both by man and nature), this story is amazing.  Witnessing Glass’s journey and seeing his will to live are inspiring.  There are good reasons why this film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture, Drama and why Leonardo DiCaprio won the award for Best Actor, Drama.

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