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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Medical > Sports > Football > Injury > Fraud > Politics > Melodrama > Family > Relationships > Marriag > Concussion (2015/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Go Naked In The World (1960/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/I Smile Back (2014/Broadgreen DVD)/Lizzie (1957/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Michael Collins (1996/G

Concussion (2015/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Go Naked In The World (1960/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/I Smile Back (2014/Broadgreen DVD)/Lizzie (1957/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Michael Collins (1996/Geffen/Warner Archive Blu-ray)



4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B/C/C/C+/B+ Sound: B+ & B/C/C+/C/B Extras: C/C-/C/C-/B Films: C/C+/C/C+/C+



PLEASE NOTE: All the discs above (save Concussion and Smile) are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



Here are dramas that try to make a big statement, but get caught up in things they should not trying along the way...



Peter Landesman's Concussion (2015) is supposed to be a film about how Dr. Bennet Omalu (played by Will Smith in his best work in a while and after his biggest dry spell) starts to notice something wrong with sports players, especially in U.S. football. Particularly troubling is the case of the very popular former Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Webster (David Morse) whose suffering physical pain and mental illness that makes no sense. The National Football League, a non-profit organization as of this posting, knows Webster is not alone, yet does nothing, but Omalu starts to do deep research and identifies a condition he calls CTE, meaning the brain does not have direct damage but the skull (et al) surrounding it is affected and that is what causes the brain damage.


So does the NFL do anything to help the players suffering despite being with billions of dollars. Of course not! We should note that the outstanding documentary Blood Equity (reviewed elsewhere on this site) first identified the problems and issued covered in this film, so it was only a matter of time before a narrative feature drama arrived on the subject. The performances are not bad, but Director Landesman (Parkland) is not a good director and again cannot seem to handle what it takes to deliver a serious narrative film. Based on the GQ Magazine article ''Game Brain'' by Jeanie Marie Laskas (from a magazine that has often been NFL-friendly), the press and promotion has alluded to the doctor taking on the NFL as if this is a thriller and they might go after his to silence him (kidnap & torture him, kill him, terrorize him, defame threaten him or what? They never say.) making us wonder if we should fear retaliation from any non-profit organization.


But the film is flat and cannot even go far enough on that line, which is why the film had limited box office and limited critical accolades, washed away by stronger contenders during awards season and rightly so. If Spotlight had been this wishy-washy, it would have been saying the devil made those priests beat, molest and torture all those innocent children, yet that to a strange extent is what we get here with the NFL. They get slap-on-the-wrist scolding, but are not held responsible much and to top it off, religion (particularly Christianity and by association with Pittsburgh and a team known for their famous 'Hail Mary' football pass, Catholicism; Pittsburgh has one of the biggest such city populations in the U.S.) keeps strangely surfacing in the film until its bizarre ideological ending. Why?


Apparently to inoculate the audience to conform and comply with letting the NFL off the hook and for their major responsibility in all these CTE cases as they knew what was going on! In Webster's case, no one in Pittsburgh stepped in to help or question, especially compliant parts of the media, what was going on and happened to him. The family only got compensation he earned after he died!


Thus, the New York Times report that the NFL was secretly manipulating the film as they had Oliver Stone's overrated Any Given Sunday seems to be true, yet too many critics were dismissing the report mindlessly failing to analyze this film properly. Cheers to the critics and film scholars who were not as suckered. Posting the week these discs are released, the NFL is attacking the Times over a second part of their reporting on the case, as of to distract from their input in this film. You know a film is bad and troubled when the behind the scenes is more interesting that the film itself.


Also in the cast are Albert Brooks. Alec Baldwin, Arliss Howard, Eddie Marsan, Mike O'Malley, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Luke Wilson, Richard T. Jones, Stephen Moyer and Paul Reiser.


Extras are not on the 4K Blu-ray, but the standard Blu-ray includes a feature length audio commentary track by Director Landesman, Deleted Scenes and two Making Of featurettes.



Ranald MacDougall's Go Naked In The World (1960) is a melodramatic, big screen (and wide screen in CinemaScope) soap opera playing on the hot tempers of the lead characters and selling the real life actors as inseparable from their roles. Gina Lollobrigida is a lady of the night who meets a young man (Anthony Franciosa) who falls for her, not knowing what she really does. Of course, she does feel for him too, but the society and mores of the day get in the way. A scene-stealing Ernest Borgnine plays his loud, construction company-owning father who warns him of her, but he won't listen.


Of course, their father/son relationship is as toxic as anything in the film, trying to be a big event picture like many of the color (MetroColor here) scope films of the time in an attempt to lure people away from their black and white TVs. MGM definitely put some money into this one, though some visual effects (being on buildings just going up) looks a bit weak. Of course, there are some sparks between Lollobrigida and Franciosa, but not enough to save this pot boiler. Still, it looks good often and has some amusing moments. Worth a look for those interested.


An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.



Adam Salky's I Smile Back (2014) is Sarah Silverman's attempt to do a serious dramatic role, something many a comic actor and comedienne have tried before, but since her comic persona is angry and deconstructive of sexism et al, her performance here as an unhappy mother & wife is not much of a stretch and leaves those who know her going in watching this laughing when they should not. She's married to a decent man played by Josh Charles, but starts to become am addict and gets involved with another married man (Thomas Sadoski), so you know her juggling this all and keeping secrets will not last forever.


Unfortunately, this goes on and on a good, predictable bit at 85 minutes (it does seem longer) and never really adds up to anything but what looks like an Oscar-begging performance for Silverman. I think, even know, she can do better than this. Only see this one if you really must. Chris Sarandon also stars.


An In Conversation with Sarah Silverman featurette is the only extra.



Hugo Haas' Lizzie (1957) is a challenging drama for its time, trying to portray the problems (which are still with us today, including stereotyping and treating people with mental illness as disposable and second class) of a woman dealing with is now commonly know as multiple-personality disorder. Eleanor Parker is in the title role, a role that can be a bit showy, but she is good here and the script does a fair job for its time of dealing with the issue.


This is not exactly the breakthrough cinema it would like to think it is, but has its moments and is not too campy, though it cannot help getting into that space at times. Richard Boone and Joan Blondell are among the good supporting cast and this is the kind of film MGM was making as they tried to transition out of the musicals they were so known for. That it is in real black and white works in its favor. Not great, but worth a look for those who might want to see what was serious science at the time, albeit through a Hollywood studio.


An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.



Neil Jordan's Michael Collins (1996) is back, but this time on an upgraded Blu-ray, though we just covered the DVD version not that long ago at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/13446/April+Love+(1957/Fox/Twilight+Time+Limited+Edit


Though not a big fan, here it is on the 100th Anniversary of the Easter uprising involving the title subject (Liam Neeson) and on the film's own 20th Anniversary. The film has not improved and I am still unhappy with some sections of it, but this is a better-looking, smarter film visually than the DVD or many promo clips show. This comes from a restored print, but more on that below in the tech section.


Extras from the original DVD, including the Original Theatrical Trailer and a vintage documentary running just over 53 minutes are brought over to the Blu-ray, which adds Deleted Scenes a new documentary on the film from The South Bank Show, great archival footage of the real Michael Collins and a brand new feature length audio commentary by Jordan with more detail on the film.



The 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition image on Concussion is the best looking presentation here, but has few really impressive shots despite the possibilities. The colors are decent if not spectacular, depth is fine and you know you're watching something more than the usual 1080p as featured on the regular Blu-ray, which I also fine for the format. If you must watch this one, try the 2160p version as it will make it more bearable.


The three anamorphically enhanced DVDs are next up, with the two 2.35 X 1 color presentations in World and the much newer Smile should look a little better than they do, but they have softness throughout that disappoints. Even if World was an old CinemaScope film, we've seen such films look much better on Blu-ray and the MetroColor is not bad here. Smile is a digital shoot with less remarkable color and has no excuse for such a weak HD tradedown. That leaves the 1.85 X 1 image black & white image on Lizzie looking the best of the three, outdoing the rest of the DVDs with ease, even if the print is not always perfect.


The big surprise is the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Collins, supervised by Jordan himself in a remarkable transfer that can compete with the flatter Concussion in 4K and 1080p. Director of Photography Chris Menges lensed this film and though it was passable on the DVD version, I expected this to be better, but was really shocked (especially as a non-fan) how clean, stylized ands stunning this transfer turned out to be; one of Warner Archives best. If they get around to doing a 4K Blu-ray, this should really be a stunner. Forget about the DVD at this point!


As for sound, Concussion offers a Dolby Atmos 11.1 mix (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) on the 4K Blu-ray that is sonically the best offering here, opening up the sound and sounding like the modern recording it is, though it is a drama that is only going to take advantage of the multi-track so much. The 1080p Blu-ray's has a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix that is fine, but lacking the Atmos' presence, but both have their warmth.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Collins has some minor limits, but sounds as good as expected for a film 20 years old and the makers did their best with the sound and a decent budget. Music also benefits.


The DVDs offer lossy Dolby Digital sound, with the 5.1 on Smile the third best-sounding release here being a new release and lossy 2.0 Mono on World and Lizzie sounding poor, weak, second-generation and aged more than their picture quality. Just be careful of high playback levels and especially volume switching on those.



To order either of the Warner Archive DVDs or Michael Collins Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


https://www.warnerarchive.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo


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