(2015/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Go
Naked In The World
(1960/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/I
(1957/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Michael
(1996/Geffen/Warner Archive Blu-ray)
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+
All the discs above (save Concussion
are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series and can be ordered from the link below.
are dramas that try to make a big statement, but get caught up in
things they should not trying along the way...
(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.
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
(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
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.
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?
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!
the New York Times report that the NFL was secretly manipulating the
film as they had Oliver Stone's overrated Any
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.
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.
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.
Conversation with Sarah Silverman
featurette is the only extra.
(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.
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.
Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.
(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...
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.
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
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.
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.
big surprise is the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on
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!
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.
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.
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
sounding poor, weak, second-generation and aged more than their
picture quality. Just
be careful of high playback levels and especially volume switching on
order either of the Warner Archive DVDs or Michael
Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive