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Movie Review

Two Different Movies for Two Different Audiences

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Two different movies to report on today, for two very different audiences.

The relatively rare moviegoer who still looks for serious grownup entertainment on the big screen will find a real treasure in Concussion, while the more commonly found escapee from reality will find enjoyment in Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight.

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Concussion is a realistic, underplayed almost to the point of lacking drama, story of the doctor who discovered that football players were suffering too many brain injuries and risked his career in battle with the National Football League to do something about it. And it is worth noticing that he was not only not American-born; he was not even an American citizen. He was an immigrant from Nigeria. Will Smith stars, and he's never been better, even with a Nigerian accent. And remarkably, the best scene in Concussion is his confrontation with second lead Albert Brooks, who points out that he, an American who was aware of the problem from way back, is risking even more than Smith--a generous sharing of the spotlight by Smith.

But The Hateful Eight will probably be the bigger box office success; movie audiences nowadays prefer the bizarre, and Quentin Tarantino's oddball western is full of that. It features the usual Tarantino leisurely small talk between uncommon and unsympathetic characters, fascinating costumes and settings, increasing lack of credibility, and excessive violence and pain and, most impressively, blood. It is not very coherent and leaves you in the end with little to chew on, despite occasional acute dialogue; it also fails rather notably with Sherlock Holmesian deductions that come sailing in out of left field. But you won't be bored, if violence, comic-book characterizations, and almost coincidentally linked scenes instead of a central story line are to your liking. It should appeal to a lot of the current movie crowd, and Samuel L. Jackson has a wonderful time.