Movie Review: “Star Wars: Episode IV-A New Hope” (George Lucas, USA 1977)

Introduction

Just as a fun project, I’m going to watch all previous Star Wars films except for Episode I and write reviews. I’ve seen the original trilogy before but I’ve never seen Episodes II and III. However, even the original trilogy I have not watched for a very long time, so this is definitely my first look at them with adult eyes.

I do not own the films, so I will not be watching the despecialized editions, though I would certainly prefer to do so. I really hope that Disney doesn’t continue Lucas’s refusal to release the original theatrical versions, because the corny digital additions really stand out as awful. I hated them in the mid ’90s and I’m not feeling any better about them 20 years later. Since they really stand out, I’m essentially going to ignore them in the reviews and just say here that they’re terrible, cartoonish, and unnecessary. And yes, I feel safe saying that even before I’ve finished re-watching them all. The prequels obviously do not have this issue–Lucas got to fill them with digital ugliness on first release. Continue reading

Movie Review: “Concussion” (Peter Landesman, UK/Australia/USA 2015)

This is the basic premise of Concussion: an immigrant doctor uncovers a terrible brain injury being caused by football and works to bring it to light. That premise could be used to make films about a number of things.

It could be a film about how terrible Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is, by using Omalu’s discovery as merely a means of entry into the story of Dave Duerson, Mike Webster, or any of a hundred other players. If what you want people to get from the film is the horror of CTE, showing us how Mike Webster decides to distract himself from the pain by pulling out his own teeth and then supergluing them back in is far more powerful than just having Omalu say that he’s been doing so. Duerson’s change from vicious defender of “the Shield” to broken man who commits suicide and leaves behind a note asking for his brain to be studied for the very effects he had denied just a few years before is powerful even in the abbreviated form presented in the final film where we see nothing of what he has experienced, so imagine how it would work in an entire film. Continue reading