Peter Landesman's Concussion, released in the thick of the NFL season, had the potential to grab onto a cultural discussion about football that puts the future of the sport in jeopardy. The link between CTE and football continues to get stronger, rules are changing throughout the US, and the NFL itself has admitted the link. Into that environment, where most people are aware of the risk, Concussion plays it safe. Boring would be a less generous term. Functioning as a bland primer on CTE and its discoverer, Bennet Omalu (Will Smith), Concussion is essentially a dramatized segment of a Rolling Stone article.
In Buzzard, Joel Potrykus's abrasive indie, the anti-social protagonist shares some qualities with another recent cinematic sociopath, Nightcrawler's Lou Bloom. Where Lou put all his effort into achieving the greatness he was certain he deserved, his Buzzard counterpart is dedicated to finding loopholes that enable him to do the least work possible. Where Lou is impervious to conscience, Buzzard's Marty Jackitansky is impervious to shame. Both films dare the viewer to fall under the protagonist's spell, despite all evidence suggesting that they should be avoided at all costs. Potrykus and his star Joshua Burge somehow make the intolerable tolerable in this can't-look-away character study.
The 20th century story of Ireland gains a new cinematic facet in Ken Loach's The Wind That Shakes the Barley. Eschewing the Troubles of In the Name of the Father or '71 for a period decades earlier, Loach frames the struggle against English occupation within a fraternal bond. Set during the War of Independence and the Civil War that immediately followed, Loach captures the allure of the sunk cost fallacy in a high-stakes setting.
Random projects from the MMC Universe.