It takes a brave man to take on the might of America’s National Football League (NFL), but that is exactly what Dr Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian-born forensic pathologist did starting in 2002 after examining the body of former Pittsburgh Steelers centre, Mike Webster.
Concussion tells the true story of Dr Omalu’s (played by Will Smith) research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is brought on by repeated trauma to the head, and the struggle he went through for the NFL to recognise his work.
He teams up with former Steelers doctor, Julian Bailes (an effective Alec Baldwin), in order to take on “a corporation that owns a day of the week”, as one character says. But this is a film that is held up by the immense skill of leading man Smith, who puts in a sensitive and wholly believable performance as the Nigerian immigrant; so much so that you sometimes forget you are watching one of the world’s most charismatic action stars.
The script can be a little self-indulgent at times, wandering close to lecturing territory, but on the whole, Concussion offers a fascinating insight into an issue that is all too often swept under the rug.
Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
Alvin, Simon and Theodore (voiced by Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney respectively) are back on the path to accidental destruction. Their second outing sees them attempting to foil any attempt by Dave, their legal guardian) (Jason Lee), to propose to his girlfriend on a road trip. The humour is far from intellectual, but it’s just the kind of thing that is likely to appeal to youngsters as Alvin and co move from one scene of mayhem to the next. If you can stand the grating voices of the furry little critters then feel free to take your kids along.
Leaving behind a grim and grey town in the south of Ireland, Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) sets out for pastures new in 1950s New York. As she finds her feet in the community, she begins a tentative courtship with the Italian-American apprentice plumber Tony (Emory Cohen), but is frequently plagued by a longing for home. There is no shortage of films about immigrants moving to America for a new life, but the approach taken by Brooklyn is emotionally intelligent, old fashioned (in a good way) and the romance will send shivers down your spine by its denouement.
Preview: The Finest Hours
The sea can be an unforgiving mistress, but a small coast guard crew braced freezing temperatures and 20-metre waves to rescue the crews of two stricken and rapidly sinking tankers back in the winter of 1952. The Finest Hours tells their against all odds story and stars Chris Pine, Holliday Grainger and Casey Affleck.
Bollywatch: Ghayal Once Again
Twenty-six years is a long time to wait for a sequel, but the answer to 1990’s Ghayal is finally here, in the form of Ghayal Once Again. Sunny Deol is back in his role as Ajay Mehra, who emerges from prison to start a newspaper that quickly gains popularity. Four of his fans unwittingly record a murder that implicates important figures and it falls to Ajay to save the group before it’s too late.