New on DVD: 'The Hateful Eight' is Quentin Tarantino at his worst (but the acting, music and vistas are swell)

New on DVD: 'The Hateful Eight' is Quentin Tarantino at his worst (but the acting, music and vistas are swell)
Samuel L. Jackson in "The Hateful Eight." (The Weinstein Company)

The Hateful Eight

Weinstein, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99


Available on VOD on Tuesday

Quentin Tarantino indulges in some of his worst impulses in this widescreen western, loading it up with violence and vulgarity to an almost nihilistic degree. Yet as tone-deaf and ugly as the film often is, it's also beautifully shot (by Robert Richardson) and masterfully acted (by an all-star cast that includes Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins and an Oscar-nominated Jennifer Jason Leigh), with a stirring Oscar-winning score from Ennio Morricone. And it's always a pleasure to listen to Tarantino's dialogue, with its winding speeches and stories within stories. He bites off more than he can chew with this claustrophobic tale of post-Civil War animus, boiling over at a snowed-in Wyoming trading post, but while the movie is uneven, it's often thrilling. Buyer beware, though: While the film itself is certainly worthy, this first DVD and Blu-ray release contains the shorter, nonroadshow cut, with just a couple of featurettes. Chances are a better edition will be coming someday.


Will Smith and Alec Baldwin in "Concussion."
Will Smith and Alec Baldwin in "Concussion." (Melinda Sue Gordon / TNS)

Sony, $26.99; Blu-ray, $34.99/$45.99

Available on VOD on Tuesday

Although this never became the Oscar contender that many had pegged it to be when the project was announced, it's a serviceable, ripped-from-the-headlines melodrama, with an impressive cast. Will Smith stars as Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian forensic scientist who was one of the first to determine that retired NFL players were suffering an epidemic of brain disease, which he dubbed chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Luke Wilson plays NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, while Alec Baldwin and Albert Brooks play doctors whose lives are also touched by Omalu's crusade. Writer-director Peter Landesman never quite figures out how to turn this material into anything other than a dramatized magazine article, but the subject matter's provocative enough regardless. The DVD and Blu-ray come with a commentary track, deleted scenes and featurettes.

Cartel Land

A meth lab in Michoacan, Mexico. From the movie "Cartel Land."
A meth lab in Michoacan, Mexico. From the movie "Cartel Land." (The Orchard)

Paramount, $29.99

Matthew Heineman's riveting documentary is like a nonfiction version of the recent hit thriller "Sicario," following the corruption and vigilantism sparked by the drug-smuggling business on the U.S.-Mexico border. Heineman embedded with a citizens' militia in Arizona and a resistance movement spreading through smaller Mexican towns, showing how hard it is for even well-meaning people to contain the violence of the drug lords — and to avoid being swayed by their money and influence. This isn't a hopeful movie by any means, but it's a must-see for anyone who wants to understand a major international tragedy that's largely escaped the mainstream media's notice.

Humans: Series One

Acorn, $39.99; Blu-ray, $39.99

Pivoting off the idea that artificial intelligence is rapidly becoming a part of our daily lives, the British-American science-fiction series (which is shown on AMC in the U.S.) imagines what may happen in the near future when humanoid robots are indistinguishable from human beings. The show splits time between fugitive androids and a human family that's fracturing in part because of family members' relationships with technology. Like a lot of these kinds of dramas (the movie "Ex Machina" comes to mind), "Humans" is about what makes us who we are. But it's not some chilly intellectual exercise; it's frequently tense and poignant, especially when the title characters are looking at what they created with wonder and regret. The DVD and Blu-ray add featurettes.




Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $19.99


E1, $29.98; Blu-ray, $32.98

A Poem Is a Naked Person

Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95

Point Break

Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $44.95

Available on VOD on Tuesday