Dallas Buyers Club Blu-ray
Dallas Buyers Club isn’t the feel good movie of the year. It’s not a war cry for equal rights or a sobering historical narrative about the early years of HIV prevalence. It’s a film framed in rapid cut-tos, telling the story of an angular man with a vision that knew how to do a lot of things, but never how to give up. This week, Dallas Buyers Club is headed onto Blu-ray and into more theaters, just as this year’s Oscar race is really heating up.
Most people faced with little time to live will spend at least a few days wallowing before deciding how to spend their last moments. Ron Woodruff only spends a few hours thusly before beginning to research a cocktail of drugs in the hopes he’ll be able to elongate his life. From there, Woodroof begins dealing in drugs, bringing proteins, supplements and FDA-unapproved medications into the USA in order to get them to Dallas citizens dealing with the daily threat of HIV. While Woodruff fights to save his life, he’s also fighting for the lives of a slew of others, but Jean-Marc Vallée’s film profiles Woodroof’s work like it is any struggling business, rarely delving into scenes that are sappy or emotional.
A few such moments do make their way into the film, and ground Dallas Buyers Club as a real story following a cocky motherfucker in real space and real time. My favorite of these such moments is when Woodroof is dickering for a new place to set up his business. The renter, also fighting HIV, offers to lease the house for free. Woodroof, in a rare moment, looks stunned and gratified before changing expressions and sheepishly stating, "Well, that's good then."
It’s moments like the above that make McConaughey so enigmatic to watch onscreen. He’s not alone in his acting prowess, however. Jared Leto also went above and beyond to portray the transgendered Rayon in the film. Both men lost weight to gear up for roles that took patience and vision in addition to helping the two men to take over the screen during the film’s 117 minute run. Still, there’s grace and an attention to detail in subtler performances from Jennifer Garner, Steve Zahn, and Dallas Roberts (who is also often overlooked on The Good Wife among bigger and bolder personalities). It’s a doozy of a political film, and one of the year’s best.
Best Special Feature: The disc as a whole is fairly sparse, but the few bonus features are worth a watch, introducing us to a few more scenes that place Garner’s character in the limelight, as well as giving us a look into the making of the film. I wouldn’t call them the best extras I’ve ever seen, but if you are purchasing the movie, they are worth a view.
Other Special Features:
"A Look Inside Dallas Buyers Club"
About Time Blu-ray
The holiday romance flick About Time didn’t receive much notice stateside, although it nabbed more prominence worldwide. This week, the time traveling drama is headed on to Blu-ray and DVD to tell it’s thoughtful story about relationships and the choices people make during a lifetime that affect themselves and those around them.
A few minutes into About Time, the film seems like a hodgepodge of romantic comedy and time traveling tropes. Through a meet cute in a dark club, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) meets Mary (Rachel McAdams). In the dark, they begin to fall for one another, but because of the time traveling component, their potential as a couple is immediately challenged and Tim is left to deal with circumstances in his life going awry. Happily, About Time soon drifts away from the standard romance format to tell Tim’s story. While romance is still a big part of that narrative, his friends and family members flesh his life out into a tale that is far more rewarding, albeit less quippy than your average McAdams endeavor.
About Time is an unusual film, and one filmed with quirky British humor, thanks to excellent timing by Gleeson and Bill Nighy, who appears in the film as Tim’s father. Even when the men willinly break the rules of time travel and science fiction fanatics are cringing in their gaming chairs, the film manages to retain its credibility thanks to its storytelling focus and casting. It only hits troubled waters in the few moments it feels monotonous, and those are, thankfully, few and far between. Additionally, while I would have liked McAdams to have taken on a meatier role in the film, About Time’s story presents the rare occasion when sentiment isn’t sloppy and nostalgia is fitting. Tim’s character is born and bred in a family dynamic worth cherishing. While many of us might avoid our families, there’s enough love in his that you can see why he’d actually bend the laws of time and space to relieve some of the worst of days and some of the best.
Best Special Feature: The understated nature of the time travel is discussed in a special bonus feature, and its one of the more interesting extras on the disc. Curtis talks about how the time travel was secondary to the story he wanted to tell, focusing on "normal life" rather than "hybrid life." Unfortunately, McAdams doesn’t really address the fact that About Time is the third time traveling film she’s been a part of and yet she hasn’t been able to time travel at all. If I were her, I would be an unhappy camper.
Other Special Features:
Deleted Scenes with Intros by Director Richard Curtis
Blooper Reel: Making Movies is a Serious Business
"About Tim and Time Travel"
"The Look, Style and Locations"
"The World of Richard Curtis"
"The Luckiest" Music
The White Queen Blu-ray
There are releases to fill nearly every TV and movie niche this week. From superheroes to action flicks and animated films to Shakespeare revisits, there’s a little bit of something for everyone, including the period drama The White Queen from Starz and Anchor Bay Entertainment. The latter spends 10 episodes immersing fans into the world of The War of the Roses, a world that is filled with politics, alliances, and plenty of love affairs. More about the set, here.
Additionally, you can check out some of the rest of this week’s big releases, below. Unless otherwise noted, titles are available on both Blu-ray and DVD.
Other February 4 Release
Justice League: War
Blood Brother DVD
Mister & Pete
Code Red DVD
A Case of You
The Little Penguin: Pororo’s Racing Adventure DVD
The Care-a-thon Games DVD
Laverne And Shirley: The Seventh Season DVD
House of Versace DVD
Finding Faith DVD
Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.
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