Dallas Buyers Club

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Of course, now that the Oscars have been handed out, I have to see what all the hubub was about with this film. And I am happy to say…I wasn’t disappointed! With 2 amazing performances, a solid script and a polished supporting cast, “Dallas Buyers Club” showed me why it was a highly considered Oscar contender in 2013.

Redneck electrician Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) has contracted the HIV virus during the AIDS scare in the mid-80’s. He is told that he has a month to live. After receiving the news, he loses all of his friends, his job and his home and finds himself lost & scared. All attempts at finding a cure seem exhausted until he finds himself in Mexico, where he meets a doctor who seems to understand the nature of the disease and how it can be treated using alternative, healthy treatments. Woodroof finds himself an activist in America as he attempts to treat hundreds of patients who are dying from the deadly disease with the supplements. The FDA, however, seeks to shut he and his business down due to their lack of involvement and their push for a new drug that is being tested.

All roles in this film are spot on. Obviously, Matthew McConaughey’s performance speaks for itself as he won the Best Actor award for it. He is so immersed in his role that he lost almost a scary amount of weight and is so convincing as Woodroof that I often times forgot that it was an actor playing in a role! Jared Leto also won a golden statue for his role as Rayon, a cross-dressing homosexual who befriends Ron, despite his ignorance and hate, and helps him set up his shop. They eventually form a wonderful friendship and it’s that which drives this film. Leto is amazing in this role and I can’t imagine anyone else playing this character. Rayon is a complex person and Leto carries the role with such grace that often times you don’t realize that he is a man! Jennifer Garner is also excellent as a doctor who becomes friends with Woodroof and who is a liaison at the hospital.

I admit, I have never heard of Ron Woodroof. But this story, which has been told with a little bit fact and a little bit of fiction, is an amazing one. It’s the story of one man, fighting for his life and fighting against corporate America. It is also a coming of age story, as Woodroof finds himself to be vilified by his community only to be adopted by a new and understanding one. It is beautifully told and well directed and it deserved to be considered one of the best films of 2013!

OVERALL RATING: A

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The Lincoln Lawyer

The real star of this movie…

Based on a novel by Michael Connelly, “The Lincoln Lawyer” is a tasty enough treat when you look at the lineup of talented actors involved, but it’s kind of bland when you’re watching it. With Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy and a few other role players who are excellent actors, but the story never really catches on fire and almost becomes more of a second-rate “Primal Fear.”

Mickey Haller (McConaughey) is a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer who has his share of shady clients. When he finally gets a high profile case, he jumps at it, hoping to make a big score. But the man he is looking to defend (Phillippe) has some secrets and at some point Mickey has to decide if he wants to do what is right or if he should do what the law says he must do.

To give away any other points of the story would take away from the plot  so I’m not gonna mention anymore. Needless to say, as you can tell, this story has been told before. Defense lawyer turns good, doesn’t want to defend the bad guy and everything works out in the end. Not that this isn’t a good story because it IS entertaining in a way and there’s nothing wrong with it, but under the direction of Brad Furman, it never seems to pick up speed. Sure, there is lots of slick camera work and some interesting courtroom drama, but nothing about this film moves it beyond a regular “CSI” on the big screen. Other than the fact that McConaughey and Tomei look great and Macy is a fantastic actor, nothing about this movie will stick with you after you’re done watching it. As a matter of fact, other than the soundtrack (which is great), I remember very little about this film and I just saw it yesterday!

So if you have some free time and can catch a matinee, this isn’t a terrible way to waste it. But if you’re going for a full-blown night out and are gonna spend $15 a ticket? There are better ways to spend your hard earned cash and catch this one on NetFlix,

Overall Rating: C-