New in Home Entertainment – February 4, 2014

New in Home Entertainment

February 4, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club
Rated R for pervasive language, some strong sexual content, nudity and drug use
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Texan Matthew McConaughey has completely reinvented himself over the last two years, going from bad rom coms to amazing dramatic performances and Dallas Buyers Club seems to be his crowning achievement thus far.  Playing wannabe rodeo star and hustler Ron Woodroof, he is given an HIV diagnosis and told he only has a very short time to live.  But when he discovers there are drugs available that might help him extend that time frame, he steals, smuggles and connives his way to living longer and making a lot of money by offering up his findings to a select group of Texans who are in the same predicament.  This true story is absolutely captivating and a testament to the desperate man’s intelligence and resourcefulness.  While McConaughey is worthy of every bit of praise he is receiving, I’m not that sold on Jared Leto’s performance as his transvestite partner.  He’s good but not Oscar shoo-in good.  A-

About Time
Rated R for language and some sexual content
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This terrific little British romantic comedy by Love Actually writer/director  Richard Curtis did very well overseas but performed miserably here in the states.  Telling the story of a young man (Domhnall Gleeson) who discovers from his father (Bill Nighy) that he has the genetically gifted ability to travel back in time to fix things he wants to fix, the movie is a marvel of creativity and romance.  Using his newly found powers he finds a way to get Rachel McAdams to fall in love with him and make his life nearly perfect until he meets challenges that his ability can’t rearrange.  While it sounds very sci-fi, it is not, but rather it is a sweet and lovely little film with a lot of laughs and even more heart.  I wish more romantic comedies were like this.  If they were, they wouldn’t have such a bad rep.  A-

Blood Brother
Available on DVD

Blood Brother is a documentary that follows the life of Rocky Braat, a young American who has dedicated his life to working in a small community of children with HIV in India.  While very challenging at times, the film is not as depressing as you might think and by the end gives you a wonderful and heart-felt smile on your face with a happy tear in your eye.  I found myself thanking God there are people like Rocky in the world who sacrifice themselves on a daily basis for those who have nothing and no one to call their own.  A

Cutie and the Boxer
Rated R for nude art images
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This Oscar-nominated documentary follows the lives of a Japanese artist couple who have struggled with their very niche art in New York City through four chaotic decades.  The characters are interesting, as are their creations, but I doubt the film will hold the interest of a broad audience as the narrative isn’t as compelling as some of the other documentaries this year.   B-

Jules and Jim: The Criterion Collection
Available on DVD/Blu-ray combo

If you’ve ever been to film school or read extensively on the subject of French cinema, you will have no doubt studied this 1962 Francois Truffaut classic about two close friends who both fall for the same woman and spend decades in a love triangle.  While the film has been very influential for many filmmakers, I much prefer the films that have been inspired by this film (such as Amelie and Vanilla Sky) than the film itself.  While this new collection has a wonderful new 2k restoration and thus looks fantastic, I really could care less for the story or the characters.  My indifference to them and their actions make this a hard film for me enjoy on any level greater than intellectually.  So if you are learning about cinematic history, or have a passion for French New Wave, then you probably don’t need me to recommend this film.  For everyone else, I wouldn’t bother.  C-