The Week in Film: Slim McConaughey edition

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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In Theaters

Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features)

Dallas Buyers Club
(Focus Features)

Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto have received a good deal of awards buzz for their work in Dallas Buyers Club, and rightfully so.  The fact-based story of hard-partying, homophobic Texan Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), his contraction of HIV and AIDS, and the covert operation to get quality drugs in the hands of fellow patients is a raw, moving portrait of friendship and survival.  The two leads lost an extraordinary amount of weight for Jean-Marc Vallée’s film and firmly capitalize on the awe of their physical transformations.  I prefer McConaughey’s turn in Mud and that film overall, but if it’s Dallas Buyers Club that gets the former Wooderson his first Academy Award nomination, so be it.  Leto’s transvestite hooker Rayon is even more impressive and appears to be the favorite in the Supporting Actor race.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Lionsgate)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The heavy hitter this week and the reason for minimal competition is the second film in The Hunger Games saga, Catching Fire.  When last we saw Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), they’d been crowned co-champions of their televised to-the-death teen competition seconds before attempting a “stick it to the man” suicide.  Now, after touring Panem’s districts as victors and witnessing signs of an uprising they’ve helped inspire, they’re reaped once more in the special 75th anniversary games, featuring a collection of past winners.  Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Liam Hemsworth, and Lenny Kravitz all return and are joined by Jena Malone’s dangerous Tribute and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the new Gamesmaster.  As for my expectations, well…I didn’t love the first movie and this one is based on the book that made me give up on the series because it felt like a rehash of the first book.  At least the director (I Am Legend‘s Francis Lawrence) is different, so perhaps the results will be as well.

Delivery Man (Walt Disney Studios)

Delivery Man
(Walt Disney Studios)

Delivery Man is writer/director Ken Scott’s remake of his own 2011 French comedy Starbuck (available on Netflix Instant).  The film stars Vince Vaughn as David, a man-child who discovers that his sperm donations from 20 years ago have resulted in 533 children, 142 of whom have filed a lawsuit to learn his identity.  Against his friends’ advice, he anonymously seeks out many of these offspring and becomes determined to make a difference in their lives, even if it’s just one little action.  Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders, and Bobby Moynihan join Vaughn, who already gave us one of the year’s biggest surprises of the year alongside Owen Wilson in The Internship.  Can he perform a second miracle?

Fleeing the Scene

Ender’s Game runs out of quarters and Enough Said wraps up its monologue after a good run.  Making room for Dallas Buyers ClubAll Is Lost departs the Fine Arts but stays afloat at the Carolina.


Solid comedies Crystal Fairy and We’re the Millers lead the way, joined by fellow unexpected winner Planes and the funny but somewhat disappointing The World’s End.  Also available is the middling wannabe-thriller Paranoia, the Aubrey Plaza sex comedy The To Do List (which never wound up playing locally, despite much hemming and hawing), and 2 Guns, a near intolerable action/”comedy” that plays to Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg’s worst traits.

On Netflix Instant

The stars this week each feature a major Hollywood actor giving a minimalist performance in a foreign land: Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives (still one of my favorites from this year) and George Clooney in The American.  More emotive is Greta Gerwig in Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, who makes the above men look like mutes by comparison.

Of the unseen titles there’s Dealin’ With Idiots from Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Jeff Garlin; the David Duchovny/Demi Moore dark comedy The Jone$es; and, continuing Robert De Niro’s wacky year, Killing Season, which also features John Travolta as (of all things) a Bosnian soldier.  Let the accent Olympics begin!

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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