November 11, 2013 12:00 PM

Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto | R |


Ron Woodroof (McCon-aughey) might have been all right with overdosing on drugs or drinking himself to death. But to have some doctor tell him he has AIDS and only 30 days to live? That dog won’t hunt. Dallas Buyers Club tells the true story of how Woodroof, a crusty, hard-living electrician, commuted his own death sentence and became an unlikely hero in the fight against AIDS and HIV.

The diagnosis turns Woodroof in- to a scientist and a smuggler, researching drugs and going to Mexico for the latest treatments. To watch McConaughey in these scenes – shockingly gaunt, even more surprisingly funny – is to see an actor in full flower. His rangy rogue will make you laugh so hard you’ll cry. Then you’ll cry a little more.

But Dallas is a Texas two-step, with Leto equally riveting as Woodroof’s transsexual friend and business partner Rayon. The two are almost unrecognizable, disappearing into their exquisite performances as Ron and Rayon create a supply chain to get safer drugs to desperate patients. Jennifer Garner rounds out the cast as their sympathetic doctor Eve Saks, grounding some of their wilder antics. And though there are melancholy moments, Dallas stays in high spirits. The point, after all, was for Woodroof to live.

The Counselor

Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz | R |


Talk about exasperating. Fassbender plays an unnamed lawyer whose first drug deal with two shady associates (Bardem and Brad Pitt) goes bad. The timing is awful: He’s newly engaged to gorgeous Laura (Cruz). That’s a terrific setup, but it’s squandered by a script (by author Cormac McCarthy) drowning in florid speeches and pointless scenes. At least Cameron Diaz is having some sort of fun as scandalous Malkina.

About Time

Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams | R |


Tim (the adorably disarming Gleeson) has a secret: Men in his family can travel back in time. That allows the lawyer to retry his cases, restage flubbed conversations and meet Mary (McAdams), the love of his life, as many times as it takes to get it right. It’s best not to think how manipulative that is and just enjoy the sweet, funny ride.


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