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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - February, 2014

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 "Dallas Buyers Club" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements

movie-feb-2014-dallas-buyers-club

Synopsis

This movie is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof, a Dallas area roughneck, electrician and rodeo cowboy.  Played by Matthew McConaughey, Ron is a strongly homophobic individual who lives life on the edge.  He gets the wakeup call of his life one day when he is unexpectedly diagnosed with the HIV virus.  The doctors give him a 30-day death sentence.  Ron is determined to prove them wrong, but it is the mid 80's and there just aren't any proven treatments available.  This is when he takes matters into his own hands by combining forces with others through a "buyers club" and proceeds to seek treatments from all around the globe. 

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 2013, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 57 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English 5.1 DTS HD Master
  • Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto
  • Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Mild
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

McConaughey famously lost a bunch of weight for this role and it makes his performance all the more beleivable.  But don't think this is the only part of his job here that makes it all work.  McConaughey's acting is truly excellent throughout and he really deserves the accolades he has received in the press.  That alone is reason enough to see this movie and yet it goes deeper.  He has a way of shaping a film and bringing out the best in the other actors.  So in this case we find strong performances from the supporting cast, most notably from Jared Leto, who plays his faithfull sidekick, Rayon, and Jennifer Garner who plays a doctor at the local hospital.  I was moved by this David and Goliath tale that reminds us of the discriminatory and selfish practices of the CDC and FDA of the day.

Technical

The video quality on disc was somewhat variable with most indoor scenes having muted colors and limited pop while outdoor and daylight scenes tended to have much greater dynamic range with a wider color gamut.  Some of the darker scenes suffered from a preponderance of grain.  I did not detect any compression artifacts, problems with blown out whites or crushed blacks.  All in all, this was a solid presentation that was apparently true to the filmaker's intent.  

The audio quality was also solid and I could hear most every whisper or shout at the appropriate levels to make them quite beleivable.  I also enjoyed the solid bass that showed up with gunshots, the sound of car engines and most impressively in the music at the nightclub scenes.  As with the video, the audio holds up its end but wasn't flashy in any particular way.

Extras

This 2-disc set comes with the Blu-ray and a DVD.  Also included are streaming codes for HD Ultraviolet and iTunes.  The set set includes just two on-disc extras - Deleted Scenes and "A Look Inside Dallas Buyers Club".