Monday, February 24, 2014

Movie Reviews: Philomena, Dallas Buyers Club & The Wolf of Wall Street

Over the weekend, AMC theaters had their annual best picture showcase. On Saturday beginning at noon, Academy Award® Best Picture nominees Philomena, Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street and 12 Years a Slave were shown.  The Sunday movies were Nebraska, Captain Phillips, Her, American Hustle and Gravity.  Kevin and I attended the Saturday event since we hadn’t seen three of the four movies.

Rated PG-13

Philomena is a delight!  Based on a true story, arrogant former BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) aides pious Philomena Lee (Academy Award® Best Actress nominee Judi Dench) search for her son who was adopted almost 50 years earlier.

I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Philomena.  Judi Dench’s acting is top notch, as she elegantly portrays a seemingly simple, yet worldly Irish woman whose actions are driven by guilt.  Laced with just the right amount of humor, two people from vastly different worlds are able to work toward a common goal and leave with a much better understanding of human nature.  This uplifting story was a great way to kick off our movie day!

Dallas Buyers Club
Rated R

Dallas Buyers Club is loosely based on the life of Ron Woodruff (Matthew McConaughey), a hard-living, straight man who contracts HIV in the mid-1980s.  Given 30 days to live, he turns to alternative and non-FDA approved medicines, soon bringing them into Texas and selling them to those who are HIV-positive.

Like in 12 Years a Slave, the cruelty and discrimination displayed in Dallas Buyers Club are painful to witness.  That said, both are excellent films worth seeing. Academy Award® Best Actor nominee Matthew McConaughey and Academy Award® Best Supporting Actor nominee Jared Leto, who underwent major physical transformations in order to more accurately portray their characters, both give award-winning performances.  Though the subject matter is not uplifting, this is an important film to see.

The Wolf of Wall Street
Rated R

Academy Award® Best Actor nominee Leonardo DiCaprio portrays Jordan Belfort, a charismatic, young stockbroker who founds his own firm, Stratton Oakmont, and defrauds investors of millions of dollars, all while living a life of debauchery.

Like the two prior films, The Wolf of Wall Street is loosely based on a true story.  Though this film is filled with sex and illegal drug use, it’s an interesting glimpse into the super rich Belfort’s life.

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