Flick Picks 2/4/14: Dallas Buyers Club, About Time, Escape Plan

What's New on DVD at the Library This Week!

ENTERTAINMENT: Matthew McConaughey continues his career renaissance by giving another powerful performance in Dallas Buyers Club, the true story of a Texan who finds himself unable to purchase the drugs that he is hoping will help him beat the disease, since they are unapproved in the U.S. He teams with a doctor (played by Griffin Dunne) and a transgender fellow HIV patient (Jared Leto) to try to get his hands on these potentially lifesaving drugs. On the lighter side, About Time is a romantic comedy from the director of Love Actually about a man who can travel through time and the girl that he loves (Rachel McAdams). For something a little more testosterone heavy, Escape Plan gives us Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone as a pair who must break out of a seemingly escape-proof prison.

The BBC offers up Burton and Taylor, which focuses on the 1983 production of Noel Coward's Private Lives that teamed Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor onstage. Though divorced for many years at this point there is both attraction and bad blood between the two. It stars Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter. The Lady Vanishes is a BBC remake of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller about what happens when an elderly lady disappears from a train and nearly everyone insists that she was never there. For the kids this week we've got Free Birds, an animated film about a pair of turkeys who travel back in time in an attempt to get themselves off of the Thanksgiving menu. Another animated film this week, Moon Man, tells the story of the man on the moon's vacation on earth, as his absence makes the children of the world unable to sleep.

SERIES: Based on the works of Philippa Gregory, White Queen focuses on three women who compete for the English throne during the Wars of the Roses. Also, shows may come and shows may go but Midsomer Murders is seemingly eternal, dropping off season 23 at the library this week.

DOCUMENTARIES: Blood Brother is about a young American who decided to dedicate his life to helping HIV-infected children in India

You can find all of our new and upcoming DVDs in Bibliocommons.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

By now you've surely heard of Philip Seymour Hoffman's passing at the age of 46. There have been many tributes written about Hoffman in the last few days that capture his skill much better than I ever could. What strikes me is the sheer number of quality films that the guy contributed to, in both showcase and smaller roles. Take a look at his Rotten Tomatoes profile and you'll see that Hoffman was almost incapable of choosing a role in a poorly made film. We've got many of his great roles available for you to enjoy again or to see for the first time.

  • Capote - Hoffman's Academy Award-winning turn as Truman Capote, as he forms a relationship with Perry Smith, one of the killers who becomes the subject of his book In Cold Blood.
  • The Master - Hoffman was nominated for an Academy Award in this challenging look at a drifter who hooks up with a cult leader.
  • Charlie Wilson's War - Another Academy Award nomination for his small but nicely showcased role as a free thinking CIA agent.
  • Doubt - A tough character study of a priest accused of improper relations with a student at his school.
  • Before the Devil Knows You're Dead - A downbeat but extremely well-made little film about two brothers who decide to rob their parents' store, leading to tragic results.
  • Synecdoche, New York - Roger Ebert called this the best film of the decade and while it's a challenging film, it's also an astonishing look at a theatre director's lifelong attempt to create a replica of New York City in order to stage a play.
  • Jack Goes Boating - Probably one of the smaller recent films that Hoffman made, it was also his directorial debut. It tells the story of two New York couples.
  • Owning Mahowny - An earlier showcase role that features Hoffman as a man with a gambling problem.
  • The Big Lebowski - An early, small role that nonetheless is worth viewing just for the scene where he shows off his boss's wall of awards.
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