Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, screenplay by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Griffin Dunne, Steve Zahn, and Dennis O’Hare.
One of the strongest contenders in this year’s Oscar race is Jean-Marc Vallée’s latest masterpiece. Loosely adapted from the real life story of Ron Woodroof, the film tells the story of a promiscuous drug addict and homophobe who contracts full blown HIV/AIDS in in the mid 1980s. All but killed by AZT, the only FDA-approved AIDS medication on the market, Woodroof starts smuggling non-toxic alternatives which have yet to be approved in the states, and eventually sells them to other patients for profit. The picture is one part complex character study and one part chilling indictment of the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry. McConaughey plays Woodroof with captivating detail and overflowing intensity, having lost 47 lbs for the role. Jared Leto is also pitch perfect as Rayon, a transgender patient who eventually warms his way into Woodroof’s heart. While the film will most certainly be passed over for the Best Picture Award (Twelve Years A Slave is viewed as more important and Gravity as more technically impressive) but it nevertheless is a captivating and gut-wrenching film which sends a vital message to American and international audiences, and it will probably pick up at least an acting award or two–and will definitely deserve it. 5/5 stars.
You think of a traveler as someone who is too restless to stay still, who always needs to be on the move, doing things, changing things, seeing things, learning things. Maybe that describes me to a point–I do tend to get antsy when I’m not making a difference in some way, and while I’m not doing stem cell research, I love nothing more than traveling all over the globe and taking pictures of new places. But to be honest, it’s not always restlessness I feel. Sometimes in my travels I find a place so stunningly beautiful, so remarkably enchanting, that I wouldn’t have any problem at all just staying there forever.
That’s how I felt when I first visited the Alberta Rockies in 2007. From the sublime peaks to the lush valleys, the range is a wonderland of crystal blue lakes, dense green forests, waterfalls, and endless, untamed wildlife. Just a short day drive from Calgary and Edmonton, the Rockies’ panoramic vistas are literally breathtaking. All I could think was thank goodness for digital cameras–I couldn’t possibly have carried enough rolls of film for the amount of pictures I was drawn to take.
While there are all sorts guided tours on horseback or in low-flying airplanes, I’m a DIY kind of guy–I had to get out there on my own, just me and my camera.
I started with some ice climbing…
And then did some skiing…
In the end, it was a great trip, and I’d go back in a heartbeat!