The story of Ron Woodruff, a straight guy who contracts H.I.V. from having unprotected sex in the mid ‘80’s when the public knew very little about the virus and all the stigma and uninformed judgements were rife in the public consciousness.

He is given 30 days to live but defies this sentence.

This film comes off as the worthy movie of the week. I feel like this about most biopics or based on a true story flicks. Ray, Walk the Line, Mandela, etc etc etc. I kind of enjoy them when I’m watching them but ultimately they fail to leave an indelible impression.

I was forgetting this film as I was watching it.

It’s decently made and fairly well acted and the most interesting part of it was the F.D.A. trying to shut down Ron’s unapproved distribution.

McConaughey’s Ron sets up a buyer’s club for all the H.I.V. and A.I.D.S. patients to sell them a cocktail of peptides, vitamins and minerals as an alternative to the poison that is being legally distributed to patients in hospitals.
Big Pharma and the F.D.A. don’t get totally lambasted merely prodded by the stick of judgement. More’s the pity. This is where the real crime lies.

Should a dying person be able to choose what they put into their bodies?
Should a living person have the right to choose?

I think so. And while this argument is put forward in the film it seems like it could have been tackled with more cojones.

The government and the Food and Drug Administration are so politicized and influenced by the big corporations that there seems to be no room for personal choice.

The jury was out on McConaughey as an actor. He has charisma and is likeable and watchable. I recently True Detective, a new HBO drama, starring McConaughey and Woody Harrelson and they are both superb in that show. Maybe the Oscar was really for True Detective.

Let me elaborate, an actor should be receptive to and fit into the scene to tell the story as best he/she can.
McConaughey is always in the room, it’s like he sucks the air out of every room he enters. A big personality, whoop de do. I don’t want to see a big personality (and I’m not down with the excuse that Ron Woodruff was like that hence the choices). I want to see a character that is true. There is too much McConaughey in this performance, he is too aware. Technically he is excellent, but every scene he is in is about him. The other actors have to fit in and around him.

This is not true acting to me.
There is a receptivity and sensitivity that comes with really being present.
Ultimately, it’s not about the artist, it’s about the art.

In DBC, the emotional scenes all come from and are about the actor and do not seem to emerge naturally from the scene. It’s a very masculine energy devoid of the feminine. I want to see a balance, this is where genius resides.

Jennifer Garner, on the other hand gives the most honest, receptive performance in the film.
Jared Leto was convincing as Rayon, Woodruff’s business partner but deserving of all the awards…..not sure.

It seems that this year the awards mafia has recognised AIDS over blacks.
This is how the industry is. I bet they were so relieved that this worthy film came along so they wouldn’t have to give 12 Year a Slave EVERYTHING (as it so rightly deserves).

McConaughey showboats as is his wont and Hollywood laps that shit up.

Give a performance of truth, unadorned of the usual fare and you may get looked over.
Ah, the politricks.

When McConaughey won his award for best actor at the SAG/AFTRAs he talked about himself finding the character and living and walking in his shoes, a true actor would never be so crass. His Oscar speech was equally uncomfortable.

Ultimately this is a story that should be told but it could have been told a LOT better.






The Wiseguys of Wall Street.

Comparisons to Goodfellas will be coming in thick and fast with this ‘real life’ tale of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who broke a lot of rules to live the debauched life he so desired.

The voice-over for one. Was it just me or did Leo even sound like Ray at times? I don’t think this was a conscious thing but his voice had a little Henry Hill in it. (Kaaarrrrennnn).

The sprawling tale, taking the viewer though time to tell the story.

The fantastic soundtrack.

The reasons it’s not a 5 star film-

David Mamet once said:


Now, as with Lincoln, we saw too many scenes with Lincoln giving his speeches, and it bored me to tears, Marty gives us too many Leo speeches, that don’t do any more than the previous one did.

I get the plot ones but other than that we get that Jordan is obviously a great rallyer of troops. We get it. Tighten up.
It is not propelling the story forward. Leo, as with DDL, is a great actor and I enjoy watching him (he reminded me of a young Jack Nicholson at times) but I don’t need to see the same scene with different words. It’s boring.

The debauchery is over-egged as well, too many scenes saying the same thing.

The film ultimately wasn’t tight enough. People talk about how long it was and in this case it was true. However, if the 3 hours contained a composition that merited the time then cool, bring it.
Roger Ebert once said: “No good movie is long enough and no bad movie is short enough”.

The film was a fun ride, no doubt and had a great deal of jokes and humour in it. The best scenes were with all the brokers, old mates, kicking it verbally. Very funny. The original dinner and the selling of the pen right up to the interviews, Usual Suspects style, were by far the funniest and it was a shame more wasn’t made of their relationships, I think it would have made for a more satisfying entertaining outcome.

Instead we were shown the relationship with Naomi a little bit too much. I get it, they love each other, she hates him, move on.

Everybody was great in it (I’m looking the other way when it comes to Jon Bernthal here) and the direction was as good as you’d expect from one of the greatest directors America (nay the world) has produced. The mighty Thelma Schoonmaker was doing her thing, but maybe there needed to be some more brutality in the editing room. It must be hard to be too close to the subject in order to see it clearly and through the eyes of an audience member, but people change with time and their aesthetic tastes change. Fair play.

Terence Winter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire) was on screenwriting duties and delivered a script worthy of the great director.

Scorsese’s last great film (IMO) , was Kundun, in 1997 (apart from the George Harrison doc, which was wonderful).

I haven’t fully enjoyed the Leo/Marty collaborations, not that they’ve been shit, merely not nearly as good as the Bobby/Marty masterpieces.
The Wolf of Wall Street has probably been the most enjoyable of their pairings, but it’s not quite the masterpiece it feels like it should have been.

It is, however, very enjoyable and worth a watch, it’s a shame it misses the mark, it could have been as magnificent as Jordan Belfort’s appetite for narcotics, women and money.