Last updated: February 06. 2014 1:05PM - 956 Views
Tom Doty Times Columnist

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A slow week for rentals offered a viewers a chance to catch a criminally underseen drama and the latest animated smackdown from DC Comics.

“Dallas Buyers Club” — The true story of how a part-time rodeo rider and full-time hustler made something out of his life when he was stricken with AIDS in the late-1980s. Matthew McConaughey stars as Ron Woodruff. The film charts how he goes outside the system to get the experimental drug AZT for himself and others stricken with the disease. The film pulls no punches and makes no attempt to apologize for Ron’s character. He is depicted as a drug-abusing womanizer who changes his life only when he is forced to. The truth is the film makes a strong argument for the human spirit by focusing on the valleys as well as the eventual peaks that defined Woodroof.

“Justice League: War” — A retelling of the origin of the super-powered team reveals how their individual struggles against the interstellar threat of Darkseid forces Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and the Flash to team up. Fun, but darker than the series.

“Free Birds” — Two time-travelling turkeys try to stop the first Thanksgiving in this animated yarn from the producers of “Shrek.” Let this film serve as a reminder that producers don’t have the same reputation as writers and directors because they are essentially businessmen. Don’t let the allusions to “Shrek” lead you to the conclusion that this film shares any of the magic of that one.

“Joanie Loves Chachi: The Complete Series” — What a shame that this “Happy Days” spinoff was so lousy. It isn’t the fault of the talented performers (Scott Baio and Erin Moran). The fact is that the series it spun off from was already on its last legs and the nostalgia craze that inspired it (from George Lucas’ “American Graffiti”) was over. That said, it only lasted 17 episodes total, but suffered a critical backlash that was hard for the performers to shake. Check it out if you’re a fan, but the series wasn’t up to snuff.

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