In “Dallas Buyers Club” (2013), Matthew McConaughey transforms from a hard-partying, homophobic roughneck into an AIDS patient shrewdly finding ways to beat the FDA and smuggle unapproved medications for himself and others. McConaughey and a cross-dressing Jared Leto rightly received Oscar nods for the film, based on the real-life experiences of ’80s accidental activist Ron Woodroof. Just as striking, though, is the career metamorphosis McConaughey himself caps off in playing Woodroof. Some will recall the actor’s run as Vanity Fair “It” Guy in the mid-’90s, when he supplied movies like John Grisham’s “A Time to Kill” with no end of hunky gloss. But over time, the whole man-tanned stud persona seemed to elicit fewer hubba-hubbas and more ughs, with McConaughey churning out tepid work like the rom-coms “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” and “Fool’s Gold.” (Indeed.) He’s climbed out of that rut in the last few years with a string of projects and character roles which, combined with “Buyers Club,” can make for some interesting power viewing. (Consider it a DIY bonus to make up for the disc’s dearth of supplements.) There’s his grungy, off-the-grid fugitive in last year’s Southern-fried drama “Mud.” There’s his turn as a stylistically square DA prosecuting unlikely murderer-mortician Jack Black in “Bernie.” And there’s his sendup of his himbo image as the well-oiled strip club owner in “Magic Mike.” No word as yet on a release date for McConaughey and Woody Harrelson’s intriguing HBO crime drama “True Detective,” which wraps its season in March. (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)
ABOUT TIME (2013)
Director Richard Curtis (“Love Actually”) spins the tale of a frequently tongue-tied everyguy (Domhnall Gleeson) whose ability to revisit moments in his own life is about getting things right, not throwing things off, especially with his charming new crush (Rachel McAdams). Oh, the possibilities the story imagines — and oh, the heartache that inevitably arises just the same. Gleeson (2012’s “Anna Karenina”) is consistently appealing as Curtis’s new, de facto Hugh Grant stand-in (the same halting likability, with a dash of Ron Weasley thrown in). Bill Nighy is all loose-limbed affability as Gleeson’s dad, who’s also temporally gifted. Extras: Featurette on Curtis’s romance oeuvre. (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)
ESCAPE PLAN (2013)
In a new team-up from “Expendables” compadres Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sly plays a security consultant who infiltrates prisons, and Ah-nold is the fast friend he makes after being left to rot in a secret super-penitentiary. For the first half-hour, you start to think maybe it’s possible to recapture those ’80s popcorn-movie thrills.
Trouble is, it’s all Stallone’s show — Schwarzenegger hasn’t even come into the picture yet. The moment he does, some of the air goes out of the room, and we’re squarely in indulgence territory. Extras: Semi-aptly titled “Clash of the Titans” featurette. (Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99)
Tom Russo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.