Sound on Film: ’12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Dallas Buyers Guide’

On this episode of Sound on Film, we offer our thoughts on the critically acclaimed “12 Years a Slave” from “Shame” director Steve McQueen, as well as “Dallas Buyers Club,” the latest in what has been an impressive string of roles for actor Matthew McConaughey.

But first, it’s Around the Filmosphere, with a look at the tantalizing list of December movie premieres, and word of a possible collaboration bringing together the talents of Steven Spielberg, “The Great Gatsby” director Baz Luhrmann and the great Stanley Kubrick.

Listen to the podcast below:

December Films to Watch: (00:40)

We reflect on a strong year in film thus far, and preview upcoming December premieres, including “Her” from Spike Jonze, “Out of the Furnace” from “Crazy Heart” director Scott Cooper, the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis,” David O. Russell’s “American Hustle,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

For more, check out Indiewire’s full list, “Twelve Films to see in December”

Kubrick’s “Napoleon” to HBO, Spielberg to produce… and now, Baz Luhrmann: (06:00)

The latest on the continued saga of of the late Stanley Kubrick’s unproduced Napoleon script. Steven Spielberg is now set to bring the property to HBO as a mini-series, with Australian director Baz Luhrmann potentially at the helm.

This Week, We Discuss…

  • “12 Years a Slave” (09:50)

Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men, Serenity), “12 Years a Slave” tells the story of real-life freeborn African-American Solomon Northrup, who was kidnapped off the streets of Washington, D.C, in 1841 and shipped to New Orleans to be sold into slavery.

Adapted from Northrup’s 1853 memoir of the same name, the film was directed by Steve McQueen (“Hunger,” “Shame”). McQueen has said his interest in the film came from what he describes as a deafening silence towards slavery in everyday life, despite the near-ubiquitous evidence of its legacy.

The daunting cast alongside Ejiofor includes Michael Fassbender (“Inglourious Basterds,”

Shame”), Benedict Cumberbatch (“Star Trek Into Darkness,”

War Horse”), Paul Dano (“Looper,”

“Little Miss Sunshine”), Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson (“American Horror Story”), and Brad Pitt, among others. Plus, a noteworthy supporting role from newcomer Lupita Nyong’o as the slave Patsey.

For more, check out Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air interview Ejiofor and McQueen.

  • “Dallas Buyers Club” (29:03)

Set in 1985 Texas, “Dallas Buyers Club” tells the story of Ron Woodruth (McConaughey), a real-life bombastic hustler—vulgar and openly homophobic—who finds new purpose with the unexpected revelation that he has contracted HIV. Frustrated by the slow pace of the U.S. government and medical establishment’s reaction to the AIDs epidemic, and yet entirely self-motivated, at least at first, Woodruth creates an organization to circumvent the authority of the FDA and provide Dallas patients with experimental AIDS medications from across the global.

McConaughey is joined on screen by actor Jared Leto, best known for his role in “Requiem for a Dream”, who plays Woodruth’s transgender business partner Rayon, and Jennifer Garner as Dr. Eve Saks, who is initially alarmed by Woodruth’s actions, but becomes more and more sympathetic to his cause.

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (“C.R.A.Z.Y.,” “The Young Victoria”).

Here’s an interview in which McConaughey and Director Jean-Marc Vallee discuss the highly experimental making of the film.

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Special thanks to house band Discount Guns.

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