(KCBS) — With Oscar season starting to heat up, KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl reviews a trio of Academy Award hopefuls this week. Matthew McConaughey stars in "Dallas Buyers Club," a true story about how a man with AIDS found a way to cope with his mortality. The family of Earnest Hemingway is featured in the documentary "Running with Crazy." And in "Spinning Plates," a trio of restaurants, in another documentary, shows the different paths taken to achieve greatness.
KCBS Entertainment Reporter Jan Wahl:
Jan Wahl Movie Review: Dallas Buyers Club, Running From Crazy & Spinning Plates
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (R)
Inspired by true events, we meet Ron Woodroof a rodeo cowboy and electrician who living an unexamined, let's-party lifestyle. The place is Texas; the year is 1985. Ron is diagnosed as HIV positive and is given a year to live. None of this gives the movie away because the story really begins when he realizes his illness. He learns about alternative an alternative treatment and challenges the medical establishment.
Along the way he opens his homophobic, sexist heart to others, including Jared Leto, a fellow sufferer. Both Leto and Matthew McConaughey , especially, will be nominated for these strong performances. McConaughey carries the film, is almost unrecognizable and gives the performance of his career.
RUNNING FROM CRAZY (NOT RATED)
Many of us remember Mariel Hemingway as Woody Allen's muse in "Manhattan." But in this documentary, we find out what was going on behind the scenes. "Running from Crazy" is a perfect title for the story of Mariel's family as she goes on a journey to discover and explore the mental illness, depression and suicides in her family—including her grandfather Ernest Hemingway.
It's a tough look at family jealousy, alcoholism and regret. Director Barbara Kopple is a double Oscar winner. Check out her "Shut Up And Sing" documentary about The Dixie Chicks.
Three & 2/3 hats.
SPINNING PLATES (NOT RATED)
You don't have to be a foodie to appreciate this look at three different restaurants and the people who keep them going. We enter the world of a very upscale, cutting edge Chicago restaurant and the experimental chef behind it who's completely enmeshed in the molecular gastronomy movement.
Then we travel to a tiny town in Iowa for a down-home community restaurant and their fried chicken. Then it's over to Arizona and a Mexican restaurant specializing in beloved family recipes. An interesting look at the people behind the food. Go out to eat after!
You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl's movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
for more features.