Blu Tuesday: Gold and More

Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on social media with your friends.


Stephen Gaghan’s long-awaited follow-up to “Syriana” may not have been the awards contender that some predicted, but it’s a mildly entertaining adult drama – inspired by the 1997 Bre-X mining scandal – that boasts some great work from Matthew McConaughey. Though the Oscar-winning actor looks every bit the part as balding, potbellied has-been Kenny Wells, his performance is much more than the physical transformation he’s undergone. He carries the film every step of the way, exuding his trademark charisma to turn Kenny into the kind of loveable loser that’s hard not to admire. The movie itself has some major problems, but McConaughey is such a compelling presence, fervently chain-smoking and guzzling booze throughout the film, that “Gold” just about gets by on his performance alone.

Extras include an audio commentary by director Stephen Gaghan and a series of featurettes on the film’s origins, location shooting in Thailand and star Matthew McConaughey. FINAL VERDICT: RENT

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Movie Review: “Gold”

Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramírez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll
Stephen Gaghan

Former Hollywood golden boy Stephen Gaghan was at the top of his game when he seemingly vanished from the industry following 2005’s “Syriana,” so it’s easy to see why his latest project (which he directed but didn’t write) has been met with guarded enthusiasm. After actually watching the film, however, it’s not surprising that it was shut out of this year’s awards race. Although the movie is loosely based on incredible true events and features a committed performance from Matthew McConaughey, “Gold” fails to capitalize on its intriguing premise. The potential was certainly there, but despite the similarities to other recent films about greed and the American Dream like “The Big Short” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Gaghan’s sophomore effort lacks the energy and wit that made those movies so enjoyable.

The film opens in 1981 with Reno-based prospector Kenny Wells (McConaughey) working for his family’s successful mining company. Fast-forward seven years later and the business has fallen on hard times due to a crumbling economy and the death of Kenny’s father. He’s barely keeping the company afloat, working out of a bar to save on expenses. But just when it seems like Kenny has finally hit rock bottom, he has a dream about discovering gold in the uncharted jungles of Indonesia and decides to make one last gamble, pawning his jewelry and jetting off to Southeast Asia in order to convince geologist Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramírez) – who has a theory about untapped mineral reserves in the country – to partner with him. Though they initially have zero luck finding anything, the pair eventually strikes gold in a big way, attracting the attention of Wall Street banker Brian Woolf (Corey Stoll). But as everyone fights to get a piece of Kenny and Michael’s success, the whole thing threatens to come crashing down around them.

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