Friday, September 30, 2011


The writer of this film happens to have had cancer in his 20s and happens to have had Seth Rogan as the friend who helped him through it- and that is probably why it feels so real. If there is one big reason to see this it would be that it is so genuine. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, the guy with the schwannoma of the spinal cord, (look it up), who is given 50/50 odds of survival. Rogan is his best buddy, the very pretty Bryce Dallas Howard plays Adam's manipulative and needy girlfriend and the bright and chipper Anna Kendrick plays his fledgling therapist in training.  This is NOT a cancer movie despite the haircut, vomiting, chemo and fear that Adam will lose in the end. It is really a guy movie- it is about Adam and Kyle and how friends just don't leave when the going gets tough. It is very funny in spots- and you don't feel guilty laughing. That's unusual in a cancer film.  I am going to highly recommend it, just as other critics have done. Besides- it is easy to root for the sweet faced Gordon-Levitt. I hope that despite the good performance by Kendrick, she will stop with the stereotypical "young professional" roles. She really is in danger of being typecast.  I am giving it 3.5 stars because, as usual, the realist in me has to deduct .5 for the predictable ending. And by that, I don't mean whether or not he survives, but the relationship he ends with. But overall, it's great.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


There's good news and bad news- the good news is Gwyneth Paltrow dies in the first few minutes, but the bad news is that she resurfaces in flashbacks, so don't get all relaxed thinking she's gone for good. Unless you've been in a cave, you know this is about the next great epidemic. And since Matt Damon is in it, you are going to find out that pharmaceutical companies are evil and the people who run the CDC are selfish bastards who would only treat their families first. So take a deep breath and go on in anyway. The first 30 minutes start out great- you just can't WAIT to see where this is headed. Well, it's headed nowhere. I don't care what other critics say because they will be kept from pre-screenings if they don't like Paltrow and Damon. But since the Flickerchick cannot be bought, I'll tell you the truth. It veers into the ridiculous- with a kidnapping that would be useless in reality- I mean, who would care if one CDC worker was hijacked if 70 million people were dead? What's one more? Epidemics are mother nature's way of thinning the herd- it is unfortunate but true. Vaccines are not made in a day, a week, or a month- they take a year. There are no short cuts, except in cinema land. Conveniently, the president is NOT shown because, well, the president is not an evil Republican. SO, lots of cinema and not much verite. Logistically, it has stupid twist at the end- Marion Cotillard is kept from knowing what village she has been taken to, so how can she return to it? It's almost as ridiculous as Jude Law's ("Blimey I'm a Brit") fake tooth.  My partner in crime thought it sucked. As a certified Registered Nurse (I have the license to prove it) who had to take epidemiology and memorize all that stuff, I thought parts were hilarious and ludicrous.  If you think this is a great movie, you should read a few great books on influenza or the plague. It's far better that way.