Weekend Movie Guide 09/09: Will Contagion Go Viral?

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CONTAGION courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

The past few weeks have brought earthquakes, massive power failure, continued economic desperation... the only thing missing is a global pandemic. Warner Bros. offers a shot of that with Contagion. The adult (but at PG-13, not too adult) thriller leaves the sanitizer & brings the star power - Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard & Bryan Cranston, to name a few.

Contagion director Steven Soderbergh is adept at ensemble, as evidenced in Traffic & the Ocean's Eleven franchise. Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns has worked with both him & Damon before, having written The Informant & The Bourne Ultimatum. His background in socially conscious filmmaking (his first feature was the HBO uranium-theft drama Pu-239) suggests something with more depth than Outbreak, but much less escapism too (particularly on what's already going to be a depressing weekend). We dare you to watch it in IMAX without immediately washing your hands afterwards.

The myriad of comic book heroes over the past decade has inspired a counter-genre of "Joe six-pack superheroes", which portray costumed crusaders as cynical (Kick Ass), delusional (Special) or both (Super). One Fall offers a new spin on this archetype by returning it to heroic heights. James is a true miracle man - he's survived what should have been a fatal fall, and upon waking discovers he can heal any other injury too. He first uses his powers for financial opportunism, only to experience a crisis of faith that - wait for it - inspires him to better his community and himself. Welcome back, optimism. We've missed you.

One Fall opens exclusively at Laemmle's Sunset 5. First-time filmmaker Marcus Dean Fuller (a stage & soap actor who also stars as James) will appear for a Q&A following tonight's 7:20 show.

Wide Release
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (Showtimes)
Contagion (Showtimes) (IMAX Showtimes)
Creature (Showtimes)
Warrior (Showtimes)

Limited Release
A Kiss and A Promise (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Chasing Madoff (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (Laemmle Theatres) (The Landmark)
Kevin Hart: Laugh At My Pain (AMC Theatres)
Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (Laemmle's Fallbrook 7)
Mr. Nice (Nuart Theatre)
One Fall (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Shaolin (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Tanner Hall (AMC Loews Broadway 4)
White Wash (Laemmle's Sunset 5)

That's all for this week. See you at the movies!