A throwback to the old, star-studded disaster movies of the 1970s, Contagion takes a clinical approach to witnessing the effects of a global pandemic. The movie’s opening scenes, following hands as they touch infected faces and then public surfaces, are its most effective, and then we get a big cast, featuring actors like Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, and Laurence Fishburne, who must read stilted technical and metaphorical dialogue. It’s flat and really only adds up to a thoroughly researched argument for washing one’s hands. My review is here. Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray/DVD Combo.
This could have been scary, but Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark reveals its hand far too early and pretends we didn’t notice. A young girl (Bailee Madison) moves into a big, spooky manor with her father (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend (Katie Holmes) only to be terrorized by creatures the size of rats one might find in a Chicago alleyway. They screech and whisper and can be killed by a single blow from 7-year-old girl with a flashlight. Far from frightening, these little nasties move between unintentionally funny and flat-out annoying. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Chris Evans plays Mike Weiss, a personal injury attorney with issues, in Puncture, yet another movie that suggests lawyers have the most potentially treacherous occupation imaginable. If he isn’t being chased by shadowy figures, then he and his best friend/partner (co-director Mark Kassen) are this close to losing their firm because they can’t keep up with the bills. The big case involves safety needles, and it’s a story that, one day, could be done justice. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.