Jan Wahl Movie Review: ‘Contagion’

(KCBS) – Jan Wahl reviews the new thriller by Steven Soderbergh starring Kate Winslet, Lawrence Fishburne, Matt Damon, and Jude Law. Plus the documentary ‘Chasing Madoff.’


It’s a wild disaster thriller, but unlike The Poseidon Adventure or The Towering Inferno, Contagion feels as if it could happen. Director Steven Soderbergh combines bio-terrorism, profiteers, epidemiology and germ warfare as a virus goes beyond viral..a nightmarish epidemic that eventually takes us all over the world. This is one starry cast: Kate Winslet, Lawrence Fishburne, Matt Damon, and Jude Law the most interesting as a San Francisco journalist trying to find the real story. Unlike his previous film, Traffic, director Soderbergh keeps us a bit detached, the connective emotionalism of this relevant, cautionary story doesn’t have the heart and soul. It will leave you with dread, possible paranoia and fear; the next time the person next to you coughs you’ll remember this movie.
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CHASING MADOFF (not rated)

This documentary gives us new information and makes us see an event differently: Bernie Madoff’s massive scheme to steal over $18 billion from his investors. Writer/Director Jeff Prosserman gives us a different point of view, from the inside. Based on the book by Henry Markopolos, the story of Madoff is a true life tragedy and worth investigating from every viewpoint. Markopolos is front and center as we follow the whistleblowers who tried to get the information to the Securities and Exchange Commission. News footage, interviews, creative visuals remind us that this financial scandal was not Madoff working alone, he had help in high places. There’s a sense of paranoia and fear for his safety from Markopolos’s viewpoint, but it’s a perspective that needs to be explored and this film does it well.
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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.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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