Out This Week: 19 March 2020 – WFH Edition

Stuck at home like everyone else? We got you covered with our WFH Edition.

Since cinemas are closed everywhere, we are helping you with a serving of a WFH (watch from home) Edition. We will suggest for you 5 films with one theme that you can watch right now from the safety and comfort of your own home. This week the theme is movies about a virus pandemic, so keep reading.

Contagion (2011)

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
With: Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kate Winslet

What is it about: Healthcare professionals, government officials and everyday people find themselves in the midst of a pandemic as the CDC works to find a cure.

Heads Up: Inspired by pandemics such as the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak and the 2009 flu pandemic, the director and writer wanted to take a realistic approach in depicting the spread of a pandemic around the globe, so they consulted with scientists in WHO (World Health Organization) as well as other experts in the field. The result is an eerie resemblance to what actually is happening around the world right now with the spread of the COVID-19 virus and how a virus can expose the worst tendencies in humanity, as well as the resilience and bravery of people in the healthcare field who put their lives on the line to take care of the sick and work tirelessly to find a cure. The film also plays like a detective thriller, which is an angle that makes it all the more intriguing. I’d say it’s worth your time, but be aware that this might be triggering to some viewers.

How to Watch it: Google Play / iTunes / OSN Store

Outbreak (1995)

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
With: Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey,  Cuba Gooding Jr., and Donald Sutherland

What is it about: Army doctors struggle to find a cure for a deadly virus that was brought to America by an African monkey, and is spreading throughout a California town .

Heads Up: Unlike ContagionOutbreak is the Hollywood 90s version of a disaster movie, and the disaster here is an Ebola-like pandemic called Motaba with a mortality rate of 100%. This one has it all: a rogue hero, a love story, the hunt for a cute monkey, and mustache twirling army general with sinister motivations. It is directed by German director Wolfgang Petersen (Das BootAir Force One, The Perfect Storm, Troy) and if you have seen any of his movies, you would know that he doesn’t go for subtle. I have watched this film several times back in the 90s, and rewatching it recently, it still holds up as great entertainment even if I thought it is flawed and it has some dated elements.

How to Watch it: Google Play / iTunes / OSN Store

12 Monkeys (1995)

Directed by: Terry Gilliam
With: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt

What is it about: In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

Heads Up: Terry Gilliam‘s next best work after Brazil is this mind-bending time-travel movie that will boost the conspiracy theories you may have come across recently. The terrific plot twists are only topped by Brad Pitt turning in an over-the-top batshit performance that earned him an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win. And if you liked Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, this is where he did it first: to be restrained, confused and certainly lost. If this will be your first time watching it, get ready for a thrill ride!

How to Watch it: Netflix / Amazon Prime Video / iTunes

The Andromeda Strain (1971)

Directed by: Robert Wise
With: James Olson, Arthur Hill, David Wayne, and Kate Reid

What is it about: A team of top scientists work feverishly in a secret, state-of-the-art laboratory to discover what has killed the citizens of a small town and learn how this deadly contagion can be stopped.

Heads Up: Based on a Michael Crichton techno-thriller bestseller, the movie is known for being one of the better book-to-movie adaptations, in that it rarely deviates from Crichton’s words. Besides the present-day relevance but viewed from a perspective of 50 years ago, The Andromeda Strain was highly acclaimed by the medical association Infectious Diseases Society of America as recently as 2003, claiming the movie to be the “most significant, scientifically accurate, and prototypic of all films of this [killer virus] genre … it accurately details the appearance of a deadly agent, its impact, and the efforts at containing it, and, finally, the work-up on its identification and clarification on why certain persons are immune to it.” Fictional disease aside, this movie will be an eye-opener for the scientific process behind researching a new deadly virus.

How to Watch it: iTunes

Virus (2019)

Directed by: Aashiq Abu
With: Kunchacko Boban, Asif Ali, Tovino Thomas, Indrajith Sukumaran, and Revathi

What is it about: A real life account of the deadly Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala, and the courageous fight put on by several individuals which helped to contain the epidemic.

Heads Up:  Set against the backdrop of the real world 2018 Nipah outbreak in Kerala, Virus helmed by Ashiq Abu follows a docu-drama format with several characters based on or a composite of real life persons who played a pivotal part in containing the outbreak. Abu deftly manages multiple characters and story lines weaving them together using the hyperlink format resulting in an engaging and riveting account of events that unfolded during that period. Virus is that rare gem in Indian cinema not just for tackling a genre probably never seen before in that country, but also an example of getting just about everything right on a large canvas such as this.

How to Watch it: Amazon Prime Video

About Abdullah Y

Abdullah Y is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He is an avid consumer of everything Pop Culture; movies, TV, music, photography, podcasts, and social media. He loves to travel and to share his experiences.