Category: movies

My Sister’s Kidney

Don’t read this if you don’t want the end of the book/movie to be spoiled, pets. There, I warned you!

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult is one of my favourite books. It’s exciting, interesting, heartbreaking and surprising. They have made several Jodi Picoult books into bad Lifetime movies, which I have watched, but My Sister’s Keeper is the first they have made into a real, honest-to-goodness, starring-some-celebrities movie.

I saw it on Tuesday night. I was not impressed. The Lifetime movies may be cheesy, but at least they get the story right.

My Sister’s Keeper (or My Sister’s Kidney as my sister likes to call it) is the story of an eleven year old girl, Anna, who wants to sue her parents for medical emancipation. Her parents had two children, Jesse and Kate, when they found out that Kate had leukemia. Their doctor suggests they have a third child, made in a test tube to be a genetic match to Kate so that they can use the cord blood against the leukemia. Since then, Anna has donated bone marrow, platelets, blood, etc to her sister in the fight against cancer. Now, Kate’s kidneys have failed and they want Anna to give her a kidney. Anna, who never would have existed if Kate wasn’t sick, resents this.

The whole thing is a delightful courtroom-style drama, as most Jodi Picoult’s are. You’re always left wondering who really is right - there never seems to be an easy answer or a side to choose. On one hand, you feel for Anna and the incredible injustice she’s been through since a young age. On the other hand, Kate will die without a kidney so you feel Anna should just give it to her. And like all of Picoult’s books there are many more layers - the lawyer’s epilepsy, the father’s Catholicism, the ethical issue of genetically engineered babies, the general dysfunction of the family.

The movie had none of these layers.

This movie was made to make you cry. Seriously, you could see when they were about to hold a long emotional shot, play some sappy music or slow down the action. And it worked. The theatre was full of women (and two men) and quite a few of them were literally sobbing. Loudly. I even had a tear in my eye, and it takes quite a lot to get me to cry in public.

But that’s all it was. A sob-fest. It wasn’t deep or meaningful. And the thing that had made me saddest in the book - the unfairness of Anna’s situation - that was hardly in it. They focused, instead, on Kate and her cancer. Without Anna’s point of view, it’s just another sob story about a kid with cancer. We’ve seen it all before.

And last but certainly not least - they got the ending wrong.

The end of the book is painful. Anna wins the court case, becomes medically emancipated from her parents. She’s in the car with her lawyer afterwards, when he has a epiletic seizure (nevermind that they don’t let epiletics drive). The car crashes and Anna is fatally injured. They take her to the hospital, where her sister is near death in the cancer ward. The lawyer tells the doctors the story, and signs the papers for them to take Anna’s kidney afterall and give it to Kate. Miraculously, Kate lives and recovers completely after this.


In the movie, however, Kate dies predictably and Anna grows up to tell the story.

I was severely disappointed with this adaptation. Abigail Breslin was good,  Sofia Vassilieva was too. Cameron Diaz was predictably annoying, but it wasn’t the acting that got me. It was the plot. I’d rather watch the Lifetime movies. Plain Truth, with Mariska Hargitay, is actually kind of good.


To die by your side

Blood lust

There’s a fine, fine line between pain and pleasure.

It seems these days that the world has caught a case of blood lust. Vampires have long been part of pop culture, through the Victorian era until now, but even before then they were legends. And what draws us to vampires, of all mythical creatures?


Vampires and sex are synonymous. There is no such thing as a chaste vampire. And more importantly for us mortals, there is no such thing as an ugly vampire. You’d think something that had been dead for centuries would be less than appealing. After all, vampires are monsters, wild. And all other mythical monsters - werewolves, cyclopses, harpies - are scary. Vampires are scary in a sexy way. Nevermind scaring your socks off, they seem to jump straight to the pants.

In Interview with a Vampire we lusted after Lestat and Louis. In Buffy, teens all around the world dreamt about Angel and Spike. And now, with Twilight-mania, a new generation is literally asking for Edward to bite them.

I’ll admit, I read Twilight. In fact, I read all four. And I saw the movie twice in theatres. Why? Because vampires are hot.


And finally, last September, HBO gave us True Blood: a show chalk full of sex, drugs, blood and most importantly - vampires. But True Blood wasn’t jumping on the bandwagon (or careening race car) of Twilight, as it may have seemed. True Blood is based on books by Charlaine Harris, the first, Dead Until Dark, published in 2001. Which bears remarkable similarities to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, published years later. Sookie Stackhouse is a mind reader, drawn to vampire Bill Compton because she can’t read his thoughts. Edward Cullen is a mind reading vampire, drawn to Bella Swan because he can’t read her thoughts. Edward is a “vegetarian” vampire. Bill is “mainstreaming” after the release of synthetic blood.

You see, this is a key factor to the sexy vampire stories. We don’t want a monster story, we want a story of redemption. Angel is “cursed” with a soul, and so we (and Buffy) fall in love with his tortured past. Edward wonders if he has a soul, and wants desperately to be a decent person, a normal high school student. Bill moves to a small town in the American south in an attempt to rejoin society. Louis is the sympathetic character, who feels guilt at the deaths he has caused. Lestat is the monster.


Last weekend I read Charlaine Harris’ Dead Until Dark, and it was everything I hoped it would be - a grown up version of Twilight. Without the sexual frustration, but in the same fluffy first person style. A romance novel, almost, with vampires and murder mysteries.

Yesterday, I watched the first episode of the second season of True Blood. The show is a lot “classier” than the books - Allan Ball (American Beauty, Six Feet Under) adds a level of sophistication and danger to the books to make it into this enticing, sexy show. In true HBO grandeur.

Vampires are sexy, folks. And they’re also really popular right now. And if you have a problem with that, you can bite me.


Boy A

I just watched the movie Boy A on TMNonDemand.

I have to say it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s not a big budget movie by any means, the actors are relatively unknown. But the plot is brilliant and everything is so remarkably real, it’s unnerving.

The movie is about a boy who was involved in a murder when he was young, and has been in prison since then. He’s released when he turns 21, and given a new identity so he can reintegrate into society.

The story was tragic and beautiful, but the best part of the movie was the character of Jack. The actor did a brilliant job, Jack was so sweet and shy and conflicted. The portrayal of him was so multifaceted, it was really quite brilliant.

I don’t often blog about movies, because I tend to have horrible taste in them. But I guarantee that even those of you who have good taste in movies will enjoy this one. And possibly cry, like me.