The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

HBO premiered their film adaptation of the bestselling book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The film stars Renee Elise Goldberry as Henrietta Lacks, Oprah Winfrey as her daughter, Deborah Lacks and Rose Byrne as the author, Rebecca Skloot. The bestselling nonfiction book was published in February 2010. The hardcover edition was on the New York Times best seller list for 40 weeks when the paperback edition was released. The paperback edition was on the best seller list for 75 weeks. Libraries could not keep it on the shelf! So it comes to no surprise that HBO made a film about it.

If you have not read this book yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.  You don’t like nonfiction books? Well then you are in luck. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks does not read like the typical nonfiction. This book is part biography, part medical science and a whole lot of drama!

Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman living in Baltimore, Maryland in 1950. She had cervical cancer and was a patient at John Hopkins University. Her cells were taken and cultured without her knowledge and consent.  Her cells grew rapidly but Henrietta died in 1951. To this day, scientists use the cells taken from Henrietta Lacks for medical research. The cells are known around the world as HeLa cells. Rebecca Skloot, the author of the book, was curious about the woman behind the famous cells. She contacted the family about telling her story. Understandably, the family was hesitant to talk about her. The book and the HBO film cover Rebecca Skloot’s and Deborah’s interactions as they try to discover the story of Henrietta and what John Hopkins University Hospital did to her.



DVDs for January


fast and furious 6Fast & Furious 6 – Vin Deisel, Paul Walker

Following their successful Rio heist, Dom and his crew of professional criminals have retired around the world. But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam has left their lives incomplete. Hobbs asks Dom and Brian to help him take down an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers. In return, their crew will receive full pardons and be allowed to return home.  Rated PG-13

despicable me 2Despicable Me 2 – Steve Carrell, Kristen Wiig

Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal. An all-new comedy adventure featuring the return of former super-villain Gru, his adorable girls, the unpredictably hilarious Minions, and a host of new and outrageously funny characters. Rated PG

runner, runnerRunner, Runner – Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake

A Princeton graduate student, Richie, believes he has been tricked online by a fellow gambler. He travels to Costa Rica to meet Ivan Block, an online gambling tycoon. When the FBI tries to pressure Richie to help bring down Block, Richie faces his biggest gamble ever. Rated R

thanksThanks for Sharing – Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins

An unconventional romantic comedy that follows the topsy-turvy lives and loves of three obsessive characters: an overachieving environmental consultant, a stubborn small-business owner and a wisecracking ER doctor. They meet in a support group, and set into motion a life-changing journey filled with laughter and surprises. Rated R


butlerLee Daniel’s The Butler – Forest Whitaker,  Oprah Winfrey

Inspired by a true story about Cecil Gaines, a devoted husband, father, and White House butler who served eight Presidential administrations during the turbulent politics and civil rights battles of twentieth century America. Rated PG-13


short termShort Term 12 – Brie Larson, Frantz Turner

Grace is a twenty-something supervisor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers. Passionate and tough, Grace is a formidable caretaker, and in love with her long-term boyfriend and co-worker, Mason. But Grace’s own difficult past – and the surprising future that suddenly presents itself – throws her into unforeseen confusion, made sharper with the arrival of a new intake at the facility, a gifted but troubled teenage girl with whom Grace has a charged connection. Rated R

fruitvaleFruitvale Station – Michael B. Jordan,  Melonie Diaz

The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: Being a better son to his mother, being a better partner to his girlfriend, and being a better father to T, their beautiful four-year-old daughter. He starts out well, but as the day goes on, he realizes that change is not going to come easy. Rated R

enoughEnough Said – James Gandolfini, Julia Louis- Dreyfus

Divorced mom Eva may be falling for Albert, a sweet, funny, like-minded divorce. But as their relationship blossoms, Eva befriends Marianne, who’s always complaining about her ex-husband. When Eva realizes that Albert is the target of Marianne’s rants, she begins to question her own perceptions about first impressions and second chances. Rated PG-13


captianCaptain Phillips – Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi

Based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, which was the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. Rated PG-13


blueBlue Jasmine – Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin

After everything in her life falls to pieces, including her marriage to wealthy businessman Hal, elegant New York socialite Jasmine moves into her sister Ginger’s humble apartment in San Francisco to try to pull herself back together again. Rated PG-13.


cloudyCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 – Bill Hader, Anna Faris

Inventor Flint Lockwood thought he saved the world when he destroyed his machine that turned water into food causing cheeseburger rain and spaghetti tornadoes. But Flint soon learns that his invention survived and is now creating food-animals. Flint and his friends embark on a dangerously delicious mission to battle hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, hippotatomuses, cheespiders and other foodimals to save the world again! Rated PG

last vegasLast Vegas – Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman

Four best friends in their late-60s decide to escape retirement and throw a Las Vegas bachelor party for the only one of them who has remained single. Rated PG-13