Sunday 20 Apr

Holy Ghost People

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04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Drama · Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire

Doug Bentin December 24th, 2008



When everything shakes out at the end of the month, "Slumdog Millionaire" will probably top my list of 2008's best pictures.

An old-fashioned coming-of-age story, the film is set mostly against the exotic squalor of modern day Mumbai, India. We follow two Muslim brothers, Jamal and Salim, from the day their mother is killed by a Hindu mob, but it's the tale's framing device that gives the movie its odd title.

The teenaged Jamal is contestant on the Hindi version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" He's already won 10 million rupees and the program's producers think he must be cheating —” how can a slum kid with virtually no formal education know so much? —” but they can't figure out how he's doing it. Pulled off the street between taping sessions, Jamal is literally tortured by the cops until he reveals his secret: Episodes from his life have given him the information he needs to answer the questions.

The film then cuts between Jamal's current dilemma, his past adventures and his current attempts to rescue the woman he loves, whom he first met when they were both children.

Some of the boys' exploits, such as their stay with an Indian Fagin who uses orphaned children as beggars, are terrifying, and some, like their time as miniature con men pretending to be tour guides for gullible tourists at the Taj Mahal, are funny. But every adventure tells us more about them and about the beautiful Latika and about the way of life for millions in one of the world's fastest growing economies.

The picture is directed by Danny Boyle ("28 Days Later," "Trainspotting") and the screenplay penned by Simon Beaufoy is adapted from the novel "Q&A" by Vikas Swarup. The ensemble cast is superb, led by Dev Patel, Madhur Mittal and Freida Pinto as the oldest versions of Jamal, Salim and Latika.

These are all things to like about the movie. What I ended up loving is the momentum of Boyle's storytelling, the sparkle with which he makes an old and, honestly, melodramatic tale seem new again. That's partially due to the setting, but also because of Boyle's blending of traditional western structure with Bollywood emotionalism.

He does refrain from inserting a splashy Bollywood production number until the very end, when it plays behind the closing credits. Stay for it. The film's music, by Bollywood favorite A.R. Rahman, is so terrific it may finally drive that ABBA out of your head.

But I'm still a sucker for a well-told, "love conquers all" story about attractive people who have miles to go before they sleep together.

You'll be pulling for Jamal to win the ultimate quiz show prize of 20 million rupees. I was. In fact, when he decided to call a friend for help with the final question, I hoped my cell phone would vibrate — I knew the answer. —”Doug Bentin

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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