Friday, December 05, 2008

FILM: New in Theaters - 12/05/08

MY PICK: If you're in the mood for a real love story, one that isn't based on hormones and animal attraction (*cough*Twilight*cough*), then you have to see the indie Slumdog Millionaire. It sounds sappy, especially since it takes place in the slums of India, but there's plenty of joy, laughter, and love to balance this romantic drama as it chronicles the ups and downs of an orphan's life. It's most interesting component is how the story is told. It starts in the present when the lead character Jamal has become a contestant on India's version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," and even if you don't like reality shows or game shows (like me), you'll be just as interested in the suspense of the game as if you were. Since he's just an uneducated slums orphan, the host of the game thinks he's cheating, and the police are interrogating him in order to figure out how he's doing it. He has to explain how he learned the answer to each question and he does so with an anecdote for every single one. He endures the mild torture and the injustice, all so that he can find the girl of his dreams, his childhood companion Latika, hoping she'll see him on TV and come to him. I almost feel sorry for Dev Patel, who plays the lead, because I don't think he'll ever find a better movie to star in again. Oh and did I mention the soundtrack is ridiculously good, especially because of the M.I.A tracks.

Other options:

If you love music, then I'd suggest you watch Cadillac Records. Starring Adrien Brody, Mos Def, and Beyonce, it's the story of the man who brought the music of Etta James, Chuck Berry, and many other rhythm-and-blues legends to our ears.

If the election didn't wear you out, settle into your seat for Frost/Nixon, an indie about BBC host David Frost's in-depth 70s interviews with Richard Nixon that explored his scandalous involvement in Watergate.

If you just want to watch some mindless action, and you've already seen Transporter 3, maybe, just maybe, you'll want to see Punisher: War Zone. A different actor plays the hero, but he shells out the same crap. I don't know what's worse: the fact that Julie Benz ("Dexter") wasted her time and credibility for this or the fact that this is how Lexi Alexander, who directed the adrenaline-infused, brotherly drama Green Street Hooligans, chose this as the vehicle to skyrocket her career.

If you miss Bryan Greenberg ("October Road"), then maybe you'll watch his overdue indie Nobel Son, where he plays some guy who gets kidnapped because his father's (Alan Rickman) about to receive a Nobel Prize. The douche refuses to pay the ransom and so chaos ensues.

If you want to see model Gemma Ward's first lead role, gather your fashionista friends for a heartwarming Australian indie about a guy (20-year-old newcomer Rhys Wakefield) who has to juggle falling in love and taking care of his mentally challenged brother (played by the rather versatile Luke Ford of The Mummy 3). Oscar-nominee Toni Collette also stars as their mother.

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