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Slumdog Millionaire


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#1 Overstreet

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 10:30 AM

Kim Voynar's Cinematical review:

QUOTE
There's sadness and tragedy within Slumdog Millionaire -- starvation, genocide, child prostitution and overwhelming oppression -- but there's humor, humanity and dignity as well. [Director] Danny Boyle, stepping outside the UK to focus his lens on India, seems to have freed himself here to bring his brilliance as a director to its fullest fruition.

Slumdog Millionaire is Boyle's best film to date, which is saying quite a lot; He's made a joyous, fun, and wonderfully accessible film that should play well in Toronto before moving on to wider release.




#2 Wiederspahn

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 12:22 PM

I'm looking forward to this. Variety review is up, and its a good one:

http://www.variety.c...5...yid=31&cs=1


#3 Ron Reed

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 03:44 PM

Let me guess. Some people in the Calcutta slums find a suitcase of money...

#4 opus

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 10:19 PM

Really wish I was going to Toronto this week... sad.gif

#5 Christian

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 12:53 PM

Look out! Joe Morgenstern reports from Telluride:

"Slumdog Millionaire" will open commercially later this fall, so I'll confine myself to only a few effusions now, with more to come. There's never been anything like this densely detailed phantasmagoria -- groundbreaking in substance, damned near earth-shaking in style. Mr. Boyle and his colleagues, including his Indian co-director, Loveleen Tandan, have pulled off a soaring, crowd-pleasing fantasy that's a tale of unswerving love, a searing depiction of poverty and injustice and a marvelous evocation of multinational media madness. When I spoke to the director after the first screening here -- actually the first public screening anywhere -- I said his film was a great example of what the late Carol Reed once advised: Find the right container, and you can fill it with whatever you wish. "Yes," Danny Boyle replied, "and I also try to follow David Lean's advice to declare your ambitions in the first five minutes." The ambitions declared at the beginning of "Slumdog Millionaire" are huge. By the end they're completely fulfilled.



#6 Overstreet

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 01:46 PM

I CAN'T WAIT.



#7 opus

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 05:55 PM

Twitch's review from Toronto:

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As if Millions left any doubt about Danny Boyles ability to draw compelling performances out of young actors Slumdog Millionaire abolishes those doubts utterly. In many ways Slumdog plays like the older and edgier cosusin of Millions and, just like that very under rated picture, Slumdog stands as one of Boyle’s absolute best...

...Slumdog Millionaire is a film that works on an astonishing number of levels. It is a gripping character study and potent dissection of celebrity. It captures intense social problems and the reality of a hard, hard life for millions of people. It is an adventure, a romance, a childhood memory. It shifts gears and tones early and often and yet it all holds shape as a remarkably cohesive whole, one that will no doubt continue to reveal layers and detail with repeated viewing.



#8 opus

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 10:33 AM

Slumdog Millionaire has been given an "R" rating by the MPAA, and some folks are pretty upset.

Fan Rant: An R Rating for 'Slumdog Millionaire'?! Give Me a Break!:

QUOTE
Let me steal a bit from Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers: Really?! Really, MPAA? You think the pencil-impaling, face-melting antics of The Dark Knight fall within the bounds of PG-13 acceptability, but a few gunshots and tense situations put Slumdog Millionaire over the line into R territory? Really? And the decapitations and mass slaughters of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian -- a film aimed directly at children -- only gets a PG (a PG!!) while Slumdog Millionaire gets an R? Really?! MPAA, if you were a judge, you'd be letting rapists go free while sentencing jaywalkers to the electric chair. I've seen more sober reasoning and sound judgment at a frat party. Michael Vick had more common sense than you.

Slumdog Millionaire Gets Screwed By The MPAA:

QUOTE
This has happened again and again over the years - movies that are perfect for teens that don't whitewash the realities of the world get slapped with a restrictive rating that guarantees they can never see it. There's no nudity in Slumdog Millionaire, and there's no explicit sex. There's some violence. There's lots of tonally grim stuff. There's some harder language. But it's all true. Slumdog isn't a documentary, but the lack of reality doesn't change the basic truthfulness of the film.


#9 Christian

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 01:20 PM

Just noticing Opus' latest post now. Huh. Could the rating be attributed exclusively to smoking? Isn't that now an automatic "R"?

I saw the film last night and would caution against getting too worked up over it. It's visually invigorating -- I like the sequences set in the slum -- but I couldn't shake the feeling, as the film drew to its somewhat predictable conclusion, that the inventiveness and promise in the early going hadn't been entirely fulfilled. I can't say I didn't enjoy the film, I just didn't find it to be a groundbreaking work of storytelling, and that left me slightly disappointed.

Just now I looked at RT, where the movie stands at 100% "fresh." Looking at a few of the reviews, I see this one from Peter Brunette pretty much captures my current thinking on the film:

Bottom Line: A high-octane hybrid of Danny Boyle's patented cinematic overkill and Bollywood's ultra-energetic genre conventions that is a little less good than the hype would have it.

Edited by Christian, 31 October 2008 - 01:21 PM.


#10 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 01:54 PM

Christian wrote:
: Could the rating be attributed exclusively to smoking? Isn't that now an automatic "R"?

Ha, no.

How many four-letter words does it have? Specifically, how many f-words? If it has more than, like, two, that's always an automatic R (though I think exceptions were made for one or two Iraq War documentaries).

#11 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 01:46 PM

I like the film, but don't love it. Something about the complicated structure, combined with the we've-seen-it-all-before depiction of slum life and gang life, is kind of distancing or off-putting, at least to me. I wonder if the film might work better on second viewing, though, since it takes a while before you find out what's "really" going on.

Interesting to see Irrfan Khan playing yet another sympathetic cop who happens to torture people, or should I say a cop who tortures people yet happens to be sympathetic. (The last time we saw him do this was in A Mighty Heart, I believe.)

Ron Reed wrote:
: Let me guess. Some people in the Calcutta slums find a suitcase of money...

Suitcase, no. Bathtub, yes. And the entire movie is structured around flashbacks to the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (and the opening titles tell us that the main character has already answered every question correctly, with just one question left to go...).

Oh, and remember that toilet-diving incident in Trainspotting? There is something, uh, similar here.

#12 Christian

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 01:18 PM

This film is now being mentioned as front-runner for Best Picture, yet we haven't had a new post in this thread for nearly two weeks. The film is still in limited release, so I suspect many A&Fers haven't had a chance to catch up with it.

I was reminded about the film when I saw that the Weekly Standard site had finally posted John Podhoretz's rave. I don't quite share the love, but that's OK -- some people really, really dig this movie:

Slumdog Millionaire makes the case that what we need now is a little more Dickens and a little less Wilde. It is one of the best movies I have ever seen.

Last time I remember Podhoretz saying "best ever" he was talking about ... Cinderella Man. eek.gif I thought, at the time, I might be in agreement with him in terms of it being one of the year's best, if not one of the best movies EVER, but then I never watched that movie a second time. So I was just as susceptible back then to Ron Howard's film, if not now to Boyle's charming but far from life-changing Millionaire.

Edited by Christian, 21 November 2008 - 01:20 PM.


#13 Darrel Manson

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 06:52 PM

Yes, this certainly Dickensian. Jamal is oppressed in so many ways through the years, but has a virtue of soul that almost demands that success will find him.

Nice examination of what is destiny.

I really liked the Bollywood closing credits.

#14 Darrel Manson

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 02:01 PM

In an interview Boyle gave this reason for the R rating: "They said it was because of the intensity. There's nothing we can do about it. "

#15 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 06:48 PM

A commenter at Jeffrey Wells's blog:
When I say 'trendy' I mean Slumdog Millionaire is warmed-over Dickens with a multi-culti sheen, and critics (who are indeed gushing -- 85 on Metacritic, with lots of 100 scores) feel good about praising something that takes World Cinema and throws it into a blender. Imagine the same story with a trailer-trash white kid in a setting of domestic rural poverty and meth labs -- same reviews?


#16 BethR

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 11:53 PM

Not EXACTLY the "same story" but "trailer-trash white kid in a setting of domestic rural poverty and [abuse]" = Sling Blade at 84 on Metacritic. Wells's commenter is extremely cynical.

ETA: My nearest indie theater's website now says this film will open here Dec. 19--nearly a month from now.

Edited by BethR, 26 November 2008 - 11:40 PM.


#17 Overstreet

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 12:36 PM

Quite a heated debate developing at Jeffrey Wells' blog. The critics are really divided over whether this is Best Picture material, or just a pile of flashy cliches, or both.

#18 Christian

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 04:58 PM

I watched Slumdog again a couple of nights ago and felt the same way toward it: liked it, but it didn't get measurably better or worse the second time. Then, last night, I watched The Wrestler again, after having read Richard Corliss' comments about how cliched that film is, and I also liked that film just as much the second time. I'm not sure it got better, but it didn't get any worse, and since I liked The Wrestler much more than Slumdog Millionaire, I'll be pulling for it, and for Rourke.

Wells says the over-50 Academy members don't like the film, and I can sort of understand that. But I'm not them, so I'll continue to hope.

Here's Corliss:
My own anticipation sank with the opening credits: "Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood." That list spelled out the plot: damaged veteran, middle-age girlfriend, young daughter. The Wrestler never rose above fight-movie bromides, never disspelled my gloom. The character stereotyping makes Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa, by comparison, seem as swathed in moral twlight as Luchino Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers. The movie's serioso sentimentality is doubly strange since the script is by Robert Siegel, an ex-staffer of The Onion and co-writer of The Onion Movie. His old job was puncturing cliches; here he recycles them.

The old cliches work very well here. I recognize them, but don't care. I bought into every second of the film.

Edited by Christian, 30 November 2008 - 04:58 PM.


#19 Overstreet

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 06:55 PM

It's the Best Film of 2008, according to the National Board of Review.

Hmm. Guess I'd better see it.

But then again... didn't the NBR celebrate The Bucket List last year?

#20 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 08:02 PM

Now that this film seems to be a serious frontrunner for all the various awards this year, I got curious about where it might stand next to Boyle's other films in terms of box-office prospects (awards buzz being a good audience magnet, etc.). Thus:
  • 2008 -- Slumdog Millionaire -- $5.3 million so far (it opened in 10 theatres three weeks ago)
  • 2007 -- Sunshine -- $3.7 + 28.3 = 32 million
  • 2005 -- Millions -- $6.6 + 5.2 = 11.8 million
  • 2003 -- 28 Days Later -- $45.1 + 37.7 = 82.7 million
  • 2000 -- The Beach -- $39.8 + 104.3 = 144.1 million
  • 1997 -- A Life Less Ordinary -- $4.4 million
  • 1996 -- Trainspotting -- $16.5 million
  • 1995 -- Shallow Grave -- $2.9 + 17.6 = 20.5 million
The figures reflect the North American gross + the overseas gross = the worldwide gross. I couldn't find the overseas figures for Trainspotting or A Life Less Ordinary, either at BOM or the IMDb, and I'm not even sure if Slumdog Millionaire has been released overseas yet.

At any rate, in terms of North American grosses, Slumdog Millionaire is already ahead of three films (Shallow Grave, A Life Less Ordinary, Sunshine), is on the verge of passing another (Millions), and is still well behind three others (Trainspotting, The Beach, 28 Days Later).

If I had to guess, I would say a steady stream of awards-season buzz could help this film beat all the others in North America -- but it might not surpass The Beach overseas.

Oh, and last year's NBR pick was No Country for Old Men -- which did win the Oscar in the end. (Though I gather only a minority of NBR winners have gone on to win the Oscar, in general.)

Oh, and as a further reference point, the lowest-grossing Best Picture Oscar winner of the past 20 years is Crash (2005, $53.4 million) -- and that film had left theatres long, long before the awards season, so it couldn't capitalize on the buzz.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 07 December 2008 - 08:03 PM.