April 3, 2009 in Features

Small-budget film ‘Slumdog’ captures hearts, eight Oscars

By The Spokesman-Review
Associated Press photo

(Full-size photo)

‘Slumdog Millionaire’


What this little Danny Boyle film proves, once again, is that money and big-studio support don’t necessarily equate to either box-office or critical success. Eight Oscars and nearly $140 million at the domestic box office are testaments that melodrama in the hands of a talented filmmaker will play to an American audience. In this case, the story follows a kid (Dev Patel and two younger actors) from the slums of Mumbai who uses his lessons from his hard life to answer questions on India’s version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” British director Boyle has created the perfect Hollywood-Bollywood fantasy blend. DVD, which is available in Blu-ray, includes making-of featurettes, commentary by director Boyle and star Patel. (1:56; rated R for disturbing images, language, some violence)

‘Ricky Gervais: Out of England’


If you’re familiar with the British version of the television show “The Office,” you know who Ricky Gervais is and what kind of off-color comedy he practices. This HBO special, following in the fashion of so many others, from George Carlin to Robin Williams and Chris Rock, lets Gervais work the stage live for more than an hour. And as is his style, he takes shots – good-naturedly but politically incorrect to the max – at everything from kids with cancer to all who face weight issues. Oh, yeah, and there’s always the question of his penis size. Hilarious. DVD includes conversation with Gervais. (1:12; not rated)

‘Tell No One’


Say this much about the French: They know how to make suspense films that taste better than brie smeared across a bakery-fresh baguette. This Guillaume Canet thriller follows what happens to a man (Francois Cluzet) after his wife is murdered, he is left in a coma and emerges a suspect. He gets cleared, but eight years later the police, bearing new evidence, return with other questions. And things just continue to deepen. DVD, which is available on Blu-ray, includes deleted scenes and outtakes. (2:05; not rated)

‘Seven Pounds’


Will Smith has made a few career missteps lately (“Hancock,” anybody? “Hitch”?). And though this one falls among them, at least it has its heart in the right place. Smith plays a guy who, trying to atone for his past sins, does his best to improve the lives of seven people. Problem is, as this story of good intentions progresses, the slow reveal can’t quite carry the weight of the drama it tries to convey. DVD, which is available on Blu-ray, includes commentary by director Gabriele Muccino, making-of featurettes, deleted scenes. (2:04; rated PG-13 for language, some sexual humor)

‘Marley & Me’


Here’s one for dog lovers and fans of cheap melodrama. After they adopt an obstreperous dog, a couple (Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson) learns lessons in love from their cuddly canine. Dog owners should stock up on hankies. DVD, which is available on Blu-ray, includes making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, gag reel. (1:56; rated PG for language, some suggestive content, thematic material)

Also available: “The Bielski Brothers,” “Hunting Hitler,” “Killer at Large,” “The Other End of the Line,” “Raw Nature,” “Spectacular!” “Vampire Secrets”

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