Slumdog Millionaire * * * * ½
Directed by: Danny Boyle / 2008
What a beauty of movie magic and my second time was even better. There are several moments in “Slumdog Millionaire” where the cinematography, light and sound is so moving, vibrant and fresh that I become so absorbed in it that it chokes me up, let alone the darling children running the slums of India. Director Danny Boyle’s best film for me is still “Millions”, but “Slumdog Millionaire” is quickly stepping up and will certainly be doing so on the Academy Award podium this Sunday. I’m just glad it’s finally in wide-release so more people can experience the brilliance of Boyle and a bitter-sweet slice of another part of the world.
Penelope * * * *
Directed by: Mark Palansky / 2008
I was very surprised by this under-the-radar fantasy about a girl cursed before birth to have the facial features of a pig. At a young age her death is faked and she is kept in isolation and out of the public eye until she is old enough to marry and suitors line up at the door. You see, marriage is the only way to break the curse, or so they think. Tim Burton could have easily put his stamp on this, but first-time director Mark Palansky adds a unique and flavorful hand, proving he’s got a lot of great ideas in him. Thankfully (let’s hope) he doesn’t follow in Michael Bay footsteps, as Palansky understudied with him on several projects. I want more good-natured tales like “Penelope” as it is for all ages, with a great message on loving yourself and overcoming others who try to run, or ruin, your precious life.
Melinda & Melinda * * ½
Directed by: Woody Allen / 2005
Another dive into creative Woody writing, “Melinda & Melinda” started with potential as play writes discuss comedies and tragedies but ended up as just another Woody-Talkie-Walkie for me. I admire Woody Allen’s ability and stamina at cranking out films so fast, but anymore I’d rather see him just craft another gem (more “Purple Rose of Cairo” please) as his what-is-life and grass-is-always-greener methods are wearing on me pretty thin and he’s not getting any younger. But, at least he didn’t star in this one. Surprisingly Will Ferrell, the last person who I thought could hammer some Woody dialog, churns out a delightful screen presence. Though, it’s not enough to make me care anymore about “Melinda & Melinda”.
Air Guitar Nation * * * * ½
Directed by: Alexandra Lipsitz / 2006
GUITARDED! JOYFUL! STUPID! AWESOME! BRILLIANT! That is all that needs to be said…and honestly why isn’t there a reality television show on the subject of air guitar players!? World Champion C-Diddy is my new hero as he brings air guitar to a new high and without the way-too-serious cocksures as his arch nemesis Bjorn Turoque! But, seriously, air guitaring is a serious sport. I'm not even near the awesomeness as some of these people, but I really want to rock out right now!
Rex The Runt * * * * *
Directed by: Richard Goleszowski / Television Series: 1998 & 2001
Another fine addition to the Aardman Animation family, “Rex The Runt” is a serious of hilarious, creative and twisted bite-sized claymation doggy tales involving the misadventures of Rex and his flat mates!