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Capone has recommendations for films to see after you finish up with Bond--SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN and JCVD!!!

Hey folks. Capone in Chicago here with reviews of three killer tremendous films that will be competing for screen space again James Bond. But these are all well worth seeking out and watching repeated times. That is your mission, you know, after you see QUANTUM. Enjoy...
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE There are quite a few great movies to choose from this weekend, but I believe that this one is my favorite. From a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, director Danny Boyle (TRAINSPOTTING, 28 DAYS LATER, SUNSHINE, MILLIONS) has made the most vibrant and mature film of his career. At its core, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is a biography of a still-young man named Jamal Malik (played by three different actors, including Dev Patel, who plays Jamal as an adult), who grew up in the slums of Bombay, India, with his brother Salim. Somehow, Jamal makes it on the Indian version of the wildly popular "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" and manages to get all of the questions correct before time runs out just before he gets to hear the final question. As he leaves the studio for the night, he is arrested and accused of cheating. The investigating officer (played by the great Irfan Khan of THE NAMESAKE, THE DARJEELING LIMITED, and A MIGHTY HEART) forces Jamal to watch a tape of the show and explain how he knew the answer to each question. This framework allows us to travel through Jamal's remarkable life through the underbelly of India, including a lifelong love with a girl named Latika (played as an adult by Freida Pinto), who moves in and out of his life over the years. There's really no reason to go into detail about some of the events that define Jamal and make it possible for him to excel on the game show. The fun of watching SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is the unveiling, piece by piece, layer by layer, of Jamal's world. His life as an Oliver Twist-like street urchin, con artist, thief, and finally an assistant call-center worker. What happened to his parents? His brother? His lady love? And does he get to come back to the show for the chance to win millions of rupees? It's all in there, and it's an exciting and electric story that will have you vibrating with anticipation. As if that weren't enough, Boyle jams his film with one of the greatest soundtracks of Indian club tracks imaginable. Patel's wide-eyed performance is a real find as Jamal, the young man who finds it impossible to lie. And Pinto's Latika is simply beautiful. I even loved the way Boyle weaves in Hindi and English--I'm guessing this is how things are in the more metropolitan parts of India--to further the authenticity of his stunning film. You've trusted Boyle to tell great stories about heroin addicts, raging viral maniacs, and the possible end of the world thanks to the sun burning out. You absolutely must have faith in his abilities to tell the most human story he's ever embraced. This is a marvelous achievement, filled with life, danger and thrills, all of which combine to produce one of the most uplifting films of 2008. You're going to cherish SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN Known by many as simply "that Swedish vampire movie," LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is one of the most original and eerie vampire films ever made, as much for what it does not work into its deceptively story as for what it does. Avoiding all of the usual trappings of modern vampire films, director Tomas Alfredson does not give us fashion-model vampires who dress in black and look like they're on the way to a club. Instead he gives us a pale and frightened 12-year-old girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson) who moves into an apartment building with her non-vampire father. She becomes friends with a same-age boy named Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), a bit of an outcast at school who is picked on ruthlessly by bullies. Oskar doesn't quite understand what Eli is, but she's mysterious and she talks to him, so they become friends. In the world around Oskar, people begin to disappear and get murdered, only to be found in elaborately staged poses meant to maximize blood drainage. Oskar is captivated by the stories he's hearing about these deaths, while Eli seems decidedly unimpressed (she also seems impervious to cold weather and she can climb the walls). This pair of misfits forms a sweet, non-physical romance that makes Eli feel safe enough to confess her true nature to Oskar. One of the most fascinating parts about Eli's existence is that she's not sure how old she is, but based on the age of her father, we imagine that she's been trapped at 12 for quite some time. After an unexpected turn of events, Eli determines she must leave the apartment, leaving Oskar both heartbroken and again vulnerable to bully attacks. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (the title comes from the practice of having to invite a vampire into your home before it can have its way with you) isn't about excessive gore or standard-issue scare tactics. The film builds and earns its tension-filled moments with a careful mix of measured performances (especially moving and creepy Leandersson) and a sparse, quiet sense of drama and fear. The film is not just unlike any other vampire movie you've ever seen; it's unlike any horror film I can think of, at least in the last 20 years. You need to seek this one out and see it. It's not overly violent or flashy, but it is a fiercely scary and perfectly realized work.
JCVD I don't think I would have believed you if you'd told me this at the beginning of the year that one of the boldest and most risky performances of 2008 would come from Jean-Claude Van Damme. But that's exactly what JCVD gives us, a self-referential work in which the Muscles from Brussels plays himself (or a version of himself) who returns to his homeland a broken and burnt-out actor, all too aware that his glory days are long behind him. He's happy to take lame movies--knowing full well they will likely got straight to DVD--because he's broke, in the midst of a brutal custody battle for his daughter, and losing most action roles to a crop of younger performers (and apparently Steven Seagal, the only plot point I wasn't buying). Director and co-writer Mabrouk El Mechri has pulled together a beautifully structured thriller plot involving Van Damme apparently holding up a bank and taking hostages, creating one the biggest news events Brussels has ever experienced. What's fascinating about JCVD is that Van Damme agreed to do it at all. The screenplay paints him as a desperate, faded star. He's a loser who can't fight nearly as well as his choreographed, on-screen counterpart. And although I understand that this is a fictional version of the man, there's a lot of truth to this fiction. In one particular sequence from the film that I will never forget, Van Damme is literally lifted out of the movie for a brief, dreamlike moment where he directly addresses the audience. It's a stark, emotionally naked confession, during which the man actually cries quite forcefully. Aside from just being flabbergasted that Van Damme was capable of crying so convincingly on cue, I found the moment one of the most perfect screen moments I've seen all year. El Mechri adds a steely blue look to the movie that manages to make it look both otherworldly and very much a part of Van Damme's bleak world. Above all else, JCVD made me want to revisit Van Damme's TIME COP, BLOOD SPORT, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, and a half-dozen other films of this still very athletic action hero who has a real future ahead of him as a genuine actor. Check out JCVD, one of the biggest surprises you'll have in a movie theater in recent memory. -- Capone capone@aintitcoolmail.com



Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 14, 2008, 7:15 a.m. CST

    blah

    by Noddy93

    blah

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 7:39 a.m. CST

    I read that van Damme's speech was improvised.

    by DerLanghaarige

    Don't know if it's true.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 7:47 a.m. CST

    I can't wait to see

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    JCVD<p> Heard nothing but things that make me want to see it more

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 8:06 a.m. CST

    Let The Right One In is exceptional.

    by Pdorwick

    People should make a point of finding it, they won't be disappointed.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 8:16 a.m. CST

    So many movies to see!

    by Judge Briggs

    Just peeped RockNRolla- Amazingly good. Loved it and recommend it highly to everyone. So fuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnnnnnny and well-written. Slumdog looks awesome too. Boyle doesn't ever F up... much like Nolan! I am worried about Bond's running time though.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Let the right one in

    by Lissa-Triana

    I saw Let The Right One In this weekend and I loved it. I did not have the impression that her father was actually her father. She only spoke of him as her father once and that was to the nurse. I had the impression that he was maybe someone she had known when HE was young. I was thinking maybe a brother or even possibly he had once been like her childhood sweetheart. And someday Oskar will be like him too. Or maybe I am looking into it too much.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 8:28 a.m. CST

    Aha!

    by Lissa-Triana

    I'm right (so let me in ;) )! According to wikipedia http://tiny.cc/bY0h3 she is 200 years old so he could NOT be here father. I am betting she also met him when he was young and she has been grooming Oskar to take over for him since it was apparent that he was getting too old to do the job.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 8:46 a.m. CST

    Sorry but I found Let The Right One In boring.

    by My Mom Is A Whore

    And no, it wasn't the subtitles before some idiot says it. Everything was soooo slow. Plus, it wasn't really a horror at all. It was more of a childhood romance movie without the romance. I actually left after an hour to do some shopping. But that's just my opinion. See it and form your own opinion.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 9:09 a.m. CST

    beware! lissa-triana's post(s) contains spoilers

    by massolit

    know that her post is above this...but gotta warn the masses

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 9:29 a.m. CST

    This is a great movie ....

    by thepicaroony

    ... and i would recommend it to anyone with a love of things supernatural and romantic ....it may also help if you are not an impatient dimwit. And Capone, good stuff man but i don't think Eli ever comes across as frightened .....

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Where the name Let The Right One In came from

    by Moose23

    Capone, the title, while taking it's cue from vampire lore, is actually from the Morrisey song 'Let the right one slip in'...

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 10:14 a.m. CST

    Little kid vampires...

    by Kid Z

    ...have always been a creepy concept. And I've always liked the idea of getting the vampire legend as far as possible away from its current "goth/poof" ghetto where Anne Rice and way too many shitty movie directors put it.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Not her father, he's....

    by StovetopStuffin'

    a pedophile. Read the book, there's so much left out. His character is an alcoholic former professor who was fired for possessing child porn. His character has a much bigger story than we get in the movie. If they truly are remaking the movie, they should try and make it more like the book. And no, she did not meet him when he was a kid.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 10:30 a.m. CST

    To My Mom Is A Whore

    by StovetopStuffin'

    You left halfway through. Nuff said. LTROI is not a fast paced action movie, nor a horrorfest. It's a bizarre love story. Like a demented version of "My Girl".

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 11:28 a.m. CST

    StovetopStuffin?

    by Mr.Krinkle

    Is that pedophile thing true? I had the same impression that Lissa-Trianna had. I thought the father was her sweetheart when they were children and she had been bitten then. They remained sweethearts and he's been helping her ever since. Now that he's become to old to help she's replacing him. That's why he seemed jealous about Oskar. Oskar is a replacement for him in two ways. He will help her survive and make her feel young again. I like that better than the pedophile thing. Several people I've talked to had a similar impression. Finally, anyone who would walk out of this movie has serious ADD. The ending is brilliant.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 11:47 a.m. CST

    massolit

    by Lissa-Triana

    opps! Sorry if I spoiled you, but I didn't feel that I gave any more spoilers then what was in the review and a lot of it was speculation.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 11:59 a.m. CST

    no prob l.t.

    by massolit

    sometimes its hard to tell what is/is not a spoiler...and looking at other t.b.'s looks like more is being revealed. didnt mean to sound like a snob.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Actually, the title of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN...

    by MaxTheSilent

    ...Is a direct quote from a Morrisey song that is quoted at the beginning of the book. Of course, it also has an obvious meaning in vampire lore. And yes, this movie is magnificent.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Oops, Moose23 beat me to it.

    by MaxTheSilent

    But for anyone wanting to know the truth behind Eli and Hakan's (the old guy) relationship, here be book spoilers. Basically Hakan, in the book, is a filthy peadophile scumbag who gets sexual favours from Eli for looking after her. There are many things in the book that were left out of the film, like after he falls from the window the movie clearly shows he's still alive. In the book that's only halfway through, and he becomes kind of a zombie who is hellbent on getting back to his love. So he lumbers and kills his way back to the apartment building to find her again. This was just one of the more overt horror movie sub-plots that were cut from the film. And wisely so, I think. Also, Eli's horrific origin is nowhere to be found.But I don;t think they could have done that without descending into sub-Anne Rice goth vampire cliche.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 5:05 p.m. CST

    MaxTheSilent...

    by -guyinthebackrow

    RE: Eli's origin from the book. There is a half-second shot of Eli's privates and you see, amid, hair what looks like a scar. So, they allude to the book's origin in the film, but they don't actually tell you that she is or was a boy. When she says, "I'm not a girl" that could also be seen as her trying to say, "I'm a vampire. I'm not a human."

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 5:23 p.m. CST

    Yeah, but that's all you get.

    by MaxTheSilent

    I'm talking about flashbacks or any of that crap that would have cheapened the film. I love that there's a lot of stuff in the movie where you have to fill in the blanks yourself. But having read the book I knew the background behind all those things. In fact, I'm fucking astonished at how much of the 500 page book actually made it in. And how Alfredson shot the big finale was utter genius.

  • Nov. 14, 2008, 10:49 p.m. CST

    I'd rather see any of those three...

    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    Than the new Bond. I actually WANT to see those three films at some stage, but could go the rest of my life never seeing another bland action film.

  • Nov. 15, 2008, 12:38 a.m. CST

    revisitveing JCVD

    by ranma627

    When I revisit Van Damme I watch Kickboxer and Cyborg. Those movies rock.

  • Nov. 15, 2008, 12:43 a.m. CST

    Best Movie of 2008

    by itstherudy

    Everyone go see Slumdog!!!

  • Nov. 15, 2008, 11:42 a.m. CST

    JCVD cancelled

    by Dwarves

    I saw this in NYC when Van Damme was supposed to be there in person.The dude canceled. The reason...according to IMDB...his dog was sick. Movie=good van Damme=lame

  • Nov. 16, 2008, 3:17 p.m. CST

    Slumdog Millionaire

    by jazzgalaxy

    is freaking brilliant. It's one of the best movies i have seen *period*. i am going to see it again tomorrow night at a screening with Danny Boyle in attendance. i cannot wait.

  • And Capone sums it up quite nicely. I'd actually refrain from calling it a horror film. Rather, it's a more human perspective of vampires. Or one vampire, at least. <br> <br> It's a very subtle film, but certainly not a boring one.

  • Nov. 16, 2008, 6:25 p.m. CST

    RE: Lissa Triana

    by Organs

    I had the same observation about the film. I thought it was almost obvious, the human father killing for this vampire girl, and in the meantime the girl befriends Oskar, who is still human at the end of the picture.

  • Nov. 16, 2008, 9:58 p.m. CST

    Let the Right One In

    by fuldamobil

    Is based on a book and I think a lot of the details from the book; Eli's age and identity, the identity of her companion; are deliberately vague in the film and, I think, make it work better as a movie. It's the best film I've seen this year. I can't stop thinking about it and seeing it on the big screen is a treat not to be missed. Yes, it is slow, but never boring.

  • Nov. 16, 2008, 11:48 p.m. CST

    let the right one in

    by ranma627

    It's definitely nor boring but it's not a very good film like everyone is saying. The structure is all over the place and i was sad to see some odd moments in CGI. CGI cats anyone. But overall, the story was nothing special and neither was the direction. I found the relationship between the father figure and the girl interesting but wasn't enough to save this film for me. Which is a shame. I hear so much good stuff on aicn and was really looking forward to this but I was so disappointed.

  • Nov. 16, 2008, 11:49 p.m. CST

    Lissa

    by ranma627

    I had the feeling that maybe they were once in love. I wish they would have explored that more because all that side story with the people who hang in the restaurant was not needed at all.

  • Nov. 19, 2008, 1:14 a.m. CST

    Eli's gender

    by rainbowtrout1265

    The fact that Eli is a boy made the whole thing a bit creepy, and not in a good way. BTW, why does Eli look like a girl?

  • Nov. 25, 2008, 7:48 a.m. CST

    Let the right one in is not a love story

    by smackfu

    Just to be clear on this, 'Let the Right One In' is not a love story. It's a story about a vampire replacing her 'Renfield'. This is what makes it unsettling, that the 'romance' on her part is completely an illusion and this kid is going to spend his whole life in servitude to an ancient ghoul disguised as a girl. As indicated when she tossed his dead body out the window like it was garbage, she feels nothing for her former protector, and likely feels nothing for Oskar either, except a hint of remorse for what she's really getting this poor kid into. by the end of the movie she has successfully secured him as her new 'Renfield' guardian/feeder for at least another 40-50 years before she has to go through this routine again, of finding the right kind of person with the right set of circumstances, and make them fall in love with her.