“Slumdog Millionaire” opens with our hero, Jamal (Dev Patel), getting smoke blown into his face by a police interrogator. Then he gets his head slammed into a bucket of water, and electrical shock is applied to his feet. English director Danny Boyle always makes Jamal’s fast grin, quick mind and mischievous pranks fun to follow. However, he never reconciles this fun with the film’s often-devastating spin throughout India.
Thirty-five-year-old Japanese animator Makoto Shinkai often gets called “the new Miyazaki.” Having learned this, you should forget it. Hayao Miyazaki represents the gold standard of Japanese anime to the West.
Shoko Tendo grew up a yakuza’s daughter turned into a juvenile delinquent, then a drug addict, then finally a sturdy writer with a compelling memoir. Being daddy’s girl didn’t shield her from much, and her life bore no resemblance to the Western image of a coddled “mafia princess.” Underneath her walking, talking, I-don’t-care exterior is someone who never knew love, security and stability.
The Pang brothers turned in a credible grimy thriller with 1999’s original “Bangkok Dangerous.” Eight years later, only the brothers and the city remain the same. Western screenwriter Jason Richman took the Pangs’ original and pumped up the volume, the budget and the violence, losing most of the pathos in the stampede.