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Weekend Movie Forecast: <em>Quantum of Solace, Slumdog Millionaire</em>

<em>Quantum of Solace</em>, the latest Bond flick and the first to serve as a direct sequel to its predecessor (in this case, <em>Casino Royale</em>) opens today with Daniel Craig reprising the iconic role. Robert Wilonsky <a href="http://www.villagevoice.com/2008-11-12/film/marc-forster-has-a-license-to-confuse-and-bore-in-quantum-of-solace/">at the Village Voice</a>, who loved <em>Casino Royale</em>, is seriously underwhelmed: "Craig's second outing as Bond is as frustrating, sloppy, and brusque as its predecessor was engaging, sleek, and unhurried. At 106 minutes, it's the shortest of the Bond films, but it feels like one of the longest as it bounces hither and yon only to wind up stranded in a Bolivian desert, where baddie Dominic Greene is sucking the sand dry of its underwater river. <strong>Yawn. Used to be, Bond villains were larger-than-life Evil Geniuses who at least had Grand Aspirations to take over the world, bwah-haw-haw. Now, the bad guy's just a phony environmentalist with a thing for deposed dictators and dry wells."</strong>


<em>Slumdog Millionaire</em>, directed by Danny Boyle (<em>Trainspotting</em>) and adapted from a novel by Vikas Swarup, is a contemporary fairy tale about a lowly tea server at a Mumbai call center who gets a shot at the high life on the regional version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." The story then jumps back through time to his violent, indigent childhood in the ghetto. <a href="http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/11/12/movies/12slum.html">The Times's Manohla Dargis</a> calls it a "sensory blowout...a gaudy, gorgeous rush of color, sound and motion... that doesn’t travel through the lower depths, it giddily bounces from one horror to the next...<strong>Because Mr. Boyle leans toward the sanguine, this proves to be one of the most upbeat stories about living in hell imaginable."</strong>


<p>J. Hoberman <a href="http://www.villagevoice.com/2008-11-12/film/desplechin-s-a-christmas-tale-is-the-gift-this-season-needs/">at the Village Voice</a> spends his entire column this week rhapsodizing about Arnaud Desplechin's film <em>A Christmas Tale</em>, a "comic, ultimately touching family melodrama" that <strong>"feels like all 12 days of seasonal merriment, and then some."</strong> It stars the great Catherine Deneuve as the matriarch of a chic family who is diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, and Hoberman writes: "It should be heavy, but it's not. <strong>Desplechin thrives on drunken escapades, medical procedures, blunt confessions, grand gestures, and screwball riffs.</strong> The characters are as volatile as the situation. <em>A Christmas Tale</em> unfolds in a succession of big confrontations and quick vignettes...<strong>This is a movie of moment-to-moment unpredictability."</strong></p>



<a href="http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117938988.html?categoryid=2850&amp;cs=1">According to Variety</a>, the documentary <em>We Are Wizards</em> "looks at the Harry Potter books' ability to send its fans into paroxysms of dorky self-expression...The film registers neither as bemusedly distanced as <em>Trekkies</em> nor as dramatically engaged as <em>King of Kong</em>. <strong>Meandering mindlessly, "Wizards" comes off as yet another humdrum Pottery artifact summoning the faithful."</strong>


<p>Film Forum is <a href="http://www.filmforum.org/films/wildstyle.html">screening <em>Wild Style</em></a> through next Thursday, in honor of its 25th anniversary. The '83 graffiti classic features such old school hip hop pioneers as Fab Five Freddy, Grandmaster Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore, Busy Bee, Cold Crush, and Rock Steady Crew. Reviewing it for the Times, A.O. Scott writes: "<em>Wild Style</em> remains, to borrow a term from the rap lexicon, permanently fresh. In capturing the Hip Hop aesthetic at an early point of ferment and vigor, Ahearn's film was able to intuit what Hip Hop would become."</p>


<p>Chazz Palminteri stars in the Italian-American heist movie <em>The Dukes</em>, about a one-hit-wonder doo-wop group from the early ’60s who try to rob a dental laboratory in 2007. <a href="http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/movies/14duke.html?ref=movies">The Times's Stephen Holden</a> writes, "Unfunny jokes abound. <strong>As it plods along in its sloppy, joshing way, it tastes like pasta sauce that has sat on the shelf long after the expiration date on the can."</strong></p>



<p>At midnight tonight and tomorrow, <a href="http://www.ifccenter.com/event?eventid=999851">IFC Center</a> will screen David Cronenberg's 1983 sci-i horror mindfuck <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videodrome">Videodrome</a></em>.</p>