You can finally play along with India's awesome version of 'Millionaire' at home.

Rumor has it some folks out there haven't yet seen 'Slumdog Millionaire,' the Cinderella story that nearly went straight-to-DVD but instead won Best Picture at the Oscars. We can only assume you've been waiting to watch it at home on DVD with a plate of chicken tikka masala. That day has arrived.

Also new today: Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston show remarkable restraint by not strangling the world's worst dog in the dramedy 'Marley and Me,' and Will Smith plays one generous stranger in 'Seven Pounds.'

Get the full scoop on this week's DVD releases, plus our recommendations from weeks' past.


'Slumdog Millionaire'
What It's About: The nuggets of wisdom an uneducated teen (Dev Patel) learns growing up in the cruel slums of Mumbai (and beyond) correspond perfectly with the questions he faces on India's version of 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?'

It's Kind of Like: 'Quiz Show' meets 'City of God'

What We Say: For having a plot as gimmicky as detailed above, the fact that 'Slumdog' works so well is almost shocking. It's a fantasy steeped in a harsh reality that combines elements of drama, comedy, romance, action and adventure in conjuring up pure movie magic. Now I wish every movie ended with a Bollywood dance number.

Oscar Buzzed: Unless you've been living under a rock (or outhouse), you know 'Slumdog' completed its Cinderella story of nearly going straight-to-DVD to winning a Best Picture Oscar. If you still haven't seen it, we can only assume you've been waiting to watch it at home on DVD with a plate of chicken tikka masala. That day has arrived.

Add to your Netflix queue | Buy from Amazon | 50 Best Movies of 2008 | DVD Clip

'Marley & Me'
What It's About: A husband (Owen Wilson) and wife (Jennifer Aniston) stay loyal and committed to their mischievous yellow labrador retriever Marley no matter what he eats, destroys or makes stinky mess on.

It's Kind of Like: 'The Story of Us' meets 'Beethoven'

What We Say: 'Marley' is more than just "a movie about a dog," sure; stories of growing pains and life lessons abound, and there are some very touching moments. But it's still a movie dog lovers are going to enjoy and appreciate considerably more than others. Am I the only one who thought Marley was kind of a jerk?

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'Seven Pounds'
What It's About: Will Smith is a tortured, enigmatic man who seeks to redeem himself by changing the lives of seven strangers (including an ailing Rosario Dawson and blind Woody Harrelson). Think 'Extreme Makover's' Ty Pennington, except a total buzzkill.

What We Say: 'Pounds' took a beating from most critics, who labeled it preposterous and manipulative. Those critics were a little too harsh. While certain plot points are indeed absurd (particularly one involving a jellyfish), there's still some intriguing melodrama here.

Star to Watch: The big draw here is obviously Smith, who audiences would pay to watch work 9-5 as an actual IRS agent. But Dawson gives arguably her best performance yet as a sickly (yet sexy!) woman who threatens to foil Smith's master plan.

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Other New Releases:
'Tell No One'
'Special'
'Timecrimes'

New on Blu-ray:
'Pitch Black'
'Chronicles of Riddick'
'Ghosts of Mars'
'Gigi'
'South Pacific'
'An American in Paris'


New DVD Recommendations

    'Quantum of Solace'

    Release Date: March 24

    What It's About: After losing the love of his life, a vengeful James Bond (Daniel Craig) is out to take kick ass, take names and -- of course -- entertain on a couple new bed buddies in this direct sequel to 'Casino Royale.'

    What We Say: Whereas 'Royale' spent plenty of energy acclimating us to the new (blond!) 007 with wit, charm, romance and action, 'Solace' is all about the turbo-charged action. This didn't play well with some critics, but we'll take stylish Bond carnage over your average actioner ('Transporter' anyone?) any day.

    Special Features? Unless you're only in it for the Jack White-Alicia Keys music video for 'Another Way to Die' (the sole bonus feature on the single-disc edition), opt for the two-disc, which features several making-of docs, and most importantly, more Olga Kurylenko.

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    Craig-Forster Unscripted

    Sony

    'Bolt'

    Release Date: March 24

    What It's About: Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) is not a super-dog, he just plays one on TV. Of course Bolt doesn't know that. When he unwittingly lands in NYC, the lost dog recruits a cranky cat and hilarious hamster (aren't they all?) for a cross-country jaunt back to his loyal owner/co-star (Miley Cyrus) in Hollywood.

    It's Kind of Like: 'Underdog' meets 'Homeward Bound'

    Critical Consensus: There's no stopping talking dog movies -- but there are no singing Chihuahua armies in this animated adventure, which is probably why it fared well with critics, scoring an impressive 86 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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    50 Best Movies of 2008

    Disney

    'Elegy'

    Release Date: March 17

    What It's About: Believing it's to good to be true and thus doomed to fail, a celebrated college professor (Ben Kingsley) does everything in his power to screw up his relationship with a sexy student (Penelope Cruz).

    It's Kind of Like: 'The Visitor' with sex appeal

    What We Say: This underseen romantic drama about dealing with self-doubt in relationships is elegant, sophisticated and yes, even sexy (never thought we'd say that about a Ben Kingsley movie this decade). And it also reinforces the immortal words of Aaliyah: Age ain't nuthin' but a number, Sir Ben.

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    Sony Classics

    'Milk'

    Release Date: March 10

    What It's About: Sean Penn is Harvey Milk, the iconic San Francisco politician who became the first openly gay man elected to office in the U.S. in 1977. Josh Brolin is the jerk who assassinates him.

    What We Say: Gus Van Sant's biopic of the slain leader is much more conventional than you might expect, but not any less affecting or inspiring. Penn's performance is a triumph. And given the recent passage of Prop 8 in California, the film is as topical as they come.

    Awards & Nominations: Penn prevailed in the closest major race at the Oscars, edging out Comeback King Mickey Rourke ('The Wrestler') for Best Actor. The film also won Best Original Screenplay (Dustin Lance Black), but lost pretty much anywhere it was up against 'Slumdog.'

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    Oscars Movies Made Easy

    Universal

    'Role Models'

    Release Date: March 10

    What It's About: Sentenced to community service after an energy drink-fueled rampage, "big brothers" Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott teach their "littles" how to stare at breasts without getting caught, plus more valuable life lessons.

    It's Kind of Like: 'Old School' meets 'Cop and a Half'

    What We Say: 'Tropic Thunder,' 'Pineapple Express' and 'Sarah Marshall' may have gotten more play, but 'Role Models' was the funniest comedy of 2008. Both brilliantly sophomoric and sneakily witty (thanks to Rudd's handprints on the script), it's a must-see, and even better on repeat.

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    Watch trailer & clips

    Universal

    'Rachel Getting Married'

    Release Date: March 10

    What It's About: Released from rehab for a weekend to attend her sister's wedding, Anne Hathaway's bundle of nerves Kym tries her hardest not to ruin the bohemian-flavored celebration for all.

    What We Say: Moviegoers were generally divided over this indie drama from Jonathan Demme. Fans praised its intimacy and realism. Count me in the camp that appreciated it, but found it comparable to watching someone's home video of the best.wedding.ever.

    Awards & Nominations: If there's one reason to see 'Rachel,' it's Hathaway's stunning Academy Award-nominated performance (she was even an early favorite to win). It should be enough to make you forgive her for 'Bride Wars.'

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    Oscar Movies Made Easy

    Sony Classics

    'Let the Right One In'

    Release Date: March 10

    What It's About: In a small and wintry Swedish town, a young boy becomes BFFs with the new girl next door, who, it turns out, is a vampire starving for blood.

    What We Say: It's 'Twilight' for the arthouse crowd. Subtle but thoroughly chilling, this acclaimed import is one of the most sympathetic portraits of vampires you'll see. Eli (Lina Leandersson) may be deadly, but she's pretty damn adorable (and tortured), too.

    Where It Ranks: 'Let the Right One In' placed #29 on our list of 2008's 50 best movies.

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    Magnet Releasing

    'I've Loved You So Long'

    Release Date: March 3

    What It's About: When the long-missing and mysterious Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas) says at a dinner party she's been in prison the last 15 years for murder, people may laugh, but she ain't kidding. Her sister helps welcome her back into society.

    It's Kind of Like: 'Rachel Getting Married' in French

    Critical Consensus: Reviewers loved it so long, with the film scoring a 90 percent approval rating on RottenTomatoes.

    Awards & Nominations: Nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress – Drama, the excellent-in-any-language Thomas was a longshot contender for a second Oscar nom (after 'The English Patient'), but was likely edged out by Melissa Leo.

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    Sony Classics

    'Dear Zachary'

    Release Date: Feb. 24

    What It's About: After his close friend Andrew is murdered, documentarian Kurt Kuenne sets out to make a film about Andrew's life for his son Zachary. But a shocking turn of events transforms the intended tribute into something far different.

    What We Say: This is a tiny, highly personal doc in the same vein as 'Capturing the Friedmans' that got next-to-no attention during its ultra-limited theatrical release, despite a nearly unanimous chorus of critics labeling it a must-see. We can only hope it finds an audience on DVD: It's one of the most devastatingly powerful and affecting documentaries ever made.

    Where It Ranks: 'Zachary' placed #30 on our list 2008's 50 best movies (can someone say Oscar snub?).

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    Watch the trailer

    Oscilloscope

    'Frozen River'

    Release Date: Feb. 10

    What It's About: Hard up for cash after her no-good husband ditches her (and with their money for a new trailer home!), a gun-toting, retail-working mother of two (Melissa Leo) begins moonlighting as an immigrant smuggler.

    Awards & Nominations: Leo has been racking up accolades since the indie drama debuted at Sundance a year ago, and is now an Academy Award nominee for Best Actress. The film is also up for Best Original Screenplay.

    What We Say: Courtney Hunt's indie drama is without a doubt the unflashiest movie contending for Oscars this year (call it the anti-'Iron Man'). Steered by a quietly devastating performance by Leo, its power lies in its deft storytelling and unflinching realism.

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    Oscars Movies Made Easy

    Sony Classics

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