Brad Furman

review runner runner

Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) was a Wall Street hot-shot once upon a time, but when the economy tanked so did his job. Now he’s forced to attend Princeton on his own dime which is an untenable situation as he only has 170,000 dimes to his name. He lights upon the genius idea of gambling his $17k into enough to cover tuition on an online poker site called Midnight Black, but while he’s a financial whiz and a Texas Hold’em master he’s shocked when he loses it all to another player. Suspecting foul play he has the data analyzed, and sure enough, he’s been cheated. So he packs his bags and flies off to the absolutely and completely corrupt nation of Costa Rica where Midnight Black’s CEO, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), resides outside of the United States’ jurisdiction. Furst finagles some face time, shares his accusation of the site’s malfeasance, and is promptly offered a job with the company. What job? Not important. All of his financial dreams are coming true, but the whole endeavor is threatened by the love of a bad woman (Gemma Arterton), the faults of a weak father (John Heard), and the actual threats of a rogue F.B.I. agent named Shavers (Anthony Mackie). Also, crocodiles. Runner Runner is a movie made by people who’ve seen other movies and thought to themselves, yeah, I can do that. It manages to be both convoluted and simplistic, busy and ultimately empty, and it does it all with expository narration that […]

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Reagan_assassination_attempt_montage

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. Brad Furman‘s latest movie, Runner Runner, has been getting terrible reviews. Like really, really terrible. I think we at FSR even just avoided it entirely. That’s a shame because his first two narrative features, The Take and The Lincoln Lawyer, were pretty well received. And prior to that, his shorts were successful, too. His debut is called Fast Forward, and it involves the 1981 shooting of President Reagan. Rather than recreating the incident entirely, Furman takes the familiar TV footage, which millions of us have seen over and over before, and mixes it with peripheral reenactment where necessary for an added fictional component. Using the real material is for good purpose as the point of the film seems to be that the footage — and much of television like it — is confusing in its chaos and maybe not at all what it seems. Is Furman aiming to equate the Reagan assassination attempt with the JFK assassination? Perhaps.  Fast Forward is about a news reporter (David Deblinger) who sees the footage play out on a monitor in his van five minutes before the events actually happen, Final Destination style. After finally realizing what he’s seeing, he rushes out to try to stop the gunman. But the video he’s seen doesn’t offer a clear look at the guy. In the end, I’m not totally sure what ensues. Maybe […]

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Runner Runner

Before he dons the Batman costume and endures the rage of thousands of confused and disgruntled fans who are outraged they weren’t consulted about a studio’s casting choice, Ben Affleck will be playing a different kind of billionaire. In Brad Furman‘s Runner Runner, Affleck is the head of an online poker company that is apparently located on the world’s most ominous tropical island. Here, he meets with average not-30-year-old college student Justin Timberlake, who has decided that gambling via online poker would be the smartest way to pay off his student loans. When that plan goes sour and he loses all of his money instead, he flies to Spooky Island to meet with Affleck. Check out the clip below:

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Oh, come on now, you didn’t think that Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake would star in a movie together and there wouldn’t be hot ladies around, did you? The pair signed on for Brad Furman‘s Runner Runner in April and, back then, we only knew that it would focus on online gambling and that Timberlake would be the right-hand man to boss guy Affleck. Now we have a fuller picture of the film, including just how Timberlake gets tossed into this particular shark tank and who might help pull him out. Gemma Arterton has been cast in the film, in a role that Variety can only divulge as being “Timberlake’s love interest.” Let’s hope that she can get him away from Affleck, who sounds like he’ll be playing a real sleaze. The outlet also reports that the Timberlake will play “a Princeton student cheated out of his tuition money playing online poker who ends up the right-hand man of the site’s corrupt boss (Affleck).” Geez, bad decisions all around on that one.

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You know what’s hot right now? Poker. Pretend you’re reading this in 2006. You know what’s really hot right now? Asking about things that are hot right now. It’s true. That’s why all the celebrity magazines do it. At least two obvious answers to that ever-present question are Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. According to Variety, the pair will be trying to pack a full house for Runner Runner, a movie focused on the world of illegal online gambling. Beyond the big names set to star, there’s more talent behind the typewriter and in the director’s chair. The script comes from Brian Koppelman and David Lieven (Rounders, Ocean’s Thirteen), and the production has snagged Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) to direct. Jokes about relevancy aside, this sounds cool as hell. Rounders was sharp, and it’ll be fascinating to see Affleck follow in Matt Damon’s footsteps. Potential-wise, all the names look killer here. The subject could be straight out of the noir playbook, but making online poker seem invigorating will definitely be a challenge.

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In news that makes my inner twelve-year-old pout and throw a temper tantrum, it looks like we aren’t going to be seeing any new Arnold Schwarzenegger films any time soon after all. Due to the much-publicized (from sites that cover that sort of thing) scandal surrounding Schwarzenegger’s separation with longtime wife Maria Shriver, he’s taking a step back from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to get his house in order. I long for the days when it took Fatty Arbuckle killing someone to put a halt on a film’s production. This love child leading to cancelled movies thing is some real pussyfooting around. A statement from Arnie’s people laid things out like this: “Governor Schwarzenegger is focusing on personal matters and is not willing to commit to any production schedules or timelines. This includes Cry Macho, The Terminator franchise and other projects under consideration. We will resume discussions when Governor Schwarzenegger decides.”

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After a whole host of rumors, possible sequels, and probable franchise reboots have been discussed, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first film role since his comeback to acting was announced has been made official. Vulture is reporting that, even before he gets to work on a new Terminator with Justin Lin, the bemuscled one has signed on to star in Brad Furman’s next film Cry Macho. The film will be based on a novel of the same name written by N. Richard Nash, and it tells the story of a horse trainer whose better days are behind him, so he gets fired and then turned into a criminal by his boss. You see, his boss has an 11 year-old son and a rich ex-wife, and after losing out on a paying gig, Schwarzenegger’s character is convinced to kidnap the son away from the wife and bring him back to his father for a hefty ransom. The twist comes when the wife is all too happy to get rid of the little brat and no kidnapping is really necessary. A lot of people have been making fun of the idea of Schwarzenegger getting back into acting, seeing as he’s getting a little long in the tooth and wrinkly in the body, and his heyday consisted mostly of squeezing his hulking frame into physical action roles, but I think that roles like this and the aging sheriff role in the Jee-Woon Kim film that he was rumored for prove that there is still a place […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr starts a new regimen of drugs that comes in a clear little pill. The guy on the street corner told him that it would unlock the full potential of his mind, and he assured Kevin it was FDA approved. Why would this guy lie to him? While waiting for the drugs to kick in, Kevin decided to take a trip across the American southwest and search for skinny little aliens with fat man voices. He knows he’s safe, even if he’s picked up by the cops, because he’s retained a dead-sexy lawyer who runs his practice out of the back of his Lincoln Town Car.

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The trailer for The Lincoln Lawyer is a confounding mess of imagery. With it as the sole source of information about the film, it paints a picture of a high-priced lawyer who uses his Lincoln Towncar as a mobile office for unexplained reasons (fingers crossed for an emotional speech about his dad always driving him around in it before abandoning the family). It also flashes a few out-of-context images of Ryan Phillipe’s character being very wealthy and possibly in a dream sequence but possibly in reality raping and killing a young woman. Lastly, we’re treated to the most awkward ending to a trailer since Flight of the Navigator. Can you stare down McConaughey before getting a creepy feeling in your gut? If so, then you’re a better person than I. The synopsis promises that our hero Mickey Haller will soon find himself in danger, so maybe all the action and chase scenes are yet to come – otherwise, the whole thing sort of seems (from the trailer) like a brooding episode of Law and Order: SVU that someone wanted to expand to fit the big screen.

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