Jessica Lange

The Gambler 2014 Class

When people talk about how great the ’70s were for character-driven stories, Karel Reisz’s The Gambler should be, but hardly ever is, included in that conversation. Screenwriter James Toback’s script was a deeply personal depiction of his own gambling addiction, and the leather-tough James Caan disappeared into the atypical role of a guy who could easily be pushed around. Forty years later Mark Wahlberg subverts his own tough guy image in director Rupert Wyatt‘s dense, subversive and surprisingly meta remake of Reisz’s original picture. This is a rare remake that stands on its own two feet, which is immediately established at the start of the film. There’s a reason why even the characters’ names have been altered — Axel Freed (James Caan) is now Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg). The original and this remake are almost entirely different beasts, despite some familiarity. Although a modern retelling is typically expected to be slicker and safer than its original source, this story remains faithful to its prick of a protagonist. Bennett is, by all means, an unlikable person. Not only because he has a serious gambling problem, but because he’s a character without a filter, someone who thinks he’s telling the truth but who, more often than not, is really spouting loads of bullshit.

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Up-and-coming actor Oscar Isaac seems determined to round out his slate with interesting and very different roles – after both his solid work in Drive and turning in the best performance in the blood-and-trash-splattered trainwreck that was Sucker Punch, we will next see him starring in the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, The Bourne Legacy, and Ten Year. Past that, he will now reportedly star in Charlie Stratton’s Therese. The film, previously known as Therese Raquin (it appears that the title has been officially changed or everyone over at Deadline Orleans is too lazy to type it out completely), is based on the Emile Zola novel and play of the same name, and will star Elizabeth Olsen in the eponymous role. Set in the late 1800s, the film centers on Therese and the loveless marriage she’s been forced into with her sickly mama’s boy of a cousin, Camille (Tom Felton). Her overbearing aunt (Jessica Lange) is the ostensible matchmaker of this disastrous pair and her continued pressure on Therese, combined with the intolerable Camille, ultimately force Therese to look for love elsewhere – with Camille’s friend Laurent (to be played by Isaac). Even if you’re not familiar with the story, you can probably guess that it doesn’t end well. I mean, really, really not well.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in his Jedi robes and grabs his lightsaber, heading to the theater to see the 3D re-release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. While there, he faces a sea of estrogen as ladies of all type swarm into the multiplex to see Channing Tatum’s abs multiflex. After using his lightsaber to break through the wall of pre-Valentine’s Day ladies, he faces more obstacles with twentysomething dudes heading out to see Safe House and obnoxious families to see Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Fortunately for Kevin, he is able to dispatch everyone with his Rock-inspired “pec pop of love.” It was an early Valentine’s Day massacre.

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We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. You gotta give Ryan Murphy credit for one thing, he sure as hell doesn’t believe in doing anything “normal,” and his triumphant return to adult television in the new FX series American Horror Story fits right in with the rest of his filmography, and the creepy child would agree. What can honestly be said about American Horror Story? Well first off, there’s no way to properly market this show. It’s honestly one of the most twisted things this reviewer has ever seen attempted by a mainstream television network. Here are a few adjectives and phrases I would use to describe the series: bloody, creepy, hyper-sexual, campy, crazy, ummm…okay…, WTF?!, where the?, huh?, holy shit, behind you! If any of that sounds appealing, then you are going to fucking love American Horror Story.

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; try it with bacon! This is the weekly internet column that proves to within an inch of certainty that any idiot can be a writer. I take all the lessons I failed to learn in film school, warp them with demented abandon, and splatter the resulting abomination all over cyberspace. Who doesn’t like bad movies? If you are currently raising your hand, you should know that I cannot see you through the screen and you just look ridiculous. Everybody has one or two guilty pleasure films to which they subject their brains in full awareness of the film’s shortcomings. Personally I have a library of bad movies I love and I will examine one every Friday; giving the celebrated, if dubious, highlights as well as the technically existent flaws. In an effort to make this experience twice as unhealthy for you, I will also pair the film with a snack food item linked to the shenanigans in the film. Last week saw the fall of a titan. For lovers of over-the-top, schlocky, or otherwise cheesy cinema, few names are spoken with more reverence than that of Dino De Laurentis. The guy is a legendary producer who had a Corman-like prolificacy. There is something incongruently grandiose about his productions that belie their actual budget or ultimate quality. In the short span of time that JFC has been in existence, two of his films have already been showcased: Danger: Diabolik and Flash Gordon. In honor of the […]

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MWLBigFish

Will Bloom struggles to reconnect with his father Edward Bloom as Ed’s entire life is retold in epic, tall tale-style, and Tim Burton discovers primary colors.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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