Runner Runner

discs the act of killing

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Act of Killing Indonesia, like many countries, has a dark and bloody past filled with brutal death squads and mass killings. The difference is that unlike those others the people of Indonesia continue to celebrate the murderers, and many of those killers still walk the streets as heroes of a cruel and sadistic history. This documentary puts us in the killers’ midst as they tell their story using the medium they love so much, film. Joshua Oppenheimer‘s film is an absolute marvel both in what it sets out to do and in what it accomplishes. The “characters” here are madmen in charge of their own fates and world, and the view they have of their shared history is more disturbing than any horror film. The only thing more terrifying than hearing them talk about what they’ve done and how they feel about it now is watching their efforts to recreate it all in front of the camera. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Theatrical and director's cuts, interview, commentary with Oppenheimer and Werner Herzog, featurette, deleted scenes, trailers, booklet]

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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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Gravity

It’s October, which means awards season has officially commenced. Last month gave us a taste with Ron Howard’s Rush, Hugh Jackman yelling in Prisoners, and, last but not least, Luc Besson’s The Family. Maybe not that last one so much, but the other two weren’t a shabby way to kick things off. This month has two movies in particular that should blow socks off while also causing a few tears to flow in the process. They’re the obvious suspects, but they both pack awfully heavy punches. There’s also a little talked about science-fiction-ish movie you may want to check out this weekend as well… But there’s more than three movies to see this month. So, without further ado, here are the ten must-see movies of October 2013:

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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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Runner Runner

Lets say for a moment that you’re young and good with numbers. Imagine then that you’re also smart enough to get into a prestigious university. What happens next? You get saddled with massive student loans to pay for an high class education. The next step is to turn to gambling and waste away all that money, obviously. For the most part, The Lincoln Lawyer director Brad Furman’s latest movie deals with such a situation. Runner, Runner stars Justin Timberlake as a young man who tried and failed to pay off his post-secondary education with online poker winnings. With limited options remaining, he jets off to an ambiguous Caribbean island to investigate whether or not he was cheated, only to find himself wrapped up in the web of an online poker magnate (Ben Affleck) with a messy agenda and a propensity for bouts of crazy. Some kids will do anything for a good education these days. Quick, no one tell Timberlake’s character that his diploma would’ve been worthless in this economy, anyway.

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Hello, and welcome to Friday afternoon in Hollywood. With the better part of the industry coasting along on nothing but the fumes of Frappucinos to get to the weekend, there’s nothing left to report but the thrills and chills of release date shuffles. But we here at FSR won’t rest until you have all the news you could possibly need to get you through the weekend – we’re working for the week,man -so let’s all get hip to the latest release date movements by way of our handy Release Date Round-Up form (easy to understand and to digest, yum yum). After the break, get the latest release dates for Anna Karenina, Trouble With the Curve, This Must Be the Place, Runner Runner, Seven Psychopaths, and that Gambit remake no one wanted.

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Anybody who watches Parks and Recreation already knows that Jean-Ralphio is probably the most connected, cutting edge entrepreneur/promoter/personality in Pawnee, Indiana, and maybe in all of the Midwest. This guy could find a way to get you bottle service on the moon. But what a lot of people probably don’t know is that Jean-Ralphio isn’t actually a real person. He’s just a character played by an actor named Ben Schwartz. I know, I was shocked, too. And even more mind-blowing than this news is a report that Schwartz has a new job lined up in a feature film, which will see him working with some of the biggest names in the game. According to THR, Schwartz has signed on to star alongside Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake in Brad Fuhrman’s (The Lincoln Lawyer) upcoming tale about the world of online gambling, Runner, Runner. Even though Jean-Ralphio is the real power player in this situation, Timberlake technically stars as a professional gambler who starts working under the tutelage of an offshore gaming CEO (is that a real job?) played by Affleck. Schwartz is signed on to play the friend of Timberlake’s character, which makes sense, because he’s going to need someone to help him figure out the most fabulous ways to spend all of the money he wins. First step: buy a helicopter made out of crystal.

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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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