2 1/2 Stars
Ridley Scott films have an amazing attention to detail. Everything from production, set and costume design to the actual cinema techniques of editing, cinematography and script are poured over with feverish devotion. Wether it be an alien vessel, a look at modern warfare or gladiatorial days in the Roman coliseum; Scott and his collaborators are masters of recreating a time period and mounting gargantuan production behind them. Kingdom of Heaven is Scott’s first return to ancient times since the OSCAR winning Gladiator, the two films couldn’t be more different. Those seeking the majestically beautiful violence of that earlier classic will be disappointed to find that Kingdom is a slow-moving, often-times ponderous affair than is more thought-provoking film. In fact other than two or three protracted battle sequences, including a doozy in the final act, there is a virtual lack of violence or action of any kind.
How do you review a films like The Bourne Legacy? The Bond movies have turned into serious pieces of art. The Mission Impossible franchise is glossy low brow fun. Then we have the Bourne series, which plays like Sidney Lumet’s The Verdict inter-cut with a Michael Bay flick. In this particular instance, it worked for me. Although I think I’ve had my fill of the Bourne universe at this point.
This is my list of my top five favorite gambling movies. Gambling has been the center of many films, and lends itself to defining some great characters. Dirty and gritty these people walk a thin line – some are fast talkers, others only speak with their eyes. Most are down and out, but they usually find their wins in extreme situations, and we find entertainment in the tug of war possibility between riches and death. After checking out my top five gambling films be sure and see this list of top casino movies.
Box Office Gross: $52,293,982 Adjusted: $0
Oscar-nominated in 1961 for his performance as pool hustler Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler, Paul Newman won that award a quarter century later when he reprised the role in The Color of Money. At the end of The Hustler, Felson was banned for life from playing the game professionally. In the intervening years, he has become what the despicable George C. Scott was in the 1961 film: a front man for younger hustlers, claiming the lion’s share of the winnings. His latest “client” is arrogant young Tom Cruise, who is goaded into accepting Felson’s patronage by his avaricious girl friend Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Cruise learns not only the refinements of the game, but also the dirty trickery that will help him lure in the suckers. As Cruise becomes successful on these terms, Felson seethes with jealousy, hitting the bottle and carelessly allowing himself to fall victim to another hustler. He tells Cruise to get lost, and vows to make an honest comeback. It is inevitable from this point onward that the younger and the older player will square off in a game for the biggest stakes of all: Fast Eddie Felson’s self-respect.
‘The Incredible Hulk’ is the second screen incarnation of the Marvel character in five years. Thankfully this version is a lot more coherent and entertaining than the previous film. Edward Norton makes for a vulnerable and sympathetic Bruce Banner, a man living with GAMMA poising that turns him into a green giant known as ‘Hulk’. William Hurt and Tim Roth are quality actors that bring a level of professionalism and grandeur to the proceedings. Roth’s turn from Special Forces leader into the monster known as ‘Abomination’ is one of the best things in the picture.
Edward Norton is no longer playing the Hulk in Joss Whedon’s ‘The Avengers’. Instead Marvel has opted to go with an unknown. Word on the street is that Norton was just a pain to work with on ‘The incredible Hulk’. The studio had this to say, “Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.” Norton’s agent of course responded harshly saying that Marvel’s announcement was “misleading and inappropriate”. Norton had this to say on his Facebook page:
As most of you know, I don’t like to talk much about the business of making movies because it means a lot to me to protect the audience’s fullest enjoyment of the ‘magic’ that films can have. But I am so appreciative of the outpouring of support from fans of the Hulk and the Avengers that I feel it would be rude not to respond. So here goes: It seems it won’t work out for me to continue playing Bruce Banner for Marvel in “The Avengers”. I sincerely hoped it could happen and be great for everyone, but it hasn’t turned out as we all hoped. I know this is disappointing to many people and that makes me sad. But I am very sincerely grateful to Marvel for extending the offer and even more so for giving me the chance to be a part of the Hulk’s long and excellent history. And I really can’t thank the fans enough for how much enthusiasm you’ve sent my way about what Louis and I tried to do in our turn with the legend. It means a lot to me. I grew up with Banner and Hulk and have been a fan of every incarnation. I’m really proud, and very blessed, to have been one of them and will be thrilled to see him live on through other actors. Hulk is bigger than all of us, that’s why we love him, right?
Marvel has already been pretty brazen with their dealings with actors by lowballing salaries. Now they obviously have no problem switching out actors, big or small. Do you think this was a good choice by Marvel?