As I sat watching Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck grin and laugh their way through Runner, Runner I realized how many really fantastic movies there are about gambling, gamblers and casino culture.
Yes, Runner, Runner reminded me of 21 the not as good as this movie about MIT kids who go to Vegas and count cards, and yes it reminded me of Justin Timberlake’s other big box office moment, The Social Network, but primarily I was thinking about a Rat Pack Musical about a prohibition era Chicago speakeasy and Casino called Robin and The Seven Hoods. I don’t know why that’s the one I thought of, but I’ve had “My Kind of Town (Chicago)” stuck in my head.
Anyway, my craziness aside, Runner, Runner was very good and has been sent to the top of the list for “things to look at to show that Ben Affleck is going to be a good Batman.” His character Ivan Block is a straight up bad guy bastard, don’t get me wrong. There’s not a sniff of anti hero on this guy, but his behavior, throwing lavish parties he doesn’t care about, posing with trappings of wealth to divert attention from his real deal is Bruce Wayne to a tee. The scene where he throws a couple of government officials into croc infested waters only to pull them back from the brink was a Batman move if ever I’ve seen one.
Of course everything Affleck does for the next two years is going to be studied by people like me to see how it will fit into what he’s going to do as Batman.
I’ll try not to focus on that moving forward, because the guy will probably have a few movies coming out in between.
Anyway, Gemma Atherton is also in this movie as The Girl. Generally it drives me nuts when an actress as talented as Atherton is wasted on The Girl, but she does a good job and really there isn’t a single character that steps out of their type. Affleck is “The Charming Bad Guy,” Timberlake is “The Wide Eyed Kid,” Anthony Mackie is “The Fed.” But God, it’s a good formula that I’d watch over and over again, especially with a cast this charismatic.
Richie Furst (Timerlake) is the son of a gambler who lost his shirt working for a hedge fund and is attending Princeton to get is Masters in Finance. He’s paying for school by recruiting to online gambling sites. When the administration finds out they shut him down. Furst then bets his savings in an online poker game and find out that the site cheated him. He decides to go to Costa Rica and confront Block, who owns the site. Recognizing Furst’s exceptional mix of abilities, Block hires him.
Then the feds get involved and a twist ending worthy of The Sting (another favorite movie of mine about gamblers) hits.
Runner, Runner is a tight hour and a half, so there’s no time to get bored with it, and from a personal taste standpoint watching JT smile and bat his baby blues and Affleck give profanity laced tirades doesn’t get old.
I loved this movie, and will probably continue to love it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going order some Thai food and watch Rounders, and maybe The Sting.
The Monuments Men again. God, I can’t wait for this movie.
Her looks unfathomably weird and after reading the Ender Quintet, I can’t help but think that Samantha, the sentient computer that Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with will wind up being as whiny, annoying and bullying as Jane.
Oldboy looks like exactly the kind of movie I don’t like. But I’m sure it’s a very good movie that I won’t like.
1. Pacific Rim
2. Runner, Runner
3. The Great Gatsby
4. The World’s End
6. Kick Ass 2
7. The Butler
8. Man of Steel
9. Don Jon
10. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
11. The Wolverine
12. Iron Man 3
13. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
14. Despicable Me 2
15. Star Trek Into Darkness
17. Monster’s University
18. After Earth