GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

October 3, 2013

Las Vegas Weekly

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A&E | SCREEN > THEY'RE ON A BOAT Affleck and Timberlake brood in luxury. FILM SMALL-SCALE HISTORY Parkland looks at the bit players in the JFK assassination FILM RUN DOWN Runner Runner is a sluggish poker thriller BY MIKE D'ANGELO and David Levien, the team responsible for Rounders; In Texas Hold 'em, a player who makes an improbthey know their stuff, so they're well aware that the able winning hand using the last two board cards dealt actual criminal activity engaged in by sites like Full is said to have gone "runner runner." It's an unfortuTilt Poker was far too mundane to fuel a popcorn nately ironic title for this tepid gambling-world thriller, movie like this one. (Writing yourself a check using which collapses further in the home stretch rather than funds deposited by players isn't terribly beating the (considerable) odds to triumph. cinematic.) Unfortunately, they've raised Early on, the film makes a valiant but the stakes using an utterly generic temfutile attempt to derive excitement from aabcc plate—when, for example, Gemma Arterton online poker, as Princeton grad student and RUNNER RUNNER is introduced as Block's woman ("girlmathematical prodigy Richie Furst (Justin Justin Timberlake, friend" would falsely suggest that she's not Timberlake) loses all of his tuition money Ben Affleck, Gemma a possession), she might as well come out over the course of one session, in a way so Arterton. Directed and say, "Nice to meet you, Richie; I look statistically improbable that it all but guarby Brad Furman. forward to our inevitable dangerous liaiantees he's been swindled. As any broke colRated R. Opens son." Having no real suspense to work with, lege kid surely would, Richie flies to Costa Friday. director Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) Rica to confront the site's CEO, Ivan Block fills the screen with conspicuous consump(Ben Affleck), only to have the impressed tion—huge yachts, lavish houses, wild parties—as if the suit offer him a wildly lucrative job. If the pet crocodiles mere sight of wealth, combined with manic camera Block keeps in his backyard aren't an indication that all moves, will get pulses racing. And the last two cards isn't well in this tropical paradise, however, the pesky don't help: When Richie finally turns the tables on FBI agent (Anthony Mackie) insisting that Richie dig up Block, it's via a scheme so tediously complicated that some dirt on his employer certainly is. it belongs in an Excel spreadsheet. Runner Runner was written by Brian Koppelman Adapted from Vincent Bugliosi's Four Days in November (which was itself merely the preliminary section of a 1,600-page investigative work, Reclaiming History), Parkland depicts the events of the John F. Kennedy assassination as seen through the eyes of numerous people tangentially connected to it, from the doctors and nurses who treated Kennedy (and later Lee Harvey Oswald) at Dallas' Parkland Hospital to Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti), the man operating the aaacc camera that captured PARKLAND the most famous Zac Efron, Paul home-movie footage Giamatti, James in history. Badge Dale, Though efforts are Colin Hanks. Directed by Peter made to tug at the heartstrings—mostly Landesman. by including the beRated PG-13. wildered, heartbroken Opens Friday. reaction of Oswald's older brother, Robert (James Badge Dale)—the film is mostly just a meticulous, streamlined reconstruction of the events of November 22-25, 1963, in Dallas, featuring exactly the amount of fascination and frustration that approach would suggest. Oddly enough, Parkland whiffs most of the really big moments, like the assassination itself, but excels at depicting details that would never occur to you: the difficulty of finding a developer that could handle Zapruder's film on short notice, for example, or the efforts of grieving Secret Service agents to fit JFK's coffin through the slim door of Air Force One. Woodrow Wilson allegedly called The Birth of a Nation "history written with lightning"; here, it's written with a batterypowered flashlight. –Mike D'Angelo FILM Afghanistan's official submission for this year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar (although it wasn't nominated), The Patience Stone is a sometimes overly blunt fable about the plight of women in the wartorn Middle East. Its unnamed heroine (Golshifteh Farahani) keeps watch over her husband (Hamidreza Javdan), who lies in some sort of vegetative state with a bullet wound in his neck (his condition seems more allegorical than medical). As explosions and gunfire surround them, she unburdens herself to her husband, an abusive and neglectful man who now has no choice but to listen. Farahani carries the movie almost single-handedly, and her performance is remarkable. Even as the narrative sometimes becomes didactic, or when it takes a troubling turn toward the end, Farahani continues to be mesmerizing, raw and vulnerable. It's an honest and very real performance at the heart of a movie that can be a little abstract. –Josh Bell PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE aaacc THE PATIENCE STONE Golshifteh Farahani, Hamidreza Javdan, Hassina Burgan. Directed by Atiq Rahimi. Rated R. Opens Friday. OCTOBER 3–9, 2013 LASVEGASWEEKLY.COM 41_Screen_2_20131003.indd 41 41 10/2/13 4:06 PM

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