Tag Archives: John Heard

Runner Runner

Richie Furst (played by Justin Timberlake) would do really well at his studies at Princeton, if only he focused a bit harder on that instead of on his sideline business. He’s really smart, but he’s also a scout for an on-line gambling company and he gets a cut every time one of his “recruits” places a bet on-line. His grades are horrendous. One day he’s dragged into the Dean’s office and is told to shape up, otherwise he’ll end up with no degree, no job and no way to repay his study fee debt – some tens of thousands of dollars. His Dad, Harry (by John Heard) is a gambler from way back, so it’s in Richie’s blood. He needs funds fast to clear his debt, so invests his entire savings into an on-line poker game, which ends badly. Richie finds he’s been cheated and goes straight to the top to resolve it – the “Mr Big” of online gambling, Ivan Block (by Ben Affleck). Rather than make a huge public fuss, at first Ivan dismisses Richie quietly, but seeing huge potential in this smart, gutsy young guy, Block offers Richie a great job, with a magnificent lifestyle and benefits. Richie accepts and starts his life in Costa Rica as Block’s right hand man. Things go well, Richie manages all the businesses for Ivan and is making everyone sh*tloads of money. Until, one day, things don’t appear to be so “above board” any more. Richie starts to get worried and suspicious about the way things are really run in Block’s organization. Something in him says he needs to cover his own backside and make sure he can get out if he needs to. Is Ivan Block really, the smooth, charismatic, caring and sharing guy he makes out ….?

This movie is a run-of-the-mill “good guy versus bad guy … bad guy gets foiled in the end” kind of movie. It’s set in Costa Rica in the main, which makes it pleasant, but the story runs pretty true to form. There are deviations, but not many. That’s a shame – it did promise more. I like Justin Timberlake in the movies and he is good in this role, quite believable really – except in the fight scenes, which are not quite right somehow. Ben Affleck fits into his role as the smooth Ivan Block well too – he does it all pretty easily really. In fact it looks like they both do – no challenge here, I’d say they are let down most by the storyline. I wouldn’t hold that against either of them. Positive distractions in the movie are the good performance by Gemma Arterton as Ivan Block’s girlfriend, Rebecca, and Anthony Makie who plays the ridiculous FBI agent Shavers. It’s a good way to while away some time.

Made in 2013. Directed by Brad Furman

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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Movies


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Jackson Pollock (played by Ed Harris) is driven to paint. There’s something in him that gives him pure focus to produce his work, but he has a turbulent life. His strongest relationship is with his brother Sande (by Robert Knott) and in the 1940’s he spends his days painting and hanging out at his brother’s place in New York. But this is troublesome as he often goes out and comes back drunk, but Sande’s wife is never happy to see him. Life is hard, all Jackson wants to do is paint … but there’s no money in it. He’s done quite a lot of pieces, with one or two being in shows, but he’s not compelled to promote himself. One day he meets artist Lee Krasner (by Marcia Gay Harden) and they start a relationship. Lee “gets” Jackson, when most others have lost patience with his anti-social behaviour, so she takes him on and makes sure he’s on the straight and narrow – and she tries to limit his access to alcohol. They move out of town and settle in the Hamptons where Jackson begins to produce his best works to critical acclaim – at last he’s getting some publicity. Then “Life” magazine does a feature on him and his profile skyrockets. But the media spotlight is bright on Jackson and things start to fall apart – by the mid-50’s even Lee is starting to lose patience with him …

This is a great movie. Ed Harris had directed a compelling view into the life of Jackson Pollock as he produces his most famous works. Pollock was an enigma – totally focussed on his art, it’s almost an out-of-body experience for him, where the instinct will suddenly envelop him and it’s as though an external force is pushing the art out of him – quite fascinating. His relationships and general demeanour are obviously of no consequence to him and he never gives the time of day to anyone who tries to explain or theorise about his work. There is a marvellous line when the reporter from Life Magazine asks him to explain his work, he says “ …. it’s art, that’s all, it just is – just the same as why a flower is beautiful, it just is …” His performance is masterful and his nomination for an Academy Award (Oscar) in this role is well deserved. Equally excellent is Marcia Gay Harden’s depiction of Lee Krasner – marvellous and another performance more than worthy of the Academy Award (Oscar) she received for it in 2001. Best other performance is Amy Madigan as Peggy Guggenheim. Cinematography and production is good. I enjoyed it a lot.

Made in 2000. Directed by Ed Harris.

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Posted by on July 6, 2013 in Movies


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