Movie Binge #4,081 (11/17/06)

It'd been awhile since I attempted an AMC Empire movie binge, and I just felt like blowing a Friday night seeing whatever.

For those who don't know, the AMC Empire, a 25-screen theater in Times Square, is the ultimate in reduced-cost movie-going. The proper method is seeing something that's on the Top of the Empire (where actual quality, indieish flicks are) and working your way downward on whims, trying not to be too picky about how much of a flick you see, or what it is. Act like you need to use the bathroom every floor you go to, go into 'em, dart out. Do NOT go into the main foyers where the concessions are. And, of course, wait for the movies to change over a bit unless you're truly obsessive and love seeing movies five or six times. (Advanced: use a newspaper to try to get some sense of when a movie might be beginning. If something is playing on one screen and you spot it, bullseye.)

I didn't properly prepare for this one by not eating dinner beforehand and failing to start from the top, but here's how it went. And oh yes, there will be spoilers. (Eh, not really.)


Man, did I want to like this movie more than I did. There were some utterly ridiculous sequences, especially the homoerotic shit, and it was great to see just how antisocial New York is. But waaay too much of the good stuff was in the trailers, the fictional stuff they used to string together the improvisational stuff was mainly tedious, excepting the Kazakhstan stuff. (The Pamela Anderson bit would have been a lot more fun if it wasn't as obviously staged as it was, too.) Plus, where was "Throw The Jew Down The Well"? Without a roaring audience to cue me, this grade would definitely be lower.

Grade: B-
[Grade rated off expectations: C]

Let's Go To Prison

Look, it was starting just around the corner from Borat (see: Do not be picky), and I didn't expect to watch the whole thing. And that's the strangest thing of all...I actually...watched the whole thing. Which says something unto itself. I can see why it didn't get screened for critics; prison = not funny. But just to have some game performers (Chi McBride goes all out, man) saves this to some extent.

All the same, as screenwriters, the former members of The State who wrote this, Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant and Michael Patrick Jann must die.

(Imagine this in a trailer: "From the people who brought you Herbie: Fully Loaded,, Taxi, and The Pacifier...! Better yet, don't. And curb yer enthusiasm for the upcoming Reno 911! movie while you're at it.)

Grade: D
[Grade rated off expectations: B-/C+]

Casino Royale

Fuck yeah. The James Bond people never really dealt with, the actual James Bond, the misanthropic, alcoholic, cold, cruel, womanizing Bond is in full effect. The script is way too tangled for its own good (Fleming's fault, but I'm arbitrarily going to blame Paul Haggis for what I'mma discuss next), but Daniel Craig continues a run of badassocity first notable in Layer Cake, and so much of what got tedious has been clipped. It's basically Bond Begins, and plays nicely off all your expectations of a Bond movie. Best line of this:

Do you want that martini shaken or stirred?

Do I look like I give a damn?

This movie isn't as good as I'm rating it. The restarting of the series is what I'm psyched for.

Grade: A-/B+

Still, I'd be remiss as a card player in not talking about how inane the poker is in this movie. And I'm a sucker for cards in a movie. Two hands come to mind.

Four Jacks v. Aces full of Kings

Straight flush v. Aces full of sixes v. aces full of [I can't remember, something lower] v. flush. (Four-handed, somehow, to the river.)

Four handed to the river would be ridiculous enough. What's worse is, in both these hands, the players involved are berated for being in situations where losing your money is just inevitable, and for all talk of Bond being able to read players, this shit is nothing but pure (good and bad) luck. Sorta like the opening of Rounders, a full house versus a bigger full house.

Sure, the ending of The Cincinnati Kid, my favorite poker movie, is absolutely ridiculous. But all the same, when you've got a villain you're claiming is a math whiz, putting this many 0.00000000000001% hands in one poker game is bananas and walnuts.

Now it's time to play dumb Full Tilt freerolls. Unless anyone wants to stake me. Please?

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