You are currently browsing the daily archive for September 28, 2008.

Man, I really thought I had already written this one up.  If you missed it, The Grand is a poker mockumentary released earlier this year.  It boasts a stellar cast (David Cross, Judy Greer, Woody Harrelson, Cheryl Hines, Gabe Kaplan, Richard Kind, Michael McKean, Chris Parnell, Ray Romano and Werner Herzog, to name most of the leads) and was co-written and directed by Zak Penn (with Matt Bierman getting the other credit on the screenplay).

Appreciation of the movie may depend on your thoughts on poker (love it) and mockumentaries (generally love them), but I quite enjoyed it.  As with any mockumentary, the plot is minimal and some of the jokes fall flat.  But generally speaking, the jokes hit and the movie briskly moves from scene to scene.  The main characters poke fun at some of the broad poker stereotypes, so a modicum of poker background helps.  The movie is chock-full of cameos, Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, and Phil Laak have funny scenes.  And Phil Gordon is hilarious, reprising his role as a commentator.  And I have to single out Werner Herzog, who is just sublime.  Though I certainly appreciated him more having seen Grizzly Man.  And the poker action is minimal, but some of the best I’ve seen in a movie.

Four Stars

I’m about two months behind on these things, plus we’ll be getting to Oscar movies soon (we promise!), so I’m gonna plow through with some mini-thoughts.  And if you thought about a short joke there, I’m not amused.

I saw Brideshead Revisited with my brothers and my grandma.  We’re fairly certain everyone in the theater disliked this movie – except for grandma.  Andrew Davies and Jeremy Brock came up with a script that’s horribly boring.  The worst may be the many false endings.  Just as you think you are freed from the shackles of the movie, boom, there’s twenty more minutes.  Or hours, it was sort of hard to tell.  Themes are treated with the deftness of a chainsaw, the characters are underdeveloped, and if I could remember any more of the movie, I’m sure I could find about which to complain.

There may have been some Oscar buzz generated around Emma Thompson, who was fine, but whose role was way too short and way too one-note to really be considered around Oscar time.  At least, that’s what I’d like to believe.

One Star

September 2008