Tagged: Leland Orser

The Gambler

Summary: Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is a man who has given up on life. He is supposed to be a successful novelist, but successful novels these days only make $17,000 which has pretty much ended that dream for him. Instead he finds himself lecturing about literature to students like up-and-coming tennis star Dexter (Emory Cohen) and star college basketballer Lamar Allen (Anthony Kelley) who would rather send text messages during his classes then listen to what Jim has to say. Then there is also his toxic relationship with his mother, Roberta (Jessica Lange), who has her fortune set up thanks to the recent death of Jim’s grandfather who was one of the wealthiest men in the United States.

His life in ruin Jim decides he wants to feel pain. For him the best way to do that is to deliberately lose money in dodgy backyard casinos and end up owing money to the likes of Mister Lee (Alvin Ing), Neville Baraka (Michael Kenneth Williams) and Frank (John Goodman). These ruthless men will do anything to get there money back and that is the way that Jim likes it.

But now a slight glimmer of hope arrives for Jim. A young aspiring writer named Amy Phillips (Brie Larson), whom he labels a genius, who frequents his class has captured his mind (and maybe his heart). But is he too damaged to ever try and get anywhere with her.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th February, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Rupert Wyatt

Screenwriter: William Monahan, James Toback (1974 film)

Cast: Andre Braugher (Dean Fuller), Griffin Cleveland (Young Jim), Emory Cohen (Dexter), John Goodman (Frank), Rex Hindrichs (Donovan Cham), Alvin Ing (Mister Lee), Sarunas Jackson (Wilhelm), Anthony Kelley (Lamar Allen), George Kennedy (Ed), Sue Jae Kim (Gambler Ken), Jessica Lange (Roberta), Brie Larson (Amy Phillips), Dominic Lombardozzi (Big Ernie), Leland Orser (Larry Jones), Norman Towns (Brodey), Mark Wahlberg (Jim Bennett), Michael Kenneth Williams (Neville Baraka), Steve Wong (Mr. Mahjong)

Runtime: 111 mins

Classification: MA15+




David Griffiths:

With great films like Birdman and American Sniper around at the moment it has been pretty easy to not even notice that The Gambler was about to hit cinemas. That in itself is greatly disappointing because The Gambler is equal to those films in every single way and once again that we are reminded that good character piece cinema is not dead and buried.

Director Rupert Wyatt (probably most noted for Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes) has taken the respected 1974 film of the same name starring James Caan and turned it into an absolute modern day gem. Wyatt does a sensational job of taking a film that has lengthy dialogue driven scenes, eerie ‘are they real or not’ scenes and turned into a film that captures that same energy as films like Fight Club. To be honest not all will like The Gambler as Wyatt and screenwriter William Monahan do have the audience scratching their heads a lot, but if you can get past that then you’ll certainly love this film.

Perhaps one of the most surprising things about The Gambler is just how much is packed into this film. The story ranges from the dirty world of backdoor casinos and sports corruption through to an in-depth character study of a man who has completely given up on life itself. The story weaves and drifts at a sometimes slow pace, due to the well written lengthy dialogue driven scenes, yet for some reason the audience finds themselves sitting on the edge of their seat in the same way they would if they were watching the latest Hollywood action blockbuster. The mood and eerie feeling of the film are further enhanced with a brilliant soundtrack that is varied as the film itself with a wide range of music ranging from the classic Pulp track Common People to a choir led version of Radiohead’s Creep.

Wyatt also manages to get the best of his cast. It seems no matter what Mark Wahlberg does with his career people love to forget the great films he has made, films like The Departed, Boogie Nights etc and instead focus on the couple of bombs that he has delivered or the fact that he was once Marky Mark. Here though Wahlberg reminds everybody that when he is given the right material to work with he can be an acting force. Wahlberg goes through a major physical transformation here, one that could have in line to play Mick Jagger in The Rolling Stones biopic, and goes so far into the character of Jim Bennett that it is easy to see that Wahlberg has picked up a thing or two about character acting along the way.

Wahlberg really is the star of The Gambler, dominating the screen time but he is well supported by those who he takes along for the ride which include Jessica Lange (playing a very similar character to the one she plays in American Horror Story) and Brie Larson. The only actor who gets any chance of stealing a scene away from Wahlberg is the legendary John Goodman, who looks awfully unhealthy in this film but once again delivers the goods.

The Gambler is the kind of film that is going to be lapped up by people that love a good alternative film. The long scenes and lack of action may scare away some cinema goers but this is a film that is destined to become a cult classic. To be blunt this is one of those films that you watch and then tell all your friends to go and see.




Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)


IMDB Rating: The Gambler (2014) on IMDb


Other Subculture Entertainment The Gambler reviews: You can also read our The Gambler review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.


Taken 3

Summary: Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is back, not because someone has been taken but instead because he has been framed for the murder of his wife, Lenny (Famke Janssen). Not only does he want revenge but he also needs to find a way to clear his name.

Bryan soon finds that the only people who believe that he is innocent are his former CIA crew and his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). Worse still it seems like a dogged and determined cop, Franck Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) is determined to see Bryan go down for the crime.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 8th January, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Olivier Megaton

Screenwriter: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen

Cast: Reuven Avi (Officer Parker), Judi Beecher (Claire), Andrew Borba (Clarence), Dylan Bruno (Smith), Alex Disdier (Steward Austin), Maggie Grace (Kim), Jon Gries (Casey), Don Harvey (Garcia), Andrew Howard (Maxim), Famke Janssen (Lenore), Stefanie Kleine, Dale Liner (Officer Bernard), John Mansion (Bart), Liam Neeson (Bryan Mills), Leland Orser (Sam), Jimmy Palumbo (Brooks), Al Sapienza (Detective Johnson), Dougray Scott (Stuart St. John), Philip J. Silvera (Officer Ramsey), Sam Spruell (Oleg Malankov), Jonny Weston, Forest Whitaker (Franck Dotzler), Derrick Worsley (Officer Edwards)

Runtime: 109 mins

Classification: M




David Griffiths:

The original Taken film, that surfaced in 2008, was rightfully labelled as one of the best action films to ever be made. It was tightly directed by Pierre Morel who did a great job creating a stylised yet believable action classic while announcing that award-winning actor Liam Neeson was a more-than-worthy action hero, ironic when you consider that Neeson had previously turned down the role of James Bond by saying he never wanted to be in an action film. The one of things that quickly gained Taken a legion of fans though was the fact that it had something that action film buffs had been craving for quite a long time… brutality.

Then came Taken 2 directed by French director Olivier Megaton, a film that was so eagerly received by fans of the original film due to the fact that it was heavily edited in a bid to try and soften the violence and asked the audience to suspend their belief just a little too far. Now comes Taken 3 which again sees Megaton at the helm and the result is an entertaining but completely over the top action film that could potentially have fans of the first film really cringing.

The biggest fault with Taken 3 is that the film’s believability goes out the window very early on. If the fact that Bryan could never have been blamed for Lenny’s death due to the fact that he would have had an alibi to place him away from the scene of the murder isn’t enough to make the audience groan then Taken fans will be completely surprised when they discover that this time around Bryan is no longer just simply a man with a special skill set, somehow in this film they are expected to believe that he has suddenly become super-human. Yes suddenly Bryan has the ability to survive explosions and incidents as if he is some kind of immortal… it just doesn’t work within the realm of this franchise. Plus the audience is also expected to believe that a large amount of collateral damage deaths of innocent bystanders (for those that have seen the film think back to the freeway) is justifiable became one man wants revenge for his wife’s death and to clear his name… it’s just not something that is going to sit right with most people.

Then there are also the faults with the filmmaking and screenwriting themselves. Megaton delivers fast paced action that seems to have been learnt from the Michael Bay School of Filmmaking, lots of quick camera shots and movement that seem to hamper the film more than making it easy to watch, add that to the fact that the screenwriting is just lazy and you have a recipe for disaster. The screenwriter seems to have thrown all matter of Police procedure out the window while making any character that isn’t Bryan or his family into a one-dimensional walking cliché. Yes this is one of those crime thrillers with buffoon cops with the same personality trait and incompetence everywhere you turn.

The weak screenplay certainly affects the performance of Forest Whitaker who is held back by the fact that he seems to be playing the same OCD suffering, obsessive cop that he played while chasing Vic Mackie in The Shield. To a cinema fan it is actually sad to see such a talented actor, like Whitaker, wasting his talents playing such a cliché. The rest of the cast seems to suffer as well. As usual Liam Neeson steps up to the plate as the action hero, but he like his on-screen daughter, Maggie Grace, seems to just breeze through most of the film’s so-called dramatic scenes with complete ease.

The other piece of strange casting in Taken 3 that will potentially annoy true Taken fans is the casting of Dougray Scott as Stuart St. John… Lenny’s husband. Not only does he play another cliché… this time the token bad guy, but looks a hell of a lot younger than the original Stuart (played by Xander Berkeley) that we saw in the original film.

Strangely though despite all its weaknesses Taken 3 isn’t a dull watch. If you like car chases and explosions this film will be entertaining enough for you from start to finish. But if you’re looking for an action film with substance, like the first film was, then give this film a wide berth because substance and believability are just things that aren’t in Megaton’s film-making repetiteur.



Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2.5)


IMDB Rating: Taken 3 (2014) on IMDb


Other Subculture Entertainment Taken 3 reviews: You can also read our review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.


Chad Michael Murray

The wheeling and dealing has been getting into full swing at Sundance, below is a list of the films that have currently been sold and who has bought them.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – DIR: David Lowery STARS: Casey Affleck, Keith Carradine, Ben Foster, Rooney Mara

Purchased by: IFC Films

Austenland – DIR: Jerusha Hess STARS: Jennifer Coolidge, JJ Feild, Bret McKenzie, Keri Russell

Purchased by: Sony Pictures/Sony Pictures Classics

Before Midnight – DIR: Richard Linklater STARS: Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Ariane Labed

Purchased by: Sony Pictures Classics

Blackfish – DIR: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Purchased by: CNN Films/Magnolia Pictures

Concussion – DIR: Stacie Passon STARS: Ben Shenkman, Maggie Siff, Johnathan Tchaikovsky, Robin Weigert

Purchased by: Radius/TWC

Dirty Wars – DIR: Rick Rowley STARS: Nasser Al Aulaqi, Saleha Al Aulaqi, Muqbal Al Kazemi, Abdul Rahman Barman

Purchased by: Sundance Selects

Don Jon’s Addiction – DIR: Joseph Gordon-Levitt STARS: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Brie Larson, Julianne Moore

Purchased by: Relativity

Fruitvale – DIR: Ryan Coogler STARS: Kevin Durand, Michael B. Jordan, Chad Michael Murray, Octavia Spencer

Purchased by: The Weinstein Company

History Of The Eagles Part 1 – DIR: Alison Ellwood STARS: Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh

Purchased by: Showtime

Inequality For All – DIR: Jacob Kornbluth

Purchased by: Radius/TWC

Jobs – DIR: Joshua Michael Stern STARS: Amanda Crew, Josh Gad, Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney

Purchased by: Open Road Films

Kill Your Darlings – DIR: John Krokidas STARS: Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Elizabeth Olsen, Daniel Radcliffe

Purchased by: Sony Picture Classics

Lovelace – DIR: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman STARS: Peter Sarsgaard, Amanda Seyfried, Sharon Stone, Juno Temple

Purchased by: Radius/TWC

Morning – DIR: Leland Orser STARS: Elliott Gould, Laura Linney, Leland Orser, Jeanne Triplehorn

Purchased by: Anchor Boy

Newlyweds – DIR: Shaka King STARS: Amari Cheatoe, Trae Harris, Tone Tank, Isiah Whitlock Jr.

Purchased by: Phase 4 Films

Prince Avalanche – DIR: David Gordon Green STARS: Emile Hirsch, Lance Le Gault, Joyce Payne, Paul Rudd

Purchased by: Magnolia Pictures

Show Trial: The Story Of Pussy Riot – DIR: Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin STARS: Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Purchased by: HBO Documentary Films

S-VHS – DIR: Simon Barrett, Jason Eisener STARS: Kelsy Abbott, L.C. Holt, Hannah Hughes, Lawrence Michael Levine

Purchased by: Magnolia Pictures

The Look Of Love – DIR: Michael Winterbottom STARS: Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Stephen Fry, Imogen Poots

Purchased by: IFC Films

The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear – DIR: Tinatin Gurchiani

Purchased by: Icarus Films

The Rambler – DIR: Calvin Reeder STARS: James Cady, Natasha Lyonne, Dermot Mulroney, Lindsay Pulsipher

Purchased by: Anchor Bay Films

The Spectacular Now – DIR: James Ponsoldt STARS: Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Shailene Woodley

Purchased by: A24

The Summit – DIR: Nick Ryan

Purchased by: Sundance Selects

The Way, Way Back – DIR: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash STARS: Steve Carell, AnnaSophia Robb, Sam Rockwell, Amanda Peet

Purchased by: Fox Searchlight

Toy’s House – DIR: Jordan Vogt-Roberts STARS: Moises Arias, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Mary Lynn Rajskub

Purchased by: CBS Films

Twenty Feet From Stardom – DIR: Morgan Neville STARS: Lou Adler, Stephanie ‘Stevvi’ Alexander, Patti Austin, Chris Botti

Purchased by: Radius/TWC

Two Mothers – DIR: Anne Fontaine STARS: Ben Mendelsohn, Xavier Samuel, Naomi Watts, Robin Wright

Purchased by: Exclusive Releasing

We Are What We Are – DIR: Jim Mickle STARS: Ambyr Childers, Kelly McGillis, Michael Parks, Wyatt Russell

Purchased by: Entertainment One