Movie Crime Log: Gambler, Mortdecai, Violent

It’s the weekend, or it will be, and there will be movies. We can promise you that.

The Gambler is a remake of the James Caan ’70s movie and stars Mark Wahlberg as a gifted English professor – yes, you read that correctly – who owes lots of money to some very nasty types thanks to his gambling habit. The only way out of this predicament, he decides, is to gamble a bit more.

There’s some good talent involved in this film. Wahlberg, John Goodman, Jessica Lange and George ‘Police Squad’ Kennedy. It’s written by William Monahan, who wrote the screenplay for The Departed.

The trailer is channeling The Stones:

Johnny Depp channels Terry Thomas to add another character to his gallery of brushstroke caricatures in Mortdecai, in an adaptation of Kyril Bonfiglioli’s books.

Bonfiglioli’s character was the protagonist of a series of three comic novels in the 70s, and another which was published posthumously. Part Tom Ripley, part Bertie Wooster, Charlie Mortdecai was an amoral art-dealer who, along with his manservant Jock Strapp, got into all kinds of scrapes.

Director David Koepp has had a tremendous career as a writer – Carlito’s Way, Spider-Man and Panic Room are among his scripts – but the word on Mortdecai is not so good.

The trailer is channeling Jones:

After all that pastel frivolity, we sink into the darker shades for the very serious A Most Violent Year.

The year in question is 1981, which was statistically one of the most violent in the history of the city of New York. The film is about a guy who uses the rampant violence and corruption of the city to drag himself to the top of the heap. It stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, heaps of camelhair, a lot of beige, and not a ton of laughs.

The trailer looks very Coppola, very Lumet, and it is absolutely channeling Gaye:

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