Another week, another record-breaking haul for James Cameron’s “Avatar”. So what else is new? So instead of just repeating myself for the seventh week in a roll, let’s look at two movies that opened last weekend in limited release that you might have missed. First up, Steve Buscemi is a recovering ex-gambler trying to start a new life in “Saint John of Las Vegas”. Co-starring Steve Buscemi, Romany Malco, Tim Blake Nelson, John Cho, Sarah Silverman, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and directed by Hue Rhodes.
After a run of bad luck, John, a compulsive gambler, runs away from Las Vegas and toward a normal job and life. Taking a nondescript position in an auto insurance company in Albuquerque, he tries to get ahead in the straight world, amid the ever-present temptations of scratch-off lotto tickets. When his boss, Mr. Townsend, asks John to accompany his top fraud debunker, Virgil on an investigation of a dubious car “accident” near Vegas, John sees an opportunity to get a promotion , though he’s concerned about returning to the gambling game. Before leaving he becomes involved with his eccentric co-worker Jill, a dalliance that has the potential to become a real relationship. Soon John is on the road with Virgil, where they encounter a series of offbeat characters, including a wheelchair-bound stripper, a nude militant, a park Ranger, and a carnival human torch. While Virgil is the supposed leader of the investigation, it’s John who begins to finally assert himself, pushing the case closer to a conclusion. Through the journey, John’s confidence builds, and he realizes that he can’t escape his gambling addiction by running away from it–it will follow him wherever he goes. It’s only when he returns to Vegas and his experiences there finally send him on the path to breaking free.
Up next is the latest import from Across the Pond, the British crime film “44 Inch Chest”, starring Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Joanne Whalley, and Stephen Dillane. You can’t go wrong with a cast that includes Winstone and McShane. Winstone plays a cuckold husband whose buddies decide to kidnap his wife’s young lover in order to exact a little payback. Hey, what are friends for, right? Well, this and moving.
Colin Diamond discovers that his wife of twenty years is having an affair with a good-looking younger man. When his motley group of friends decide to kidnap the young man, Colin must wrestle with his conscience.