Tuesday, March 20, 2012
ALL IN: THE POKER MOVIE, the new documentary that looks very much like a labor of love from filmmaker Douglas Tirola (An Omar Broadway Film, A Reason to Believe), who insists (maybe once too often) that poker is somehow America and America poker. Poker is a part of our history, played by everyone from Presidents to pikers, and full of that rebellious streak that so personifies our country. Or something like that. Juggling historical footage with a large array of present-day talking heads and taking us into important games and events (the rise, fall and -- maybe -- rise again of online poker), the movie would seem a "must" for poker-heads and possible viewing, too, for people like me, who may have played poker as kids but don't have much interest in it now.
Doris Kearns Goodwin and social commentator Ira Glass) and crass (you choose, once you've seen the movie). We hear a lot from actor Matt Damon (below), who, along with Edward Norton, made that famous flop poker-movie Rounders -- of which and about which we see so much here that for awhile it appears that Mr. Tirola is trying to conjur some kind of revival (or maybe a remake) of that film.
Thomas "Amarillo Slim" Preston, as well as meeting one of the newest legends, pro player Chris Moneymaker (yes, that's his real and, as we see, quite fitting name). Mr. Moneymaker, shown below with his daughter on his lap, turns out to be the most interesting thing in the movie (along with a fellow named Henry Orenstein, who invented the "hole cam," now used in all video-ed poker games), and his entry into online poker provides the film with its most suspenseful moments (unless you follow poker and already know the outcome).
4th Row Films and a little too long at 109 minutes (though I may have seen a slightly longer version on the screener sent me than the 100 minutes that will play theatri-cally), opens this Friday in New York City at the Cinema Village. Upcoming playdates all the around the country, with cities and theaters, can be found by clicking here and then scrolling down.