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Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba in MOLLY'S GAME

It’s Only a Movie: Batman & Spiderman Walk Into MOLLY’S GAME, But Jessica Chastain Doesn’t Cave to Superheroes

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Holy Toledo, sometimes an insider Hollywood story is so good, you see how the game is played.

Jessica Chastain in MOLLY'S GAME

Jessica Chastain in MOLLY’S GAME

So once upon a Batman, and a few-movies-ago Spiderman, the caped one and the web slinger became poker fanatics, like super fanatics, in a snake-pit-named Hollywood club’s back room, a club once owned by a Pirate. True story, plus there’s an ex-Olympic skier with the same name as a character from James Joyce’s opus “Ulysses” who ran the tables, the whole game. But in a short decade the card mania went awry, as doomed as an Irish-made ocean liner, whose lead also flipped his chips there as the face-card bash spread from LA to NYC to the FBI.

Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba in MOLLY'S GAME

Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba in MOLLY’S GAME

MOLLY’S GAME is based on the Joycean real-life Molly Bloom’s 2014 book “Molly’s Game: High Stakes, Hollywood’s Elite, Hotshot Bankers, My Life in the World of Underground Poker,” from HarperCollins. Her memoir begins circa 2004 and spans almost a decade of decadence. Lawless screen siren Jessica Chastain is die-cast as the ‘Poker Princess’ who found her mettle dealing with all the superheroes’ undesirable antics. Red is on fire in this one, shall we say.
Aaron Sorkin’s movie mostly deals with Bloom’s fight for survival with the Feds on gambling and likely racketeering charges, but Chastain also has to find an air hole in a superego’s off-screen realm where every A-Lister is vying for all the oxygen in a room where huge money stakes makes everyone a lot uglier in a hurry. As in “bark like a seal,” ugly.
Ultimately Batman and versions-ago Spiderman end up in high-profile divorces while their wronged spouses, one a movie star, the other a studio mogul’s daughter, end up vindicated. Wait, scratch that, will end up vindicated as MOLLY’S GAME is released by STX Films on Nov. 22. So tempting to say *payback is a bitch,* but you get the drift.

Jessica Chastain and Chris O'Dowd in MOLLY'S GAME

Jessica Chastain and Chris O’Dowd in MOLLY’S GAME

Again this gambit/movie comes from the deft hand of writer/director Aaron Sorkin, who literally can make a piece of paper into a smash hit. Sorkin has so many credits, though THE SOCIAL NETWORK rings a bell to most people.
Amy Pascal, ex-SONY hack now indie purveyor, lays down her aces as a producer; Idris Elba also comes into play here as memorable onscreen; with Kevin Costner taking a break from his own helming ways to add a hell of a sweet cameo. Michael Cera is the pivot point, a clue to Hollywood’s real elite players mentioned above. You gotta see this story to believe it. Bridesmaid’s Chris O’Dowd rounds out a great cast here that includes Graham Greene, Joe Keery and Rachel Skarsten.

Make Your Bets This Will Be Something of a Royal Flush

MOLLY’S GAME will open first at TIFF, Sept. 7 – 17, mark it down, dude.

Playing Pick-Up STX, Or Close to the Bone On Official Notes?

MOLLY’S GAME is based on the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey, who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe.

In Theaters November 22, 2017

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Chris O’Dowd, Michael Cera, Joe Keery, Rachel Skarsten, Graham Greene and Brian d’Arcy James

Director: Aaron Sorkin

Writer: Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. Based on the memoir by Molly Bloom

Producers: Stuart M. Besser, Mark Gordon, Leopoldo Gout, Matt Jackson, Lauren Lohman, Lyn Lucibello and Amy Pascal

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MOLLY’S GAME fans out this loaded hand on November 22, 2017.

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Val1sht17

VALERIAN May Just Be The New Visual Drug on July 21, Thanks Luc Besson

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Who imagines surreal lush worlds like French director Luc Besson? This is a man who could plead The Fifth Element in any court of World Cinema, lol. And now, VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS, the much-anticipated Dane DeHaan starrer with runway oddity Cara Delevinge drops July 21 worldwide from EuropaCorp and STXfilms.

M-2 The crew prepares for a scene with star Cara Delevingne (center) of Luc Besson's "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets". Photo credit: Luc Besson Photo courtesy of STX Entertainment Motion Picture Artwork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

M-2
The crew prepares for a scene with star Cara Delevingne (center) of Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”.
Photo credit: Luc Besson
Photo courtesy of STX Entertainment
Motion Picture Artwork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

If you recall how Besson made visual magic out of Scarlett Johansson in LUCY, VALERIAN (based on the graphic-novel series) looks to be on a par with the strange and sensuous mind-candy from Besson’s creative vending machine.ValLogo17

Does this sound like a gush? Intelligent visual forays into the Digital World on screen are far and few between, so Besson has earned accolades in advance. Not to mention music prodigy Rihanna is in it, plus Clive Owen as the head office voice of sanity.

Rihanna stars in Luc Besson's " Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets". Photo credit: Daniel Smith Photo courtesy of STX Entertainment Motion Picture Artwork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Rihanna stars in Luc Besson’s ” Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”.
Photo credit: Daniel Smith
Photo courtesy of STX Entertainment
Motion Picture Artwork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

After all, it’s the 28th Century in VALERIAN and DeHaan and Delevigne are “special operatives” policing the Human Population, a built-in beyond awesome premise, since “species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge.” Even the boilerplate press notes have a thrill to them, as in:

“There is a mystery at the center of Alpha, a dark force which threatens the peaceful existence of the City of a Thousand Planets, and Valerian (DeHaan) and Laureline (Delevingne) must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.”

Nuance-maker Dane DeHaan has come a long way from the bootleg woods with Tom Hardy in LAWLESS. Same for @Caradelevingne who is tailor-made for space, having left PAPER TOWNS.

RECAP

EuropaCorp and STXfilms will release VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS in theaters nationwide on July 21.Val1sht17

Rating: PG-13

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