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The Cooler

Old 01-17-04, 04:55 PM
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The Cooler

Anybody else seen this movie yet? My gf and I went and caught this at a matinee today.

I recommend it, if you're into dark comedies. I found it very compelling, and thought it was well done. Alec Baldwin did a terrific job, as well as the lady playing the cocktail waitress which I don't believe I've seen before..

Also, I wanted to ask if your film grain was gritty too, because I saw numerous other people go and complain and consequently get a free ticket because of it.. I think/thought it was that way on purpose..

What do the rest of you who saw it think?
Old 01-17-04, 05:26 PM
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It's on the coming soon list at the local indy theater here. Looking forward to seeing it.
Old 01-17-04, 11:14 PM
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Just saw it this afternoon. The film quality was fine. Didn't notice any grain at all. Must be the print at your local theater.

I thought "The Cooler" was a terrific movie. Very original and completely interesting from start to finish. Had a sharp, clever script and also featured some real humorous dialogue at times.

I was pretty overwhelmed at just how great Alec Baldwin was as the old school-type casino manager. What a big, beefy, cock-of-the-walk performance. He stalks around that casino like a lion circling prey. I'm not a fan of his at all (especially his politics), but I do have to say that this was the best performance by an actor in a supporting role that I've seen from 2003. I can easily see him winning the Supporting Actor Oscar. I thought it might go to Albert Finney in "Big Fish," but Baldwin's was so much more complex and memorable. Plus, the film is much better.

I also thought that Maria Bello was just outstanding and very heartbreaking as the cocktail waitress who falls in love with William H. Macy's loser character. She was previously in "Auto Focus," as one of Bob Crane's wives. She also was on TV's "E.R." in mid-90s. A very rich, many-layered character in this movie. Bello's performance was just wonderful. A definite Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.

So, there you go. A great, intelligent, original movie about Vegas Casino life that features two likely Oscar nominated performances, with one very likely winner.

Oh, and the ending is just kick-ass cool! You will leave the theater with a great big ole' grin on your face.

This came out of nowhere and ranks as one of 2003's most unexpected surprises in my book.

***1/2 (out of four)
Old 01-17-04, 11:19 PM
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Suprisingly solid. I was overwhelmed by the depth of it, and I caught it only by a word of mouth recommendation and it found it handles
Spoiler:
the changeover to modern Vegas better than Ocean's Eleven or most films have
. I realize that isn't every films focus, but it was a great sidebar to the film. My only gripe was the fairly mundane music choices, but I loved Baldwin, Bello, Macy and Livingston
Spoiler:
though the son subplot dragged for me, and I didn't think it was necessary to try to get that heavy with the corrarlary between Bello's kid and Macy's
.

And if I was to nitpick, I could scrape up a few more things, but too much good overall not to enjoy. Highly recommended if you are a gambler or have been to the old and new vegas, and recommended overall for film fans. Nice, light, diversion with brains, wit and some edge.
Old 01-18-04, 12:34 AM
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I thought it was a little above average. I really love Vegas, so I was a little disappointed, as I was hoping for something great...but oh well, I'd recommend it for most movie-goers out there. The thing that really kept me from loving it was the fact that I could see the plot twists coming from a mile away. It just seemed a little contrived to me.
Old 01-25-04, 01:04 PM
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I had a hard time buying the whole premise, even in "The Golden Shangri-La" casino, which is the last hold-out of the more modern, glitzy casinos that rule the Las Vegas strip, where the fiscal health of the casino is almost solely dependent on the title character, Bernie, who's just bad luck on legs. Sure, as a tall tale, I could buy it in short quantities, but for as long as Bernie has been employed as "The Cooler", it just takes too many liberties to create conflict and drama out of thin air.

The romance between Bernie and a cocktail waitress isn't as convincing as it could have been. The caricature that Alec Baldwin conjures up as Shelly, the #1 guy at the casino, is good for laughs and for pushing the conflict forward, but it's a fun performance by Baldwin.

I give it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.
Old 01-25-04, 03:33 PM
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I thought it was really funny, but I like dark comedies moreso than "other" comedies. Macy was superb, but he's been great, especially the last few years.

The print quality when I saw it was like what 25th Hour looked liked. Gritty and intentional. But I'm sure people complained.

Grade: B+
Old 05-01-04, 11:35 PM
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Does Maria Bello get nekid in this?
Old 05-01-04, 11:45 PM
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Quite naked, yes.
Old 05-02-04, 06:18 AM
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Originally posted by Corvin
Quite naked, yes.
= a rental for me
Old 05-02-04, 08:56 AM
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I also thought that Maria Bello was just outstanding and very heartbreaking as the cocktail waitress who falls in love with William H. Macy's loser character. She was previously in "Auto Focus," as one of Bob Crane's wives. She also was on TV's "E.R." in mid-90s. A very rich, many-layered character in this movie. Bello's performance was just wonderful. A definite Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.
You forgot the modern classic "Coyote Ugly." One thing she was great in though was "Payback" with Mel Gibson. Definite fan of hers. Wish she hadn't left ER.
Old 05-02-04, 12:26 PM
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Originally posted by Corvin
Quite naked, yes.
Very good. I will rent this as well.
Old 05-02-04, 06:47 PM
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Not such a big fan of this flick, myself. I thought the performances were strong (especially Macy's) but the script needed a bit more work. Some of the dialogue was a bit too melodramatic for me....
Old 05-02-04, 10:28 PM
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I saw this in the theatres back when it came out and enjoyed it quite a bit. A solid, little film that slipped under most people's radar.
Old 05-03-04, 12:09 AM
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I heard it was controversial because it barely passed by with the R? What made it cut from NC-17?
Old 05-03-04, 12:36 AM
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I imagine it was nudity that was cut in order to get the R rating. The nakedness was pretty liberal in the theatrical cut, nonetheless.
Old 05-03-04, 01:55 PM
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I thought it was OK, but not great. Worth seeing, though, just for Alec Baldwin's excellent performance (I can't recommend it for the MB nudity, though, since you get William Macy's butt along with that which is just not something I ever wanted to see).
Old 05-03-04, 02:10 PM
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Originally posted by Ginwen
I thought it was OK, but not great. Worth seeing, though, just for Alec Baldwin's excellent performance
I agree
Old 05-03-04, 04:19 PM
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Originally posted by Patman
I had a hard time buying the whole premise, even in "The Golden Shangri-La" casino, which is the last hold-out of the more modern, glitzy casinos that rule the Las Vegas strip, where the fiscal health of the casino is almost solely dependent on the title character, Bernie, who's just bad luck on legs. Sure, as a tall tale, I could buy it in short quantities, but for as long as Bernie has been employed as "The Cooler", it just takes too many liberties to create conflict and drama out of thin air.

The romance between Bernie and a cocktail waitress isn't as convincing as it could have been. The caricature that Alec Baldwin conjures up as Shelly, the #1 guy at the casino, is good for laughs and for pushing the conflict forward, but it's a fun performance by Baldwin.

I give it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.
What he said. I couldn't agree more. I was pretty disappointed, and think Hard Eight is a superior Vegas film.
Old 05-03-04, 04:53 PM
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Reading this thread reminded me of this :

"Actor William H. Macy said that when the film was shown in European film festivals, afterward people mostly discussed the script and the characters, but when the film was shown at American film festivals, people mostly discussed how good 'Maria Bello' looked in her nude scenes."

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