I’ve never been a fan of big summer movies, except for on those horrible 90+ degree days when the air conditioning is worth the cost of admission. Oh, I’m hearing how great Pirates of the Caribbean is supposed to be. I don’t get the pirate love, and the explanations of the appeal mostly come out as: “But Amanda…. ‘Arrrrr’!”
Ah well, the local independent theaters have actually been running some really good stuff lately. Spellbound, the documentary about eight contestants in the national spelling bee, was really good. They were very respectful of the children, which I appreciated. And tonight I saw Owning Mahowny, which was also very good. It’s about a banker whose gambling addiction is spiraling out of control at the same time as he is being given greater responsibilities for (and access to) funds at his job. But where a Hollywood blockbuster would fill the movie with lush scenes of glitzy casinos and violent threats from goons, this was a very psychological movie. The casinos were seen mostly through the eyes of the gambler, whose focus stayed on the game at hand, or as seen from above through security cameras. And the central character is acted wonderfully by Philip Seymour Hoffman, really selling the tragic compulsion that Mahowny is acting under.
I know… “But, still, Amanda…. ‘Arrrr’!”

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