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Two For the Money (Widescreen Edition) (Bilingual)
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Academy Award winner Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey star in this adrenaline-charged thriller about the sexy, high-stakes world of sports betting, where fortunes can be made and lost with a flip of a coin. When Brandon Lang (McConaughey) becomes the protege of sports gambling's power player, Walter Abrams (Pacino), he swiftly becomes the golden boy of the high-rolling world for consistently picking football winners. Now, with millions on the line, he finds himself in a deadly game of con-versus-con with his new mentor. Also starring Renee Russo and Jeremy Piven (TV's Entourage), Two For The Money sizzles with intense, non-stop thrills!
Two for the Money has a formidable cast: Al Pacino, Matthew McConaughey, and Rene Russo (Get Shorty) play compulsive personalities caught up in the high-testosterone world of sports betting. Brandon Lang (McConaughey, Sahara), a once-promising football player sidelined by an injury, has an uncanny knack for totting up the statistics and personalities involved in any football game and picking the winner. But he doesn't gamble himself: He offers tips via a phone line. His string of successful picks attracts the attention of Walter Abrams (Pacino, The Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon), a man building a media empire on sports tips, even though he himself can only resist his own gambling addiction thanks to the fierce devotion of his wife, Toni (Russo, Tin Cup, Get Shorty). Brandon swiftly becomes Walter's protege and transforms into an aggressive, high-risk salesman, even going so far as to change his name to create a new self. But when Brandon starts to think of his knack as magic, everything Walter has built around his golden boy starts to teeter. Two for the Money starts with punchy dialogue and razzle-dazzle acting, but midway it starts to founder; the characters never quite feel real, the plot grows labored and implausible, and the basic themes--gambling, addiction--turn vague and fuzzy. The actors have charisma to burn, but they can't overcome an unfocused script. Also featuring Jeremy Piven (Entourage), Armand Assante (The Mambo Kings), and Jaime King (Bulletproof Monk). --Bret Fetzer
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The story is related by Brandon Long (Matthew McConaughey) who begins life as a sports hero and just at the moment when he is ready to break in to the Pro Football domain, he fractures his leg in a winning touchdown. Six years later, and still dreaming of making it as a player of football, finds him in the numbers game with a talent for picking winning teams and calling 900 numbers to urge gullible people t place bets according to his predictions. Enter Alter Abrams (Al Pacino), a recovering Gambler who is making it big in the sports gambling arena. He coerces Brandon to join him in New York, wines him, dines him with the aid of his smart and beautiful wife Toni (Rene Russo), and in no time Brandon Long takes on the persona of John Anthony and makes it big as a TV personality who successfully bilks willing gambling people out of their money. Long as Anthony takes on a life of his own and it is the conflagration between the creator Abrams and the protégé Anthony that fleshes out the film.
Interesting to a point, the story loses steam in the last half and we soon lose interest in the outcome or the characters. And not that that is the fault of the actors! Al Pacino is very effective as the reformed gambler still fighting demons and Rene Russo is as beautiful as ever, acting her role with complete conviction and holding what is left of the story, once started, together. Matthew McConaughey spends much of the movie without his shirt on which is a major contribution to the visuals of the film! Buff and beautiful he manages to keep the heart of Brandon Long beating inside the persona of John Anthony.
Not a great movie by any means, but some truly fine acting from the trio of stars. The supporting cast also gives solid roles despite the skimpy script. If gambling of any sort, and sports gambling in particular, is of interest to you, then this is a movie to recommend. Otherwise see it for the actors, not the story. Grady Harp, January 06
Really, the story is nothing new. Actually quite formulatic. I can't really say that there is anything new. But the thing about this movie is the acting.
The acting is great. Matthew M. is suprisingly very good. I don't think he is a bad actor, but I don't see him as a breakout actor for his acting abilities. He is quite good in this movie though as the arrogant sports-to-go-to man for gambling tips. Jeremy Piven, though in a small role, is very similar to his character on Entourage, but you know, he's great as that character as he is in this one. Al Pacino is always good. Acutally, he's great in this movie. The only problem is that his character is very conventional Pacino. Always yelling, yelling, yelling, getting mad, being scary. But, Pacino is good at that. Though Pacino is presenting nothing new here, he is very good at presenting nothing new. My favorite though is Rene Russo. She really suprised me with her performance. Her struggles to keep her husband (Pacino) in check and keeping (McC) out of the business is well covered by her acting abilities. Though all three previous actors are great, I think Russo steals the movie.
The great thing about this movie was the ending. The resolution is very powerful and is very well done.
3 Things why is movie isn't great:
1. Its a tad recycled
2. McC transition from loser to big man is kind of abrupt
3. The movie seemed lengthy & should've had some cuts
But yeah, movie is pretty. Don't have the heart to give it a three, but not quite a 4. 3 1/2 out of 5.
McConaughey is a would-have-been football hero, zapped from his potential pro-ball career by a college-game injury. He instead winds up picking winners for gamblers via a 900 phone line in Vegas.
His picks are so good, in fact, that he draws the attention of Pacino, in New York, who wants him to come work for him in Nwe York where he "sells" advice to big-money betters.
If any of you are picking up on some strange similarities between this film and "The Devil's Advocate", poo-poo you. There's nothing strange about it at all, it's a formula that works. Pacino is one of the most charismatic actors ever. Watching him bewitch the innocent costar is the draw of these movies. It worked in "Advocate", it worked in "The Recruit" and it works here.
The thing that doesn't work here is the fact that we see the pattern so early in the movie that the effect wears off too soon to keep the plot twists from being telegraphed two scenes ahead.
Pacino hires McConaughey as a golden boy of football picks. We never really know why he's so good, at least not enough to understand why he starts losing. At first we're lead to think that it's because he's gotten too cocky about his talent, but when his character humbles himself to "get back to it", he still continues to lose. He wants to quit, Pacino won't let him. One of their biggest clients stops McConnaughey while he's out for a bike ride, holds him down, and urinates on him for making bad picks that weekend, and McConnaughey not only fails to share this information with his mentor, but we never hear another word about it. He's threatened with violence against his family back home if he doesn't start picking winners, but we never hear about that anymore (even when he loses big again the next week).
Lots of build up, not much follow through. However two things keep this movie very watchable.
First is, naturally, the performanes. McConnaughey does well with a fairly one-dimensional character because he is very likable and good-looking. Pacino is everybody's favorite bravura performer, and he answers the call in every scene. Rene Russo is quite good as Pacino's wife, who serves as a voice of reason for the egos of both men several times.
The second draw is that we see Pacino as a superpower who ultimately proves quite vulnerable. When his empire begins to crumble, he doesn't get to go the Corleone route and just kill more people. He eventually has to face his demons, and he does so with a restraint and modesty rarely afforded him in "Al Pacino" roles such as this.
He creates art in any situation. His characters are larger than life so that we can see what we would otherwise miss.
The insights in this film are amazing:
Life presents chances to us; opportunities, gambles, risks, paths taken, whatever we want to call them. We sequence them into a fabric which becomes our lives; our histories. We want to be more than we are, and we can feel alive when we make choices. We share these with those around us, and when we are self-centered we sometimes do our greatest work, but we also risk our relationships and our future when we ignore our connectedness to others.
The win-win is when we lift up all around us, and they in turn lift us. The win-lose is when we "get ours" at the expense of others. The lose-lose is when we drag everyone down with us.
See the beauty of Al Pacino's gifts as an actor and teacher in this film. He lifts every actor in this film, and will raise your level of understanding of the human experience, and our perceptions of our short time here.
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