Saturday, March 29, 2008

21: True Story!

Loosely based on true events, 21 is the Hollywood depiction of six MIT students who raked in the money counting cards at the blackjack tables in Las Vegas. This movie is based on the book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich. I haven't read the book fully, I actually read the juicy parts in a Wired Article: Hacking Las Vegas years ago.

Essentially, a group of really smart and clever MIT students gang up on casinos with an elaborate strategy of signals and teamwork to rake in the cash by playing the odds back against the house. Blackjack is one of the only games where it's actually possible to recognize when the odds are in your favor: card counting. Led by one of the professors, this gang repeatedly rakes in the cash during weekend trips from Boston to Las Vegas.

Lawrence Fishburne is a contractor working at various casinos trying to spot cheaters, and taking care of them old school style. He's a dying breed, now being ousted from the business by face recognition software. Sort of reminds me of the movie The Cooler. The Cooler was a great movie, but I digress.

So Lawrence Fishburne is a loss prevention agent who scouts the video feeds and watches for people who are a bit too successful in their gambling. That's how he spots the MIT gang initially. In reality it took the casinos two years to figure out the MIT game, but we only have two hours okay? So Lawrence Fishburne easily identifies the signal the MIT team uses to mark a table as 'ready' to rake. I spotted it too. But this is a movie, so we have to make it easy for the audience to recognize since they're not as smart as MIT students.

Anyway, I won't spoil the rest of the movie, but if you read the Wired article you've probably gotten your money's worth of 21. This movie is great if you have no clue about the true story. Some of the characters are funny. I was offended at the portrayal of the asian kleptomaniac.

I give this Hollywood Historical 50%, for the obvious historical horseshit, and for presenting the Monty Hall Problem. I wasn't offended. That's me being melodramatic.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

10 Most Historically Inaccurate Movies

Yahoo movies lists the 10 Most Historically Inaccurate movies which is a pretty good list. Included are Braveheart, The Last Samurai, 10000 B.C., Gladiator, 300, Memoirs of a Geisha. All of them great Hollywood Historicals, as I like to call them.

Too bad The Other Boleyn Girl didn't make this list.

The Other Boleyn Girl

After a long hiatus, I'm back to writing faux reviews on a blog. Both Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johannson are my faves, so of course I had to see this movie, right? Wrong. Bitches and hoes both of them.

Have to remember that this is a Hollywood Historical, so facts are fudged for maximum melodrama. It's unbelievable how deceitful and scheming Natalie is as she seduces the King of England away from her own sister. "TWIN SISTAH! (inside joke)" No they're not twin sisters. I wouldn't put it past Hollywood to twist it that way though.

King Eric Bana has children with both Scarlette Johansson and Natalie Portman. A boy for Scarlette, and a girl for Natalie.

I admit I didn't pay attention during my European history classes, so it was surprising for me to find out that the resulting offspring of Eric Bana and Natalie Portman was a girl named Elizabeth, who later grows up to become Cate Blanchette.

I don't remember what happened to the boy. BASTARD IN A BASKET.