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SNEAK Film: The Cooler

As part of the SNEAK films series, I saw a screening of "The Cooler" today, a fine film that, at first blush, is another in the long line of noir, Las Vegas, gambling and casinos flicks. That's true enough as far as it goes, but at its heart, "The Cooler" is a magical realist love story, and a meditation on luck, regret, and loyalty. All the classic con/grifter elements are there, well-treated by William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin, and Maria Bello, plus Paul Sorvino and Joey Fatone (!) as the casino crooners. Macy is starting to get typecast as the lovable sad sack, but he does a fine job with the role here. The film seemed to go over well with frabjousdave, and I met Chris and Jennifer, fellow LJ enthusiasts, over lunch as we discussed the ups and downs of current cinema. If only someone put US in charge of a major studio, … well, we'd have a lot of fun before bankrupting the place with our non-mainstream tastes.

I rate it a solid 4 stars, and might even rate it higher after a second viewing. My only real complaint is that it isn't the sort of independent, no celebrities, small-scale film-making that I'd come to expect from prior SNEAK events. In this case, that's not a bad thing.

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