THE CARD COUNTER
(Surreal, eclectic and downright bizarre) Three movies opened at the Showcase last weekend.
One is another monster movie. The second is a faith-based movie.
We chose the third, a surreal, eclectic, downright bizarre movie about a former army interrogator who has become an obsessive card counter.
Bill (Oscar Isaac) travels around the country playing in poker tournaments, always winning enough to keep him going on to the next casino.
He never stays in the casino hotel, choosing a nearby cheap motel where he wraps all the furniture in white sheets. Why he does so is one of the many mysteries related to his past.
Bill was not a good person in his past Army career. Trained by Major Gordo (Willem Dafoe) to viciously torture prisoners, he takes the fall for their actions, ending up in a military prison where he perfects the art of card counting.
We follow Bill from game to game, where his voiceovers explain the process and his personal thoughts and strategies.
Bill hooks up with an agent who fronts him (Tiffany Haddish) and they develop an interesting relationship.
Even more interesting is his relationship with a troubled young man (Tye Sheridan) who is seeking revenge for his father’s death.
Slowly we learn how their relationship ties into their past and where it leads them.
“The Card Counter” is more a movie about forgiveness and redemption than anything else. It gets a bit heavy at times and is a challenge for those who seek to understand complicated psyches.
Isaac’s character is complicated and his quest for understanding and absolution is puzzling at times, but stick with it and you will witness one of the more interesting character studies.
The movie was written by Paul Schrader, who years ago gave us “Taxi Driver,” DeNiro’s great characterization about a complex, disturbed character.
This is not a movie for everyone, especially the young or easily disturbed. There are a few violent torture scenes that are hard to watch, earning it an R rating.
(Dark humor) If you like dark humor, this Norwegian series should give you many chuckles.
It takes place in the remote village of Skarnes where “no one ever dies,” much to the chagrin of the local family that runs to town’s only funeral home.
Dad dies. Daughter Live dies, but comes back to life moments before she is cremated. Her brother takes over the failing business and tries everything to keep it afloat. Therein lies some very funny happenings.
The characters all have their idiosyncrasies, the episodes are hysterical, and it even has a happy ending.