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Recent Casino Movies

The Casino Genre
From the good-looking if poorly-scripted 1950 film noir “Dark City” (a launch vehicle for Charlton Heston), via Martin Scorsese’s 1995 classic “Casino” and Daniel Craig’s first Bond outing “Casino Royale”, this is a genre that refuses to die.
If the real life, bricks-and-mortar casino is in trouble in some parts of the world, it’s primarily because of the growth of the online version. The concept of walking into a joint (whether real or virtual) and sticking it all on red remains as attractive as it was in the early days of Vegas. Here’s a look at a couple of this year’s offerings, plus some from recent years you may have missed.

Last Vegas
“Last Vegas”, released on November 1st, is a heartwarming old-guy-buddy-movie with Sin City as a backdrop. Think “The Bucket List” crossed with “The Hangover”, with a sprinkling of “Wild Hogs” (but more laughs than the latter). Michael Douglas (Billy), Morgan Freeman (Archie), Robert De Niro (Paddy) and Kevin Kline (Sam) star as four lifelong friends who decide to visit Vegas to celebrate Billy’s engagement to his much younger girlfriend (cue knowing smiles from audiences).
If the plot is a little formulaic, the stellar cast, which also includes Mary Steenburgen, wrings many laughs out of the well-polished script.

Runner Runner
Far less amusing – in fact not funny at all in the conventional sense - is “Runner Runner”, starring Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton and Ben Affleck. While it’s not been well received by critics, it’s certainly of interest to fans of the genre, touching as it does on the world of online betting.
A young gambler heads off to Costa Rica in search of the head of an online casino, believing he’s been swindled. He finds himself trapped between the law and the casino boss’s promises of riches. Arterton may be the best thing about this movie, but if your online casino senses are awakened by “Runner Runner”, try Royal Vegas Casino Slots when you’re done with it.

Recent Years
Finally, three to see from recent years if you missed them first time around. “Casino Jack” (2010) features a superb performance from Kevin Spacey as a scheming gambler who plays much harder than he has any right to. It’s based on the story of real-life hustler Jack Abramoff.
“Ocean’s 13” (2007) was a return to form for the heist trilogy after the second outing, though all three are worth a movie marathon if you haven’t seen them. “The Hangover” (2009) was described as one of the funniest movies of the year, though it didn’t manage to pull off the trilogy feat; by the second sequel the franchise was dead in the water.