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Casino boogie

Author: jc-osms from United Kingdom
4 January 2013

Hard to believe this movie was based on a factual story, given the improbabilities in the narrative, but this was still an enjoyable caper film, colourfully set in Las Vegas, centring on a youthful team of blackjack players out to clean up in Sun City, under Tge tutelage of their college master, ex-player Kevin Spacey.

Putting aside how a runaway swindler like Spacey could find himself ensconced as an esteemed mathematics professor at Harvard, recruiting his team from students in his class, he and his young crew raid Vegas every weekend building up their "winnings" until dissent in the ranks upsets the gravy train in its tracks.

The action centres on nerdy but normal , played by Jim although one of the problems for me was that too much happens to him. By the time we've reached the predictable twist at the end, a lot if the dramatic tension has been dissipated with each succeeding development as it affects Jim.

Of course it's tricky to make blackjack gripping on the big screen and despite some clever time-lapse photography, with the threat from the security team lacking menace and too many loose strands in Jim!'s. The acting is okay amongst the younger set, but Spacey isn't really stretched here, plus his character disappears for a significant period before making the unlikely decision to return with his acolytes to Vegas for one last hit.

Running about half an hour too long, considering the slightness of the story, even the sights of Vegas itself couldn't adequately fill the gap. However, I was just about intrigued enough by the story to see it through to the end

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movie not good

Author: dannyman2 from United States
9 December 2012

Woah you're smart. Hey, yeah i'm pretty smart. Play black jack, play black jack. No way. Play black jack, vagina. Okay, i will play black jack, that vagina looks pretty sweet.

Money, money, money, money, kevin spacey overacts, murphy's law, wait lawrence fishbourne is in this movie?, kevin spacey gets punked.

What I took away from this movie: life sucks, trust no one believe in nothing, even if you're smart... oh wait I already knew that.

So this is my first review and it's telling me I need a minimum of 10 lines of length of text. Okay, well I will give you 10 lines of text.

I'm assuming I still haven't met the 10 lines of text threshold as I just got denied. Well, it's a pretty stupid rule, especially with a movie that doesn't require 10 lines of text to review.

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It's Lightweight Fun Of A Film

Author: Desertman84 from United States
1 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

21 is a heist film that stars Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Bosworth, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts, and Aaron Yoo. The film is inspired by the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team as told in Bringing Down the House, the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich. The film was about the true-life tale of six genius students who used their brains to beat considerable odds.It was directed by Robert Luketic.

Ben Campbell may be shy, but his wallflower reputation betrays his inner brilliance. As smart as Ben may be, however, if he can't pay his tuition he'll be kicked out of M.I.T. Fortunately, the answer to all of Ben's problems is right there in the cards. Recruited to join a team of extremely gifted students who have used their mastery of numbers to beat the odds at blackjack, Ben procures a fake identity in order to join the casino scammers and their brilliant leader who is an eccentric math professor and stats genius Micky Rosa in some highly profitable weekend excursions to Las Vegas. Counting cards isn't illegal, and by using a complex series of signals, this team has cracked the code. Of course, it doesn't take long for Ben to become seduced by the glamorous Las Vegas lifestyle, and the attention afforded to him by his sexy teammate Jill Taylor finds him pushing his luck to the absolute limits.

The film is definitely a fictionalization of a true story.The viewer get the essence of this insanely crazy double life that these kids led as they were breaking the bank in Vegas.This makes it for glossy and lightweight fun.Spacey makes a nicely chilly villain and Bosworth a warm and glamorous leading lady, if an implausible maths genius.

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Author: danielprinn from Ottawa, Canada
25 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Robert Luketic directs a stacked tight cast (Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Spacey and Aaron Yoo) in this grand, really entertaining, suspenseful film experience.

A math professor, Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey, American Beauty) takes 5 M.I.T students under his wing to count cards to make some money in Las Vegas. Remember, it's not illegal – it's only frowned upon. When a brilliant student (Jim Sturgess, Across the Universe) has to earn cash to find his way to Harvard Med, he takes a chance on the elite mathematician team. Lucky enough for him, a spot has just opened up.

This is just overall a good, interesting and entertaining factual-based story.

What would you do to get into Harvard Medical School?



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Fun, Glamor, Betrayal, Revenge at Las Vegas Blackjack :)

Author: manjodude
9 April 2012

I know zilch about much of the card games, forgot Blackjack. But I did find the movie interesting. Quite entertaining too.

Jim Sturgess as Ben(MIT student), Kevin Spacey as Micky(Ben's MIT professor) and Laurence Fishburne as Cole(casino security chief) were the most impressive with their performances. Kate Bosworth as Jill(Jim's love interest) also does a good job playing the intelligent, pretty MIT student who gradually falls for Ben.

All the Blackjack scenes are fast paced yet lively, thank goodness for that. It's easy to fall bored simply watching someone play cards but never there was a dull moment in the gambling scenes.

But the end was disappointing. It didn't end with the thrilling finish you would expect after all that high stakes, adrenaline rush risks our characters take in the earlier part of the story. The final narration by Ben to the Harvard med school professor on his gambling experiences could have been more interestingly told.

Verdict: Still, a well-done, glamorous take on the Blackjack game.

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It Could Have Been Better Though!

Author: ( from United States
13 February 2012

I read the book, "Bringing Down the House," about a few years ago so I don't remember the details. The film could drag at times. The cast is wonderful especially Kevin Spacey as Mickey Rosa, Lawrence Fishburne as Cole Williams, Kate Bosworth as Jill Taylor, etc. The cast was fine in their roles even the supporting roles. While the film looks great on paper especially the Las Vegas scenes, the script seems to be the weakest part of the film. It never really flies off the ground. I'm still wondering what happened to Mickey Rosa and his protégé students who take Las Vegas casinos by storm. They used Planet Hollywood, Riviera, and Red Rock Casinos in this film. Still I think the film could have been much better overall. It did drag at times and I thought it could have been overall. It's still is nice to see a book made to film about blackjack, card counting, and trying to beat the system. Maybe math teachers could find this film useful in the classroom without breaking the rules.

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Author: Jackson Booth-Millard from United Kingdom
3 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw a short television trailer, and it was obvious it was about card playing and gambling, specifically the game Blackjack, or rather 21 like the title, from director Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, Monster-in-Law). Basically young student Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) has very high intelligent, and has ambitions to get a scholarship and transfer to Harvard School of Medicine so he can become a doctor, but for four or five years he needs $300,000, which he can't afford. One night he meets Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey), an unorthodox math professor, and he joins the teacher's group of fellow students, Jill Taylor (Superman Returns' Kate Bosworth), Choi (Aaron Yoo), Kianna (Liza Lapira) and Fisher (Jacob Pitts). All are being taught by Micky in the skill of card counting in the game of blackjack, using a clever number of hand signals and key words to use during play, and if successful obviously they could make fortunes. Eventually, after some training, Ben and the others are ready to use the techniques they have gained in the real paying casinos of Las Vegas, and naturally the young man is only going to keep going until he has his tuition fee. Jill sees that he is being corrupted by greed and becoming arrogant in the process, and he is also caught out by casino security enforcer Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne), this angers Micky, who Williams has a grudge against. There is the point when there may not be enough to money to go to Harvard for the young man, and no way to get any new blackjack games for high stakes and money, but eventually Ben is welcomed back for one last big con in Las Vegas, and this does go well. Also starring Jack McGee as Terry. Sturgess is okay in the lead role, but of course Spacey and Fishburne are the one you pay the most attention to as they are the big shots of the film, the story is reasonably interesting, the card games are certainly the scenes that grip you as you wonder if they will get away with it, a not bad drama based on a true story. Worth watching!

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Beat Down Reviews : 21

Author: Shaun Choo from Singapore
30 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hey guys I'm back and this is my first movie review in a long while. So lets get to it.

This movie is based on a true story.

It is about Ben Campbell(Jim Sturgess) who wants to get into Harvard Medical School but unfortunately he has not enough money to pay his way in. So he resorts to trying to get a scholarship to get into the school. However the dean would only give him the grant only if he could "dazzle" him. Then he meets a professor, Micky Rosa(Kevin Spacey) who sees a gift inside Ben and teaches him a get rich quick scheme. Card Counting. Since he has such a powerful memory he could easily make a quick buck in all the major casinos. But he will soon realize that gambling can quickly turn into an addiction.

The performances in this movie is what it is. Everyone plays their part well. The one that stands out in my opinion is definitely Lawrence Fishburne as the disgruntled head of security. The writing is good throughout. Although there are a little inconsistencies in the movie there is really nothing to really gripe.

And I do have to say that the movie also does in a way ask us to go and card count. That is the truth. Telling us that card counting in the casino is easy. Even though at the end of the movie there is a message not to be addicted to gambling. Its an oxymoron. But don't let these minor hiccups hinder you from a good time at this movie. I definitely recommend this movie.

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a good time killer ... worth once watch

Author: prassin
18 April 2011

This story is about young and brilliant, Ben Campbell(Jim Strugess), a MIT student who strives to get a scholarship at Havard School of Medicine. He is challenged at Havard to dazzle them to give him the edge to have the scholarship. Meanwhile his math professor, Micky Rosa(Kevin Spacey) finds his shrewdness with numbers and offer him to join his five-member secret club where he trains the skill of card counting in Blackjack. With requisite to fulfill his tuition fee, he agrees to be in. Not to the surprise, he excels in the skill and start spending in Las Vegas during weekends and mints the money like rapid fire with the team. Then every wish was in his way until his ego comes up.

Kevin Spacey performance is astounding. Jim is dashing in his role. All the performances are good enough for the roles. Copule of scenes are really moving.

At some point of the story felt like omg!! when this is going to end. Doesn't seem like a fact- based story.

Worth the single time watch. A good time killer.

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Entertaining but don't think too much

Author: hall895 from New Jersey
31 July 2010

21 is a movie for which your level of enjoyment will probably depend on how much you actually think about the plot. In this case the less thinking you do the better. Thinking will make you realize very quickly that the film's central characters, reputed geniuses all, do a lot of very stupid things. So don't think about it. Just enjoy the movie for what it is. It's not a particularly smart movie but it is entertaining and sometimes that's enough.

The movie is based on the true-life exploits of the MIT blackjack team. The movie veers quite a distance away from the actual true story but the basic premise remains the same. The two key characters here are Professor Micky Rosa, played by Kevin Spacey, who runs the team and new recruit Ben, played by Jim Sturgess, who joins the team to earn the money he needs for Harvard Med School. As soon as he has enough cash for his tuition Ben is out. At least that's the plan. But we know better than that. Once Ben gets sucked into the Vegas life he's not leaving. Unfortunately, and inevitably, things go awry. So then we get some twists and turns and drama as Ben tries to rescue the situation.

As the movie plays out our team of math geniuses are basically begging to get caught. But if they're not going to face any potential consequences there's really no conflict, no drama, and ultimately no movie. So there's quite a bit of stupidity from the blackjack team. And that stupidity is not limited to their time spent in Vegas. So Ben, when you return to MIT with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash where are you going to keep all that money? Oh dear, this will end badly. OK, some of the plot contrivances are a little hard to accept. But accept them you must for the movie to move forward. There's enough good here to make you look past the movie's flaws. Sturgess does well with the key role of Ben, creating a compelling and sympathetic character. Spacey is reliably excellent as always. Unfortunately nobody else in the cast adds much. As the required eye candy a film of this type demands Kate Bosworth's character of Jill disappoints. There's no spark, no personality there. When we first see her the MIT geeks build her up to be some sort of goddess but when we actually get to know her it's a letdown. None of the other blackjack team members make much of an impression at all. And in playing an old-school casino enforcer type Laurence Fishburne is little more than a cliché. But despite all that's wrong with it the movie still somehow succeeds. It's well-paced enough to hold your attention throughout. At times, especially in the end, things get a little convoluted but the story works. More or less. As a whole the movie is not quite winner winner chicken dinner but good enough.

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