Stuart Margolin

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Arbitrage Review


Richard Gere delivers such a charming, layered performance that he overcomes a contrived plot that piles too many financial and personal crises on the central character. But Gere is magnetic, and the film's themes resonate at a time of economic difficulty, most notably in the idea that all major world events revolve around money.

Gere plays 60-year-old financial mogul Robert, who lives the high life with a private jet, glamorous philanthropist wife Ellen (Sarandon) and sexy French art-dealer mistress Julie (Casta). He seduces the press with his intelligent wit, and has managed to conceal the fact that he's in severe money trouble. Everything hinges on selling his company, but the buyers are dragging their feet. Then he is involved in a fatal car crash that could undo everything. He turns to an estranged friend (Parker) for help, but a tenacious police detective (Roth) is beginning to piece it all together.

Having Gere in the central role makes all the difference here, because he is able to add the subtext and moral ambiguity that's lacking in the script and direction. Otherwise, it's shot like a too-obvious TV movie with close-up camerawork, a bland Cliff Martinez score and constant moralising about family values. By contrast, Gere is a shady character who is up to all kinds of unethical things and yet holds our sympathies because we can see that he's not all bad. Even so, the script puts him through the wringer, with a never-ending stream of personal and professional problems.

Continue reading: Arbitrage Review

Arbitrage Trailer

Robert Miller is billionaire hedge fund businessman who at first glance seems to have the perfect life; successful, plenty of money, a supportive wife and a daughter/ business partner willing to take on the company when he retires. However, something much darker is going on underneath as he is struggling to cover up many years of fraudulent activities while trying to sell away his business to a bank. Not only this, but he has also embarked on an illicit affair with the young and beautiful Julie Cote who he attempts to whisk away with him for a while. As fate would have it, Robert finds himself drifting off to sleep in the car as they drive out of town and subsequently fails to prevent a crash that instantly kills Julie. As he attempts to cover his tracks by setting fire to the vehicle, his whole life is on the line with suspicious police officers, a mistrustful wife and a daughter with an unfortunate eye for detail threatening to collapse the empire he has worked so hard for.

This gripping thriller drama premiered in the US in September 2012 and serves as the full-length feature directorial debut of Nicholas Jarecki ('The Informers' screenwriter) who was also responsible for writing the fantastic screenplay.

Starring: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Laetitia Casta, Nate Parker, Stuart Margolin, Chris Eigeman, Graydon Carter, Bruce Altman, Larry Pine, Curtiss Cook, Reg E. Cathey, Felix Solis, Monica Raymund, Gabrielle Lazure, Shawn Elliott, Maria Bartiromo, David Faber, Josh Pais, Alyssa Sutherland, Paula Devicq, Zack Robidas & Betsy Aidem.

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Impolite Review

Robert Wisden's obituary writer is an amusing take on the "alcoholic reporter investigates a mysterious death," but even though the movie tries to acknowledge and have fun with its cliches, it never really adds anything new to what has become an increasingly tired genre now relegated to the post-midnight hours on Cinemax.

Impolite, made back in 1992, only now gets its home video and DVD release, and it's apparently Christopher Plummer's cameo that has earned it such a merit. No one else in the film has gone on to, well, anything, and Wisden has the generic look of any one of a hundred blonde male wannabes that have come and gone through the history of Hollywood.

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Class Review

This flawed but generally amusing comedy set up Rob Lowe's career -- even though he's just a supporting character here. The real story is between his prep school roommate (Andrew McCarthy) and Lowe's mom -- who have a torrid affair without realizing the identity of one another. Also well-known (and rightfully so) for Virginia Madsen's topless slapstick routine, a classic film clip for over 20 years.

The Hi-Line Review

Everyone wants to be a director. Actors, producers, writers, actresses, sometimes even critics. But sound mixers? Shoot me if I see a film written and directed by The Dust Brothers.

Yet I have just finished watching The Hi-Line, an incredible simple narrative ditty by two-time Academy Award winning sound guy Ronald Judkins (Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, and Saving Private Ryan), and, much to my surprise, the film wasn't all that bad.

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