Apparently a new film is out by the same writing team that wrote the classic Rounders poker film. The new film is called Runner Runner and apparently is a bit crap by all accounts. Here's a review from Calvin Ayre:
Online Poker Runner Runner: Movie Review : CalvinAyre.com
Seems a bit harsh saying this film is a good reason why we shouldn't have any movies created about poker... although in a way I can see what he means, poker isn't exactly the kind of subject that lends itself to film easily... Rounders only succeeded I think because of the back stories of the two proponents (Damon and Norton... actually of course Malkovic as well his back story / character as well for that matter). Without solid characters and a decent plotline a film isn't going to be great and poker is one of those things that would generally only end up being an incidental thing in any film to my mind.Runner Runner: Movie Review by Lee Davy
Runner Runner is an apt name for this movie, because long before my fingers had scraped the bottom of the popcorn barrel I wanted to do a Runner Runner myself.
When you are paying good money to see a cast that includes Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton and Anthony Mackie you expect more; with Leonardo Di Caprio as the executive producer you expect more; and when the Rounders writing team of Brian Koppelman and David Levien take up the quill you expect more.
The movie industry no longer cares. The art of storytelling is dead. Timberlake, Affleck, et al are clever cookies. They know a dog when they see a dog. So why make it? Why put their professional reputation on the line? Money. Or more appropriately my money, and this is why the cinema was humming with disappointment when the obviousness of the ending had gotten itself out of the way.
When you take on the challenge of making a movie about poker, you need a believable storyline and great characters. The explosions and killing sprees that so often mask the inadequacies of other movies are not going to play a role in a film about online poker. Screw these two things up and you are in trouble. Runner Runner screwed the pooch on both fronts.
It insults our intelligence to believe that Richie Furst (Timberlake), a Princeton graduate, is cheated out of his entire bankroll in a night of online poker, and then takes a plane to Costa Rica to complain to the sites owner and demand his money back. Has this lad never heard of e-mail?
The site in question is called Midnight Black and it’s owner is a man by the name of Ivan Block (Ben Affleck). Once Furst touches down in Costa Rica the storyline unfolds like thousands of others have done in the past. Our protagonist meets the antagonist, the antagonist looks and behave like a saint, the protagonist believes the illusion, the antagonist lures the protagonist into his lair and rams his pitchfork up his bum. It’s a role we have seen a thousand times before, and Affleck did nothing to improve upon it. If you watch Runner Runner you will feel like Russ Hamilton did when playing online poker. You always know what is going to happen next.
The storyline was so weak that the movie barely stumbled over the 90-minute mark, and there were so many annoyances. The hiding given to Furst by the corrupt police was tamer than the hidings handed out in the school playground; his over-exaggerated poker metaphors made me wince, and why was Gemma Arterton so orange? I didn’t know she was a Valley girl?
During an interview with Rebecca Liggero, John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance said this of the movie: “This is an exact reason why we do not want an unregulated market in the US.”
I would like to change that sentence just slightly: “This is an exact reason why we do not want a movie created about poker.”
Don't get me wrong, I actually really like watching 'live' poker on TV, but that's more about the tactical side, the mind games that go on, the bluffing and what not, rather than any kind of plotline excellence or well crafted characterization - for the most part I can't really see that kind of thing transferring over into a poker film easily. Mind you that said, the Pokerstars' Big Game series with Phil Hellmuth vs Tony G doesn't even need turning into a film, check it out if you haven't seen it already (I would highly recommend all of those Big Game shows, I think there's only 2 seasons, all worth watching if you enjoy watching poker, it's free on Pokerstars.tv here).