As actors get older, they seem to move from in front of the camera to behind it as they test their directorial capabilities. Sometimes they do both, and Russell Crowe is the latest superstar to be doing just that.
His latest film, Poker Face, which premiered in Italy last month, has already met with critical acclaim, and it won’t be long before it hits streaming sites and small screens for you to watch in the comfort of your own home.
Versatility at its best
To say that Russell Crowe is a skilled and varied actor is an understatement. Sure, it might feel like he’s been around for ages – which he has when you consider he’s pushing 60 – but he’s also been a leading man in some Hollywood classics.
In 2000 he made himself known to the world in the starring role of Gladiator, where he played General Maximus Decimus Meridius (“husband to a murdered wife” – if you know the quote, you know it!) and won an Academy Award for the role.
He also starred in mystery-detective thriller L.A. Confidential, as John Forbes Nash Jr. in A Beautiful Mind and even traversed the seas in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
These are just a few of the starring roles that made him famous; you’ll also recognise him from Les Miserables, Man of Steel, Noah, The Nice Guys and even Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder. There’s no wonder then that he’s taken away Golden Globes, British Academy Film Awards, Academy Awards and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2013, he made his directorial debut with The Water Diviner, in which he also starred. It got many positive reviews for his performance behind the camera and in front of it. So, everyone’s been looking forward to his next contribution with the release of Poker Face.
Gaming finds its place in film
Casinos have always had a place in movies. Whether it’s a setting for a James Bond film for the spy to show off his suave nature or the ‘Citizen Kane’ of casino films, Rounders – there are plenty out there. And casinos aren’t just used as a location; the games play a central part to it too, as is the case of Rounders, Molly’s Game and The Cooler. These games have a mixture of thrill and excitement when you’re playing, either online or at a land-based casino.
So, when you throw in the mix of great actors and a fantastic script, you get a film that really leaves you on tenterhooks. Sometimes, it doesn’t even have to focus on the games; it can just link to the themes of casinos and gaming in general – it still makes for popular blockbusters, such as Casino or Ocean’s Eleven.
It’s exciting, therefore, to see one of Hollywood’s greatest actors deliver a new thriller.
Poker Face comes to the small screen
In the movie, Crowe hosts a game of poker for his friends, but the stakes rapidly get high. Viewers don’t have to worry about learning how to play poker – it sounds like there is more than enough action going on to keep everyone entertained. As multi-billionaire Jake Foley, Crowe’s character gives his friends the chance to win more money than they imagined. But they must give up their secrets. Cue the thrills and great acting scenes.
And talking of great acting, there are other big names associated with the movie, including Liam Hemsworth, Elsa Pataky and Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA. After winning the Australian Academy Award for his previously directed film, all eyes are on Crowe’s latest to deliver. The previews all have praise for Poker Face, so audiences are in for a treat.
We now live in a day and age where big movies are released sooner onto the small screen. It’s not always good for some actors, such as the fallout between Disney and Scarlet Johansson when they released the Black Widow movie too soon on the streaming service.
But as recent events have shown us, we still want to see big-budget movies (and little-budget movies, too!), even if we can’t make it to the cinema.
Films released on streaming services have become more and more popular, and we’re seeing a trend where films hit the big screen but follow shortly on its smaller counterpart. That way, it appeals to the TV viewers and the big screen fans. Even better is that Poker Face will be released on small screens shortly after the theatrical debut.