Screen Junkies » Luck Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Tue, 02 Dec 2014 04:50:24 +0000 en hourly 1 8 Shocking Acts Of Animal Cruelty In Film Production Wed, 08 Feb 2012 18:51:37 +0000 Wookie Johnson Times were tough before special effects.

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The news that two horses had to be put down during the filming of HBO‘s Luck is really unfortunate. However, that is the hazard with a series like this, and everyone knew that going in. And it’s not like the animals were intentionally abused. The network was working within guidelines set forth by the American Humane Association at the time incident, and from all appearances, it was just a horrible accident.

In the spectrum of animal cruelty in film production, Luck doesn’t even come close. HERE are the worst offenders. Not cool, Hollywood.

Heaven’s Gate

"This is my seat!"

It’s fair to say that director Michael Cimino isn’t an animal lover. While filming his bleak anti-western, he allegedly killed chickens and bled horses in order to collect their blood and smear it all over his actors. In addition, he also allegedly BLEW. UP. A. HORSE. with dynamite during a battle sequence. And the scene made it into the final cut of the movie! That’s insane. To think what animal actors had to go through before Steve Jobs invented computers.


Reds director and leading man, Warren Beatty, apologized to the public when horses were harmed during the film’s production. While Beatty was away from set, the Spanish crew used tripwire to make horses fall during a battle sequence. In their defense, have you ever tried to get a horse really drunk?

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Horses Euthanized On Set Of HBO’s ‘Luck’ Wed, 08 Feb 2012 16:32:16 +0000 Wookie Johnson The set just isn't as safe as that of 'Tommy the Cool Mule'

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Most episodes of HBO‘s Luck carry the proud disclaimer that no animals were harmed during production. MOST being the key word. Production on both the pilot and the seventh episode ended up with a horse needing to be euthanized. Now PETA is all kinds of mad about animals being harmed, which makes me wonder why they’ve yet to complain about most of the programming on Bravo.

UPDATE: We’ve heard from HBO directly, and they’ve stressed that at the time of both incidents, the production was partnered with the American Humane Association (AHA), and the show adhered to their established safety guidelines. During both of the accidents, “an American Humane Certified Safety Representative was monitoring the animal action and verified that all soundness checks had been performed by the on-set veterinarian.” The network also stressed that after the second accident, HBO worked with the “AHA and racing industry experts to implement additional protocols specifically for horseracing sequences” beyond those set by the AHA.

At any rate, now that these new procedures are in place, it’s just a matter of keeping Nick Nolte away from the horse medicine. (NYO)

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9 Classic HBO Intros: How Does The ‘Luck’ Intro Stack Up? Fri, 27 Jan 2012 15:50:47 +0000 Wookie Johnson They've come a long way since Def Comedy Jam.

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Over the years, HBO’s programming has raised the bar for quality television. The level of pride put into the creation of these shows is apparent from the first moments after the static hiss accompanying the HBO logo fades away and an artfully crafted intro kicks into gear. These elevate our experience watching the shows and instantly put us in the mindset that we’re about to see something really classy. And possibly with boobs.

With HBO’s newst show, Luck, premiering this Sunday, we thought we’d take a look at its intro, and see how it compares to the networks previous efforts in the title sequence department.

Watch it a few times, let it sink in, and see how it compares to these nine other Home Box Office favorites.

True Blood

The hyper-stylized credits to True Blood take us on a tour of the Bible Belt and the bayou to show the South re-imagined after vampires have declared citizenship. The dangerous and sexily-charged images have a found footage feel that evokes a sinister undercurrent. It’s equal parts exorcism footage and Nine Inch Nails video. All set to the awesome song “Bad Things” by Jace Everett.

Game of Thrones

Though the opening credits differ depending on the episode, designers hit it out of the park with the opening credits for Game of Thrones. They take the convention of exploring a fantasy map and give it new life by sweeping across the kingdoms. The camera rests on the family sigil of each house. The sigil will then animate to reveal a series of cogs in motion. As the gears spin, a three-dimensional world is built up to spring from the page.

Bored To Death

The opener to Bored To Death flips through the pages of fictional Jonathan Ames’s life. The text falls away to reform characters and landscapes is Ames’s fictitous double-life. Here we’re introduced to the writer/low-rent detective as he tails an attractive dame through New York encountering cartoon versions of his co-stars that show off their main character traits. Ted Danson as a pothead. Zach Galifianakis as a fatty fat fat.

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A ‘Luck’ Fan’s Guide to Parimutuel Betting (A.K.A. Betting On Horses) Fri, 20 Jan 2012 20:15:59 +0000 Nicholas Pell A.K.A. Playing the ponies!

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Dustin Hoffman has joined the ranks of film actors like Steve Buscemi who made themselves more awesome by appearing on television. Oops, our mistake, “It’s not television, it’s HBO.” Yes, Dusty will be starring in Luck, a show that details the exciting, fast-paced world of… parimutuel horse racing. Since there’s probably no one under the age of 90 who has the slightest clue how this works, we’ve decided to break down some of the more common terms so that you aren’t completely lost. As an added service, we’re throwing in pictures of these majestic creatures (the horses, not Dustin Hoffman) for your viewing pleasure.

Note that if you’re reading this in any country other than the United States, the terms are different. For example, in the UK, “win,” “place” and “show” are “tops, guvnah,” “right-o, old boy” and “jolly good show, mate,” respectively.

Win: Your horse has to, um, win.

Place: Your horse can come in first or second. Kind of a pussy bet if you ask us.

Show: Your horse can come in first, second or third. You’re not going to make a ton of money off of this bet, chief.

Exacta: You accurately predict the first- and second-place finishers in the proper order. If they’re both longshots you’re probably not going into work the next day.

Quinella: Same as the above, except the two horses can be in any order. Get ready to take the family on that vacation to Vegas you’ve been dreaming about since you realized your gambling addiction and alcoholism are fully catered to out there.

Trifecta: You pick the first-, second- and third-place horses in the correct order. If you are able to do this on a longshot bet, it’s likely that you have mob connections and the race was fixed.

Superfecta: Pick the first four horses in the race in the exact order. Get a five-figure payout. Tell your boss what you really think of him.

Daily Double: A bet covering two races. You choose the winning horse in both races, you get the same payout as winning a regular bet. The only difference is that you only placed one bet, so the greedy public schools only get their take once.

Pick X: You can place a bet where you pick the winner in a series of races. It’s expensive and you probably won’t ever win. If you do, you’re going to make a shitload of money. This is how professional gamblers put their kids through college.

Let It Ride: A rad movie starring Richard Dreyfuss and David Johansen that was pretty cool to watch on a local UHF station’s “Saturday Afternoon Movie” circa 1991. Often appeared in a double feature with Short Time. Had horse racing.

How Betting Works: You’re not really betting against the other players. You’re betting against yourself. The original odds of a horse race have nothing to do with the final tally. The final odds have far more to do with who is betting on what. In fact, if The Grifters is to be believed (and we really hope that it is), mobsters hire hot old chicks in stunning couture dresses to lower the odds on longshots so that they don’t have to pay out as much to the winners.

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9 Unlucky Movie Losers Who Never Had A Chance Mon, 12 Sep 2011 15:36:45 +0000 Archibald Bayou III Wrong place, wrong time...

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In the long history of film losers, the most depressing are the unlucky bit characters. These folks get a few moments of screen time before getting screwed over, usually through no fault of their own, to advance the plot. Case in point: Rise of the Planet of the Apes beleaguered neighbor, Hunsiker. (Spoiler alert)We’re introduced to him when the chimp Ceaser accidentally scares his kids. Over the next ninety minutes, his car gets trashed, his finger gets bitten off, and he gets infected with a deadly disease and spreads the infection across the planet. (End Spoiler) This poor bastard should have stayed in the suburbs. In his honor, we’ve compiled this list of film history’s unlucky losers who should have probably just stayed in bed that day.

1. Pam Magnus – In the Line of Fire

Bank teller Pam Magnus got super excited when she recognized the Minnesota home town of her customer James Carney. Unfortunately there was no James Carney- he was really assassin Mitch Leary, and Pam had inadvertently threatened to blow his cover. Leary then visits Pam at her apartment and slaughters her and her equally unlucky roommate. True Minnesotans have better manners. For shame, Mr. Leary!

2. John Conners’ Foster Parents – Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Poor Todd and Janelle. They put up with bratty John Conner’s crap for years, and their reward (besides a modest government subsidy check) was a Terminator hook to the face. Even the dog bought it in this massacre. And that’s after a group of innocent bikers get beaten for their clothes by the other Terminator- the one that’s supposed to be a good guy!

3. The Nun – The Da Vinci Code

Was there any more innocent victim to Silas’ psychotic rampage than the old nun that let him into Saint-Sulpice? Perhaps the viewers who had to look at Tom Hank’s ridiculous haircut for two hours.

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5 Largest Fictional Lotto Jackpots From Film And Television Thu, 11 Aug 2011 19:54:40 +0000 Jame Gumb Even in Hollywood, the jackpots aren't as high as last night's Powerball.

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Last night’s winning Powerball ticket was worth $228.9, but don’t get your hopes up. The closest you’re ever going to come to winning a jackpot is watching a film or TV show about the lottery. And even in a world of Hollywood make beleive, chances are the jackpot won’t be as high. Check out the following fictional lottery jackpots and see for yourself.

It Could Happen To You – $4 Million

When a New York cop doesn’t have enough cash on hand to leave a tip, he offers his waitress the only thing he can: half of a lottery ticket. As luck would have it, the ticket actually wins, and the cop stays true to his word, a move that eventually leads to the destruction of his marriage. In all fairness, the film is a lot more upbeat than I just made it out to be.

Waking Ned Devine – IR£7 Million ($12.57 Million)

When Ned Devine wins the Irish lottery, he instantly dies of shock. Unfortunately, he has no living relatives to collect the winnings on his behalf. But rather than let all the money go to waste, the local townsfolk hatch a scheme to impersonate Ned, collect the winnings, and split the cash among themselves. The townsfolk are a quirky, likable bunch, considering that they’re all committing massive fraud.

Roseanne – $108 Million

After years of toiling through working-class drudgery, the Conner family finally hits the jackpot, winning over $100 million in the Illinois lottery. The final season of the show deals with the aftermath of winning, as the family tries to cope with their new-found fame and fortune. But in the end, it turns out to have all been a bizarre fantasy concocted by Roseanne in order to deal with the loss of her husband. So I guess technically there was no jackpot, and this entry doesn’t belong on this list. Too bad, I’m not changing it.

Lost - $114 Million

While “resting” at a psychiatric institute, HugoHurley” Reyes befriends a mysterious patient named Leonard Simms who is obsessed with the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42. Once Hurley leaves the institution, he decides to use the numbers in a lottery drawing. As you can probably guess by the title of this list, he ends up winning. However, he later believes the numbers are cursed, and responsible for a string of unlucky events that befall him, not the least of which is getting stranded on an uncharted island.

Lottery Ticket – $370 million

The Lottery Ticket has the distinction of being the only film with a jackpot larger than last night’s drawing. That’s about all it’s got going for it. When a young boy named Kevin (Bow Wow) wins $370 million dollars in the lottery, he borrows money from a local gangster while he’s waiting for his ticket to clear. Great idea. Soon enough, the ticket goes missing, and Kevin’s life is on the line. I won’t spoil the ending, mainly cause I don’t care. Let’s just say I’d have to get at least half of that $370 million before I’d sit through this crap. OK, I’d probably do it for $20, but you get the idea.

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Michael Mann & David Milch Reach An Agreement Over ‘Luck’ Fri, 22 Apr 2011 18:40:36 +0000 Joseph Gibson I smell a sitcom!

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David Milch and Michael Mann are both known for having strict and unyielding creative visions – Milch as the creator of TV shows like “Deadwood,” and Michael Mann as the director of films like Public Enemies and Heat. So it’s been a tough partnership on their newest project, the HBO series “Luck,” about the world of horse racing. Here’s a joint statement from the two of them (too bad it’s not 4/20, I could make a pretty funny joke about the phrase “joint statement”):

“We decided — as two men who have been around for a number of years — we ought to be smart enough to figure out a mechanism that would enable us to work together to our and the series’ benefit. And we did.”

The nature of that mechanism is that Milch has final say on the scripting of the show, while Mann has final say on everything else. Is it me or did Milch kind of get the short end of the stick there? Oh well, I guess that’s why he’s in television and Mann is in movies. (Vulture)

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Michael Mann Shares A Grizzled First Look At HBO’s ‘Luck’ Mon, 18 Apr 2011 15:18:33 +0000 Wookie Johnson It's fun to see all these accomplished actors dressed like the degenerates at the OTB.

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Luck – In Production – Watch more Funny Videos

If you’re a fan of HBO’s “Deadwood” you have reason to open the peaches. Here’s a first look at “Luck,” the new HBO series from “Deadwood” writer David Milch and Heat director Michael Mann. The horse racing drama stars Dustin Hoffman as an organized crime kingpin with a penchant for kicking over tables, and Nick Nolte gets his twelfth shot at career redemption in the role of a broken-down Kentucky horse trainer given a second chance at redemption.

Anyway, it looks great. Particularly the horse-racing scenes. The crew have found really inventive ways to get up in the action. Finally, we can feel the thrill of being a jockey without having to suffer the ridicule of being four-feet tall.

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