Friday, April 18, 2008

Rensselaer and 21

I'm back.

I'd hate to disappoint the dozens of loyal fans (or maybe it's just one) my blogs - I know they get you through the day.

Anyway, I spent the last three days in my companies home office of Rensselaer in a training session. I learned a lot that should help me in my job - although it was pretty boring, and cramped, at times.

I did get to spend some time with my friend from high school, Zac. We went to dinner in downtown Albany and then he showed me his house. It was good to see him, it had been a long time.

On Wednesday, I managed to find some time - although that time is usually for sleeping during work nights - to sneak off and see a movie. So here is my review.

I went to a late-night viewing of 21 at a very close to my hotel movie theater. It was, by far, the most intriguing of all movies they had showing at the theater - so I grabbed my Goobers and water and went to the movies.

21 has characters that include: Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), Jill Taylor (Kate Bosworth), Choi (Aaron Yoo), Kianna (Liza Lapira), Jimmy Fisher (Jacob Pitts), Prof. Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey) and Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).

Campbell is an extremely bright 21 year old, who has been accepted into Harvard Medical School. He is up for a Robinson Scholarship, that selects one student and pays their entire medical school bill. The administer of this scholarship tells Campbell that everyone applying for the scholarship is the top everything in his/her school - to win, you have to do something that really jumps out.

In a class at M.I.T., Campbell impresses his professor (Spacey) and is recruited to join his card counting group, which consists of Jill, Choi, Kianna and Jimmy. At first he is reluctant, but when he realizes he can pay for his own medical school by making money counting cards, he accepts.

The rest of the movie plays out pretty well. Choi, Jill and Kianna each go to separate black jack tables and if a table is hot - flash a signal to either Jimmy or Ben to join in at the table. A quick well placed key word in a sentence, and Jimmy or Ben know exactly where the card count is at when sitting down. They are the big players - the one's that make the money by placing larger bets.

Of course there is the inevitable jealousy that Jimmy soon shows when Ben starts out-performing him, and thus earning Rosa's praise. Also, the attraction between Ben and Jill - and finally the falling out between the players and their 'coach'.

The ending is pretty good. Definitely has some twists that you may not see coming - I figured on a few of them, but was not expecting a couple.

The movie is pretty entertaining. Sturgess is a newcomer that more than holds his own with the veteran Spacey and Fishburne. I was also very impressed with Bosworth - who in earlier projects I have not enjoyed very much.

I would recommend this movie - it is pretty interesting how they can do the counting of cards, and how they signal each other to the hot tables. You never truly lose focus on the film, it keeps you into it for its entire length, which is what a movie is supposed to do.

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