The Lost Highway's B-movie Reviews and Cult Films

posted by admin | June 11, 2018 | Feature

Comments Off on Why Gambling Movies Are Such a Huge Success

Gambling and betting are some of the most popular topics in Bollywood and Hollywood. The movies that rely on casino-based stories weave intricate plots, revealing great characters and outstanding performances. Tension builds in, actors increase the adrenaline and make viewers sit at the edge of their seats. The way characters use mind games and tricks to influence their opponents and even the audience is the cherry on top.

For some, gambling movies taught them about betting deals or what a casino bonus code is. Hence, they entered the world of gambling not only relying on real success stories but also on movie plots that helped them find their role model. Over the years, there have been released a high number of successful gambling movies. Some of the most widely famous are The Gambler, The Hangover, Maverick, Ocean’s 11, Casino, Rounders, and Casino Royale.

Hollywood Gambling Movies: The Plot and Storyline

The relationship between gambling and the actors starring in this type of movies helps create an intense story, making the audience see it as a true story. If you do not want to take the risk, you can watch others do it and learn something from it.  Gambling movie serves as a replacement for such excitement. Furthermore, gambling movies reached to develop their own genre. 

Prestigious actors manage to transfer the rollercoaster of high stakes gambling onto the screens, creating breath-taking scenes. To build unique storylines, film producers generally choose the stereotypes which come with gamblers. Some of them reveal the darker side of gambling, when people lie, cheat and get into trouble. 

However, in some cases, film producers also present the exquisite and glamorous part of the gambling world, one where a select clientele is attracted by high-class casino life. Nevertheless, the greatest drawback when it comes to gambling movies is their predictability. Even if there are movies with different storylines, most of them have a similar ending.  

The most common plot untangles as the lead character gets in trouble due to his gambling skills or gambling addiction. Then, the audience either finds out about the troubles that the world of gambling can produce or the movie may end with the lead role overcoming their problems. The endings may differ, depending on whether the producer wants to reveal the negative or positive effects of gambling. 

Bollywood Gambling Movies: The Plot and Storyline

Generally, Bollywood-made movies differ from Hollywood-made ones since gambling is restricted in India. However, there are certain exceptions, like horse race betting and lottery betting. Lately, despite the prohibition, more and more people have started betting. People living there believe that the laws regarding betting and gambling should change since they believe that a developed gambling system could represent a great revenue for the state. At the moment, only three states allow casinos, namely Sikkim, Daman, and Goa.

Even if the world of gambling in India is challenged by numerous restrictions, there are certain film producers who managed to make some gambling movies. Furthermore, some of them are very popular. “Teen Patti” is one of the best Bollywood films when it comes to the gambling world. The main storyline relies on the life of a mathematician who works on developing a thesis of probability. Hence, he bases the thesis on a poker game known as Teen Patti. The film illustrates a topsy-turvy situation when the professor and his team enter into private clubs and casinos. 

Another extraordinary Indian gambling movie was “Jannat”. The film was released in 2008 and gained more popular worldwide than in India. Furthermore, it also got a positive response from critics. The story builds around a man who tries to find heaven on earth but he gets caught up in consumerism and crime. His obsession is to make money very quickly. The message of this gambling movie highlights the negative effects of gambling.

“Striker” is another gambling movie that stands out due to the fact that relies on true events. The story is built around a poor boy who learned about the game Carrom at a very young age. He becomes so good at this game that he wins a championship. Being driven by his gambling passion, he moves on to a dangerous territory and he loses all his savings.

The negative and positive effects of gambling have inspired numerous film producers around the world, both those at Bollywood and the ones at Hollywood. The results speak for themselves, leaving out successful movies in the box office while revealing incredible stories. The audience has learned a lot about gambling and how it can change your life by only watching this type of movies. That is why they have become so popular along the years.


posted by admin | January 14, 2018 | Feature

Comments Off on Poker in Movies vs Reality

Poker in the movies is often romanticized and portrayed as a glorified strategy-based game where the victor comes from behind to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Truth be told: Poker is a grind. The premier poker players are mathematical and statistical geniuses; their poker playing prowess is evident in the consistency of success they enjoy with their craft. For example, top poker professionals like Doyle Brunson, Chris Moneymaker, and Phil Ivey have been able to amass a following of devoted fans over the years.

The pros of poker routinely teach one lesson to poker greenhorns: Fold most of the starting hands you receive, except for premium starting hands. In the movies, we get to watch accelerated versions of poker tournaments where you won’t see any players folding starting hands. Films simply don’t allow for unnecessary wasting of time. In a high stakes poker tournament, it’s always a war of attrition. Whether you’re playing Texas Hold’em Poker, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, or Caribbean Stud Poker, your goal is always to manage your stack, your cards, and the players at your table as best you can.

Poker Movies: Hollywood and Its Pocket Rockets

When we turn our attention to poker movies, many of the titles that get bandied about are casino-style movies. But if you look closely, there may be an element of poker lurking in the background. The pure poker movies are limited to a handful of films. The top 3 Texas Hold’em poker movies star actors like Matt Damon, Edward Norton, Sylvester Stallone, and Burt Reynolds. Some of these movies have gone mainstream, while others have maintained a low profile, but are certainly worth watching.

Poker movies are designed to add additional mystique to the game. The characters who play poker in films are often wise beyond their years. Guys like Matt Damon, Sly Stallone and Burt Reynolds perfectly captured the quintessential poker face in each of their films. They played the player, and they played their cards with precision. Let’s briefly explore the top 3 Texas Hold’em poker films and see how they differ from real-life poker games

  1. Deal with Burt Reynolds

Deal stars the legendary Burt Reynolds, Maria Mason, and Bret Harrison. This PG-13 drama tells the story of Tommy Vinson – a retired poker professional. Vinson decides to coach the aspiring law school graduate – Alex Stillman (Bret Harrison) the game of poker. Stillman is distracted by online poker games while he’s at law school, so he decides to put his skills to the test by going into live poker games.

Of course, the movie puffs up the scandalous nature of poker, including bluffing and psychological manipulation to great effect. There are some legendary poker players in the mix, including Mike Sexton, Phil Laak, Antonio Esfandiari and others. The movie came with a budget of $5 million, and tanked at the box office. However, it is a fascinating window into the world of high-stakes poker where Burt Reynolds is drawn back into the WSOP (World Series of Poker) and he comes up against his protégé, Bret Harrison.

  1. Rounders with Matt Damon and Edward Norton

Rounders is now 20 years old. The movie starred Matt Damon, Edward Norton and Gretchen Mol. It tells the story of a card player who is heavily indebted to loan sharks. His best friend comes to his assistance by offering to pay off his debts by getting involved in high-stakes poker tournaments. This poker film has generated the best reviews from the poker online community, as arguably the #1 top film about poker ever.

With a budget of $12 million, the film grossed $22.9 million in the US, and has an enduring legacy among poker fans. Once again, the film focuses on the seedy elements of poker where brawn is pitted against brains in a gruelling contest of poker play. The film succeeds as a great ambassador for the game of poker. Poker online fans routinely site the popularity of Rounders in chat rooms, and high-stakes poker tournaments as the inspiration for getting them interested in the game.

  1. Shade with Sylvester Stallone

Believe it or not, Hollywood A-list star Sylvester Stallone has also dabbled in the game of poker, and to great effect. His film Shade from 2003 is an excellent tribute to the game of poker. It takes place in LA, in the high-stakes poker world where hustlers try and outwit the Dean of poker. Stallone has a low-key role in the film, as it focuses more on the other characters including Joe Niccolo, Carl Mazzocone Sr, Frank Medrano, Melanie Griffith, Thandie Newton and Jason Cerbone who are trying to take down the most legendary poker player of them all. One of the best lines from the movie was when Stallone a.k.a. Stevens ‘The Dean’ said ‘I was mucking cards before you were born!’ to the young upstart who is trying to take him down. This extraordinary tribute to the game of poker has also inspired a new generation of online poker players to take to the game. Shade was released in 2004 and received a favourable 6.4/10 rating from 11,212 reviewers. It is a crime thriller of note, and a surprising addition to the poker genre. With a budget of $6.8 million, the film was a box office flop, but a definite keeper with Texas Hold’em poker fans.

How Do Poker Films Differ from Poker Reality?

There are many ways that films are larger-than-life, and filmmakers design their projects to be engaging, engrossing, and immersive. Poker is a numbers game that is best understood by players in the middle, and fans on the rail. To gain mainstream acceptance, poker films need to engage a wider audience with universal human concepts like betrayal, anguish, greed, violence, duplicity and the like. The game of poker online, or at live tables is increasingly perceived as a mental game where the lack of words is more than compensated for by poker psychology, bluffs, action and inaction.

Films rely on activating our sensory responses to generate interest. In many high-stakes poker games such as 888poker online tournaments, WSOP, WPT, EPT, ANZPT, and the LA Poker Classic, the focus is on your poker acumen, not on hustling hitmen, card sharks, loan sharks, Russian Mafia dons and the like. The poker films are great at popularizing the game for entertainment’s sake, but the game is immune to outside noise. It is a strategy-based war of attrition between players at the table.


Comments Off on To All A Goodnight


1980 – R – 87 Minutes – Scorpion Releasing
Starring Jennifer Runyon, Forrest Swanson, Linda Gentile – Directed by David Hess

You mean to tell me that there’s a Christmas slasher flick written by The Incredible Melting Man himself, Alex Rebar and directed by David Hess, the sadistic Krug from The Last House on the Left? Well, sign me up! This sounds like a jolly-good show! You would think so, right? David Hess was a talented actor, but as a director, there’s nothing that really sticks out about To All A Goodnight. It’s a bland looking movie, not even using the Christmas element or lighting to make it stick out on a visual level. I wouldn’t say that it’s poorly directed, but it’s not exactly a masterpiece in cinematography. The writing is about as stock as a slasher can get, like made-from-the-can kind of slasher. Just pop that open, dump all the contents into a bowl and microwave it for five minutes. Sure, it may smell like a slasher film, but it sure doesn’t taste the same.

It’s hard to tell whether or not the writer and director duo wanted to capture the same spirit as Friday the 13th or if they were just hired guns, although I think it may be the latter considering the two are actually quite talented people. The film does reek of producers stepping in and taking control. After all, producers always know what’s best and have never screwed up a film. Ahem.  Again, that’s speculation on my half, but either way the end product isn’t really all that impressive, but I do have to admit there is a certain kind of sleaze to it that makes it watchable.

The story starts off in the past during Christmas vacation at the Calvin Finishing School For Girls where a prank goes horribly wrong, as they usually do in a horror film, and a girl falls off a balcony to her death, kinda reminding me of Prom Night, which came out the same year. So, there’s your slasher’s motive. If it feels like you’ve seen this done a hundred times before, it’s probably because you have. Fast forward two years later and the five girls responsible, Nancy, Melody, Leia, Trisha and Sam, have whatever reason to stay at school for Christmas break once again, which is quite a convenient coincidence for our killer. There is another girl, Cynthia, but she’s dispatched of by the killer only moments after being on screen that it’s hardly worth mentioning. Each girl takes on a cliched trope, but all seem to share the personality of spoiled, selfish teenage girl, making all but the lead, Nancy, unlikable. But hey, if there is anything that modern slashers have taught me, it’s who needs likable characters in a slasher?

All girls just wanna have fun, but how can a group of girls do that if their bothersome house mother, Mrs. Jensen, is there to babysit them? Why, by drugging her of course. Something about this feels very wrong, as the girls slip some sleeping pills into her milk and off to bed she goes. Now the girls can invite their rich, alcoholic boyfriends in their private jet, drink and get laid, basically every girl’s Christmas dream. Hell, porn legend Henry Reems (under the name Dan Stryker, a name better suited for a terrible ’70s cop show) pilots the spoiled, young men to the party. Now that there is a whole slew of victims, it’s pretty much paint by numbers here. Eventually one or two wonder off to do their own thing, usually sex, and get killed. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in a slasher, heck, it’s encouraged, but the kills are so dull and virtually bloodless that it hardly qualifies as entertaining. The only thing that really sticks out in my mind at the moment (which keep in mind it’s only been a few moments since I’ve seen it) is a Mario Bava-esque inspired killing when one couple is going about the horizontal rumba, the guy on top is shot in the back with an arrow, pinning down his lady lover and she is promptly decapitated. Oh, did I mention that the killer is hiding in a suit of knight armor when this happens? What I’m more interested in is how he found the time and snuck into knight’s armor all quiet and patiently waited in there until a couple decided to have sex right in that room in that exact spot placed in front of them. It’s actually pretty clever… or poorly thought out screenwriting.

Why, there’s even a Crazy Ralph knock-off named… Ralph. What the hell, why not? The film has absolutely no shame in ripping off Friday the 13th‘s fan favorite prophet of doom. He’s not only an obvious red herring (even by 1980 standards, near the beginning of the slasher genre), but he’s literally a red herring, dressed in red onesie and carrying around gardening sheers, spouting out nonsense about evil and protecting the girls and blah, blah, blah. I don’t know at what point slasher flicks decided that it would be implied that this particular type of character would be a simpleton, but even for the lowest common denominator of slashers, this feels pretty weak. Like, a copy of a copy of a copy. The man is essentially a giant toddler in his red underoos and his seemingly childish behavior and babbling.

At this point, the film is going to be taking the have-sex-and-get-killed rule a little too serious since just about every character is having sex or attempting to have sex and immediately murdered for it. I can picture in my head an overweight, balding producer demanding more sex and nudity and trying to justify it by murdering the teenagers for it. Of course, the final girl, Nancy, no longer feels like part of an ensemble, but sticks out like a sore thumb. Like, putting an Amish girl in a crowded punk rock show. While the others are drinking and having intercourse, she’s walking around fully clothed in what looks like a 1920’s nightgown and drinking a glass of milk. You know, just in case you couldn’t tell she’s the innocent one. So, one by one, or two by two actually, their numbers dwindle until it’s Nancy and some geeky guy who only got a handjob, so I guess that doesn’t count as intercourse, so he gets to survive. Now, I wouldn’t want to steal the excitement of revealing who the killer is from you, but if you really want to know, just think about who’s left alive. Yeah, it’s pretty underwhelming. I will tell you that it very much echos Friday the 13th, wherein a mother is seeking revenge for the death of her child. It’s pretty predictable in that sense, plus you know, Friday the 13th did it, so every cheap slasher film had to also.

If you thought that To All A Goodnight was a quick, cheap cash in on the then new slasher boom, you’d be correct. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, even for 1980, that I’ve mentioned was basically the start of the slasher boom, this one feels like a really, really bad cash-in. It’s like it took a look at Friday the 13th and Halloween and basically just said, “yeah, do that, but we don’t want to spend a whole lot of money and it has to be done next week.” This was the only film David Hess directed and to his credit, it’s not the direction that’s terrible… it’s everything else. To be fair, Alex Rebar would go on to write Demented and that was a pretty decent film. However, there is a sleazy vibe present throughout the movie and perhaps that’s because of the low budget nature of it, but it could also be porn star Harry Reems presence in the film.

I do have to ask, where were all the protesters and whiners when this movie came out? Silent Night, Deadly Night was targeted, picketed and pulled from theaters, but you never saw one person complain about a killer Santa in To All a Goodnight after their children saw an ad for it. Well, there’s your answer right there; it’s all in the marketing. I couldn’t find any information about the film’s budget or even so much a TV promo or radio spot. Plus, this movie is pretty awful and nobody cares if you protest a bad movie.


As time has been proof of, To All A Goodnight isn’t regarded as a great holiday classic or even a good slasher flick. It’s there and it exists and I’d recommend checking it out at least once, but I get the feeling it’s not going to be something you’ll get a hankering to watch every so often. Not even at Christmas.

Check out the whole dang movie.


posted by admin | September 26, 2017 | Feature

Comments Off on What is a superstition?

“What is a superstition? A well-known encyclopedia defines this word as a prejudice, which is a belief in supernatural, in forces from the other world. A superstitious man is one who relies not on logic and common sense, but on some irrational speculation and classified stereotypes of society. This phenomenon is spread among all types of people. Even among celebrities. Guys from made an infographic with some interesting information regarding popular stars and their superstitions. ”

See infographic here


posted by admin | August 9, 2017 | Feature

Comments Off on Overview of the Planet of the Apes


One of the more successful blockbuster releases from this summer was War for the Planet of the Apes, which is the latest instalment in a franchise that will reach its 50th anniversary during 2018. That was when the initial adaptation of the novel was released and in the years since it has proven to be one of the most enduring franchises, even moving successfully into other entertainment platforms.

Original film series

The novel that the Planet of the Apes film from 1968 was based on was French and had the title La Planete des Singes, when it was published five years earlier. That original film starred Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowell and was a huge hit at the time – as well as going on to become an iconic film of its era. There are very few people who are not familiar with the closing scene featuring a destroyed Statue of Liberty, which has been affectionately parodied many times. The box office success of the film led to a string of sequels, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes, during the early 1970s. These lacked the star power and critical acclaim of the original, but proved reasonably successful at the box office – albeit none achieved anything close to the $33,395426 worldwide box office gross of the first film. By the time of the final film in 1973, the sense of diminishing returns was clear, backed up by worldwide box office figures of just $8,800,000, and the franchise disappeared from cinema screens for nearly thirty years.

Other mediums

Perhaps this was partly down to oversaturation as this era also saw a television series launched – with McDowell on board. The show centred on a similar premise to the original film, with humans oppressed by apes in the future, but did not prove a hit with audiences and was cancelled after one series. There was also an animated series – Return to the Planet of the Apes – briefly screened in 1975, but this failed to find an audience. The franchise has made a much more successful move into other entertainment mediums in recent years however, with the launch of spin-offs like the themed Planet of the Apes slot game.

Burton reboot

The franchise was finally revived in 2001 by acclaimed director Tim Burton, following a long period in development, and his Planet of the Apes featured stars like Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham-Carter. Burton was criticised by many fans of the original for the changes he made to the story however and the film flopped at the box office.

Current film series

The franchise then lay fallow for another decade until being rebooted as Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011, which featured a storyline about humans raising a genetically enhanced chimpanzee. This proved to be the real rebirth of the series and was followed by this summer’s film, which won praise from critics for its thoughtful and adult depiction of war.

Last year saw the announcement that a fourth film in the new series would be made, and the studio might give us more information on that next year, to coincide with the anniversary

About the Highway

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