All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
A proud strip club owner is forced to come to terms with himself as a man, when his gambling addiction gets him in hot water with the mob, who offer him only one alternative.
Road House's super baddie Ben Gazzara as a strip club owner with a gambling addiction. When his debt blazes out of control, he's forced to commit a deadly sin in John Cassavetes's sweaty lusty intoxicating film noir. Large ketchup bottle. Stiff drink. Ben Gazzara's white leisure suit. Meaningful meaningless chit-chat. The way Ben Gazzara smokes. Vince's nose. Big pimpin' Seymour Cassel. Bootleg Strip Club DJ. Champagne hottie. Real motherfuckers drink Dom Pérignon straight from the bottle. Pitch-perfect piano music. John Cassavetes's directing skills blow me away. The way his lens captures everyday life and raw human emotion is straight money. Sexy as fuck striptease. Runaway tits. Poetic poetry. Shaggy doggie. The Shining Poster Playboy Playmate. Seymour Cassel wasn't born old?…
Ben Gazzara's performance here is one of those that so captures an actor's essence that it would be pointless to think about anyone else in the role. Beyond all the Cassavetes grace notes-- the dingy texture of the nightclub, the evident affection for his cast of outcasts and rogues, the dread-inducing inevitability of the title-- there's Gazzara, a wannabe big-shot who lacks the means, the common sense, and the luck to lead the kind of life he feels he deserves. His gregariousness becomes tragic.
Watched the '78 re-edit, for two reasons: (1) from what I can determine, Cassavetes felt rushed in 1976 and wound up releasing the film in a form that was essentially unfinished, and (2) my beef with most of his work boils down to "overlong and undisciplined," so the shorter version seemed like it would constitute the fairer shake. Now, however, after quite enjoying Chinese Bookie at 108 minutes, I find myself thinking it would work even better at 135, with the burlesque material intact (even though more of Mr. Sophistication might be painful to endure). The movie's superb ending, which reveals the extent to which Cosmo perceives his business as his calling and his performers as his family (and…
Viewed 108 minute cut
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is Film-noir at its most shadowy and anti-climatic, favoring the quiet anticipation within the darkness and sparkling city lights instead of blazing dialogue moments and conventional techniques. Ben Gazzara is a magnetic presence, and he grounds the film in a way that prevents the story from crumbling under the weight of Cassavetes' prominent interest in unorthodox styling.
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie feels like another example of a performer gluing a story together from previous remnants, and while I admire the craft, it's another example of a Cassavetes film leaving me lukewarm.
You'll never guess what happens to the Chinese bookie.
Fresh out of my crisp and clean Cassavetes Five Films box set.
Like with every other piece from this guy, I ended up paying attention not so much to where the story was. Really just zoned out and noticed how Cassavetes was making me feel. It doesn't feel to me like a living breathing world was created, like in something from Kubrick, Scorsese, Coppola. The world was just there already, and Cassavetes whipped out a camera and viewed it for us. A documentary. Totally stripped down, no visual/aural flair, no effort towards fancypants composition or camera movement. With regards to the acting, not a single moment of inauthenticity, and this is coming from someone who's VERY picky about that sort of thing.
In a parallel universe in which I'd aspire to direct a film, I'd go for a feel like this.
This was a film I was really REALLY looking forward to watching in the last two weeks and I'm so glad that The Killing of a Chinese Bookie wasn't a let down at all. I watched the 135 minute cut (maybe I should've watched the shorter one) and Ben Gazzara totally owns everything in every shot he's in, he's objectively one of the coolest people to ever appear in any film I've ever seen and he provides one of the most interesting performances I know. The film reminds me of Mean Streets in a lot of ways and though I'll probably always love Mean Streets more; Chinese Bookie feels more intelligent, Cassavetes is better in his style than Scorsese and it's evident in all three of his films that he's truly one of the best.
I really could've done without Mr. Sophistication though.
Cassavetes has the ability to make you believe you're watching a documentary
Until you realize your watching a B gangster movie
or his B gangster movie
the difference can be found in the gaze - yes Our Man may have a shady past, and he most certainly is a compulsive addict, but he is also blindly commited to the performance art; he truly believes that his strip joint is the Moulin Rouge, or he has chosen to believe it in order to be comfortable in his own skin. This idea of freedom is always idealized by Cassavetes, freedom as a state of mind, or something you enact, as opposed to any "actual" freedom. The sad thing, of course, is that it's ultimately just an illusion.
Watched the 135-minute cut. The extended club scenes that are apparently missing from the shorter cut seem essential to give the film some breathing room and to really dig into Cosmo's favorite milieu, the one to which all he has to offer is love, sweet love.
Neo-noir, Cassavetes-style, as close as the 70s got to Abel Ferrara. A lifetime of bad choices and flop sweat compressed into two hours.
There's more to be said, but other people have already written well on this.
PS: You'll notice where Cosmo's bullet-wound is, right where... maybe... a spear-point would go into a crucified man. The character seems to have been older than 32, though.
The killing of a Chinese bookie
The killing of a Chinese bookie is a crime drama film directed by John Cassavetes, it alternates between 100 minutes to 135 minutes. Both version focus on a club owner played by Ben Gazzara stuck owing money to loan sharks, however he may be able to reduce the debt by doing in an old Chinese gangster.
I’ll start by saying that there is a lack of emotional investment here that I found highly present in the directors other film woman under the influence. As an alt-crime movie hell or high water and Altman’s thieves like us are that little bit better. Some of the sound work here is outright horrible, performances outside the lead…
Merrily I wade into the sea of grain and mildew-impaled emotion that is the world of Cassavetes, John. I am a first-timer. It's been expecting me, or does it expect anyone?
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (or at least the 108-minute cut I opted to view first) is an utterly bizarre, splintered take on the crime flick. Ben Gazzara is the pole upon which the rest of the film is hung, and he is genuinely great as the amazingly named Cosmo Vitelli, the nightclub owner who cares: he thoughtfully purchases flowers for his girls and takes time out on a hit to check up on the show he's missing.
As the title suggests, a bookie of the Chinese variety…
Cassavetes tackles the gangster picture with a great command of laid back style and improvisational acting. Ben Gazarra as club owner Cosmo Vitelli is great; the use of long takes and slow burning scenes demonstrating every tick and mannerism of the character's thoughts and feelings, really making the audience understand him on more than a superficial level like typical movies would. The original cut's better, I think.
High-rated movies with very few views. Suggestions are welcome.
UPDATED: September 11, 2016
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…