Movies For People Who've Lived A Little
VIDEO: The Movies Say: Happy Shark Week!
The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the movie industry hard — but no one is taking a more devastating shot than local independent theater owners. One such theater near you is now offering first-run independent films through streaming services that share their revenue with the theaters, just like regular theatrical distributors do.
Support your local theater. Here in Rehoboth Beach, DE, that's the Rehoboth Beach Film Society's Cinema Arts Theater.
See what they're showing HERE.
Run Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Director: Gabe Polsky
Streaming on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play and other platforms
You can’t make this stuff up.
It’s 1990, and the former Soviet Union’s once-fearsome Red Army hockey team, suddenly deprived of endless government funds, is on the verge of bankruptcy. To their rescue skate none other than the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, who not only buy half the team but infuse the onetime Communist flagship with a decidedly Capitalistic approach to selling sports — including free beer nights, car giveaways, and strippers. Lots and lots of strippers.
That’s just the first 20 minutes or so of Red Penguins, the relentlessly insane true story told in this jaunty documentary, a tale that starts out like a Damon Runyon yarn, populated by hucksters and hustlers — but descends into Mario Puzo territory as the Russian mafia sinks its fangs into the enterprise and very quickly ruins the fun for everyone.
Director Gabe Polsky has the good sense to set the stage with a collage of evocative news clips — then sit back and let his collection of characters spin their stories. They’re a colorful group: two former Penguins owners who saw opportunity behind the collapsing Iron Curtain; the Russian general manager who cheerfully, if tacitly, acknowledges he skimmed more than $1 million from the owners; the Red Army general, resplendent in his uniform, who frankly admits he lacked the authority to overrule the gangsters who demanded a piece of the action; and the Russian oligarch, eyes dead even when he laughs, who spreads out his pudgy hands and exclaims to the camera, “Have I killed anybody?” The inevitable answer is yes, yes you have.
But mostly there’s Steven Warshaw, a wiry young go-getter who’s made his name dreaming up off-the-wall promotions for minor league basketball and baseball teams. Tapped by the Penguins to launch their new Moscow franchise, Warshaw jumps the first Aeroflot jet East. He eagerly goes to work injecting his Barnum and Bailey sensibilities into the raw wounds of communist Russia’s chaotic transition from communism capitalism — albeit a funhouse mirror version of capitalism as we know it.
Warshaw, who is also a producer of the film, is a most appealing companion/guide through the saga of the team that became known as the Red Penguins. Appalled by the decrepit condition of the team’s once-glorious Ice Palace venue, he evicts the squatters living inside. The team’s stark, military-inspired logo is replaced with a cartoon penguin on skates. The sparse initial crowds, accustomed to the old guard’s no-nonsense approach to the game, are startled by the presence of a penguin mascot skating on the ice and leading them in cheers (We get to meet the guy in the penguin suit, an eccentric performance artist with a Salvador Dali mustache, who recalls (FULL REVIEW)
Bill's movie reviews and videos appear every week at SaturdayEveningPost.com and on the Saturday Evening Post Facebook Page
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