Every once in a while, a film gets announced and you know you immediately want to see it. Not a comic book adaptation or sequel, but something that sounds amazing based solely on the talent involved. Ever since I heard about Paul Schrader's The Card Counter, I knew I was going to be eagerly anticipating the day I could see it. With movie theaters closed for the foreseeable future, there's no telling when that day will be. But after coronavirus-related delays, production has wrapped and the film has already lined up a distributor.
The Cannes Film Festival didn't take place as planned this year, but its market of films were as busy as ever. Focus Features, a division of Universal, has picked up the latest from Paul Schrader (First Reformed). That's in addition to Justin Chon's Blue Bayou. If they're released in some form before February 28, they could definitely be Oscar contenders. It certainly helps that Martin Scorsese is on board as an executive producer.
The Card Counter stars Oscar Isaac – one of the best actors working today – as a longtime gambler who teams up with a younger player (Tye Sheridan, X-Men: Apocalypse) to get revenge on Major John Gordo (Willem Dafoe). Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) co-stars, taking another dramatic swing after last year's crime drama The Kitchen and Netflix's historical series Self Made. Hopefully this film will be much better than those well-intended but poorly received efforts.
While no release date has been announced, look for a prime awards-season spot later this fall.