Why It's Actually Perfect for Christmas

December 24, 2014 2:03 PM

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If musicals and inspirational World War II epics aren’t your pick for holiday theater-going, The Gambler is your antidote. In this dark, gritty drama — a remake of the 1974 film of the same name, out this Christmas Day — Mark Wahlberg stars as Jim Bennett, a college professor by day and a gambler by night in Los Angeles’ seedy underworld. When his self-destructive tendencies get the best of him, Jim has seven days to make things right or lose it all.

On the sidelines the whole time is his most promising student and love interest Amy, played by Brie Larson, who wowed critics in last year’s deeply moving Short Term 12. Where Jim’s creditors see a man hell-bent on his own ruin, Amy sees a man exorcising his demons and rebuilding his life from scrat...

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