Movie Night

11 Jul

This weekend Las Vegas is rolling out the red carpet. The 2011 Las Vegas Film Festival is taking place July 15 – 17 at the Hilton. The festival is filled with events and galas catering to international and national films and celebrities. There will be multiple screenings and showcasing featuring films including Shorts, Documentaries, Feature, Animation, Music Video, Television Pilots, and Experimental along with a competition. There will be VIP parties after the festival at The Bank Nightclub on Friday and a night time pool party at the Artisan on Saturday.

Film festivals go on all over the world such as the Cannes Film Festival, Sundance and even Bollywood. Some of the best movies have come from it and give inspiration to films coming out every week. Las Vegas has been the inspiration behind quite a few movies. Here is a list of my favorites out there and worth watching.

The Hangover
Of course, I’m going to put this one first and I would hope it is a dead giveaway. This movie captured the Las Vegas experience, even though it was a little exaggerated. The movie was filmed in multiple locations in Las Vegas including Caesar’s Palace and Spearmint Rhino. The best part is when they go through the pictures because how many mornings have you done that after a long night of partying?

Ocean’s Eleven/Ocean’s Thirteen
An elite cast made these movies successful, and who can forget the incredible moment of all of the standing in front of the Bellagio fountain in the first one? The fantasy of being able to pull off one of the biggest robberies that would never be able to happen in real life is still fun to watch. As some may not know, Ocean’s Eleven was a remake of an original from the 1960’s where they robbed Sahara, Desert Inn, Sands, and The Flamingo.

Based on the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team that came to Vegas to count cards in hoping to get enough money to afford the pricey college tuition received mixed reviews. I personally liked it, but the critics didn’t agree. The biggest controversy was the cast because in the book, Bringing Down the House, the main players were Asian-American. Many casinos were concerned the attention it would draw to encourage visitors to come and count cards, but I haven’t heard of any impact it actually made.

Mobsters and casinos have always gone hand and hand. Martin Scorsese has produced some of the best mob movies out there and scored big with Casino. The movie was based off the non-fiction book, Casino and the story behind Frank Rosenthal who ran Stardust, Fremont and Hacienda Casinos from the Chicago Outfit in the 70’s. Sharon Stone was nominated for the Academy Award of Best Actress for her role in the movie.

Vegas Vacation
The Griswolds decided to take their fourth family vacation to Vegas and it was a comedic success. The main setting for the movie was The Mirage and a quick trip to the Hoover Dam. Focusing on the “dangers” of gambling, Las Vegas proved to be a spot for the family to reconnect and learn from their sins.

The Stand
This movie freaked the crap out of me. Stephen King’s made for TV movie was a 3 – day event focusing on the end of the world. After a plague and major destruction, people end up in Downtown Sin City where society reorganizes and takes “the stand” against good and evil.

There are over forty other movies that were shot in Las Vegas and countless more that pertain to the city. Feel free to comment and tell me what your favorite Vegas movies are. If you want to check out the Film Festival this weekend, you can purchase tickets here for a whole weekend pass or to specific events.

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