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Abe & Phil’s Last Poker Game Review

By David Kempler

I Fold

Martin Landau had a great career as an actor that included numerous nominations and victories for many prestigious awards. Three times he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, winning it for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood."

His final role was as Dr. Abe Mandelbaum in Howard Weiner's "Abe & Phil's Last Poker Game", which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. I feel safe predicting that there will be no awards to anyone or anything connected with this film.


Abe, who has recently suffered a minor stroke, has moved into Cliffside Manor, a home for senior citizens, accompanied by his wife Molly (Ann Marie Shea). He quickly forms a friendship with Phil (Paul Sorvino), a man not in the best of physical health. The two of them start getting into minor messes akin to schoolboy mischief. Abe is particularly interested in pursuing Sheryl (Pamela Dubin), a 50-something year old woman.

Angela (Maria Dizza) is around 30 and in search of her father. She is in pain about being adopted and unable to find him, and she is convinced that her father lives in Cliffside Manor. Abe and Phil both decide that Angela might be their daughter. They each try to convince her while also trying to convince themselves that it's possibly true.

Sadly, almost nothing here works, other than the odd moments where Landau and Sorvino's individual acting talents can't help but shine through the mediocrity of it all. All of it is contrived and seemingly purposeless other than to give Landau and Sorvino a showcase vehicle. We would have been far better served if Landau and Sorvino had just reminisced about their respective careers. Mr. Weiner should have folded his cards instead of playing this losing hand.

What did you think?

Movie title Abe & Phil’s Last Poker Game
Release year 2017
MPAA Rating R
Our rating
Summary Martin Landau and Paul Sorvino have both had great moments on screen. This is not one of them.
View all articles by David Kempler
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