The prequels of “the sopranos”: these are the cinema highlights of the week

The prequels of "the sopranos": these are the cinema highlights of the week

Michael Gandolfini plays the role of his late father James Gandolfini as a young man in "The Many Saints of Newark" he embodies the young Tony Soprano.
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The prequels of "the sopranos": these are the cinema highlights of the week

"The Many Saints of Newark, "Heroes of Probability and "Schachnovelle": These are the theatrical releases on 23. September.

In 2007, an important piece of television history was laid to rest. "The Sopranos ended after 86 episodes in six seasons with a stirringly open-ended final sequence. A continuation of the best-written TV series of all time, according to the Writers Guild of America, is hard to imagine, however. James Gandolfini, who so devotedly embodied the mobster Tony Soprano between murder machine and psycho wreck, died in 2013 at the age of only 51 while on vacation in Rome.

And yet, the series' legacy lives on – and so does James Gandolfini's. For "The Many Saints of Newark" director Alan Taylor cast the late star's son in the role of his father: Michael Gandolfini plays Tony Soprano as teenager. So the film tells the prequel to the series – it is probably the most exciting cinema highlight of the week. Among others, the black comedy "Heroes of Probability" will be released as well as a film adaptation of Stefan Zweig's "Schachnovelle".

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The Many Saints of Newark

The melancholy eyes of the senior shine through in the face of the son – the casting of 22-year-old Michael Gandolfini as Tony Soprano is undoubtedly the greatest coup in "The Many Saints of Newark. The main character is a different one. The plot follows Richard "Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), who is known through the "Sopranos"-Series wafted like a myth, but here makes an appearance in the flesh.

At the end of the 1960s, the leader of his family in Newark, New Jersey, struggles for influence against rival black crime boss Harold McBrayer (Leslie Odom). At the same time he drags the young nephew, whose father (Jon Bernthal) is in jail, to the ruthless mafia boss he will become one day.

All in all, a most solid mafia film with all the familiar Italo ingredients and a gentle fluff of contemporary history (among other things, it's about the 1967 Newark race riots). For die-hard "Sopranos" fans-For fans, however, this is a cinematic offer that can't be refused. Also because author and "Sopranos"-inventor David Chase answers some questions that were left unanswered in the series.

Heroes of probability

What is coincidence, what is fate – and what is even the result of a long-planned conspiracy? These philosophical and sometimes highly topical questions are posed by director Anders Thomas Jensen in his terrific new film "Heroes of Probability". The Dane ("Adam's Apples", "Men& Chicken") does it the way he's known to do it: with an extra dose of black humor, with great actors in front of the camera and above all very, very intelligent and at the same time wildly entertaining.

"Heroes of Probability" begins tragically. Markus' (Mads Mikkelsen) wife and mother of their daughter Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg) dies in a train accident. But they don't have much time for mourning. Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) is soon at the door. Otto had offered his seat to Mathilde's wife shortly before the train crash. Now he's not only plagued by a guilty conscience. The oddball math genius also believes the accident wasn't one at all. But a terrorist attack. Together with two friends who are even weirder than he is, Otto wants to uncover the background – and gets caught in a crazy web of lies and conspiracies. Good thing Markus is a soldier and knows how to handle firearms. For it is possible that a gang of rockers is behind the suspected attack. Or was it all quite different after all?

Chess Novella

Siegfried Lenz's "German Lesson, Alexander Doblin's "Berlin Alexanderplatz, Hermann Hesse's "Narcissus and Goldmund, Thomas Mann's "Felix Krull": For a few years now, German film has been bringing the great classics of German-language literature back to the screen, sometimes as a daring new interpretation, sometimes as slightly dusty historical cinema. Now Munich director Philipp Stolzl ("Der Medicus", "I've Never Been to New York") the "Chess Novel by Stefan Zweig and turned the Viennese author's last work into an occasionally lurid thriller that is far removed from the original, but which is nevertheless worth seeing, thanks above all to a fantastic performance by Oliver Masucci ("Enfant Terrible").

Masucci plays the Viennese lawyer Josef Bartok, who, together with his wife (Birgit Minichmayr), flees from the Nazis on a passenger liner to the U.S. shortly after the Anschluss of Austria. On board the ship, he recalls the dramatic months leading up to his departure: Because he allegedly has access data to accounts abroad, Bartok is held prisoner and tortured for weeks by Gestapo leader Bohm (Albrecht Schuch). When he manages to smuggle a chess textbook into his hotel room, which has been converted into a prison cell, he finds new courage to face life. On board the USA steamer, he can finally show what tricks he has learned from the book in a dramatic chess game. But by then Bartok is already a broken man.

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