This week in an episode entitled ”Movie and Cartoon,” the summer independent-film showcase Alive TV is presenting a tough, effective little 20-minute movie, The Bet, directed by Ted Demme, a creator of Yo! MTV Raps and nephew of film director Jonathan Demme. The Bet is a low-key dazzler about two brothers (Josh Mosby and John B. Hickey) who run a Brooklyn deli. One brother is a compulsive gambler; the other is a hardworking straight arrow. The gambler gets in trouble with a loan shark, and his attempts to repay his debts lead to a tense, surprising ending. Watching The Bet, you can pick out Demme’s influences — Elia Kazan, Martin Scorsese, Richard Price — but he ends up making his own.
The second part of ”Movie and Cartoon’ is Pro & Con, an animated documentary about prison life by Joanna Priestley and Joan Gratz. In its first half, a corrections officer tells us about her daily routine; in the second half, a prisoner describes his tedious existence. All the characters are drawn in a style of jagged cartoon realism; their monologues, based on real-life experiences, are only moderately interesting. B-