American Hustle (2013)
Back in August of 2013, when I first heard about American Hustle, this was my viewpoint on it:
David O. Russell has taken 3 stars from his film Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and 2 stars from his film The Fighter (2010), and brought all 5 of them together to make a movie. If The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook had a baby, it would be named American Hustle.
Not only is this film a guaranteed Oscar contender, but it will likely be amazing.
I have been excited about seeing American Hustle ever since.
What do you get when you cross two conniving con artists, a crazy FBI agent, corrupt politicians and the mob? The answer, American Hustle. Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his girlfriend Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) have developed an excellent partnership of swindling desperate people out of their money. Everything is going great until one day, a power hungry FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) catches the couple in his web. In order to keep from going to prison, Irving and Sydney are forced to work with the FBI to try to help bring down other criminals. One thing leads to another and they find themselves butting heads with the mafia. The beauty of it all is that you can’t tell who is conning who.
The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Pena, Alessandro Nivola, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Robert De Niro, and Paul Herman.
I have to say that I loved the trailer for this movie. It tells you what the movie is about without telling you much about the movie at all. They leave a lot to the imagination. It was refreshing. You get excited to see the movie because of the cast of characters and how they are acting, but you are dying to know what the movie is really about. In this day and age, this is a risky concept because there are multiple movies out there that appear like they are about nothing because their trailer does not tell you much, and when you go to watch them they are pointless. Their secrecy sucks you in, but in reality they weren’t keeping a secret. They just really suck and you just wasted your time. American Hustle is not like that, at all. There is far more to this film than the trailer leads you to believe.
I did not expect there to be as much humor as there was. The movie was laugh-out-loud hilarious. It was very smart, well thought out dark humor.
The film oozed with elegance. Everything about the movie seemed classy. It was clean and crisp. The colors were so clear and bright. From a filmmaking aspect alone, the movie was perfection. Picture that, but then throw in some of the best actors in the business into a flawlessly put together movie.
So, now you have a diamond of a movie with a cast that is worth its weight in gold. What do you get now? Fireworks. American Hustle recreates the 70s believably and the soundtrack is there to prove it. The actors play the game like the all-stars that they are. The chemistry was electrifying between everybody. The actors kept one-upping each other.
Chistian Bale, with a porky belly and the cheapest comb over imaginable stood out among the rest. His performance was not surprising, but it was every bit as good as anything he has ever done before. His performance was not surprising because he has been acting at such a high level for such a long time, that it’s hard to expect anything less out of him. His acting was power and precision. For a long time now, Johnny Depp has been my favorite actor and Bale has been my second favorite. I think Bale just surpassed Depp. Dare I say, lately he is more consistently in better movies. Bale is capable of almost any role and he proves it time and time again. I have not seen all of the movies that are up for Academy Awards, but as of right now, Bale gets my vote for Best Actor, and he should be competing against himself for Out of the Furnace (2013)(that movie was snubbed), as well.
Speaking of Academy Awards, Amy Adams. She was absolutely wonderful in American Hustle. She was stylish and sophisticated. Instead of being dressed down, like she was in The Fighter, her beauty was really able to shine through to her core. She played a woman who was always in control and it was the best performance by an actress that I have seen since perhaps, Hilary Swank in the film Million Dollar Baby (2004). It certainly was Amy’s best film that I have seen to date. It was even better than her performance in The Fighter.
Bradley Cooper had more curlers in his hair than Amy Adams. He pulled it off though and it was funny. He brought a level of insanity to his role in American Hustle that showed similarities to Silver Linings Playbook. He was allowed his moments to shine, but you could tell he was along for the ride in the back seat behind Bale. Amy Adams was riding shotgun and Jennifer Lawrence was in the back seat behind her, sitting next to Cooper.
Jennifer Lawrence seemed to pick up right where she left off in Silver Linings Playbook. She was the broken housewife with an attitude and an appetite for wreaking havoc and turmoil. I thought she played the part about as well as she did in Silver Linings Playbook.
David O. Russell has come a long way since Flirting With Disaster (1996) and I Heart Huckabees (2004). He took a page right out of Martin Scorsese’s book by having multiple narrators in American Hustle. The movie actually was very Scorsese-esque. Russell’s last three films have all been Oscar contenders and American Hustle is as deserving of an Oscar as either of the other two. My only concern is that this movie gets screwed out of the Academy Awards that it rightfully deserves for the sake of diversity.
This film was like the acting all-star game of 2013.
I rate this movie a 10 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Note: I usually do not rate a movie a 10 after the first showing, but I could not find anything wrong with this movie. I thought that it might drag on a little bit because of the 138 minutes running time, but it didn’t. It was just an exercise in excellence. I am often reluctant to give a movie a 10 rating right away because I think that it should prove the test of time. I think this one already did.
If you liked American Hustle, then you will most likely enjoy the following films:
Please take one second out of your day to vote for which movie I should see tonight. I’ll write a review afterwards and have it up in time for the weekend.
You can help influence one of my next reviews. Which movie would you like to see me review? Please cast your vote below.
Thank you to everyone who voted. There was a 3-way tie, but American Hustle got the most votes first, so I decided that would be the tie breaker. I’ll have my review for American Hustle (2013) up tomorrow. Thanks again for participating!
I just got back from the movie and I noticed that I got more votes. I appreciate everyone who voted, sorry the late votes didn’t count. Click on the link below for my full review:
Out of the Furnace (2013)
There are certain movies that appear to be destined for greatness and Out of the Furnace looked like one of them.
Christian Bale is one of the most versatile actors of our time. I’ve been a fan of his ever since I watched Newsies (1992) for the first when I was a little kid. Bale has become such a great actor that I eagerly await all of his new movies. Out of the Furnace especially sparked my interest after I learned how many other big names are in the cast.
Russell Baze (Christian Bale) goes looking for his younger brother, Rodney, (Casey Affleck) after he goes missing. Russell will stop at nothing to get his brother back and release his own form of justice on whoever is responsible for taking him.
As the title suggests, the movie is rough and only gets more severe. It’s out of the furnace and into the fire. The title did, in fact, suit the film quite well. The movie was injected with pain and anger. Eventually the intensity boiled over and the film sizzled. Out of the Furnace stirs up the emotions and lights them on fire. It’s easily the most powerful movie of the year.
Christian Bale does not cease to impress. Nobody could have done a better job in his role, and the only thing better than Bale’s performance was the fact that the rest of the film was filled to the brim with extraordinary talent working alongside him. The entire cast was firing on all cylinders.
This movie is not for anyone with a weak stomach. The violence is brutal and the language is harsh. The filmmakers’ gloves came off in order to make a film so sharp that the jagged edges will cut into your mind and all sorts of emotions will come leaking out. Out of the Furnace will stick with you long after it ends.
The movie deserves to be nominated for an Academy Award in just about every category available. It gets my vote for Best Picture of the Year and Bale deserves the Best Actor award, hands down.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you liked Out of the Furnace, then you will probably enjoy the following films:
The Most Anticipated Movies Coming to Theatres in December 2013
Click on each title below for a brief synopsis, trailer, movie poster and release date of each film.
If you would like to read my reviews on 24 films that are currently out in theatres, simply click on the link below:
American Hustle (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)
David O. Russell has taken 3 stars from his film Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and 2 stars from his film The Fighter (2010), and brought all 5 of them together to make American Hustle (2013). If The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook had a baby, it would be named American Hustle.
Not only is this film a guaranteed Oscar contender, but it will most likely be amazing.
This film is a definite must-see.
It is set to release this Christmas, 12/25/13.
The Machinist (2004)
Before he played Batman, Christian Bale turned into a character named Trent Reznik in The Machinist. Reznik is an insomniac who has not slept in a year. His body begins withering away. His mind begins to deteriorate. He is so exhausted that he becomes delusional and paranoid. Eventually his symptoms cause an incident at work that sets off a chain reaction that sends his life spiraling out of control as he loses grip on reality. He becomes a man tormented by his own mind.
The Machinist is brilliant. The plot has so many twists and turns that will keep you entranced and guessing until the conclusion sneaks up on you.
9 years after watching this movie for the very first time, it’s still just as potent as ever. That is a symptom of excellence. It never gets old.
Christian Bale appears like he went through hell preparing for his role as Reznik. He went from being in close to perfect shape to looking like death. He was so bony that he literally appeared like he could drop dead of starvation at any moment.
Shortly after seen this movie for the first time, I remember reading that Bale lived off of nonfat lattes, green apples, and cigarettes. That was his diet. It was basically all that he ate for weeks. I think it’s incredible how his body went from one extreme to another. To top it all off, shortly after The Machinist, he got into even better shape than he was prior to filming The Machinist, in order to become Batman. Talk about a man dedicated to his work. His devotion to his character helped to turn this movie into a masterpiece.
The Machinist is pretty warped. The film will mess with your mind in its own unique sort of way. Prepare to be puzzled. This is filmmaking at its best.
I rate this movie a 10 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? BUY!
If you liked The Machinist, then you will probably enjoy the following films:
Broken City (2013)
Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe both let their presence be known in Broken City. Each man carries himself with such tenacity and vigor that when you put them both in the same movie together, you are certainly in for a show. Put them both in the same scene, and you are in for fireworks.
In this film, Crowe reminds us all just how powerful his acting can be. He seemed like he was very comfortable with his part and was having a lot of fun with it. That aspect of it was pretty obvious and made the movie more enjoyable.
Wahlberg has been choosing his movie roles very carefully lately, and makes yet another wise choice. He has definitely shown us that he can act with the best of them and delivers another very raw, intense performance. Obviously he is the lead in this film and he was billed first before Russell Crowe, but I think that he has rightfully earned that position. He has paid his dues and has reached the superstar status.
The movie is pretty dark. It is filled with deceit, dirty cops and politicians, murder, and violence. It’s almost scary how well it was all depicted. It was all very well written, well directed, and skillfully filmed. It was all rounded out by a superb supporting cast: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey Wright, and Kyle Chandler. The latter three of those four are all very solid character actors and they were all at their best.
I have noticed a trend recently. Female lead characters have not had much of a chance to develop their characters in movies. It just seems that more and more, actresses are not given too many lines or very big roles in larger movies as of late. They may be main characters, but the men usually dominate the film. Obviously this happens a lot in movies, but usually when the movie has a big budget and a high caliber cast, it also gets a couple of strong female lead characters to go with it. Broken City continued the trend of weak or underdeveloped female lead characters. This may have taken a little bit away from the movie, but at the same time could have contributed to how and why the male characters went off the deep end. Their female counterparts were a little too withdrawn.
Broken City was reminiscent of old Humphrey Bogart private detective movies such as The Maltese Falcon (1941), or The Big Sleep (1946). Of course it is a new age and more intense film than those were, but it just reminded me of them while I was watching it. Those were classic films that were fun to watch.
Overall, Broken City was a very strong, entertaining film.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you enjoyed Broken City, then you will probably like: