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American Hustle (2013)


American Hustle Poster

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.

American Hustle Cooper Adams Bale

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.

American Hustle Cooper Bale

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.

American Hustle Adams Bale

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.

American Hustle Lawrence

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:

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Out of the Furnace (2013)

The Machinist (2004)

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

Prisoners (2013)

Broken City (2013)

The Counselor (2013)

Miller’s Crossing (1990)

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Trailer For Transcendence (2014)


Transcendence Poster

Transcendence (2014)

It did not take long for me to learn that if Johnny Depp is in a movie, then that movie is pretty much bound to be good.  Although the story is a bit far-fetched, I will give Transcendence the benefit of the doubt.

The film is about a dying scientist (Johnny Depp) who manages to download his body and mind into a super computer.  The transformation causes him to become extremely powerful and dangerous.

The movie was directed by Wally Pfister and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Kate Mara, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Paul Bettany, Cole Hauser, Clifton Collins Jr., Falk Hentschel, and Wallace Langham.

Johnny Depp is my favorite actor.  I’ll definitely have to see this one!

The film is set to release on 04/18/14.

Redband Trailer for 22 Jump Street (2014)


22 Jump Street Homemade Poster

 

(Poster not yet available.)  (This is a Redband trailer, so viewer discretion is advised.)

22 Jump Street (2014)

 

Without question, 21 Jump Street (2012) was one of the funniest movies of 2012.  The movie was already a reboot of the popular television show from the late 80s and early 90s, 21 Jumpstreet, starring Johnny Depp22 Jump Street is the sequel to the reboot, and it looks like it just might be as funny as its predecessor.

This time, instead of Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) going undercover as students in high school, they have gone on to infiltrate a college campus undercover as college students.

The movie was directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Ice Cube, Amber Stevens, Jimmy Tatro, Wyatt Russell, Jillian Bell, Dax Flame, and Johnny Pemberton.

I’m sure that we can expect the same raunchy, outrageous, hilariousness as 21 Jump Street.  It should be a laugh filled adventure.

The film is set to release on 06/13/14.

 

 

 

The Lone Ranger (2013)


The Lone Ranger Poster 2

The Lone Ranger (2013)

I went into The Lone Ranger without the greatest of expectations.  The film’s trailers made it appear like it was going to be outrageously exaggerated and therefore hard to enjoy.  But, at the same time, I knew that the film was created by the team that made the first 3 Pirates of the Caribbean movies, so it had to be good for something.  Also, it’s a Johnny Depp movie.  When was the last time that Depp disappointed?

The Lone Ranger Depp

The film is about a very old Native American named Tonto (Johnny Depp) who tells the story of his encounter with a man named John Reid (Armie Hammer) and how that man eventually became The Lone Ranger.

The movie is directed by Gore Verbinski and the rest of the notable cast includes William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale, Barry Pepper, and Ruth Wilson.

The Lone Ranger Depp Hammer Train

The film was not as exaggerated as I anticipated.  The parts in the movie that were unrealistic were done tastefully and intentionally.  Instead of those scenes being hard to enjoy, they usually were pretty comical.  That was a welcomed surprise.

Depp was delightful, as per usual.  His character had more hysterical one-liners than all of Bruce Willis’ action movies combined.  Depp stole the show, as he normally does.  The film almost should have been called Tonto instead of The Lone Ranger.  Tonto is just another piece to the puzzle of insanely awesome characters that Depp has portrayed.

THE LONE RANGER

Hammer was okay, but at times his character felt more like the sidekick.  He did what he could for his role, but he was no match to Depp’s Tonto.

Wilson was nothing special at all.  She was a poor choice for a female lead.  She seemed like a cheap version of Michelle Monaghan without the talent.

The rest of the cast had cameo-like appearances with the exception of Fichtner and Wilkinson, who were both excellent.

The Lone Ranger Fichtner

Overall, The Lone Ranger was a little long and drawn-out at times, but also fun to watch.  Depp made the film worthwhile.  If you enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), then you will likely get a kick out of The Lone Ranger.

I rate this movie a 7.5 on scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Rent.

Happy Birthday to Eva Green


Casino Royale Green

Happy Birthday to Eva Green!

Casino Royale Green Craig

Green was a Bond girl at the age of 26 opposite Daniel Craig in Casino Royale (2006).  As it turned out, it was that film that helped her make a name for herself.

Dark Shadows Depp Green

6 years later she became a witch who condemned Johnny Depp to be a vampire in her 10th film, the dark comedy Dark Shadows (2012).

Eva has proven her ability as an actress.  She will appear in 2 major sequels on the horizon, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014) and 300: Rise of an Empire (2014).

Today Eva Green turns 33 years old.

Eva Green

It seems as if she has a very promising career ahead of her.  I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next.

Top 13 Current Redbox Movies Vol. 2


Top 13 Current Redbox Movies Vol. 2

red box 

If you are thinking about renting a movie from the Redbox, you might want to read this list to help you decide exactly which movie to rent.

Here is another edition of my top 13 current Redbox movies, back by popular demand.

Click on this link to read Current Redbox Movie Reviews September 2013

Click on this link to read Current Redbox Movie Reviews August 2013

Click on this link to read Current Redbox Movie Reviews July 2013

Click on this link to read Vol. 1 from 2/10/13.

Click on this link to read Vol. 3 from 4/21/13.

Click on this link to read Vol. 4 from 5/9/13.

I have updated the list based on all the movies that are currently available to rent at the Redbox as of 3/14/13.  They will change some of the titles weekly, but the list should still be pretty accurate for a while and hopefully be able to help you find a good movie to rent.  I have included the DVD covers and previews.  If a movie doesn’t have a cover or preview above it, simply click on the title for my full review of the movie along with the poster artwork and preview.

I do not claim to have seen all of the movies that are currently available at the Redbox, but I have seen 67 of them.  Of those 67 movies, here is the list of my top 13 Current Redbox movies:

What's Eating Gilbert Grape cover

1.  What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)     My Rating: 10

2.  The Machinist (2004) 

3.  Ted (2012)


The Dark Knight Rises cover

4.  The Dark Knight Rises (2012)               My Rating: 9

5.  The Raid: Redemption (2011)

6.  Skyfall (2012)

7.  End of Watch (2012)


looper levitt willis cover

8.  Looper (2012)                                           My Rating: 8.5


titanic blu ray cover

9.  Titanic (1997)                                            My Rating: 8.5

10.  Frankenweenie (2012)

11.  Flight (2012)

12.  Sinister (2012)


moneyball cover

13.  Moneyball (2011)                                     My Rating: 8

You really can’t go wrong with any movie on this list.  Next time you’re going to the Redbox, I recommend consulting this list.  They are in my opinion, the best current Redbox movies.

Now that you have seen my recommended Redbox movies, check out my list of movies to stay away from.  Click on the link below:

Top 13 Disappointing Current Redbox Movies

 Netflix Clouds

Are you a fan of Netflix?  Click on the following links below for Netflix related material:

Netflix Watch Instantly Movie Reviews September 2013

20 Best Drama Movies Based on Real Life Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

20 Best Classics Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best Mind-bending Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best Comedy Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best Romantic Comedy Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best War/Military Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best Gritty Action/Thriller Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

Trailer for Not Another Celebrity Movie (2013)


Not Another Celebrity Movie

Not Another Celebrity Movie (2013)

A whole movie made up of impersonators of real actors.  They made a movie about people pretending to be famous actors.  It’s worth watching the trailer to see the celebrity look-alikes.  The trailer is funny and tacky at the same time.  It’s Scary Movie (2000) meets Not Another Teen Movie (2001).

I think it’s funny how they list the cast at the end of the preview as:

NOT Charlie Sheen

NOT George Clooney

NOT Brad Pitt

NOT Donald Trump

NOT Angelina Jolie

NOT Tom Cruise

NOT Robert De Niro

NOT Lady Gaga

NOT Johnny Depp

NOT Justin Bieber

NOT Mark Zuckerberg

NOT Kanye West

NOT Kim Kardashian

NOT Usher

NOT Paris Hilton

NOT Zach Galifianakis

NOT Ashton Kutcher

NOT 007

NOT Oprah

The movie will probably not be any good.  What do you think?

Top 13 Current Redbox Movies


Top 13 Current Redbox Movies

red box

Having trouble deciding which movie to rent at the Redbox?  This list just might help you make a good decision on what to rent.  Hopefully it will save you from wasting your money renting a bad movie.

Along with my list, I have given my rating and a “Quickie” review.

Quickie review = A film review in 13 words or less.  If a title does not have a quickie review then you may click on it for my full review.

I cannot say that I have seen all of the movies that are currently available at the Redbox, but I have seen 62 of them.  Of those 62 titles, here are my top 13 favorite movies that are currently available at the Redbox:

Rank                           Title                             13movies Rating

 

 

1.         What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)          10         

            Quickie: Johnny Depp excellent!  Young Leonardo DiCaprio maybe even better.  Fun, touching, drama.  Great!

2.         The Machinist (2004)                                       10         

3.         Ted (2012)                                                      9         

 

4.         The Dark Knight Rises (2012)                      9         

            Quickie: A grand final chapter in the Christopher Nolan directed Batman Trilogy.  Epic film.

5.         The Raid: Redemption (2011)                       9          

         

6.         Looper (2012)                                                 8.5      

            Quickie: Joseph Gordon-Levitt + = Bruce Willis in a time travel thriller puzzle.

7.         Titanic (1997)                                                            8.5      

            Quickie: Who hasn’t seen this?  Ship sink.  Dreadful historical event.  Well made recreation.  Iceberg.

8.         Frankenweenie (2012)                                   8.5      

           

9.         Flight (2012)                                                  8         

 

10.       Moneyball (2011)                                           8         

            Quickie: Brad Pitt spectacular performance!  Jonah Hill proves acting capable.  Interesting, solid baseball story.

11.       Men in Black 3 (2012)                                   8         

            Quickie: As good as 1.  Josh Brolin as Tommy Lee Jones.  Will Smith reloaded.

12.       Total Recall (2012)                                        8         

            Quickie: Colin Farell in updated Schwarzenegger role.  More fun than original.  Kate Beckinsale badass!

13.       Lawless (2012)                                               8         

            Quickie: Shia LaBeouf gets big.  Tom Hardy tough.  Jessica Chastain shows, proves herself.  Bootleggers.

 

Those are in my opinion the best movies that are currently at the Redbox.

If you would like to read Top 13 Current Redbox Movies Vol. 2, click on this link. from 3/14/13

Click on this link for Vol. 3. from 4/21/13

Click on this link for Vol. 4. from 5/9/13

Now that you have seen my recommended Redbox movies, check out my list of movies to stay away from.  Click on the link below:

Top 13 Disappointing Current Redbox Movies

Here is how the rest of the movies currently at the Redbox that I have seen rate:

 

 

21 Jump Street (2012)                                                8         

            Quickie: Hilarious Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill buddy cop comedy.  One of funniest movies 2012.

The Grey (2011)                                                         8         

            Quickie: Liam Neeson fighting wolves bare-handed after a plane crash in Alaska.  Period.

Dark Shadows (2012)                                                            8         

            Quickie: Johnny Depp as a vampire in a comedy.  Rarely does he disappoint.

The Dictator (2012)                                                   8         

            Quickie: Sacha Baron Cohen’s funniest movie ever.  All levels of humor and raunch.  Absurdity.

War of the Worlds (2005)                                          8         

            Quickie: Tom Cruise fighting aliens to try to save the world.  Steven Spielberg directs.

.

The Bourne Identity (2002)                                       7.5      

            Quickie: Matt Damon gets amnesia.  He gets chased not knowing why.  He fights back.

           

Seven Psychopaths (2012)                                         7.5                  

            Quickie: Sam Rockwell steals the show.  Witty, dark comedy.  Clever characters.  Great dialogue!

                                  

Trouble with the Curve (2012)                                  7.5      

            Quickie: Amy Adams helps aging father Clint Eastwood try to keep baseball scout job.

The Bourne Legacy (2012)                                        7         

Quickie: Jeremy Renner replaces Matt Damon in the series and is more qualified.

Safe House (2012)                                                      7         

            Quickie: Ryan Reynolds tries to take fugitive Denzel Washington down.  Good action.  Good twists.

Paranorman (2012)                                                    7         

            Quickie: PG Suggested.  Delightful animated story about a kid who sees the dead.  Amusing.

The Watch (2012)                                                      7         

            Quickie: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, hysterical buddy comedy about aliens at Costco.

A Christmas Carol (2009)                                         7         

            Quickie: Amazing animation retelling of a classic story and voiced by Jim Carrey.

 

Alex Cross (2012)                                                       7         

            Quickie: Tyler Perry plays a game of cat and mouse with Matthew Fox.

Arthur Christmas (2011)                                           7         

            Quickie: Family friendly animated Christmas movie.  Fun to watch around the holidays.  Unique.

Seeking Justice (2011)                                               7         

            Quickie: Nicolas Cage wife assaulted.  Guy Pierce help.  Rift after favor not returned.  Solid.

Brake (2012)                                                               7         

            Quickie: Stephen Dorff kidnapped for information about the president.  Won’t give up.  Tense.  Exciting.

Stolen (2012)                                                              7         

Dredd (2012)                                                              6.5      

 

The Words (2012)                                                       6.5      

            Quickie: Bradley Cooper plagiarizes a story and it comes back to haunt him.

The Campaign (2012)                                                6.5      

            Quickie: Will Farrell runs against Zach Galifianakis.  Dirty politics and humor ensue.

The Expendables 2 (2012)                                         6.5      

            Quickie: Sylvester Stallone brings action hero friends back together for round 2 of battle.

Premium Rush (2012)                                                6.5      

            Quickie: Joseph Gordon-Levitt freestyle fast and furious bicycle messenger hide and seek

Wanderlust (2012)                                                     6.5      

            Quickie: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd turn into tree hugging hippies.  Funny moments.  Tacky moments.

The Raven (2012)                                                       6.5      

            Quickie: John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe investigating crimes that he wrote.  Good enough.

The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)                         6.5      

            Quickie: Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer try to slay lions while lions slay others.

Why Stop Now (2012)                                                6.5                  

            Quickie: Jesse Eisenberg tries to drug free mother and get into music school.  Laughs.

 

People like us (2012)                                                 6.5      

            Quickie: Dysfunctional drama.  Lost siblings try to find each other after father’s death.

Red Lights (2012)                                          6.5                  

            Quickie: Robert De Niro has mind powers.  Cillian Murphy Disagrees.  Their minds tango.

                                               

American Reunion (2012)                             6.5      

            Quickie: One sequel too many.  Funny parts.  Same old story.  Slight variation.  Decent enough.

A Thousand Words (2012)                             6.5      

            Quickie: Eddie Murphy shares life with tree.  He speaks, leaves fall.  Comical and stupid.

Being Flynn (2012)                                       6.5      

            Quickie: Robert De Niro, Paul Dano bad father son relationship.  They both write.

Spider-Man (2002)                                         6.5      

            Quickie: Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst are unpleasant.  Spiderman is okay.  Other cast helps.

The Avengers (2012)                                      6.5      

            Quickie: Cool Special effects technology.  Robert Downey Jr. carries the movie on his back.

The Expendables (2010)                                6         

            Quickie: Too many action heroes take away from plot.  Fun to watch though.

Officer Down (2013)                                      6         

            Quickie: Stephen Dorff tries to repair his life after being a dirty cop.  Mediocre.

The Three Stooges (2012)                              6         

            Quickie: Great impressions of original stooges.  Especially Curly.  Humorous at times.

Get the Gringo (2012)                                   6         

            Quickie: Mel Gibson goes to Mexican prison.  Trying getting out is the fun part.

Savages (2012)                                               6         

            Quickie: Benicio Del Toro and John Travolta make movie better.

The Liability (2012)                                       5.5      

            Quickie: Tim Roth is fun as a hit man.  Film dwindles halfway through.

That’s My Boy (2012)                                    5         

            Quickie: Bad movie that gets better towards the end.

All about Steve (2009)                                   5         

            Quickie: Sandra Bullock is funny at times.

Tropic Thunder (2008)                                  4.5      

            Quickie: Robert Downey Jr. is a riot as a black guy.

The Possession (2012)                                   4         

Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)                    4         

            Quickie: The title says it all and that’s about it.

Fire with Fire (2012)                                     3         

In Bruges (2008)                                            2         

            Quickie: The only thing worse are the 2 movies below this one.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)              2         

 

The Paperboy (2012)                                      2         

Netflix Clouds

Are you a fan of Netflix?  Click on the following links below for Netflix related material:

Netflix Watch Instantly Movie Reviews September 2013

20 Best Drama Movies Based on Real Life Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

20 Best Classics Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best Mind-bending Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best Comedy Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best Romantic Comedy Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best War/Military Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Best Gritty Action/Thriller Movies Available on Netflix Watch Instantly

13 Awesome Actors, 13 Awful Movies


13 Awesome Actors, 13 Awful Movies

 

Unfortunately I had the displeasure of viewing these vile movies.  I was duped into thinking that each one of these films could do no wrong because of the awesome actors that were in them.  Boy was I wrong.  Do yourself a favor and stay as far away from these movies as you can get.

Anthony Hopkins: Alexander (2004)

 

Brad Pitt: Killing Them Softly (2012)

 

Daniel Day-Lewis: The Boxer (1997)

 

George Clooney: Syriana (2005)

 

Jeff Bridges: The Contender (2000)

 

John Travolta: Battlefield Earth (2000)

 

Johnny Depp: Before Night Falls (2000)

 

Kevin Costner: Waterworld (1995)

 

Kevin Spacey: HurlyBurly (1998)

 

Morgan Freeman: Dreamcatcher (2003)

 

Nicolas Cage: The Wicker Man (2006)

 

Robin Williams: The Night Listener (2006)

 

Tom Cruise: Interview with the Vampire (1994)

 

When I look at this list, I can only ask myself one question: What were they thinking?