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:
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.
(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 Depp. 22 Jump Street is the sequel to the reboot, and it looks like it just might be as funny as its predecessor.
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)
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 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 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.
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.
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!
Today Eva Green turns 33 years old.
It seems as if she has a very promising career ahead of her. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next.
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 Paris Hilton
NOT Zach Galifianakis
NOT Ashton Kutcher
The movie will probably not be any good. What do you think?
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)
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?