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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 American Hustle (2013)


American Hustle Poster

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.

The noteworthy cast includes Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Robert De NiroJennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Michael Pena, Jack Huston, Louis C.K., and Alessandro Nivola.

This film is a definite must-see.

It is set to release this Christmas, 12/25/13.

End of Watch (2012)


End of Watch (2012)

End of Watch (2012) is the ultimate buddy-cop drama done in the style of Training Day (2001), Harsh Times (2005), and Street Kings (2008).  All of those films share the same type of gritty, blunt, in-your-face intensity and show just how unpleasant rundown areas of Los Angeles can be.  Those movies share similarities in style because they were all written and or directed by David Ayer.

End of Watch buddy cops

In End of Watch Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are young, up-and-coming brothers in blue patrolling the hellish streets of Los   Angeles, California.  They are pitted together against pure evil.  They take a bite out of crime and crime bites back

A lot of the movie is filmed with smaller handheld cameras which I think helps to make the film seem a little bit more realistic.  If the person is shaky then the camera is shaky.

end of watch car shot

The film takes many of the horrible things that we pretend don’t happen and throws them in our faces so that we cannot deny their existence any longer.  It takes dark subject matter and forces you to have an opinion about it.  When your eyes are opened to the world that exists in the movie, you begin to wonder if there is some truth to that world in the real world.  Does that sort of thing actually happen in real life?  Are people really like that?  The answers to those questions are what make the movie so chilling.

Gyllenhaal and Pena are both tremendous in the movie.  Their characters play off of each other so well that it really makes the film enjoyable to watch.

End of Watch Group

Anna Kendrick and Natalie Martinez both gave great supporting performances.

The language and violence in the film is very potent.  Much of the movie is exceptionally rough and harsh.  There is some humor thrown in to weaken the blow, but End of Watch is a powerful movie to watch.  This type of show is not for everyone.

End of Watch gun in car

I rate this movie an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

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