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:
The Counselor (2013)
Ridley Scott is a man who knows how to direct a film. I have seen almost all of the movies that he has directed, and I have never been disappointed in his work. Sure, there have been a few movies of his that I did not enjoy as much as the others, but he has always done an outstanding job as a director. I could list off his resume to prove my point, but his work speaks for itself. His movies are always of the highest quality that they can be. If you have seen his movies, then you know what I’m talking about.
Knowing what I know about Ridley Scott’s films, I knew that I would have to see his latest movie, The Counselor. Like most of Scott’s other films, The Counselor has a stellar cast. What do you usually get when you cross a highly gifted director with a bunch of talented actors? The answer is a powerful movie.
The Counselor is about a lawyer (Michael Fassbender) who turns his life upside down when he becomes involved in drug trafficking.
The film was written by Cormac McCarthy and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Bruno Ganz, Rosie Perez, Sam Spruell, Velibor Topic, Dean Norris, and John Leguizamo.
I did not know quite what to expect before watching this movie. I knew it was not going to be a happy-go-lucky film because it is about drug trafficking and living on the edge, but it had to be entertaining.
Surprisingly, the film was a little slow, at times. It was also a little hard to follow until things became clearer in the middle of the movie. I think this was because the film started in the middle of a story, rather than telling the story from the beginning. Little by little, you figure out exactly what is going on, but it takes its time getting there while it jumps around. With all of that being said, it took me some time to get into the story.
The scenery in the movie was flashy and beautiful. There was a lot of money floating around in the film and this was made very obvious with all of the expensive sports cars and elegant mansions. It was a great depiction of an extravagant lifestyle gone awry because of a few very bad decisions. In fact, that seemed to be the overall theme of the movie. Bad choices will come back to haunt you. If you live on the edge for too long, eventually you are bound to fall off.
The Counselor had a lot of great and unique characters. They were made great by the exceptional actors portraying them. They were made unique by how they were portrayed. Each of the five main characters looked like they came out of a dark comic book or video game about how drug trafficking can be dangerous. Whether it was the hair, the make-up, or the clothing, they were certainly a bunch of characters.
The movie was in-your-face. It was oozing with sexuality, violence, harsh language, and disturbing images. All of this was done with originality. There were times when the movie was hard to like, but because of how well-made it was, overall, the film was hard not to like. I credit Ridley Scott for taking a hard to enjoy tale and making it likable. The actors were the icing on Scott’s cake, but he chose the flavor and the taste.
I rate this movie a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
Now In Theatres Movie Reviews November 8th – November 14th
I have seen and reviewed 24 movies that are currently in theatres. Some of the films have been in theatres for a while now, and others are newer releases. If you are having trouble deciding what movie to see in theatres, I hope that you will consult my list for help. Movie ticket prices are pretty expensive these days, and I might be able to help save you some of your hard earned cash. My ratings will help you decide what are the best movies currently in theatres and what are the worst movies currently in theatres. Also, at the bottom of the list I have provided you with trailers of movies that are out that I have not seen yet.
Click on each title below for a trailer, poster artwork, and my full review of that movie:
Click on each title below for a preview and poster artwork of that movie along with my opinion of whether or not I think that film will be any good:
I hope that you find my reviews helpful. I will continue to update this list when I have seen more movies, so feel free to check back regularly. Also, I plan on making a new list each week as more films are released. Happy movie watching from www.brockingmovies.com
The Most Anticipated Movies Coming to Theatres in October 2013
Click on each title below for a brief synopsis, trailer, movie poster and release date of each film.
The Counselor (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)
A lawyer gets himself into a lot of trouble after he starts drug trafficking.
This film has an outstanding director: Ridley Scott and an amazing cast: Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Dean Norris, John Leguizamo, Goran Visnjic, Bruno Ganz, and Natalie Dormer.
The Counselor has my attention.
The film is set to release on 10/25/13.