American Hustle is one of those movies last year that talks about ripping people off, scamming and all that is seemingly conniving. Don’t get the wrong idea though, David O’Russell created this film with an ensemble so strong that they almost overpowered the film’s plot and each character made a stirring narrative that resulted to a film so flawlessly acted and smoothly executed.
Take for one the ever so versatile Christian Bale who made himself yet again, bigger and had to double the weight of his character from his equally stunning performance in The Fighter. Bale plays the part of Irving Rosenfeld, a con-man who partnered with Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams,) a very beautiful con-artist herself and was forced to work under an FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) to crack down politicians involved in the “Abscam Scandal” during the late eighties. Bale was, in my opinion at his best here with a charm so enigmatic you can’t help but applaud him secretly. That was also the case with Amy Adams who delivered a riveting and a straight A performance that supplemented Bale more angst and acuity in his role.
But you have to understand that this was not the case of prioritizing the leading roles. Nope, it’s not. Jennifer Lawrence who played Rosalyn, the chain-smoking better half of Rosenfeld explicitly pops up at every scene she’s in like she’s the boss. Lawrence could very well be the “heir apparent” on the throne held by La Streep. She’s just untouchable here and at any given year, she could easily win an Oscar even besting her Best Actress winning performance in Silver Linings Playbook. And then we have Bradley Cooper who wouldn’t let go and will prove his acting prowess over and over again. I never thought that Cooper could easily win me over a role so straight-up that he disappeared from it.
Now this is what’s a bit troubling about the film. It felt a bit contrive in a sense that it took some time to appreciate the story more than its characters. It’s a fine one though, a very fine one for that matter. I wouldn’t have much interest in it to begin with had it not starred Bale and Adams but for what it’s worth – the film was an affirmation of Russell’s attention to details and focus to what gives the movie a heart. It has a heart that moves people, a beating one that mobilize them and one that has its own mind.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Director: David O. Russell
Starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K
Nominated for 10 Oscars Category including Best Picture, Best Director, All the acting category and technical awards. (source)
Posted in Movies, TV Shows
Tagged Abscam Scandal, American Hustle, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, David O. Russell, Film Review, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K, Meryl Streep, Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter
I’ve actually been thinking if this film would live up to its promise of assembling a group of superheroes and making it work at the big screen. After all, some of them haven’t had any film solely dedicated to them and their heroism although we see them every now and then popping up in some scenes from the previous Marvel films, we still don’t know them “personally.”
The Avengers tells the story of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Coulson ( Clark Gregg) assembling a group of superheroes (rather gifted and talented creatures) which they have been doing for the past five years to form a military force known as the Avengers Initiative. There we see Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) being joined by Fury and Coulson themselves, Black Widow (Scarlett Johanssen) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to fight for humanity.
In this film, we see Loki (Tom Hiddleston) leaving Asgard to take up Earth as its king and enslave humanity including his brother Thor. It’s funny because Loki’s much more interesting now than his less-compelling antagonistic take in Thor. Somehow, it enriches his character as well as Thor himself which I thought was the weakest prior to this film – performance wise.
There may be some weak moments in the film, which are stereotypical with the genre – good versus evil, but there are far enough moments that I can truly say that The Avengers really is the best film in the Marvel series. It has stunning action sequences, great climax building and the characters establishment was superb! I thought the banter between Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Steve Rogers (Captain America) was good and carry the film all throughout. And with the occasional hilarity of the Hulk’s character – I thought it was effortless.
Althought I’m not exactly a fan of the series, I am still excited for the sequel which I think we will be getting after this. The Avengers took on some cultural icons and made them even more appealing than they already are. The anticipation for this film was worth the entire wait and the expectation which I think is pretty high was nevertheless a success.
Director: Joss Whedon
Casts: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
This film review was first posted at Pinoy Exchange. Read all my film reviews at Pinoy Exchange Official PEx Movie Reviews.
Posted in Movies
Tagged Agent Coulson, Black Widow, Captain America, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Comics, Film Review, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Jeremy Renner, Joss Whedon, Loki, Mark Ruffalo, Marvel, Nick Fury, Pinoy Exchange, Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, The Avengers, The Hulk, Thor, Tom Hiddleston
Coming from the director of Ratatouille and The Incredibles, I’m not expecting much from Brad Bird who took the challenge of directing the fourth installment of the franchise, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. It was actually surprisingly good and in my opinion, it’s even better than J.J Abrams works on the third movie.
In Ghost Protocol, Ethan is being rescued by Benjie and Jane from the Moscow Prison where he’s at. As a team, their mission is to discover classified documents from the “Kremlin” that lead to the “Ghost Protocol” mission when the Kremlin got bombed and the trio were blamed for it. Along the way, they met Brandt who helped them uncover something that could start a nuclear fiasco.
The most commendable thing about this film would have to be the subtle twists that Bird and his writers injected in the film. I thought the whole team reminded me of “The Losers” in a good kind of way. Simon Pegg, Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner are perfect for their roles that it would really be a good idea to see them together (again) in the future. Perhaps, this is one of the ingredients that I didn’t see in the earlier installments – the chemistry and personalities of its characters.
The film isn’t perfect at all when it comes to some of its action sequences especially the final showdown in the parking lot. It was okay-ish and almost a bit comical. The grand scene though was when Ethan climbed the Burj Khalifa building in Dubai. It was just amazing! With this, Mission Impossible has found a new fan in me and I’m encouraging everyone to catch this while it’s on!
Director: Brad Bird
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton
Posted in Movies
Tagged Brad Bird, Film Review, Ghost Protocol, Jeremy Renner, Mission: Impossible, Paula Patton, Pinoy Exchange, Ratatouille, Simon Pegg, The Incredibles, The Losers, Tom Cruise