Gordon & Barbara in Paris

Gordon & Barbara in Paris
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Thursday, January 2, 2014

American Hustle

American Hustle--Directed by David O. Russell/starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner/written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell/ 138 min/rated R

Bifocal Reviews written by Ageless1der, Barbara Rich & The Other Guy

(BR)  American Hustle has a wild, crazy kind of energy and it keeps you chasing after something but you don’t know exactly what. This is a 1970’s story about ABSCAM, con artist scams and bribery schemes that were newsworthy, at the time. The fashion and the hairstyles is what amazed me. I thoroughly enjoyed going back in time to bad comb-overs, perms, and puffy pompadours. The hair stylist alone deserves an Oscar. And those barely there dresses! I don’t know how those girls kept them on. This was a great, dynamic ensemble, too. But make no mistake, Christian Bale and Amy Adams were the nucleus of this team. I also have to mention that I was thrilled with the selection of songs. I found myself dancing in my seat while listening to this mix of ’70 tunes, which afforded me the luxury of nostalgia.  Jennifer Lawrence again, proves her versatility, adding a New Jersey housewife to her litany of characterizations. Jeremy Renner nailed the mayor-role, and this is the best acting I’ve seen him do. Bradley Cooper’s role as a government agent is all over the place, with an ego that propels his character to extremes. In conclusion, I give this film four binoculars.

(OG) I couldn’t help but compare this movie to The Sting, the Robert Redford/Paul Newman classic, and I’m certain that a Sting-look-alike comparison will not offend either Singer or Russell. They did a great job writing this snug script. It was nice to see Jeremy Renner doing a different kind of acting than he’s had a chance to do in previous films, and Christian Bale was phenomenal, and completely immersed in his character (even gaining some weight to fill in his pot-belly). Both Adams and Lawrence demonstrate their versatility and Bradley Cooper’s character—a complex and creative cop character—allows him to deliver a full spectrum of emotions. I think we’ll see this ensemble cast working together in the future, as a kind of male/female rat pack without the need of a “chairperson of the board.”  I agree, this is a four binocular film, with a possible five for Christian Bale. I expect his name to be at the top of the awards lists throughout the season.

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