a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘FBI’

“American Hustle” by David O. Russel~Hustle & Bustle without much Muscle

As Shakespeare said, “Full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” That about sums up my reaction to the late-opening “American Hustle” by  David O. Russell, which hustles and bustles without much muscle. It’s ANOTHER Mob movie. ANOTHER one that is trying to out-Scorsese Scorsese, and THANK GOD they’ve got Jennifer Lawrence in this!

In a spectacularly showy Supporting role as one of the dumbest blondes of all time, she absolutely steals the picture. THANK GOODNESS! Or otherwise it would be a very dull sit indeed. It would have been unwatchable, but Jennifer Lawrence makes it a very, funny charming experience. She very much reminded me of that other great dumb blonde Oscar winner Judy Holliday in this.

Lawrence is so appealing as Christian Bale‘s old-fashioned housewife- with-a-kid, who is obsessed with her finger-nail polish. She lights up the screen like a bonfire, never missing one laugh line, or funny moment, and every time she’s absent, you can’t wait for her to come back on again. And writer/director O.Russell uses her sparingly, so you never get tired of her. But you do get tired of the other characters, I’m sorry to say. Real tired.

Having just suffered through “Out of the Furnace” with Bale again in the lead, I was expecting the worst. But at least in this one, he was playing a comic character, a Jewish con-man with pretensions. He owns dry cleaning stores but he wants to own the world. And Lawrence is his trophy wife, who blows up microwaves and enacts her comic role like a poodle in heat.

I didn’t buy Bale’s Yiddish-ness. And he’s pitted against Bradley Cooper who has his hair tightly curled here. Why? To look more Jewish? And  he is seen in curlers A LOT, as are all the leading characters, as a matter of fact, except Bale, who has an elaborate comb-over and who put on quite a bit of  weight of this role. We see a close-up of his bulging stomach, shirtless, just to prove that yes, he’s not in a fat suit. We see him painstakingly creating his comb-over, which takes up the entire first scene of the movie, finishing it off with hair-spray, like he was a super-model…

But to what avail? Con man movies. Mob movies. I just am kind sick of that done-to-death genre, and this involves ABSCAM and a faux-Arab. A FBI plant played stoically by Michael Pena. Robert De Niro pops up, too, as what else? A Mafia chieftain. And Amy Adams, poor thing, who has the female lead, Bale’s con partner and “whore” except next to Jennifer Lawrence, who is just blooming with youth(22) and vital sexuality here, Adams looks old and cold. Worn out. And she should look and seem more alluring than Lawrence. And she doesn’t. She the most miscast she’s ever been. I kept seeing her as the young nun in “Doubt” in my mind.

Mothers or nuns or even intrepid girl reporters like Lois Lane. She was better in the recent  “Superman” re-boot, than she is in this. Sad to say. She deserved better.

But this is what O.Russell hands her.

And I can’t understand the New York Film Critics giving this Best Picture over “12 Years a Slave” It’s criminal. Yes, they did. Unbelievably,. It’s a funny little movie. But Best Picture? New York Film Critics seriously disgraced themselves this year. And Best Screenplay, too??? Seriously??? They gave Best Supporting Actress to Jennifer Lawrence, and I would nominate her for an Oscar, were I voting, but I wouldn’t nominate this semi-funny movie for anything else. Except maybe the zippy ’70s hairstyles. You can skip it and live.

Give me the real thing. Give me Scorsese. Or better yet, “Born Yesterday” with Lawrence as Billie Dawn. Directed by Scorsese.

I can’t wait to see the last opening film of the year “Wolf of Wall Street” by Martin Scorsese.

“J.Egdar” Clint Eastwood’s New Masterwork. Leo Will win the Oscar!.

Clint Eastwood has done it again! At age 81, he has created yet ANOTHER career-capping masterwork. And Leonard DiCaprio will FINALLY win an Oscar. And it will be his first but not his last. He’s a great American actor who has finally been challenged by this, his greatest role of all time, and he gives his greatest performance ever.

Wow!

I could hardly believe my eyes and ears! Eastwood & DiCaprio were making us sympathize with this most unsympathetic of men. And making us care about him. In the end I was crying. I’ve been totally bowled over by this amazing, powerful movie.

I saw it in the same screening room, in almost the same exact seat where I saw “Million Dollar Baby” not so long ago, and it had the same kind of impact. Stunning.

Desaturated is the color of the day and the few times we do see a trace of a bright red it’s either in the flags flying gaily at the race track, where he sits in stands with his closeted homosexual lover, Clyde  Tolson (played greatly here by the astonishing Armie Hammer, who will also get nominated for his great performance! I predict!)  finally relaxing a little. Or it’s red as the color of blood. And this film has plenty of that, too. Being as violent as a ’30s gansta flick itself.  And in one incredibly powerful scene, Tolson actually bloodies Hoover. Don’t want to say too much more about that, because it’s probably one of the greatest scenes in the movie and one of the greatest scenes ever filmed.

Dustin Lance Black, the Academy Award Winning screenwriter of “Milk” has also done it again and given us a heartfelt, incredibly moving story about two men who can only express their love for each other by holding hands.

Everything is hidden. But that’s the way homosexuals had to live in those days. And thank god, that those days are gone! But thank god this movie is here! I never thought I would ever be raving about a movie about J.Edgar Hoover, but I am!

Leonard Di Caprio, I’ve always felt was one of the greatest of the great actors who are alive today, and he seems more alive in this movie than he’s ever been, even though his face is often buried beneath TONS of disfiguring age make-up.Best Make-Up. That category is now closed, too. Along with Best Actor. Di Caprio has just beat George Clooney AND Brad Pitt good and proper. The Oscar is now totally his. Category closed!

It’s a bold, brave performance in a bold, brave movie about a man whom many thought that he was the opposite of that. He was feared more than liked.And hated by many.

But liked by, it seems from “J.Edgar”, only three people, his devoted secretary (Naomi Watts, with too little to do), his mother, the great Dame Judi Dench, who will be surely going to the Oscars again nominated for this film, and her polar opposite performance as the gracious, generous, giving grand dame, Dame Sybil Thorndike’ Her Dame Sybil in “My Week with Marilyn” helps her nomination for the evil Mrs. Hoover, who is certainly up there with the greatest of screen villanesses. It was is she were animating the corpse of Norman Bate’s mother in “Pyscho.” She’s cut from the same cloth and seems to be wearing the same dresses that Norman’s mother, and Norman wore.

And yes, there is cross-dressing here, too, but it’s used to VERY powerful effect, and in such a PROFOUND way, it made even me understand my own homosexuality a bit more clearly. I just couldn’t believe that scene. It will be talked about as long as they talk about movies!

This film is going to be nominated for slews of Oscars. They all love Clint anyway, and whatever ambivalent feelings they’ve ever felt about Leonardo will be all erased by his magnificent performance in this monumental movie.

Best Picture, Best Director,  Best Actor, Best supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor(Armie Hammer), Best Original(or is it adapted?) screenplay, best cinematography, best editing, BEST MAKE-UP! And more. It will get the whole Oscar kit and kaboodle thrown at it and everyone should be tossing their hats in the air! I know I am! A great  American master Clint Eastwood has created ANOTHER great American Masterpiece. And it’s about a love story that’s never been told, and is so, so heart-rending, you’ll never forget it.

If J. Egdar Hoover was an evil man who abused his power and did evil things in unlawful ways, it was because he could not, as his mother could not, accept his homosexuality. Thank god he had a Clyde Tolson in his life! We all should. The world would be a better place.

In homophobic Hollywood, “J.Edgar” could be heading to another “Brokeback” heart break at the Oscars. For Best Pic, I mean. I think it will be nominated(they all over Clint) but it won’t win. Again. Like “Brokeback”, but this time Leo will.
When a straight icon like Leo, plays a gay man/monster like “J.Edgar” who was totally ashamed of his homosexuality, the Academy will reward. George Clooney has his Oscar already. And with this monumental performance of a life-time, he doesn’t stand a chance.

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