And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

Currently browsing the "David O. Russell" tag.

Review: What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael

My first experience with reading film criticism was with my mother’s New Yorker magazines. Most of what was in the magazine was too highbrow for me as an adolescent, but the film reviews by Pauline Kael were such fun to read. She was opinionated and frequently went against the consensus of the other critics who were mostly male. She had a voice that set her apart, seeing films as if she were in the audience not separated from them. This new documentary made me appreciate her even more. She was a feminist, having fought to get her foot into the boys’ club that was the film critics’ world of the 50s and 60s. She had encyclopedic knowledge of movies and wasn’t afraid to say when she thought something was derivative or a filmmaker was being repetitive, something she saw a lot in the beloved “auteur” directors of the 60s. She was loved by many and hated by many others. But even the haters admitted that she was a hell of a writer!

American Hustle

“Some of this actually happened.” With that, American Hustle proceeds to take a fair amount of creative license to create a really good movie. The story is loosely based on the FBI corruption sting of the 1970s code-named ABSCAM. It features a schlumpy but successful con man named Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale with a paunch and a comb-over) who, along with his smart and seductive partner Sydney (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wacky FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) who will let them off the hook, if they help him catch some bigger fish.

Silver Linings Playbook

Lots of hype surrounds Silver Linings Playbook and I’m not sure I buy into the Best Picture scenario, but as rom-dramedies go, there are not a lot of comparable films. At the center is bipolar Pat (Bradley Cooper), just released after 8 months from the loony bin, where he made a plea bargain to go instead of jail for assaulting the man he found bonking his wife Nikki in the shower. Pat comes to stay with his parents because his (ex)wife sold their house and has a restraining order out against him, that and he has no job and he’s crazy! And yet, in his delusional state, he is certain that he is going to get back together with his wife now. And to that end he agrees to have dinner at old friend Ronnie’s, whose wife Veronica (Julia Stiles) is BFFs with Nikki, expecting that she will tell her how much better he is, and he will welcomed back with open arms. At that dinner, he meets Veronica’s sister, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who has recently lost her husband and is clearly on an equal plane of crazy.