American Hustle

February 23, 2014 at 8:55 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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I haven’t seen a con-artist movie or TV program for a while, but I recently found time to see American Hustle. It is quite good, it has a genuine surprise end – and satisfying. I enjoyed it.

Warning: Plot elements discussed.

Irving, played by Christian Bale, and Sydney/Edith, played by Amy Adams, are a team of small time con-artists caught Richie the FBI agent, played by Bradley Cooper. Richie then forces them to help him catch other con-artistis; and before you know it Operation ABSCAM was born. The film is loosely based on this 70’s FBI operation to target public corruption.

There is a fake sheik who will invest in casinos and Irving and Richie are his intermediaries. As they meet with politicians, the FBI video tapes them.

Richie spins out of control and goes after the mafia. Irving and Sydney know that if he succeeds there will be lots of bodies – starting with theirs.

Rosalyn, Irving’s wife, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is a loose cannon amongst the play acting; any moment she will expose them all. She is also the other side of the love triangle with Irving and Sydney.

As the stakes get higher and higher more an more pressure piles up on Irving.

The film is morally ambiguous: would any of the politicians acted the way if the sheik was not offering money to invest in ‘jobs for Americans’; all they were doing is making things go faster – and they may never have actually taken a bribe for this particular set of circumstances. Richie is coercing Irving and Sydney to con the politicians and mafioso sails very close to entrapment; and his actions lack equity. Will he get his just desserts.

Bale, Adams, Lawrence, and Cooper turn in great performances. Bale is just great as a flawed man, with heart issues, trying to get out of a stressful high stakes situation. Adams shows she is not just a pretty face. Lawrence shows her amazing versatility.

The music is well thought out: a mixture of keynote 70’s music and jazz; Irving is jazz; and Richie is the flashy 70’s disco.


The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

August 26, 2012 at 10:28 am | Posted in Film Review | 1 Comment
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I finally managed to squeeze three hours out of my schedule to see this – I am glad to say that I was no disappointed. Spoiler warning: plot details revealed.

Despite being 165 minutes long, the time passed easily. As someone who has read Batman (and related) comics for the last 45 years, I was very comfortable with this film. Christopher and Jonathan Nolan have left the characters as they currently reside in the DC Comic universe.

Christopher Nolan has done a good job of closing out the Dark Knight series. Christian Bale makes a good fist of Batman. It is an increasingly hard role to play: he must be the fourth or fifth actor in the role (including TV). Bale/Batman wrestles with his inner demons, as he wrestles with those that walk in Gotham City. Anne Hathaway is the surprise casting as Selina/Catwoman: she is able to shake off her ‘nice girl’ image, and be the cat burglar trying to shake off a twisted past. At times she steals the film.

Michael Caine (Alfred) and Morgan Freeman (guy with the cool toys) provide a bit of continuity from previous Batman films.

Marion Cotillard, as Miranda, is classy and exotic, and the surprise package at the end.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the future Robin tidies up one of the loose threads – with Batman gone, who will protect Gotham?

I liked the use of Martha Wayne’s pearl necklace to link Batman/Bruce’s origins to Bruce finally finding peace.

My only disappointment was the final scene removed any doubt: instead of Alfred and Bruce nodding to each other across the restaurant, with Selina facing away from Alfred; I would have had Alfred and Selina nodding to each other, with Bruce facing away from Alfred – leaving a little mystery.

Terminator Salvation

June 15, 2009 at 1:02 am | Posted in Film Review | 1 Comment
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I had a spare three hours so I went to see the latest Terminator movie. Warning: plot elements revealed.

June 12, 2009 by

Film Hanger

Paper Hanger Blog
New Zealand

I found Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles kind of interesting, so I thought “give it a go.”

Christian Bale gets to play the first adult potrayal of John Connor. I found the rest of the rest of the cast looked like the cast from The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Marcus (Sam Worthington) for Derek (Brian Austin Green); Blair (Moon Bloodgood) for Cameron (Summer Glau) and Kyle (Anton Yelchin) for John Connor (Thomas Dekker ). Nice to see Yelchin showing some versatility (vis-a-vis playing the part of Chekov in Star Trek.

It is an action movie. It is loud and violent, and maybe a little formula-ish. John has to save his future father without revealing too much to those around him. Still, it pays homage to the earlier Terminator movies in a number of places; there is even a ‘tip of the hat’ to Arnold Schwarzenegger

The film stay consistent with the previous Terminator movies. It fills in some of the missing pieces; and does not try to re-invent things.

I have two questions: (i) was that really Arnie in the final confrontation? (ii) John knows that Skynet will one day produce human tissue covered terminators, so why is he so surprised?


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