Review: American Hustle (2013)

American Hustle

The third part in his own self-proclaimed reinvention (one that’s so far brought with it The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, two Academy Award winners), American Hustle finds David O. Russell at his most playful, tackling the infamous ABSCAM scandal – a hugely publicised FBI sting into political corruption – with a tremendous amount of wit, vigour and vibrancy. While certainly not without its faults, it’s a film that’s more often than not massively entertaining, and a constant platform for spectacular performances and outlandish 70s fashion. Continue reading “Review: American Hustle (2013)”

Advertisements

DVD Releases: June 20, 2011

I Am Number Four

Director: D.J. Caruso

Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant and Dianna Agron

The Fighter

Director: David O. Russell

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams

The Rite

Director: Mikael Håfström

Starring: Colin O’Donoghue, Anthony Hopkins and Ciarán Hinds

How Do You Know

Director: James L. Brooks

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd

Rabbit Hole

Director: John Cameron Mitchell

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and Dianne Wiest

Howl

Director: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

Starring: James Franco, Todd Rotondi and Jon Prescott

Brighton Rock

Director: Rowan Joffe

Starring: Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough and Helen Mirren

West Is West

Director: Andy DeEmmony

Starring: Aqib Khan, Om Puri and Linda Bassett

83rd Academy Awards: Winners

Best Picture

  • The Social Network
  • Winter’s Bone
  • The King’s Speech – WINNER
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • True Grit
  • Toy Story 3
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • 127 Hours
  • Inception

Best Director

  • Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
  • Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) – WINNER
  • David Fincher (The Social Network)
  • Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit)
  • David O. Russell (The Fighter)

Best Actor

  • James Franco (127 Hours)
  • Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) – WINNER
  • Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
  • Javier Bardem (Biutiful)
  • Jeff Bridges (True Grit)

Best Actress

  • Natalie Portman (Black Swan) – WINNER
  • Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone)
  • Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)
  • Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)

Best Supporting Actor

  • John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
  • Christian Bale (The Fighter) – WINNER
  • Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right)
  • Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)
  • Jeremy Renner (The Town)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
  • Melissa Leo (The Fighter) – WINNER
  • Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)
  • Amy Adams (The Fighter)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech)

Best Original Screenplay

  • Mike Leigh (Another Year)
  • Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg (The Kids Are All Right)
  • David Seidler (The King’s Speech) – WINNER
  • Christopher Nolan (Inception)
  • Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson & Keith Dorrington (The Fighter)

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) – WINNER
  • Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours)
  • Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3)
  • Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (True Grit)
  • Debra Granik & Anne Rosellin (Winter’s Bone)

Best Animated Film

  • The Illusionist
  • Toy Story 3 – WINNER
  • How To Train Your Dragon

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Dogtooth
  • In A Better World – WINNER
  • Biutiful
  • Incendies
  • Outside The Law

Best Documentary

  • Inside Job – WINNER
  • Exit Through The Gift Shop
  • GasLand
  • Restrepo
  • Waste Land

Best Art Direction

  • Inception
  • Alice In Wonderland – WINNER
  • The King’s Speech
  • Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • True Grit

Best Cinematography

  • Black Swan
  • The Social Network
  • Inception – WINNER
  • True Grit
  • The King’s Speech

Best Visual Effects

  • Hereafter
  • Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • Iron Man 2
  • Inception – WINNER
  • Alice In Wonderland

Best Costume Design

  • I Am Love
  • Alice In Wonderland – WINNER
  • The King’s Speech
  • True Grit
  • The Tempest

Best Editing

  • The Fighter
  • Black Swan
  • The Social Network – WINNER
  • 127 Hours
  • The King’s Speech

Best Makeup

  • The Wolfman – WINNER
  • Barney’s Version
  • The Way Back

Best Short Film (Live Action)

  • Na Wewe
  • The Confession
  • Wish 143
  • The Crush
  • God Of Love – WINNER

Best Short Film (Animated)

  • Let’s Pollute
  • The Gruffalo
  • Day & Night
  • The Lost Thing – WINNER
  • Madagascar, A Journey Diary

Best Short Film (Documentary)

  • Killing In The Name
  • Poster Girl
  • Strangers No More – WINNER
  • Sun Come Up
  • The Warriors Of Quigang

Best Original Score

  • How To Train Your Dragon (John Powell)
  • Inception (Hans Zimmer)
  • The King’s Speech (Alexandre Desplat)
  • 127 Hours (A.R. Rahman)
  • The Social Network (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross) – WINNER

Best Original Song

  • Coming Home (Country Strong)
  • I See The Light (Tangled)
  • If I Rise (127 Hours)
  • We Belong Together (Toy Story 3) – WINNER

Best Sound Mixing

  • Inception – WINNER
  • Salt
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit
  • The King’s Speech

Best Sound Editing

  • Toy Story 3
  • Inception – WINNER
  • True Grit
  • Unstoppable
  • Tron: Legacy

UK Box Office: February 11 – 13, 2011

1. Gnomeo & Juliet – £2,945,627

2. The King’s Speech – £1,986,871

3. Tangled – £1,969,148

4. True Grit – £1,823,254

5. Yogi Bear – £1,820,405

6. Just Go With It – £1,628,265

7. Black Swan – £1,069,931

8. The Fighter – £1,002,454

9. Never Let Me Go – £625,496

10. Sanctum – £361,832

31st London Critics’ Circle Film Awards: Winners

Film of the Year

  • The Social Network

British Film of the Year

  • The King’s Speech

Foreign Language Film of the Year

  • Of Gods and Men

Director of the Year

  • David Fincher (The Social Network)

British Director of the Year

  • Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)

Actor of the Year

  • Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)

Actress of the Year

  • Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)

British Actor of the Year

  • Christian Bale (The Fighter)

British Actress of the Year

  • Lesley Manville (Another Year)

British Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)

British Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Olivia Williams (The Ghost)

Screenwriter of the Year

  • Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)

Young British Performer of the Year

  • Conor McCarron (NEDS)

Breakthrough British Filmmaker

  • Gareth Edwards (Monsters)

UK Box Office: February 4 – 6, 2011

1. Tangled – £4,569,135

2. The King’s Speech – £2,739,204

3. The Fighter – £2,118,140

4. Black Swan – £1,725,630

5. Sanctum – £859,064

6. The Mechanic – £532,839

7. A Little Bit Of Heaven – £443,156

8. Gulliver’s Travels – £396,804

9. Brighton Rock – £352,815

10. The Green Hornet – £302,240

Cinema Releases: February 4, 2011

Sanctum

Director: Alister Grierson

Starring: Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd and Alice Parkinson

The Fighter

Director: David O’Russell

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams

Rabbit Hole

Director: John Mitchell Cameron

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and Sandra Oh

Brighton Rock

Director: Rowan Joffe

Starring: Sam Riley, Helen Mirren and Andrea Riseborough

A Little Bit Of Heaven

Director: Nicole Kassell

Starring: Kate Hudson, Gael García Bernal and Kathy Bates

Nenette

Director: Nicolas Philibert

Review: The Fighter (2010)

David O. Russell’s new film, The Fighter, is about a dysfunctional family based on the boxer Mickey Ward’s turbulent life.

The Fighter tells the story of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward’s (Mark Wahlberg) who’s attempts at a boxing career are always met with failure. Trained by his drug-addicted brother, Dicky, and managed by their manipulative mother, Alice, Micky struggles to escape his tight-knit family and carve a successful life of his own.

Dicky’s dramatic fall from grace and the fractured shards of his dysfunctional family spur Micky forward, tearing him down, yet building him up at the same time, leading him to girlfriend Charlene and a career-move to LA.

Shepherded by Wahlberg’s Micky and Bale’s Dicky, The Fighter builds its dynamic around the family, choosing to focus on the families relationship, rivalry and manipulation, rather than the boxing itself, which is seen as a form of escapism, for Micky in particular.

Wahlberg and Bale each inhabit their respective characters absolutely, their personaes played against one another to represent two brothers struggling against the odds to make a name for themselves in the world.

Amy Adams embodies Charlene with a magnificently arresting force, striving to free Micky from the cycle of exploitation and anxiousness he’s been stuck in for years, allowing him to reach his full potential.

Melissa Leo is boorish in her rendering of Alice; exploiting and disrupting Micky and Dicky’s quest for stardom and freedom as mother/manager Alice. She’s one of those women from hell, all cigarettes and chicanery.

Russell’s direction is wonderful, mixing docu-style with intense, evasive cinematography, constructing everything with a perfect sense of naturalism and vivid energy.

Disappointedly, the script doesn’t, at times, match up to the strength of the direction and performances. It fails to find the right balance between boxing film and family psychodrama, making it difficult for viewers to fully invest in the characters’ lives; never quite reaches the heights its premise is destined for.

The Fighter is a well-directed, powerful film, with some truly sublime performances, regretfully let down by an often poor and in-cohesive script.

US Box Office: January 28 – 30, 2011

1. The Rite – $15,005,000

2. No Strings Attached – $13,650,000

3. The Mechanic – $11,500,000

4. The Green Hornet – $11,500,000

5. The King’s Speech – $11,102,000

6. True Grit – $7,600,000

7. The Dilemma – $5,476,000

8. Black Swan – $5,100,000

9. The Fighter – $4,055,000

10. Yogi Bear – $3,165,000

83rd Academy Awards: Nominations

Best Picture

  • The Social Network
  • Winter’s Bone
  • True Grit
  • Black Swan
  • The King’s Speech
  • 127 Hours
  • The Fighter
  • Toy Story 3
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right

Best Director

  • Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
  • David Fincher (The Social Network)
  • Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)
  • Joel & Ethan Coen (True Grit)
  • David O. Russell (The Fighter)

Best Actor

  • Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
  • Javier Bardem (Biutiful)
  • Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
  • James Franco (127 Hours)
  • Jeff Bridges (True Grit)

Best Actress

  • Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone)
  • Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
  • Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)
  • Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)

Best Supporting Actor

  • John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
  • Christian Bale (The Fighter)
  • Jeremy Renner (The Town)
  • Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right)
  • Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)
  • Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
  • Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech)
  • Amy Adams (The Fighter)

Best Original Screenplay

  • Another Year (Mike Leigh)
  • The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg)
  • The King’s Speech (David Seidler)
  • Inception (Christopher Nolan)
  • The Fighter (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson & Keith Dorrington)

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • 127 Hours (Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy)
  • The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin)
  • Toy Story 3 (Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich)
  • True Grit (Joel & Ethan Coen)
  • Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik & Anne Rosellin)

Best Animated Film

  • Toy Story 3
  • How To Train Your Dragon
  • The Illusionist

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Biutiful
  • Dogtooth
  • In A Better World
  • Incendies
  • Outside The Law

Best Documentary

  • GasLand
  • Inside Job
  • Exit Through The Gift Shop
  • Restrepo
  • Waste Land

Best Art Direction

  • Inception
  • Alice In Wonderland
  • Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • The King’s Speech
  • True Grit

Best Cinematography

  • Black Swan
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • True Grit
  • The Social Network

Best Costume Design

  • The Tempest
  • I Am Love
  • Alice In Wonderland
  • The King’s Speech
  • True Grit

Best Editing

  • The King’s Speech
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • 127 Hours
  • The Social Network

Best Short Film (Live Action)

  • The Crush
  • Wish 143
  • Na Wewe
  • The Confession
  • God Of Love

Best Short Film (Animated)

  • The Gruffalo
  • Day & Night
  • Let’s Pollute
  • The Lost Thing
  • Madagascar, A Journey Diary

Best Makeup

  • The Wolfman
  • Barney’s Version
  • The Way Back

Best Original Score

  • Inception (Hanz Zimmer)
  • How To Train Your Dragon (John Powell)
  • The King’s Speech (Alexandre Desplat)
  • 127 Hours (A.R. Rahman)
  • The Social Network (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross)

Best Original Song

  • Coming Home (Country Strong)
  • I See The Light (Tangled)
  • If I Rise (127 Hours)
  • We Belong Together (Toy Story 3)

Best Sound Mixing

  • Salt
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • True Grit
  • The Social Network

Best Sound Editing

  • Toy Story 3
  • Inception
  • Unstoppable
  • True Grit
  • Tron: Legacy

Best Visual Effects

  • Hereafter
  • Alice In Wonderland
  • Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • Iron Man 2
  • Inception