AMERICAN HUSTLE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 26 days ago

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It may speak to the year or the film itself, but David O. Russell’s American Hustle exploded on the scene, arriving to quickly become an Oscar front runner, and netting ten nominations in the process (while also grossing nearly $150 Million at the box office).  But by the time of the awards ceremony, Hustle went home empty handed, even though stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence we all nominated.  The film turned out to be all sizzle and no steak.  Which is actually the story of the movie as two hustlers are put on the spot by the FBI to help catch bigger swindlers.  My review of American Hustle on Blu-ray follows after the jump. 

David Fincher Will Only Direct Steve Jobs Biopic if Christian Bale Stars

by     Posted 35 days ago

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A few weeks ago, we reported that David Fincher was considering reteaming with Aaron Sorkin to direct the screenwriter’s untitled Steve Jobs biopic.  The screenplay has an interesting hook in that it’s only three, 30-minute scenes.  Each scene is based at turning point in Jobs’ career: the Mac, NeXT, and the iPod.  Fincher and Sorkin were a terrific pairing for The Social Network, and presumably they’d be a good fit for another story about an influential, aloof titan of technology.  So what’s the issue?  It turns out Fincher has one hefty condition for taking the job.

He only wants Christian Bale to play Steve Jobs.  Hit the jump for more.

Watch: Jeremy Renner Lashes Out in Deleted Scene from AMERICAN HUSTLE

by     Posted 48 days ago

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Though American Hustle failed to land a single win out of its 10 nominations at the Oscars last weekend, the film remains a hit with audiences with a worldwide box office total of $248.2 million.  Director David O. Russell’s latest feature hits Blu-ray and DVD in a couple of weeks, and in anticipation of the home video release a deleted scene from the pic has been released online.  It’s no secret that Russell has a very particular way of working that involves plenty of improvisation and the creation of new scenes on the fly, and that energy is prevalent in this deleted scenes which finds the core characters played by Jeremy Renner, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, and Christian Bale giving a tour of New Jersey to “the Sheikh”, played by Michael Peña.  All does not go as planned, resulting in Renner’s character losing his cool in front of some New Jersey residents.

Hit the jump to watch the new deleted scene.  It’s unclear exactly how many deleted scenes will be included on the Blu-ray/DVD, but there’s likely plenty of footage that didn’t make the finished film.  American Hustle will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 18th.  Click here to pre-order.

Oscar Beat: Breaking Down This Year’s Toughest Races

by     Posted 68 days ago

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The Academy Awards ceremony is now only a few weeks away, and though it’s been a month since the nominations were announced, there are still a number of races that are shaping up to be very, very close.  It’s been clear since the fall festival circuit that this was going to be a tough year, but it really is shaping up to be one of the most competitive Best Picture races in history.  Moreover, there’s been plenty of nastiness behind-the-scenes from those trying to slow down the momentum of one film or another: Gravity is inaccurate!” “The Wolf of Wall Street” condones despicable behavior! “12 Years a Slave” is too hard to watch!

We’ve seen frontrunners rise and fall over the past few months in a number of categories, and with the official ceremony within arms reach, now seems like a good time to take a look at the toughest races.  There’s plenty of competition to thumb through, so hit the jump to check out this latest installment of Oscar Beat.

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon Mock THE DARK KNIGHT RISES in New Clip from THE TRIP TO ITALY

by     Posted 90 days ago

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2010′s The Trip didn’t do much for me, although I love the scene where Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon try to find out who can do the better Michael Caine impression.  The sequel, The Trip to Italy, premiered at Sundance this past week, and IFC Films have released a clip where Coogan and Brydon have resumed impersonating the venerable Mr. Caine.  They also use this as an opportunity to poke fun at The Dark Knight Rises and expand their repertoire to impressions of Christian Bale and Tom Hardy.  It’s quite amusing.

Hit the jump to check out the clip.

2014 Oscar Nominations Announced; AMERICAN HUSTLE and GRAVITY Lead with 10 Nominations Each [Updated with Commentary]

by     Posted 98 days ago

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The nominations for the 86th Academy Awards have been announced. American Hustle and Gravity lead with 10 nominations each, while 12 Years a Slave isn’t too far behind with 9 nominations.  Looking over my predictions, there weren’t actually too many surprises this morning–at least no genuine “snubs” on the scale of Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow last year.  Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale made the Best Actor cut over Robert Redford and Tom HanksHer, Dallas Buyers Club, and Philomena all got Best Picture nominations over Saving Mr. Banks, and Sally Hawkins landed a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work in Blue Jasmine, seemingly taking Oprah Winfrey‘s spot from Lee Daniels’ The Butler.  Also, the Academy apparently did not take a liking to Saving Mr. Banks, as the film missed out on a Best Picture nomination and a Best Actress nomination for Emma Thompson.

Hit the jump to take a look at the full nominations list.  The 86th Oscars will be broadcast March 2nd on ABC. [Update: I've added my commentary on some of the categories after the jump.]

First Image from Ridley Scott’s EXODUS Starring Christian Bale as Moses

by     Posted 115 days ago

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Ridley Scott loves hopping between genres.  In the past five years alone, he went from a spy thriller (Body of Lies) to a medieval action movie (Robin Hood) to a sci-fi flick (Prometheus) to nihilistic drama (The Counselor) and now he’s going to a biblical epic with Exodus.  Adapted from some book called “The Bible”, the story follows Moses (Christian Bale) trying to free his enslaved people from their ancient Egyptian rulers.  The first image shows us Moses in his pampered days as an adopted member of the royal family, but it doesn’t really tell us much about the film as a whole.  The movie will certainly be big, but I’m wondering how Scott plans to give it a fresh angle, or if this is just going to come off as Cecil B. DeMille‘s The Ten Commandments with a 21st-century visual effects polish.

Hit the jump to check out the image.  The film also stars Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, Aaron Paul, John Turturro, and Sigourney WeaverExodus opens December 5, 2014.

TOP 5: INTERSTELLAR Trailer, ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES, First Trailer for 22 JUMP STREET, AMERICAN HUSTLE, “Worst Of” Lists are the Worst

by     Posted 124 days ago

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Last night I had the opportunity to catch Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and I have to say that I walked away with mixed feelings. For the most part, the laughs were there (especially the scenes with Greg Kinnear and the “getting the team back together” sequence early on). I also thought the decision to place the Channel 4 News Team at the dawn of the 24 hour news cycle was great in that it gave Ron and Co. the chance to be pioneers of the trade and provided the pic solid footing from which to deliver its well-placed jabs at the current state of the broadcast news industry. On the other hand, some of the film’s gags and multiple cameos landed with a huge thud for me and I’m still a little surprised at how ridiculously over the top it becomes in the final 20 minutes or so (even for an Anchorman sequel). All in all, if you enjoyed the original then I think there’s enough magic left in the tank that you’ll have fun with The Legend Continues. Just don’t be surprised if you leave the theater less than thrilled to experience the next installment in Ron Burgundy’s story.

My notes aside, this week’s Top 5 highlights the first trailer for Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar, interviews with Will Ferrell and more for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the first trailer for 22 Jump Street, American Hustle interviews with Christian Bale and more, and Matt’s editorial on why “Worst Of” lists are, for the lack of a better word, the worst. Read on for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

New Clips from THE WOLF OF WALL STREET and AMERICAN HUSTLE

by     Posted 126 days ago

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New clips from two highly anticipated awards contenders that (in one way or another) revolve around the American Dream have been released.  A new clip from director Martin Scorsese’s dark comedy The Wolf of Wall Street chronicles the first time that Leonardo DiCaprio’s hard-partying, drug-addicted stockbroker Jordan Belfort meets Margot Robbie’s Naomi, who eventually became Belfort’s second wife.  The film opens on Christmas Day.

A new clip from director David O. Russell’s comedic drama American Hustle also focuses on a burgeoning relationship.  It comes from a scene early in the film when the con artist duo of Christian Bale and Amy Adams first begin their courtship, and it nicely conveys the tone of the film.  You can read Matt’s review of the film right hereAmerican Hustle is now playing in limited release and opens nationwide tomorrow, December 20th.  Hit the jump to watch both clips.

12 YEARS A SLAVE and AMERICAN HUSTLE Lead Critics Choice Award Nominations

by     Posted 129 days ago

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The Broadcast Film Critics Association has unveiled its list of nominees for the upcoming Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, and 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle lead the pack with 13 nominations each—though three of Hustle’s nominations come from “Comedy” categories.  The BFCA added some genre categories last year for Action, Sci-Fi/Horror, and Comedy, so the list of nominations is a bit more diverse than those we’ve seen previously.  That being said, Brie Larson made the overall Best Actress cut for her excellent turn in Short Term 12, and it’s nice to finally see The World’s End and star Simon Pegg getting some attention (nicer still that BFCA recognizes actual comedies in the Best Comedy category, unlike the Golden Globes).  Other notable additions include Scarlett Johansson nabbing a Best Supporting Actress nod for her voice-only role in Her and Christian Bale landing a Best Actor nomination for the aforementioned American Hustle.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominations and to find out how closely the Critics’ Choice Awards correlate with Oscar.  The 19th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards will be held on January 16, 2014.

AMERICAN HUSTLE Review

by     Posted 133 days ago

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From its opening shot, American Hustle is about the art of the con, the small cons we pull on each other and, more importantly, ourselves.  The con can be in the image we project to the world to the point where we can no longer distinguish who we truly are from the lie we’ve created.  David O. Russell‘s new film features characters who lie to the world in order to lie to themselves, but the filmmaker never manages to organize the lies and the liars into something bigger and more poignant.  They’re random molecules bouncing off each other in a way that’s fun, flighty, and occasionally a little melancholy.  Russell seems bent on trying to meld his offbeat earlier films with his recent, more populist fare, but the result is a piece that’s often amusing, but rarely audacious.

Christian Bale Talks AMERICAN HUSTLE, Collaborating with David O. Russell, the Character’s Weight and Comb Over, and His Preferred Acting Process

by     Posted 134 days ago

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Opening this weekend in limited release and expanding nationwide December 20th is director David O. Russell’s comedic drama American Hustle.  The story is based on the Abscam sting operation that uncovered widespread political corruption in the late 1970s, and Russell’s fantastic ensemble cast is led by Christian BaleAmy AdamsBradley CooperJennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner.  The film has already won its first Best Picture critics’ award and this morning the Screen Actors Guild gave it a few nominations including Ensemble In A Motion Picture and Female Supporting Actor In A Motion Picture (for Jennifer Lawrence).  While the holidays are filled with a lot of choices, American Hustle should definitely be on your list.  For more on the film, here’s all our previous coverage.

A few days ago in New York City I landed an exclusive video interview with Bale.  He talked about how David O. Russell offered him the role, the way the script changed,  whose idea it was for him to put on the weight and have a comb over, his preferred acting process, his thoughts on doing a lot of takes, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

TOP 5: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Trailer, OUT OF THE FURNACE, Gal Gadot to Play Wonder Woman in BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN, Sundance 2014, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

by     Posted 138 days ago

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This week in Blu-ray/DVD recommendations I confidently offer up writer/director Maggie Carey‘s The To Do List for your consideration. Starring Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, and many more, The To Do List delivers consistent laughs and, at times, an all too realistic depiction of the awkwardness of “first times”. As an added bonus, I imagine viewers who grew up in the 90′s will appreciate the fashion and accessory induced nostalgia the film provides (the sound of a Trapper Keeper ripping open is music to my ears). Moreover, having a story like this told from a female perspective is refreshing to say the least. I don’t want to oversell it as being a comedic game-changer but The To Do List is a solid feature debut for Carey and Plaza is excellent as the overachieving lead who approaches sexual experience the only way she knows how: like it’s a class final that’s worth 75% of your overall grade.

Home entertainment recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 highlights the first trailer for director Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Out of the Furnace interviews with Christian Bale and more, Gal Gadot landing the role of Wonder Woman in Batman vs. Superman, Sundance 2014 announcing its competition lineup along with a slew of first/new images from many of the entries, and the possibility of X-Men: Apocalypse hitting theaters in May 2016. For more, check out a brief recap and link to each of the above after the jump.

Christian Bale Talks OUT OF THE FURNACE, Knowing When He Has to Do a Project, the Experience of Working with Terrence Malick, and More

by     Posted 140 days ago

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Now playing in limited release and expanding nationwide this weekend is writer/director Scott Cooper’s (Crazy Heart) drama Out of the Furnace.  Shot entirely on location in and around Braddock, Pennsylvania, the film stars Christian Bale as an ex-con steel worker who seeks vengeance when his brother (Casey Affleck) disappears after getting involved with a local crime ring.  Out of the Furnace also stars Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe and Forest Whitaker.  For more on the film, watch the trailer or read all our previous coverage.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I landed a video interview with Christian Bale.  He talked about knowing when he has to do a project, his character in the film and his thoughts on what kind of movie it is, what it was like working for Terrence Malick and how Bale used gopros on set to film some of the movie himself, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Bradley Cooper Is Thinking Big in New Clip from AMERICAN HUSTLE Featuring Christian Bale and Amy Adams

by     Posted 140 days ago

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Fresh off being named the Best Film of 2013 by the New York Film Critics Circle, a new clip from director David O. Russell’s American Hustle has been released online.  The film takes place in the 1970s and revolves around a con artist duo (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) working with an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) to root out corruption.  The movie is really, really funny, and this clip comes from a scene in the first half of the pic that nicely showcases the big-dreaming characters played by Bale, Adams, and Cooper.  Their performances are all great, but it’s Jennifer Lawrence and Louis C.K. who really steal the film.

Hit the jump to watch the clip.  The film also stars Jeremy Renner, Michael Pena, and Jack HustonAmerican Hustle opens in limited release on December 13th before going wide on December 20th.

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