Monday, December 30, 2013

American Hustle

For the last several weeks, the trailers for "American Hustle" have left me ambivalent about seeing it in theatres.  The other night, I saw a Richard Roeper review, in which he raved about how awesome it was, and that the DeNiro cameo was possibly some of the best ten minutes of his acting career.

After seeing it this afternoon, man did I feel deceived.

I really should have stuck with my gut on this.

I think that the story itself was interesting, but the directing and editing was all wrong, and they actors were cast in the wrong parts.  As much as I love Christian Bale, there's no way in hell he should be nominated, let alone win an Oscar for this performance.  I kept hearing about how he should be in the running, and I'm hear to tell you right now, no, he shouldn't be.  In fact, I think he was miscast.  I think they all were.

Bradley and Christian needed to switch.  I'm sorry, I just couldn't buy Bale as this balding, gut having, uncouth con artist.  If he were a suave, Thomas Crowne kind of con artist, okay, but this was just wrong.  He's a great actor, but it just didn't fly.  Bradley could have done it.  On that same token, I didn't buy Bradley as an FBI Agent.  I think that role would have been better suited for Bale.

I think Amy Adams is fabulous, but she and Jennifer Lawrence needed to switch roles in order for the whole thing to work on screen.  I think Adams was capable of playing either role, but Lawrence was not up to snuff.  That being said, Lawrence was given the harder role, in certain respects, even though she had less screen time.  The role just didn't hold a lot of weight with her at the helm.  Adams' role required an English accent, so perhaps Lawrence couldn't have done the part?  I don't know that for certain, but her range just was not there as Bale's wife.

The film also started out slow.  So slow that I caught a few z's after the first thirty minutes.  It's rare indeed for me to fall asleep during a film, regardless of how tired I am.  I felt like Scorese or Soderbergh should have directed this.  I felt like the director, David O. Russell, was way out of his depth on this one.

In short, this is a film better served as a rental, or waiting for it to hit HBO or something.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Diary of a Fangirl: The Wolf of Wall Street

"The Wolf of Wall Street" brought back a boatload of nostalgia.

I love Scorsese, and I love DiCaprio, so I was 99% sure I was going to love their latest project.  After viewing it, I can tell you that was a complete understatement.

"Goodfellas" is not only my favorite Scorsese film, but my favorite film, period.  "The Wolf of Wall Street" felt like a total throwback to that film, except all of the violence is replaced with nudity and drug use.  Even the appearance of Jon Bernthal (who, omg, is so awesome you guys), made me think of DeNiro, and tied the whole thing together for me.

Anyway, this film is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, who makes his start on Wall Street, loses his job, goes into the penny trades and creates a mega millions stock company with his rag tag friends.

Back to the "Goodfellas" connection--

A lot of the styling of shots and narration also harken to Scorese's early 90s masterpiece.  DiCaprio as Belfort tells a good chunk of story to the audience with voice overs, and at times, breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to the audience (as Ray Liotta did at the close of "Goodfellas").  Even Leo's on-screen wife, actress Cristin Milioti, reminded me a bit of Lorraine Bracco.  And it's a period piece.  I'd have to watch it again to see if there was a gradation in color throughout the piece.

DiCaprio also doesn't work alone--he has a great supporting cast accompanying him.

All in all, I give it damn near four stars (I want to say between 3.5 and 3.75 out of 4), and it's definitely worth the watch.  And a rewatch.  If Leo doesn't get an Oscar for this, I just don't even know.

Diary of a Fangirl: Fast & Furious 7

The writers and producers of "Fast & Furious 7" are working frantically (I assume) in tweaking the script to accommodate the tremendous loss they've been dealt, while honoring both the character of Brian and Paul Walker's final appearance in the franchise.  Being a writer, I couldn't help but ponder the course of action they'd take.

Paul was only able to finish about half of the scenes he was supposed to do.  Therefore, I'm thinking the start of this film may very well begin with a funeral--Brian's (though it's not explicitly said).  Then the film will move into the initial storyline, with Paul featured prominently, and then the bad news happens midway--the plan was botched, and they lose him.

The film then takes us back to the opening (or shortly thereafter), and the team makes the decision to avenge him, and the story picks up from there.

Just a thought.  No clue which route they'll take...but clearly, it's been on my mind.