American Hustle

Rated 4.0

David O. Russell continues his impressive directorial roll with this semi-comedic look at the notorious ‘70s Abscam scandal. This is basically Russell shooting for Scorsese glory here, and while the style of the movie seems copied at times, there's no denying the power of the ensemble cast. Bradley Cooper scores laughs as a pathetic FBI agent looking to make a name for himself, and Christian Bale looks great in a comb-over as the conman forced into an alliance with the law. Amy Adams gets one of the strangest roles of the year as a con artist pretending to be British, and she pulls it off quite nicely, while Jennifer Lawrence steals her every scene as a seemingly dim Long Island housewife. You also get stand up comic Louis C.K. as Cooper's field boss. (C.K. canceled a show I had tickets for to make this movie. I was pissed but, after seeing how good he is here, I'm OK with it now.) The film falls a little short of greatness due to its sometimes carbon copy feel, but the cast pulls it out of the fire. It also has the best use of Robert De Niro as a bad guy in many years.