Bradley Cooper

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Recent DVD Release: American Hustle

Published April 4, 2014 by mrsrag

Starring: Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Michael Pena, Shea Whigham, Paul Herman, Anthony Zerbe, Robert De Niro.

Rated: R.  Crime/Drama/A Little History.  Running Time: 2 hours 18 minutes.


The hair.  This movie is worth a watch for the sole purpose of seeing Christian Bale’s incomparable comb over.  Or peeping Bradley Cooper’s remarkable perm.  And the clothes.  Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence sport some deep v’s that rival that of awards season fashion.  And the guys are looking sharp in big collared shirts with flashy bell bottomed pants.  This amiable ensemble is the glue for David O’Russell’s sophomore directorial picture.  The film opens with the intriguing bit “A lot of this happened”…which leaves the audience to deduce that some of did not.  Artistic liberty, I would guess.  American Hustle is the story of con artist Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) and his sultry sidekick, Sydney Prosser (Adams).  The pair are busted by the FBI during one of their loan scams and an overzealous agent forces the two to participate in a larger bust.  That bust being the FBI ABSCAM operation of the 1970’s; an elaborate sting targeting corrupt politicians.  The eager agent, Richie DiMaso (Cooper), is young, dumb and full of…bad ideas.  He gets the trio entangled in schemes involving the mafia and the entrapment of some very high up officials.  Including Mayor Carmine Polito (Renner), a family man of sorts who is widely known and loved by his constituents.  Polito and Rosenfeld form a friendship, which serves in leading the operation to its limited success.  And also leads to Rosenfeld developing a much needed conscience.

I was around during ABSCAM (Maria had not yet graced the Earth with her arrival), but I must admit, I don’t remember too much about it.  A fake sheik, the FBI and some money hungry politicians.  It did seem like the crimes were concocted by the feds and dangled in front of the poor saps.  I suppose they could have said “no” to the cash, but as the deals were all fabricated, it’s somewhat like a wife sending horny, naked babes to her husband’s office and having them stick their hands down his pants; and then divorcing him if he cheats on her.  Maria mentioned the hair and the clothes, which are indeed worth watching American Hustle on their own, but the acting?!  Oh my goodness, the four leads here throw out performances for the ages.  To me the subject matter was secondary; watching the interaction of these crazy, quirky, complicated characters brought to life by Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and most of all Jennifer Lawrence, is better than any reality show on TV.  Bale has been a standout since he burst on the scene in Empire of the Sun, and I always expect greatness from him.  Jennifer Lawrence at 23 is already at the very top of Hollywood’s A list, as is her Silver Linings Playbook co-star Bradley Cooper.  And Amy Adams hasn’t been nominated for five Academy Awards by accident, the girl can act!  I mean honestly, how many more movies do you think will be made where Jeremy Renner is an afterthought?      

Very true.  Renner is always superb and it’s shocking that he’s so easy to overlook in this role.  Lawrence absolutely steals the show as Rosenfeld’s manipulative and conniving old lady.  She commands every ounce of attention every time she’s on screen.  The casting of this movie is both interesting and impressive.  I would never have imagined Bale or Cooper in either of the roles they portray here, but somehow it works.  The heart of the story didn’t quite pique my interest as much as I had hoped.  However, the conclusion did add some much needed spice.  As Ross had stated, the fabulous performances are what drive this piece.  Unfortunately, this was one of those cliché experiences when a movie gets way over hyped before you get a chance to see it.  Too much awards season buzz mixed with friendly entertainment gossip.  It isn’t going to make me forget about Silver Linings Playbook anytime soon, but I liked it.

I liked American Hustle too, I didn’t love it.  I do love the stars of the film and can’t wait to see all of them in their future projects.  The last Hunger Games with J-Law and hopefully a third collaboration with Bradley Cooper sooner rather than later.  How about another in the Bourne series with Jeremy Renner?  Maybe even bring back Matt Damon?  What a kick ass duo they would make!!   Who knows what Christian Bale will pick next, he loves to mix it up, maybe he won’t have to lose or gain weight for it (AH-fat. The Fighter and Rescue Dawn-emaciated).  Certainly will be exciting to see what the future brings.  While we wait check out American Hustle.  ABSCAM as a  backdrop, goofy hairdos, bad clothes and fantastic performances equals an entertaining couple of hours that won’t leave you disappointed. 

Maria’s Rating:  3.75 Gummy Bears out of 5.

Ross’ Rating: 3.5 Gummies. 






Movie Review: Silver Linings Playbook

Published February 11, 2013 by mrsrag

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, John Ortiz, Julia Stiles, Anupam Kher.

Rated R.  Comedy/Drama/Romance.  Running Time: 2 hours 2 minutes.

There is a definite pattern developing in my personal movie watching experiences.  The movies I really want to see are disappointing the hell out of me (see Flight), and the ones I don’t want to see or just go because Maria wants to see it, end up blowing me away.  Well, you can add Silver Linings Playbook to that list.  I really like Jennifer Lawrence from the Hunger Games, this kid is the real deal, and her turn here is amazing.  But Bradley Cooper carrying a movie?  I didn’t see any shot of that.  The Hangovers, Wedding Crashers, he’s a supporting actor who plays the cocky, good looking douche.  I recently was TOTALLY wrong about the talent of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and now Cooper has me eating my words again.  He plays Pat, a guy freshly released from a mental hospital (I’ll let you find out the reason he was in there, it’s too good to spoil), who must go live with his parents (De Niro and Weaver) because he has nowhere else to go.  Pat is a train wreck and won’t admit it, and soon he meets his female counterpart, the equally damaged Tiffany (Lawrence).  There hasn’t been onscreen chemistry like these two since Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.  While they were so cute together, Cooper and Lawrence are incindiary, but you can’t take your eyes off them.  

Jennifer Lawrence.  She most definitely embodies her Hunger Games character’s image, the girl on fire.  She first appeared on our radar for her Oscar nomination for Best Actress in Winter’s Bone and the girl has not slowed down since.  I just find myself more impressed with each new role she takes on.  Her Golden Globe award winning character in Silver Linings Playbook is so exquisitely executed that I began comparing her flaws as well as her virtues to young women I know in real life, including myself.  Her sense of humor, strength, vulnerability and unapologetic sexuality is palpable, which is why the chemistry between Tiffany and Pat is so tremendous.  Bradley Cooper, you sly dog.  Who knew you weren’t just another pretty face?  I have always loved his portrayal of the juvenile Phil in the Hangovers, but I had no idea he could pull off a role like this with such conviction.  These two lead characters do a fantastic job and they also have a superb seasoned cast surrounding them including De Niro, Weaver and Stiles.  SLP bravely ventures into new territory when examining mental illness.  Especially in the current climate where so many people are trying different medications to aid their illnesses or conditions.  It is quite a feat to be able to address such a sensitive and serious subject with candid humor.  This movie made me laugh out loud on numerous occassions.  And it also made me feel nervous, excited and happy.  I cheered for these two people to find happiness and success.  In fact, I had a vested interest in it.

Bradley Cooper is the revelation of SLP, but the supporting cast doesn’t take a backseat either.  De Niro is perfect as Pat Sr., a reluctant bookie and Philadelphia Eagles fanatic.  I could relate to him on a couple of levels.  First I’m a diehard Patriots fan, so I understood all of his superstitions and fluctuating emotions.  And, having attended the Eagles/Patriots Super Bowl some years back, I’ve witnessed the passion, veracity and uncontrolled behavior of Eagles fans up close.  Also worth noting are Anupam Kher as Pat’s psychiatrist, Dr. Patel.  He turns out to be an Eagles fanatic too, and that makes for a hilarious scene.  A surprisingly subdued Chris Tucker as Danny, a former, fellow patient  and friend of Pat’s, is super in a small role.  And John Ortiz as Pat’s best friend Ronnie , who is seemingly well off and happily married, but is actually broke and miserable, round out a perfect group.  In a side note, Maria and I met Mr. Ortiz in Las Vegas at the premiere party for the short-lived HBO series Luck.  He played a crooked trainer, and he was quite gregarious when we introduced ourselves.  Silver Linings Playbook had me laughing, crying and rooting for all the main characters.  I loved it, and judging by the packed theater a full six weeks after it’s release date, I’d say word of mouth is lively.  Here’s hoping we see Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper on screen together again soon!

I knew from first glance that I recognized John Ortiz, but I assumed it was from some previous role.  I had totally forgotten about the meeting in Vegas.  He was certainly a very gracious star, shaking hands and taking pictures with all the fans.  Surprisingly, as Ross mentioned, the theatre was packed.  We were expecting to be one of the few audience members and found ourselves struggling to find a convenient seat.  SLP was well worth the wait and I’m estactic that we got to view it in the theatre.  It is by far one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time and I was pleased that my company enjoyed it as well.

Ross’ Rating: 5 Gummy Bears out of 5.

Maria’s Rating: 4.5 Gummies.