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Tag: david o. russell

Million Dollar Movie

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I groaned when I first saw the trailer for American Hustle. David O. Russell using “Good Times, Bad Times” again–it’s like “Gimmie Shelter” with Scorsese–and all the bad haircuts. The movie didn’t look promising. A Good Fellas knockoff.

It opens today and after reading about it in the New Yorker and the Times I may have to reconsider.

Million Dollar Movie

David O. Russell has a knack for chaotic domestic comedy, with the yelling and the screaming and the occasional punching. Silver Linings Playbook has a lot in common with his previous movie, The Fighter–this one is set in Philadelphia not Boston, and there is a Led Zeppelin set piece in this one, too. It also has Jennifer Lawrence who steals the movie. The rest of the cast is good but she’s the straw that stirs the drink.

The story is predictable, you can see everything coming five minutes ahead of time–and not especially credible–but that doesn’t necessarily spoil its charms. And Lawrence’s character  is believable, you’ve likely known a woman like her, which makes the whole thing work. The more I thought about Silver Linings Playbook after it was over, the thinner it seemed, but I smiled and laughed while I watched it.

Million Dollar Movie

“The Fighter” comes with the usual boxing movie cliches, both in and out of the ring. There is one fight sequence that looks ripped out of “Raging Bull” but only one (perhaps it was an homage). And there are a couple of scenes with Christian Bale, and one with Mark Wahlberg, that made me wince. But these cliches are minor and in no way disturbed my enjoyment of what I think is a rousing movie.

Wahlberg plays a passive character and has the right brand of natural understatement to make his performance convincing. Christian Bale is featured in the showier role, and I generally dislike this kind of character and performance but I thought he was believable. The women rule the movie, though, especially Melissa Leo and Amy Adams. And David O. Russell directs with his usual flair, his eye for the telling detail, and his sharp sense of humor.

I thought “The Fighter” was really funny. The score was great. Nothing too deep but a good picture of the boxing life. A simple story well told.

On that note, let’s kill the Beat of the Day while we’re at it:

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