American Hustle

How, oh how, does a film like American Hustle get to be an Oscar contender? Yes, it’s big and it’s brash and yes, it’s emotionally manipulative, but jeez it’s a mess of a film, and I’m not even sure it has a plot. Conman Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale, with a paunch and a comb-over) and…

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Jennifer Lawrence, Nation’s Sweetheart

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant: Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like Jennifer Lawrence? No? Me either. Even if someone doesn’t know who she is, you can just show them that clip of her after the Oscars and they will become an instant lifelong megafan. But in the interest of presenting a fair and balanced argument,…

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Hunger Games

The Hunger Games – the gazillion dollar box office success story – is set in a dystopian future where an uneasy peace is enforced nearly a century after a brutal civil war in North America. As penance for their part in the uprising against the central power, the districts outlying the Capitol are forced once…

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Winter’s Bone

I’ve been finding it hard to write a review of Winter’s Bone, partly because I found the portrait of grim poverty, crime, drugs and absent kindnesses hard to watch, and partly because I found Jennifer Lawrence’s remarkable heroine who rises above it all hard to believe. The excellent Lawrence plays Ree Dolly, a teen who’s…

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