Good Guys Become Bad Guys, and Bad Guys Become Good Guys

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American Hustler is a film which has a complicated plot. The story centers on Irving Rosenfeld(Christian Bale) a local man who chooses a vocation as a hustler even though he runs several successful legitimate businesses. Irving’s life changes when a young and eager to succeed FBI agent Richie Di Maso(Bradley Cooper), snares and arrests him. The FBI then uses Irving and his partner/girl friend Sydney Prosser(Amy Adams) as decoys to catch a local New Jersey mayor taking a bribe. The mayor, however, is a good guy who only wants to help make jobs for the people of his city by reopening an old casino. The young FBI agent uses Irving to entrap the mayor by introducing him to a fake Shiek from Saudi Arabia. The story gets more complicated though when a mafia man played by Robert Dinero, from Miami, enters the scene as a silent partner. The mafia man advises the mayor to find a way to make the Arab Shiek with the money an US citizen to make the deal legitimate.

The ambitious FBI man seizes this opportunity to entrap bigger fish because fast tracking a citizenship for an Arab will involve US Senators. Irving advises the FBI man to slow down and keep the scam small, but the FBI likes the idea of headline grabbing an US Senator.

The plot gets more involved as the FBI arranges meetings with Senators for the purpose of filming them taking money.

So a bad guy is caught by a good guy, but the good guy turns bad. The new bad guy uses the former bad guy in his scheme and ultimately the new bad guy becomes the villain while the former bad guy becomes a hero.

The story has a happy ending.

Oh, for the men, Irving’s girl friend Sydney Prosser(Amy Adams) has an affinity for wearing deep V-cut dresses without a bra. She certainly kept me awake. Irving’s wife Roslyn(Jennifer Lawrence) plays a perfect bitch who keeps Irving on her line by refusing to give him a divorce.

The film felt long because it is long. Yet, we were totally entertained by all the mayhem that takes place.

Are Five Hearts Better than Five Stars?

Yesterday, it occurred to me as I wrote a scathing movie review that I had not commented on some of the good ones we saw. Today, I will make an effort to make amends and write about an outstanding film which is highly under rated.

The-Silver-Linings-Playbook_17475_posterlarge

About two months ago, Peggy and I saw “Silver Linings Playbook.”  This film is the opposite of  “Tyler Perry’s Temptation, Confessions of a Marriage Counselor.” Maybe I liked Silver Linings because I know people who suffer from bi-polar disease and saw the disease portrayed accurately in the character Pat, played by Bradley Cooper (nominated for best actor).

Silver Linings touches on a disease which many people have a hard time understanding. How can someone so gentle and kind turn into a bitching monster within so short a time? The disease is more common than we would like to believe, but it is real and the people affected by it suffer in silence. The person affected does not realize what is happening to them nor do they believe they are acting any different.

I particularly enjoyed the scene where Pat who lives in the attic bedroom of his parent’s home stays up late to read Hemingway’s “Farewell to Arms,” a book his ex-wife has accused him of not being intellectually capable of understanding. Pat reads the book hoping he can impress her into believing he has changed and he is desperately seeking her affection.  He comes to the end and shouts “what the f___”  and violently tosses the book through a closed window to the front lawn.  He then proceeds to barge into his parent’s bedroom at four a.m. to talk about how stupid Hemingway’s ending is.

The characters in this movie are very believable, the story is real, The actors are outstanding. I can’t understand why Hollywood didn’t recognize Silver Linings as the best of the year, it is certainly a better film than Argo, but that will be another review. At least Jennifer Lawrence of Hunger Games gave a Best Actress performance as the troubled young woman opposite Cooper’s bi-polar character. I thought Cooper should also have received the Oscar for his performance.

If you haven’t seen this movie, see it, this one is worth the money.

Five Hearts ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

If I knew how to make stars I would, but really, hearts are better than stars for this film.

Hunger Games the Movie

The Hunger Games (film)

The Hunger Games (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I talked my friend and his wife into going to see Hunger Games with us. At the end, as we left the theater, I asked “how did you like it?’

“It glued me to the seat, but I didn’t like what it was.”

I knew exactly what he meant. This is a movie about kids killing kids. Do we really want that message, and image being fed into the brains of our teenagers? The fact is that teens across America have flocked to see this film. They relate to the heroine and her friend. My own granddaughters have seen the film twice. A cult grows around this film. The eighty year old man who owns the farm where filming took place is selling because strangers are driving across his property and stopping to visit the buildings used in District Twelve scenes. This is not normal folks.

The country of Panem covers most of North America and has divided it into twelve districts. The richest and the most political is District One. Each successive district after is somewhat poorer and less influential. District Twelve is the poorest and the people live in desperation.

A seventy-four years earlier there was a revolt squashed by the government. As punishment, they created the Hunger Games. Each district must send two tributes to the games for sacrifice.

What is evil in this film is the government, and its totalitarian leader. The President believes he must show that he and his government are so strong they can impose their will upon the people. Henceforth, he commands each District to send Tributes to the games. The Tributes are payment for the revolt that occurred seventy-four years ago.

Last week, I posted about Hunger Games the book. Today, I am posting about the movie. It is great! Although I hate the concept of savagery being promoted, the story is nonetheless great. It is a great depiction of what happens when the government breaks the will of the people. The actors are totally believable, and the story follows the book almost exactly. I had difficulty picking up changes introduced by the director to keep all the critical elements of the story in place, and  I only noticed two incidents that were out-of-sequence. Otherwise the movie tells the story accurately. There is so little difference between the two, one could skip one or the other. I happen to like to do both; read the book and see the film.

The film is long because it does pay so much attention to the story, yet time flies by quickly. Before we knew it the end came and we felt it was too soon. The last chapters of the book dealing with the victory celebrations, and revelations of unrest in the Districts were omitted.

As adults we saw elements of our own government creeping into this scenario, and felt the incremental losses of our personal liberty pointing us toward Panem. That may also be what the youngsters see. God love them if that is it, because then there is hope for the USA.

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ Stars for story, acting, setting, costumes, direction

No Stars for moral content or promotion of the image of a corrupt evil savage government.

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