American Hustle. The Con Is Glamazon.

hustleEveryone loves a comedy ‘tache. So the moment a virtually unrecognisable Christian Bale swaggers onscreen with paunch, comb-over and luxuriant hairy slug atop his lip, you know American Hustle is onto a winner.

A fictionalisation of true events, American Hustle is based loosely around the ABSCAM scandal of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Involving corruption at the highest levels, it saw members of Congress convicted of accepting bribes in return for political favours.

Our players in this version are con-artist Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his foxily glamorous partner in crime, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). Kindred spirits, their initial business relationship expands into a romantic affair, ignited when they discover a shared talent for hustling money. Unfortunately, their illicit trade attracts the attention of FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper resplendent in tight poodle curls). Richie realises they are the tool he needs to crack a nut of corruption involving casino mob boss Victor Tellegio (Robert De Niro) and political fixer Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner). And with Irving’s neurotic, unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) still lurking in the background, you have an explosive potboiler waiting to happen.

Cleverly, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Yes, it has ‘1970’s Scorsese Mobster Epic’ written all over it, but the tone is tongue-in-cheek homage, not reverential reconstruction. Mr Cooper busts impressively snake hipped moves on a dance floor, winking slyly to Saturday Night Fever. Amy Adams is a Studio 54-esq diva, adopting a faux British accent to impress the naive Yanks and wearing slashed to the naval frocks for breakfast, while Mr Bale’s corpulent belly undertakes a surprise bid for Best Supporting Actor, with copious screen time all to itself (NB The Sloth has it on good authority the notoriously rigorous Mr Bale prepped thoroughly for his role by, erm, eating all the pies. No prosthetics involved, that belly is the genuine article).

Fun, raucous and with just the right amount of 70’s cheese, American Hustle pens a frothy ode to an era of excess, where money, big hair and shiny fabrics talked. Get in the mood with a Screwdriver and blast of Stayin’ Alive, then enjoy.

UK limited release 20 December. General release 3 January.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

Man Of Steel. We’re Not In Kansas Anymore.

man of steel picLet’s get one thing out the way first. Man of Steel has no Superman music. Harumph.

Right. Onwards.

From the start, The Sloth was at movie sixes and sevens. Gladiator Russell Crowe spends his days flying round dying Planet Krypton on the back of giant dragonflies, Harry Potter stylee. Gladiator’s wife gives birth to baby Superman but, as Krypton is about to implode, they decide schooling options are rather limited so pack baby Superman into one of those nasty pods Alien popped out of and shoot him off to Earth. On arrival, Superman is found and adopted by Kevin Costner, because Robin Hood is basically a nice bloke. But then a giant cyclone tears through Smallville and kills Robin Hood as he’s trying to rescue the family dog, Toto, leaving Superman alone with his adoptive Earth mum.

Phew.

Henry Cavill takes on the famous red pants. Presumably for his furrowed brow and cleft chinned resemblance to Christopher Reeve. Henry initially suffers an identity crisis. If he reveals his super-strength, the inherently suspicious Earthlings might hound him out of town. So he keeps schtum. Until one day evil ex-Krypton resident General Zod shows up with giant spaceship bulldozers, planning to turn Earth into Krypton Mark 2. Nothing else for it, Henry has to shake off his neurosis and save the day.

Frankly, we’re a bit puzzled as to why the ‘Superman origins’ story is being done again – to fill in the kids?  But that’s what the internet is for, no? And we weren’t keen on the ending (too long! enough buildings / cars / helicopters exploding already!), but we rather enjoyed the rest. Amy Adams brings her best Feisty as Lois Lane and Henry’s acting may not win any awards, bless, but his filling of the suit will inspire a thousand Men’s Health subscriptions. If they’d only added in a ‘Daaah da da da daaah, da da da’, The Sloth would have been a perfectly happy bunny.

UK release 14 June

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone