Month / February, 2014

Movie Review: American Hustle

Woohoo! Another movie review. I’m turning into a regular Ebert over here. Like, fo’ sho. This wee, we will be learning my feelings about American Hustle the new(ish) movie featuring the very talented Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper. Notice how I used the Oxford comma there? I seriously like that stuff.

I also seriously like A. Hustle (that is really clever, score!). It is supposedly based on a real FBI operation in the 70’s. Having not been alive then I can neither confirm nor deny how loose that basis is. And frankly, research is not my thing when writing a review. That would take effort and conviction. Which leads into probably my favorite part of this movie — Christian Bale’s character. Or just Christian Bale.

CB (we’re on an acronym basis, he and I) dominates the whole movie. Not just because he is in almost every shot, but because of his power. I will admit to not really knowing about him before Batman Begins, but for that I’m truly sorry. He is super talented and dedicated to each and every character. He is known for going to the extreme to become the characters, and this is no different. At the beginning of the movie it was hard to really decide if that was him because of the significant weight gain he put himself through for the part, and the awesome facial hair. Mostly the weight gain though. At all points, his character feels believable and in control. I never really felt that the character was suddenly changing or moving outside of the bounds of reason. Granted, I can’t imagine being able to do what the character supposedly does, but that’s just part of the suspension of disbelief required. And frankly, when you are in a scene with Robert Di Nero and still steal the attention, you’re kind of a big deal.

It doesn’t hurt that he gets to play opposite actresses of JLaw (again, besties) and Amy Adams (not besties). While Amy gets the most screen time, I didn’t really buy her character as much. Maybe that’s because the whole purpose of that character is to always be fake, but it felt that way. And, the camera spent more time focusing on “her” than really the acting. Or maybe, that was the acting? Likely, I’m missing some subtlety there and commentary about society, but whatever. Lawrence though was always enjoyable. She gets to play a more crazy and brash character that seemed to always elicit a laugh, even when it shouldn’t have. And who can resist a woman that puts metal in the science oven?

However, there was one character that I was not a fan of — Bradley Cooper’s FBI agent Richie DiMaso. The character just always felt out of control and unbelievable. That isn’t to say Cooper couldn’t handle it or even pull it off, he did. I just couldn’t buy it. I could buy the perm hair look though. That was priceless. Cooper should just do that for ever and ever amen. Additionally, the fact that the character was able to continually get away with crazy antics was a bit much for me. The antics added to the humor of the movie and the pay off in the end, but still were just a bit out there (like beating up and threatening your superior officer?).

Should you see this movie? For sure, it is probably one of the best released in the last couple months. And CB + JLaw = forever.

Movie Review Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

Ever heard of this movie? I hadn’t. And neither had The W. Maybe it was pretty popular in the indie scene, but it definitely flew under our radar. Probably didn’t help that it starred two actors that are a little bit on the lower end of the A-List. However, that had no impact on the quality of the movie.
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Book Review: Why Everything You Know About Soccer Is Wrong: The Numbers Game

I love soccer. I have loved soccer for a very long time. I like to play it, and enjoy watching it in general. Unfortunately, I never got as good as I wanted. Nothing surprising there, most people don’t. And I don’t fanatically follow any team (no room left for any teams after KU basketball, even if KU is playing poorly). So when I saw the cover of this book at a local book store, it was a match made in heaven.
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Book Review: The Half-Life of Facts by Samuel Arbesman

A couple months ago The W and I decided to reduce our usage of screens in the bedroom. This became a problem because we would go to bed and then sit there for 15-20 minutes just staring at our phones without speaking a word or doing anything productive. So, at one point we decided to change that. Our solution? Read real books in the bedroom. So far I have made it through 2 books. The first one was kind of a cheater because it was one I had started on the Nook Color we have, and so I was given permission to read that even though it was a “screen”. So after that I checked out The Half-Life of Facts from the Oak Park Public Library. I saw it at a book store and it sounded good.
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