In decades of tracking the Academy Awards, I honestly can’t recall any category, in any year, when a race was as fiercely, thrillingly white-hot competitive as this year’s Best Actor race. Just think about it: Not one, not two, not three, but four of the nominees each stands a very real chance of winning. Consider each scenario, and you’ll realize it’s true. When Jennifer Lawrence gets up to present the Best Actor award and tears open that envelope, if she ends up saying, “And the Oscar goes to…Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave,” it will not be a shock, because Ejiofor, playing a man who endures the torments of the damned, and must hold in his emotions (even as he shows them to us), and must somehow, on top of all that, figure out a way to keep his faith burning, has been justly acclaimed for being incredible beyond words in that movie. If Lawrence says, “And the Oscar goes to…Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club,” it will not be a shock, because McConaughey, this year, is the official front-runner, and has been justly coronated for giving a tough, sinewy, moving, and anger-singed performance that is widely viewed as the culminating act of his 20-year career in Hollywood. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Christian Bale (1-10 of 56)
It’s nearly impossible to talk about American Hustle without addressing the influence of Martin Scorsese. In Owen Gleiberman’s review he wrote: “It’s as if the Scorsese of Goodfellas had been revived, full-throttle, only with a new subject: the hucksterism hiding in the shadows of middle-class America.” The themes, the multiple narrators and the golden oldies soundtrack make the nods impossible to ignore.
But Scorsese is not the only iconic director that David O. Russell pays homage to in his latest pic. It seems as though Russell may have borrowed from Charlie Chaplin as well.
Ever since the Golden Globes — a.k.a. the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a.k.a. a very small (under 100) group of cultishly enigmatic and otherwise insignificant entertainment-industry journalists from around the world who like getting free drinks and being photographed with movie stars — voted to choose American Hustle as one of their five nominees for Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, there’s been an unofficial debate, played out in reviews and early water-cooler chatter, about whether or not the movie is, in fact, a comedy. I think we can agree that it’s not a musical (though I did love its use of Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work” and that Arabic cover version of “White Rabbit”). To me, it’s not a comedy either, although it did make me laugh a lot. Some critics I hold in high esteem, like Richard Corliss of Time and Manohla Dargis of The New York Times, have said that the movie is, indeed, a comedy. A hundred Talmudic scholars could chew over the question of whether there are enough jokes in American Hustle to leave you giggling on the head of a pin — and if there are, I suppose that would mean that, yes, the movie is a comedy. I personally think that the Golden Globes, trying to smear the wealth around in their usual promiscuous and fun and quasi-mindless way, made a categorical mistake. But in the end, it’s not really a big deal. I’m glad that American Hustle — a great movie, whether it’s a drama or a comedy — got nominated in one of the Globes’ Best Motion Picture categories instead of being left out. That gives it awards momentum. By the time the Oscar nominations come along, no one will remember, or care very much, about whether American Hustle was unfairly branded as a movie that’s fundamentally a laff riot. READ FULL STORY
Breaking: David O. Russell doesn’t think American Hustle is a comedy either.
“I feel like we’re telling stories, characters and stories, that are beyond category,” he told EW shortly after learning about his film’s seven Golden Globe nominations, including one for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy). In his mind, Hustle is tonally similar to his 2010 film The Fighter — which was nominated at the Globes in the Drama category. “Obviously it was a bit less of a comedy,” Russell explains, “but Christian Bale was incredibly funny in that movie. I love to be the director who can bring that out of him, but it’s done from the heart of the dramatic character that he creates. So as far as he and I are concerned, we’re doing a drama.”
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Is anyone a better movie actor right now than Christian Bale? (Okay, I’ll give you Daniel Day-Lewis… but it’s close and getting closer.) The 39-year-old Welshman is fully in his prime, demonstrated most recently by two powerful performances landing in the heart of Oscar season. The flashier role might be in David O. Russell’s American Hustle, which doesn’t open until Dec. 20. In Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace, which opened Wednesday and expanded Friday, he plays the good-intentioned ex-con whose pursuit of justice — after his ne’er-do-well brother (Casey Affleck) goes missing — puts him on a collision course with a terrifying meth-king hick (Woody Harrelson).
Set around the decaying stacks of Pennsylvania steel mills around the eve of Obama’s 2008 election, Furnace never flinches from its dreary first impression, using Willem Dafoe and Sam Shepard to positive effect as the types of craggled faces who survive this iron underworld. There’s not a lot of hope or change for these characters. As EW’s Chris Nashawaty writes, “Like 1978′s The Deer Hunter, Cooper’s devastating death trip nails the bond between two no-hope men pushed to violent extremes.”
Bale has always been drawn to characters with violent impulses — from Batman to Patrick Bateman to boxer Dicky Eklund in The Fighter. Playing a superhero never seemed to limit his range, but now that he’s free of the cowl for good, it will be fascinating to watch the next phase of his career. The critics seem to think he’s off to a great start.
Before you head to the theater, click below to see what the leading critics are saying about Out of the Furnace.
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Sometimes, the right song can make all the difference to establishing a mood for a movie. But the absolutely perfect song can go even further and provide meaning. Director David O. Russell is a connoisseur of music, so it’s probably no accident that the TV spots for his upcoming movie, American Hustle, are set to Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times.” Yes, it immediately evokes the setting of the film — the 1970s. But the lyrics are even more insightful for his characters, a coterie of ne’er-do-well con artists, corrupt pols, and compromised cops.
“In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man,
Now I’ve reached that age, I’ve tried to do all those things the best I can.
No matter how I try, I find my way into the same old jam.”
The latest TV spot, titled “Unexpected,” showcases Christian Bale as an amusing con-man hanging on by a thread — much like his marvelous comb-over.
Everything is cloaked in the gritty, suffocating glamour of sequins, cigarette smoke, high-stakes cons and hairspray in the newest trailer for David O. Russell’s American Hustle. Stars Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, and Amy Adams are in perfect 1970s form — especially Cooper in those hair curlers.
Russell’s ensemble drama follows a con artist (Bale) and his partner (Adams) as they team up with an eager FBI agent (Cooper) to expose other players of the Camden, New Jersey underworld. Lawrence is all grown up in the trailer below and Jeremy Renner, Robert De Niro, and Louis C.K. also appear in the star-studded period pic.
Check out the latest trailer, featuring the Electric Light Orchestra anthem “10538 Overture.”
The new trailer for Out of the Furnace, a gritty rust-belt crime drama from Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), sings a new tune.
The first preview – which showed Christian Bale seeking vengeance against the hillbilly crimelord (Woody Harrelson) who might have made his brother (Casey Affleck) disappear — was accompanied by Pearl Jam’s “Release.” This new clip opts instead for a whispery cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.”
In the movie, Affleck plays a returning Iraq War vet who turns to bare-knuckle brawling to pay back some debts. He finds trouble when he has to decide whether he can make more money by winning or losing — and disappears. Enter his older brother (Bale), who is trying to walk the straight-and-narrow but seems to have a history with this type of mountain justice. The trailer seems determined to evoke The Fighter… if it were crossed with Winter’s Bone.
Watch the trailer below. READ FULL STORY
There are a lot of bat-goodies contained within the 90 minutes of new special features on Warner Bros.’s new Dark Knight Trilogy Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray. (Try saying that three times fast.) But this clip could very well be the collection’s coolest moment. It’s pre-Batman Christian Bale! Doing a screen test for Batman Begins! Wearing Val Kilmer’s old batsuit from Batman Forever. And acting opposite… Amy Adams! (Don’t get too glum thinking about what might have been, Katie Holmes haters — she was only there as a favor to the movie’s casting director.)
As the video proves, Bale’s rumbly batvoice was there from the very beginning — before the beginning, even. “He had decided that Batman had to have a different voice… that he had to put on a voice,” director/co-writer Christopher Nolan explains over footage of the screen test.
And evidently, that simple acting choice was a major factor in Bale’s ultimate casting. READ FULL STORY
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