American Hustle (David O. Russell) -2013

The star of this show is Christian Bale's awful comb-over.  Bale and Amy Adams are small-time grifters and loan sharks who are doing quite well in their chosen profession until an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) nabs them for a much bigger con.  Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence (as Bale's loose-cannon of a wife) reprise their roles from Silver Linings Playbook for this one.  Cooper and Lawrence are so good at playing crazy that it makes me think that crazy is their norm.  Russell's story takes makes numerous turns leaving one to think that there are many directions that could have been taken.  However, the overriding impression is that there is little difference between the cons and the feds.  The actions by these FBI characters is pure entrapment against public officials who seem to have the best interests of their constituents in mind.  Excellent supporting roles are played by Robert De Niro, Anthony Zerbe, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K., Jack Huston and many others.  [JAM 1/1/2014]