The 86th Academy Awards opened with the stage filled with dozens and dozens of blown-up Oscar statues, and Ellen DeGeneres took center stage as host. In her pre-show interview, she mentioned that her goal was to give a great performance, but not overshadow the stars, and to make them feel relaxed and happy. She seemed to accomplish that without venturing into jokes that are borderline offensive, as dished out by last year’s host, Seth MacFarlane.
An origin story based on Tom Clancy’s character and more than a decade after the last Jack Ryan movie, Star Trek’s leading man Chris Pine (“Unstoppable”) is a man of intelligence and action, a former marine turned brainy CIA analyst and reluctant field agent. This fast straight-shooter is a splash of summer thrill in the winter.
The abyss of excess takes entertaining to the extreme. “The Wolf of Wall Street” spirals with sins and sizzles with exuberance. There’s not a dull moment in the three-hour run. Scorsese directs it with revelry. Terence Winter (screenwriter) writes it unbridledly. DiCaprio lives it up like the king of the world and swaggers into a staggering performance. Deplorable, hysterical, phenomenal.
Director David O. Russell reunites Oscar-quality co-stars of “The Fighters,”Christian Bale with Amy Adams, and Bradley Cooper with Jennifer Lawrence, in this screwball 70s crime caper dramedy. It’s a treat to be in on the flimflam or figure out what the swindle is or how the main characters would pull off the scheme. “American Hustle” is no different. The con is on. Enjoy the game!