25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: LITTLE WOMEN (1994)

CAST

Winona Ryder (Black Swan)
Gabriel Byrne (Stigmata)
Trini Alvarado (The Frighteners)
Kirsten Dunst (Bring It On)
Claire Danes (Romeo + Juliet)
Christian Bale (Batman Begins)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
John Neville (Odyssey 5)
Mary Wickes (Sister Act)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Seires)
Donal Logue (Gotham)
Samantha Mathis (Broken Arrow)
Sarah Strange (White Noise)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)

The film focuses on the March sisters: beautiful Meg (Trini Alvarado), tempestuous Jo (Winona Ryder), tender Beth (Claire Danes), and romantic Amy (Kirsten Dunst), who are growing up in Concord, Massachusetts during and after the American Civil War. With their father away fighting in the war, the girls struggle with major and minor problems under the guidance of their strong-willed mother, affectionately called Marmee (Susan Sarandon). As a means of escaping some of their problems, the sisters revel in performing in romantic plays written by Jo in their attic theater.Living next door to the family is wealthy Mr. Laurence (John Neville), whose grandson Theodore, nicknamed “Laurie” (Christian Bale), moves in with him and becomes a close friend of the March family, particularly Jo. Mr. Laurence becomes a mentor for Beth, whose exquisite piano-playing reminds him of his deceased daughter, and Meg falls in love with Laurie’s tutor John Brooke (Eric Stoltz). Mr. March is wounded in the war and Marmee is called away to nurse him. While Marmee is away, Beth contracts scarlet fever from a neighbor’s infant. Awaiting Marmee’s return, Meg and Jo send Amy away to live in safety with their Aunt March. Prior to Beth’s illness, Jo had been Aunt March’s companion for several years, and while she was unhappy with her position she tolerated it in the hope her aunt one day would take her to Europe. When Beth’s condition worsens, Marmee is summoned home and nurses her to recovery just in time for Christmas. Mr. Laurence gives his daughter’s piano to Beth, Meg accepts John Brooke’s proposal and Mr. March surprises his family by returning home from the war.Four years pass; Meg and John marry, and Beth’s health is deteriorating steadily. Laurie graduates from college, proposes to Jo and asks her to go to London with him, but realizing she thinks of him more as a big brother than a romantic prospect, she refuses his offer. Jo later deals with the added disappointment that Aunt March has decided to take Amy, who is now sixteen (and now played by Samantha Mathis), with her to Europe instead of her. Crushed, Jo departs for New York City to pursue her dream of writing and experiencing life. There she meets Friedrich Bhaer (Gabriel Byrne), a German professor who challenges and stimulates her intellectually, introduces her to opera and philosophy, and encourages her to write better stories than the lurid Victorian melodramas she has penned so far.In Europe, Amy is reunited with Laurie. She is disappointed to find he has become dissolute and irresponsible and scolds him for pursuing her merely to become part of the March family. In return, he bitterly rebukes her for courting one of his wealthy college friends in order to marry into money. He leaves Amy a letter asking her to wait for him while he works in London for his grandfather and makes himself worthy of her. Jo is summoned home to see Beth, who finally dies of the lingering effects of scarlet fever that have plagued her for the past four years. Grieving for her sister, Jo retreats to the comfort of the attic and begins to write her life story. Upon its completion, she sends it to Professor Bhaer. Meanwhile, Meg gives birth to twins Demi and Daisy. A letter from Amy informs the family Aunt March is too ill to travel, so Amy must remain in Europe with her. In London, Laurie receives a letter from Jo in which she informs him of Beth’s death and mentions Amy is in Vevey, unable to come home. Laurie immediately travels to be at Amy’s side. They finally return to the March home as husband and wife, much to Jo’s surprise and eventual delight.Aunt March dies and she leaves Jo her house, which she decides to convert into a school. Professor Bhaer arrives with the printed galley proofs of her manuscript but when he mistakenly believes Jo has married Laurie he departs to catch a train to the West, where he is to become a teacher. Jo runs after him and explains the misunderstanding. When she begs him not to leave, he proposes marriage and she happily accepts.It’s a small scale masterpiece that will leave you in tears. The film is honest and true in it’s portrayal of human emotion. It went from being an adaptation of the book to it’s own story and portrayal of people and their lives. It’s beautiful aesthetically and dramatically, and a real gem of a film.

 

REVIEW: FLOWERS OF WAR

Starring

Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
Ni Ni (Fleet of Time)
Zhang Xinyi (Look for A Star)
Tong Dawei (Badges of Fury)
Atsuro Watabe (Zebraman)
Shigeo Kobayashi (Railroad Man)
Paul Schneider (Elizabethtown)

Christian Bale in Jin ling shi san chai (2011)In 1937, Japan invades China, beginning the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese Imperial Army overruns China’s capital city, Nanking, in December and carries out the systematic and brutal Nanking massacre.Christian Bale and Ni Ni in Jin ling shi san chai (2011)As the invading Japanese overpower the Chinese army, desperate schoolgirls flee to the nominally protective walls of their convent at a Western-run Roman Catholic cathedral. Here, John Miller (Bale), an American mortician on a task to bury the head priest, joins the group of innocent schoolgirls. He finds a boy there, George, an orphan who was raised by the dead priest, and taught English. The boy is the same age as the schoolgirls. Soon a group of flamboyant prostitutes arrive at the cathedral, seeking refuge by hiding in the cellar. Pretending to be a priest, Miller tries to keep everyone safe while trying to repair the convent’s truck to use for an escape.Ni Ni in Jin ling shi san chai (2011)After an incident when rogue Japanese forces assault the cathedral (who are then killed by the dying effort of a lone Chinese Major (Tong)), Japanese Colonel Hasegawa promises to protect the convent by placing guards outside the gate, and requests that the schoolgirls sing a chorale for him. Several days later, he hands Miller an official invitation for the schoolgirls to sing at the Japanese Army’s victory celebration. Fearing for the safety of the virginal schoolgirls, Miller declines. Hasegawa informs him that it is an order and that the girls are going to be picked up the next day. Before they leave, the Japanese soldiers count the schoolgirls and erroneously include one of the prostitutes (who has strayed from the cellar), totalling 13.When the de facto leader of the schoolgirls, Shu Juan (Xinyi), convinces them that they are better off committing suicide by jumping off the cathedral tower, they are saved at the last moment when the de facto leader of the prostitutes, Yu Mo (Ni), convinces her group to protect the schoolgirls by taking their place at the Japanese party. As there are only 12 prostitutes, George, the dead priest’s adoptive son, volunteers as well. Miller initially opposes their self-sacrificing decision, but ultimately assists in disguising them, using his skills as a mortician to adjust their makeup and cut their hair to appear like schoolgirls. The prostitutes also create knives out of broken windows and hide them in their cloaks.The next day, the “13 Flowers of Nanking” are led away by the unsuspecting Japanese soldiers. After they depart, Miller hides the schoolgirls on the truck he repaired and, using a single-person permit provided by the father of a schoolgirl, drives out of Nanking. In the last scene, the truck is seen driving on a deserted highway heading west, away from the advancing Japanese army. The fate of the 13 Flowers remains unknown, apparently martyring themselves for the students’ freedom.Bale is great in the lead, as always, as commanding a presence as any actor working today and his female counterpart, newcomer Ni Ni, is someone to watch out for, she is beautiful and has a star quality that is undeniable. Although it runs well over two hours, I never lost interest and I really cared about what happened to the victims of this sad part of history. The Flowers of War will reach into your heart and soul and stay with you long after the credits roll.

REVIEW: HOSTILES

 

Starring

Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Wes Studi (Road To Paloma)
Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad)
Adam Beach (Sucide Squad)
Rory Cochrane (Argo)
Peter Mullan (War Horse)
Scott Wilson (The Great Gatsby)
Paul Anderson (Peaky Blinders)
Timothée Chalamet (Lady Bird)
Ben Foster (Hell or High Water)
Jonathan Majors (White Boy Rick)
John Benjamin Hickey (The Ex)
Q’orianka Kilcher (The New World)
Tanaya Beatty (Artic Air)
Stephen Lang (Avatar)
Bill Camp (12 Years a Slave)
Scott Shepherd (Jason Bourne)
Robyn Malcolm (The Outpost)

Christian Bale in Hostiles (2017)In 1892, settler Rosalee Quaid and her family are attacked by a Comanche war group who kill and scalp her husband and also shoot and kill her three children. Only Rosalee manages to escape the attack by hiding in a small rock outcrop in the forest. In Fort Berringer, New Mexico, Captain Joseph Blocker rounds up an escaping Apache family and brings them back to the fort. He is then called to the office of Colonel Abraham Biggs, who informs him of his final orders before retirement. On a directive from President Harrison, he is to escort dying Cheyenne war chief, Yellow Hawk, and four members of his family back to their tribal lands in Montana.Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike in Hostiles (2017)Under threat of a court-martial and loss of his pension, Blocker reluctantly accepts, despite his own gory history with the chief, who was responsible for the death of several of his friends and comrades. Blocker chooses the detail that will accompany him: his trusty old friend, First Sergeant Thomas Metz, long-time aide Corporal Woodson, and promising newcomer Lieutenant Kidder, fresh from West Point. Biggs also assigns to the detail a young French-speaking recruit, Private Desjardins.Q'orianka Kilcher, Rosamund Pike, Tanaya Beatty, and Xavier Horsechief in Hostiles (2017)They begin their journey but Blocker orders a stop and has the two native men put in chains. The group comes across the charred Quaid house and dead settler. Inside the house, they find Rosalee and her three “sleeping” children. Rosalee is initially hostile towards the Cheyenne family because of the attack on her family but agrees to sleep in their camp after some coaxing from Blocker. She is convinced to bury her family and join Blocker’s detail until their next stop-over. They are soon ambushed by the Comanche party, resulting in Desjardins’s death and Woodson being seriously wounded. After this attack, Yellow Hawk convinces Blocker that it is in everyone’s best interest to unchain him and his family. The next day, the bodies of the surviving Comanche party, who had managed to flee during their previous encounter, are discovered dead. Blocker deduces that Yellow Hawk and his son, Black Hawk, killed them thanks to Metz allowing them to leave the camp during the night.Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike in Hostiles (2017)After a brief stop at Fort Winslow in Colorado to drop off the wounded Woodson and widow Rosalee, Blocker is asked to take disgraced Sergeant Charles Wills, who killed a family with an ax, to be court-martialed and hanged at his original post along the way to Montana. Joining Blocker’s company to oversee Wills are Corporal Tommy Thomas and Sergeant Malloy. Meanwhile, Rosalee decides to continue on with Blocker, despite being offered sanctuary at Fort Winslow until the next supply train at Christmas. One night, the women are abducted by three fur traders as they wash dishes in the stream by their camp. The company, assisted by Yellow Hawk and Black Hawk, track down the fur traders, slaughter them and rescue the women; however, Sergeant Malloy is killed. During a downpour, Wills fools Kidder into sympathetically undoing his chains, then kills him and escapes, but not before Blocker wounds him. Metz tracks down and kills Wills, then takes his own life, succumbing to decades of post-traumatic stress and guilt. Blocker subsequently makes peace with Yellow Hawk for all of the harms they have inflicted upon each other.Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike in Hostiles (2017)They arrive at the chief’s tribal lands in Montana where he succumbs to his illness and is buried. A man and his three sons ride up, state that they own the land, and order Blocker and the rest of the group to leave with the chief’s body. Blocker informs them of his presidential authority but a brutal gun battle ensues leaving only three survivors: Blocker, Rosalee, and Yellow Hawk’s young grandson, Little Bear. In the final scene, Rosalee and Little Bear reluctantly depart on a train from Montana to Chicago, without Blocker, but, at the last second, Blocker steps onto the back of the train and into the carriage.Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike in Hostiles (2017)Christian Bale delivers a knockout performance. As the conflicted & haunted Cavalry officer, Bale portrays the part with rare conviction. Its no new fact that Bale is among our greats, but ‘Hostiles’ shows us a side of his that may have just put him up there, right next to the all-time screen giants. What a wonderfully nuanced performance by Bale. Of the rest of the cast, Wes Studi portrays his complex part fantastically. Rosamund Pike is restrained. She’s controlled & believable all through. Jesse Plemons is solid, as always. Ben Foster plays a yet another unlikable character, with the perfect blend of menace & insanity. Rory Cochrane is first-rate. Timothée Chalamet makes a very brief appearance, yet he does his bit nicely. Stephen Lang, again in a cameo, is outstanding! Others lend good support.

On the whole, ‘Hostiles’ demands a viewing on the strength of its sheer merits. Don’t Miss This One!

REVIEW: SHAFT (2000)

CAST

Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty)
Christian Bale (Batman Begins)
Jeffrey Wright (Source Code)
Busta Rhymes (Halloween 8)
Dan Hedaya (Commando)
Toni Collette (Japanese Story)
Richard Roundtree (Heroes)
Sonja Sohn (The Originals)
Mekhi Phifer (Divergent)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Lee Tergesen (The Purge TV)
Ruben Santiago-Hudson (THe Devil’s Advocate)
Pat Hingle (Batman)
Daniel von Bargen (Robocop 3)
Peter McRobbie (Daredevil)
Will Chase (Impulse)
Isaac Hayes (South Park)
Doug Hutchison (The Green Mile)
Deirdre Lovejoy (Bones)
Gloria Reuben (Cloak & Dagger)

17xp-anderson1-articleLargeNYPD Detective John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson) is called in to investigate the racially motivated murder of Trey Howard (Mekhi Phifer), committed by Walter Wade, Jr. (Christian Bale), the son of a wealthy real estate tycoon. Shaft briefly meets a potential eyewitness to the murder, Diane Palmieri (Toni Collette), but she disappears soon after and cannot be found for the trial. Wade is released on bail and flees to Switzerland.

Two years later, Wade returns and Shaft rearrests him for leaving the country. During his temporary incarceration at police headquarters, Wade meets Peoples Hernandez (Jeffrey Wright), a Dominican drug lord. Wade relinquishes his passport and is released on bail again; in frustration Shaft resigns from the police force, promising to bring Wade to justice on his own terms. Worried that Shaft might find the missing eyewitness, Wade hires Peoples to find and kill her first.

Shaft continues his search for Diane, enlisting the help of his friends Detective Carmen Vasquez (Vanessa L. Williams) and taxi driver Rasaan (Busta Rhymes). While visiting Diane’s uncooperative mother, Shaft and Carmen realise they are being followed by officers Jack Roselli (Dan Hedaya) and Jimmy Groves (Ruben Santiago-Hudson), who have been paid by Peoples to follow Shaft and get to Diane. Shaft finally finds her, but before they can talk, they are attacked by Peoples’s men. In the shootout, Shaft kills Peoples’s younger brother. Shaft, Diane, Rasaan, and Diane’s brother manage to escape to Rasaan’s apartment, but they are followed by Roselli and Groves. While at the apartment, Diane confesses that she saw the entire murder, and kept silent in return for a payoff from Wade’s father.17xp-anderson1-articleLargeWhen Peoples arrives at the location, another shootout takes place. Roselli and Groves, outed as corrupt, are killed by Carmen. In a face-off between Shaft and Peoples, Peoples insinuates that he’s been working for Wade, and Shaft kills him. Wade’s trial finally arrives. Before it can begin, however, he is gunned down by Trey’s mother, Carla Howard (Lynne Thigpen). In the police station, Shaft reiterates to Carmen that he prefers to be a private detective. A woman arrives, asking for Shaft to help her, claiming to have an abusive boyfriend. Shaft is initially reluctant, but when he sees her injury, he decides to help her anyway. Shaft, along with his uncle, John Shaft I (Richard Roundtree), go together to confront the abusive boyfriend.

This Shaft is a great movie for anyone who’s a fan of the original, Sam Jackson, or great action movies in general.

 

REVIEW: EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS

Image result for exodus steelbook

CAST

 Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
Joel Edgerton (The Gift)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
John Turturro (Transformers)
Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises)
Maria Valverde (Cracks)
Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
Indira Varma (Game of Thrones)
Ewen Bremner (Snatch)

Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Tara Fitzgerald (Game of Thrones)

 

In 1300 BC, Moses, a general and member of the royal family, prepares to attack the Hittite army with Prince Ramesses. A High Priestess of Sekhmet (the war goddess) divines a prophecy from animal intestines, which she relates to Ramesses’ father, Seti I. He tells the two men of the prophecy, in which one (of Moses and Ramesses) will save the other and become a leader. During the attack on the Hittites, Moses saves Ramesses’ life, leaving both men troubled. Later, Moses is sent to the city of Pithom to meet with the Viceroy Hegep, who oversees the Hebrew slaves. Upon his arrival, he encounters the slave Joshua, who is the descendant of Joseph, and Moses is appalled by the horrific conditions of the slaves. Shortly afterwards, Moses meets Nun, who informs him of his true lineage; he is the child of Hebrew parents who was sent by his sister Miriam to be raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses is stunned at the revelation and leaves angrily. However, two Hebrews also overhear Nun’s story and report their discovery to Hegep.
Seti dies soon after Moses’ return to Memphis, and Ramesses becomes the new Pharaoh (Ramesses II). Hegep arrives to reveal Moses’ true identity, but Ramesses is conflicted about whether to believe the story. At the urging of Queen Tuya, he interrogates the servant Miriam, who denies being Moses’ sister. When Ramesses threatens to cut off Miriam’s arm, Moses comes to her defense, revealing he is a Hebrew. Although Tuya wants Moses to be put to death, Ramesses decides to send him into exile. Before leaving Egypt, Moses meets with his adopted mother and Miriam, who refer to him by his birth name of Moishe. Following a journey into the desert, Moses comes to Midian where he meets Zipporah and her father, Jethro. Moses becomes a shepherd, marries Zipporah and has a son Gershom.
Nine years later, Moses gets injured during a rockslide. He comes face to face with a burning bush and a boy called Malak, who serves as a representative of the God of Abraham. While recovering, Moses confesses his past to Zipporah and reveals what God has asked him to do. This drives a wedge between the couple, because Zipporah fears he will leave their family. After he arrives in Egypt, Moses reunites with Nun and Joshua, as well as meeting his brother Aaron for the first time. Moses returns to confront Ramesses, demanding the Hebrews be released from servitude. Ramesses refuses to listen, insisting that to free the slaves would be economically impossible. Upon Moses threatening Ramesses’ life, Ramesses orders the death of Moses, executing random Hebrew families until he is found.
Using his military skills, Moses trains the slaves in the art of war. The Hebrews start attacking the Egyptians, prompting Ramesses to raid slave villages. Malak appears to Moses and explains that ten plagues will affect Egypt. All the water in the land turns to blood, and the Egyptians are further afflicted by the arrival of frogs, lice, and flies. The plagues of the death of livestock, boils, hail and thunder, locusts, and darkness continue to affect the Egyptians. While conversing with Malak, Moses is horrified at learning the tenth plague will be the death of all firstborn children. The Hebrews protect themselves by covering their doors with the blood of lambs, as instructed by Moses. Ramesses is devastated over his son’s death and relents, telling Moses and the Hebrews to leave.
During the exodus from Egypt, the Hebrews follow Moses’ original path through the desert and towards the Red Sea. Still grieving for his son, Ramesses decides to go after the Hebrews with his army. After making their way through a dangerous mountain pass, Moses and the Hebrews arrive at the edge of the sea, uncertain about what to do. Moses flings his sword into the water, which begins to recede. Ramesses and his army pursue the Hebrews, but Moses stays behind to confront them. The Red Sea reverts to its normal state, drowning the majority of the Egyptians (crossing the Red Sea). Moses survives and makes his way back to the Hebrews. Ramesses is revealed to have survived, but he is distraught over the destruction of his army. Moses leads the Hebrews back to Midian, where he reunites with Zipporah and Gershom. At Mount Sinai, after seeing Malak’s displeasure at the Hebrews’ construction of the Golden Calf, Moses transcribes the Ten Commandments. Years later, an elderly Moses riding with the Ark of the Covenant sees Malak walking with the Hebrews through the desert.
For those worried about the much-hyped portrayal of God as a young ‘brat’, I think this is in the most part a misunderstanding of what Scott was trying to do here. Yes, God is shown to ‘appear’ to Moses as a young child, but is it mere coincidence that the child is of roughly the same age as Moses’s son at the time? It can be argued that, in Scott’s depiction, God merely appears to Moses in a form he knows he will relate to. I think it also gives realism and a more human face to Moses that means we can relate to him – after all, it’s clear from the Biblical account that he has imperfections.
Exodus makes an interesting attempt to show his inner battles, frustrations and complexity of his relationship with God, those he grew up with and those he then leads. This includes the struggles of his family to accept God’s will for him (which is an interesting addition by Scott) and another interesting focus on Moses’s struggle to accept that God is in control and be humbled.

For me, Exodus harks back to the true Biblical epic in a way I’d not expected would be possible in this age. Unlike all the recent output and even going back to the Passion of the Christ, The Last Temptation… and others, there is no agenda here. It is a fair account done with impressive visual flair.

REVIEW: AMERICAN HUSTLE

AMERICAN HUSTLE
CAST
Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games)
Bradley Cooper (Limitless)
Amy Adams (Man of Steel)
Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy)
Louis C.K. (Blue Jasmine)
Michael Pena (The Martian)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Alessandro Nivola (Jurassic Park 3)
Elisabeth Rohm (Heroes)
Said Taghmaoui (Lost)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Jack Huston (Outlander)
Anthony Zerbe (The Matrix Reloaded)
In 1978, con artists Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) have started a relationship and are working together. Sydney has improved Rosenfeld’s scams, posing as English aristocrat “Lady Edith Greensly”. Irving loves Sydney, though is hesitant to leave his unstable and histrionic[8] wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), fearing he will lose contact with her son Danny, whom Irving has adopted. Rosalyn has also threatened to report Irving to the police if he leaves her.
FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) catches Irving and Sydney in a loan scam, but offers to release them if Irving can line up four additional arrests. Sydney opposes the agreement. Richie believes Sydney is English but has proof that her claim of aristocracy is fraudulent. Sydney tells Irving she will manipulate Richie, distancing herself from Irving.
Irving has a friend pretending to be a wealthy Arab sheikh looking for potential investments in America. An associate of Irving’s suggests the sheikh do business with Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) of Camden, New Jersey, who is campaigning to revitalize gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey, but has struggled in fundraising. Carmine seems to have a genuine desire to help the area’s economy and his constituents.
Richie devises a plan to make mayor Polito the target of a sting operation, despite the objections of Irving and of Richie’s boss, Stoddard Thorsen (Louis C.K.). Sydney helps Richie manipulate an FBI secretary into making an unauthorized wire transfer of $2,000,000. When Stoddard’s boss, Anthony Amado (Alessandro Nivola), hears of the operation, he praises Richie’s initiative, pressuring Stoddard to continue. Carmine leaves their meeting when Richie presses him to accept a cash bribe. Irving convinces Carmine the sheikh is legitimate, expressing his dislike of Richie, and the two become friends. Richie arranges for Carmine to meet the sheikh, and without consulting the others, has Mexican-American FBI agent Paco Hernandez (Michael Peña) play the sheikh, which displeases Irving. Carmine brings the sheikh to a casino party, explaining mobsters are there and it is a necessary part of doing business. Irving is surprised to hear that Mafia overlord Victor Tellegio (Robert De Niro), right-hand man to Meyer Lansky, is present, and that he wants to meet the sheikh. Mafia man Tellegio explains that the business needs the sheikh to become an American citizen and that Carmine will need to expedite the process. Tellegio also requires a $10,000,000 wire transfer to prove the sheikh’s legitimacy. Richie agrees, eager to bring down Tellegio, while Irving realizes the operation is out of control.
Richie confesses his strong attraction to Sydney but becomes confused and aggressive when she drops her English accent and admits to being American. Irving arrives to protect Sydney and tries to stop their deal with Richie, but Richie says if they back out, Tellegio will learn of the scam and will murder them all, including Rosalyn and Danny. Rosalyn starts an affair with a mobster, Pete Musane (Jack Huston), whom she met at the party. She mentions her belief that Irving is working with the Internal Revenue Service, causing Pete to threaten Irving, who promises to prove the sheikh’s investment is real. Irving later confronts Rosalyn, who admits she told Pete. She agrees to keep quiet but wants a divorce.
With Carmine’s help, Richie and Irving videotape members of Congress receiving bribes. Richie assaults Stoddard in a fight over the money and later convinces Amado that he needs the $10,000,000 to get Tellegio, but gets only $2,000,000. A meeting is arranged at the offices of Tellegio’s lawyer, Alfonse Simone (Paul Herman), but Tellegio does not appear. Richie records Simone’s admission of criminal activities.
Irving visits mayor and friend Carmine and admits to the scam, but says he has a plan to help him. Carmine throws Irving out and the loss of their friendship hits Irving hard. Irving and Sydney meet with Amado, Stoddard and Richie. The feds inform Irving that their $2,000,000 is missing, and that they have received an anonymous offer to return the money in exchange for Irving and Sydney’s immunity and a reduced sentence for Carmine. Richie accuses the duo of theft. Irving suggests Richie either has the money or is incompetent for losing it. In fact, he reveals, they never met with Tellegio’s lawyer. Instead, Irving had a friend, Edward Malone (the host of the party where he met Sydney) pose as Simone to con Richie. Amado accepts the deal and Stoddard removes Richie from the case, which effectively ends his career, dropping him back into obscurity. Irving and Sydney move in together and open a legitimate art gallery, while Rosalyn lives with Pete and shares custody of Danny with Irving.
David O. Russell has had a good record of making extremely enjoyable films, and many of them display a great sense of artistic achievement. in “American Hustle” he excelled himself in juggling his superb cast in a perfectly integrated ensemble. This is certainly a film that no film lover should miss.

REVIEW: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

CAST

Christian Bale (The Machinist)
Gary Oldman (Robocop)
Tom Hardy (Inception)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper)
Anne Hathaway (Interstellar)
Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
Morgan Freeman (High Crimes)
Michael Caine (Quills)
Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket)
Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones)
Nestor Carbonell (Ringer)
Juno Temple (Horns)
Josh Stewart (The Punisher)
William Devane (Lois & Clark)
Joey King (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Liam Neeson (Taken)
Cillian Murphy (Red Eye)
Desmond Harrington (Wrong Turn)
Ben Mendelsohn (Rady Player One)
Burn Gorman (Game of Thrones)
Daniel Sunjata (Gone)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Glen Powell (Scream Queens)
Ian Bohen (Young Hercules)
Noel Gugliemi (Training Day)
Patrick Cox (2 Broke Girls)
Wade Williams (Ganster Squad)
Josh Pence (Battleship)
Christopher Judge (Staragte SG.1)
Michael Papajohn (Spider-Man)

The story takes place eight years after the events of the second film in the Christopher Nolan Batman film series. The Dent Act, dedicated to the late district attorney Harvey Dent, grants the Gotham City Police Department powers which nearly eradicate organized crime. Police Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman) feels increasingly guilty for covering up Dent’s crimes. He writes a resignation speech confessing the truth but decides not to use it.

Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a recluse, broken by the death of Rachel Dawes. Batman, whom Bruce deems no longer necessary, has disappeared. Cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) obtains Bruce’s fingerprints from his home and kidnaps congressman Byron Gilley (Brett Cullen). She hands the fingerprints to Phillip Stryver (Burn Gorman), an assistant to Bruce’s business rival John Daggett (Ben Mendelsohn). In return, she asks him to have her criminal record erased. Stryver double-crosses Selina, but she uses the Gilley’s phone to alert the police to their location. Gordon and the police arrive to find the congressman, and then pursue Stryver’s men into the sewers while Selina flees. Bane (Tom Hardy), a masked mercenary, captures Gordon and finds his resignation speech. Gordon escapes and is found by John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a patrol officer. Gordon promotes Blake to detective, with Blake reporting directly to him. Bane attacks the Gotham Stock Exchange, using Bruce’s fingerprints in a transaction that bankrupts Bruce. Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) reveals that Rachel had intended to marry Dent before she died. Alfred then resigns in an attempt to convince Bruce to move on from being Batman.

Wayne Enterprises is unprofitable after Bruce discontinued his fusion reactor project when he learned that the core could be weaponized. Fearing that Daggett, Bane’s employer, would gain access to the reactor, Bruce asks Wayne Enterprises board member Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) to take over his company. Catwoman agrees to take Batman to Bane but instead leads him into Bane’s trap. Bane reveals that he intends to fulfill Ra’s al Ghul’s (Liam Neeson) mission to destroy Gotham with the League of Shadows remnant. He engages Batman and delivers a crippling blow to his back, before taking him to a foreign, well-like prison where escape is virtually impossible. There, the inmates tell Bruce the story of Ra’s al Ghul’s child, born in the prison and cared for by a fellow prisoner before escaping—the only prisoner to have ever done so. Bruce assumes the child to be Bane.
Bane lures Gotham police underground and traps them there. He kills Mayor Anthony Garcia (Nestor Carbonell) and forces Dr. Leonid Pavel (Alon Abutbul), a Russian nuclear physicist he kidnapped from Uzbekistan six months prior, to convert the reactor core into a nuclear bomb. Bane uses the bomb to hold the city hostage and isolate Gotham from the world. Using Gordon’s stolen speech, Bane reveals the cover-up of Dent’s crimes and releases the prisoners of Blackgate Penitentiary, initiating anarchy. The wealthy and powerful have their property expropriated, are dragged from their homes, and are given show trials presided over by Dr. Jonathan Crane (Cillian Murphy), where all are sentenced to death.

After spending months recovering and re-training, Bruce escapes from the prison. He enlists Selina, Blake, Tate, Gordon, and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) to help stop the bomb’s detonation. He hands the Batpod to Selina, tasking her with helping people evacuate and saving herself. She asks him to come along, leaving Gotham to its fate, but he refuses. While the police and Bane’s forces clash, Batman overpowers Bane. He interrogates Bane for the bomb’s trigger, but Tate intervenes and stabs him. She reveals herself to be Talia al Ghul, Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter. Bane is her protector, who aided her escape from the prison. She uses the detonator, but Gordon has successfully approached the bomb and blocks her signal, preventing remote detonation. Talia leaves to find the bomb while Bane prepares to kill Batman, but Catwoman returns on the Badpod and kills Bane. Batman and Catwoman pursues Talia, hoping to bring the bomb back to the reactor where it can be stabilized. Talia’s truck crashes, but she remotely destroys the reactor before dying. With no way to stop the detonation, Batman uses the Bat to haul the bomb over the bay, where it detonates. In the aftermath, Batman is presumed dead and is honored as a hero. With Bruce Wayne also presumed dead, Wayne Manor becomes an orphanage, and Bruce’s remaining estate is left to Alfred. Fox discovers that Bruce had fixed the Bat’s autopilot, Gordon finds the Bat-Signal refurbished and Alfred sees Bruce and Selina together while visiting Florence. John Blake resigns from the police force and inherits the Batcave.Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)A great end to the Dark Knight trilogy, this along with the first two will always remain three of my favorite films.