American Hustle


American Hustle is the cinematic equivalent of pantomime – big hair, big accents, big acting –  a cynical, awards-baiting concoction that plays to the gallery; so slavishly does it follow the formula of last year’s best picture winner, Argo, that it may actually be a sequel. O Russell is better than this.


The Place Beyond the Pines




Like Blue ValentineTPBTP is a tale of two halves – one hopeful, one bleak – but in this world life is unfair and the halves uneven. Moving hastily to cover too much story, the film isn’t always convincing, but it is surprising. Cianfrance has a classic in him somewhere.