Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Can't Knock the 'Hustle'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Can't Knock the 'Hustle'

Article excerpt

'American Hustle' ***1/2

Whatever the ratio of truth to fanciful invention, "American Hustle" is a thoroughly entertaining and zany trip back to the late 1970s.

Director David O. Russell reunites with actors who won Oscars or were nominated under his direction, notably Christian Bale and Amy Adams ("The Fighter"), Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper ("Silver Linings Playbook"), and brings Jeremy Renner into the fold.

Mr. Bale plays Irving Rosenfeld, a con man who has been playing fast and loose with the law since he was a boy who drummed up customers for his father's glass-replacement business by breaking windows. He eventually inherited that outfit, runs a chain of dry cleaners and adds dealing in stolen or forged artwork and bilking loan seekers to his portfolio.

He gains a partner and a mistress in onetime stripper Sydney Prosser (Ms. Adams), who pretends to be an Englishwoman with London banking connections. But she takes money from the wrong man and lands the pair in the clutches of ambitious FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Mr. Cooper, with permed hair).

"American Hustle" fictionalizes Abscam and uses it to explore larger questions and issues. Mr. Russell injects the story with comedy, tension, surprise and sympathy for the characters. It's exhilarating and energetic, and the acting is terrific across the board.

Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence.

Extras include a making-of featurette, deleted and extended scenes.

-- Post-Gazette

'Frozen' ***1/2

"Frozen," featuring not one but two princesses, is reminiscent of "The Little Mermaid" thanks to songs performed by Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell.

Very loosely inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," the animated movie opens with young Elsa (voice of Ms. Menzel) turning the inside of the girls' palatial home into a winter wonderland. …

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