A Dog Distracted By A Squirrel: American Hustle, Reviewed.

1. David O. Russell is a director who doesn't know what he's doing. I say this with legitimate, if cautious, admiration. Some of our most celebrated directors have been incorrigible perfectionist assholes: David Fincher makes actors do hundreds of takes; Kubrick sent crazy (but not wrong) letters to projectionists;… » 12/17/13 5:57pm 12/17/13 5:57pm

What Happened To The Jokes? The Hangover, Part III, Reviewed.

1. The Hangover, Part III is better than Part II, but not by much, and really only because it didn't just recycle, almost beat for beat, the plot of the first film. The plot it lands on this time isn't much better, though, and all told, it doesn't have much more energy than that film did. The two sequels to The… » 5/22/13 6:45pm 5/22/13 6:45pm

An Epic That Stumbles. The Place Beyond The Pines, Reviewed.

Director Derek Cianfrance's last film, Blue Valentine, was a crushing study of a couple (played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) falling apart. It was beautifully made and well acted—I loved it—but the rawness of the emotions and the ambition of the structure (cycling between the present and the past, as we see… » 3/27/13 6:15pm 3/27/13 6:15pm

Vincible. Silver Linings Playbook, Reviewed.

1. She's a grieving cop's widow, prone to nymphomania, locked away in a shed behind her parents' home, profoundly damaged—not broken, but close. He's a bipolar basket case who nearly beat a man half to death for showering with his wife, the same wife with whom he obsessively wants to reconcile, even as he rocks back… » 11/13/12 6:19pm 11/13/12 6:19pm

I ♥ David O. Russell: An Unpredictable Career Gets Back On Track

With all the great directors out there to choose from—Tarantino, Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson—it's hard to think of many aspiring filmmakers who would look at David O. Russell's career and say, "That's who I want to be." There are auteurs who follow the beat of their own drum, and then there's Russell, who just… » 11/09/12 6:27pm 11/09/12 6:27pm

A Movie About Books Made By People Who Don't Read Them. The Words,…

1. When my first book was published—and "published" is honestly being kind; it's probably more accurate to say it was "repeatedly photocopied"—perhaps the most common question family members asked me: So, are you going to go on Oprah? They were joking (I think), but something about their question was depressing. What… » 9/05/12 5:40pm 9/05/12 5:40pm