Screening Room: ‘Joy’

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in 'Joy' (20th Century Fox)
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in ‘Joy’ (20th Century Fox)
Every holiday season now seems to come with a David O. Russell picture starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. This time out Lawrence plays Joy, a semi-fictionalized variation on the inspirational true story of Joy Mangano, a housewife-turned-inventor who became a multi-millionaire by creating the Miracle Mop and shilling them on QVC.

JoyfilmposterJoy opens, appropriately enough, on Christmas. My review is at Film Journal International:

David O. Russell’s newest ode to the multifaceted pluck of Jennifer Lawrence,Joy announces right off that it is “inspired by true stories of daring women.” Between that message and a bait-and-switch trailer, hyped up with a glowering Robert De Niro and shots of Lawrence blasting away with a shotgun, audiences may settle in thinking they’re about to be swept away by another American Hustle-like story of nervy outsiders working the system. But really, the film is about a mop…

Here’s the trailer:

New in Theaters: ‘American Hustle’

Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Bradley Cooper strut in 'American Hustle'
Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Bradley Cooper strut in ‘American Hustle’

americanhustle-poster1After last year’s wildly popular but kinda underwhelming mental-illness romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell changes things up with the sprawling, polyestered, multi-Golden Globe-nominated, 1970s scam flick American Hustle. Not a bad switchup, all things considered

American Hustle opens this weekend in limited release and goes wide on December 20. My review is at Film Racket:

Somehow there’s never been a big movie about Abscam, the ambitious late-1970s FBI corruption probe that convicted six Congressmen and one Senator for taking bribes from fake Arab sheikhs. Although it plays with a few shards of the real story, David O. Russell’s highly imitative but gung-ho drama American Hustle is not really about Abscam. What you have here, amidst all the science-fiction hair and byzantine deals cut in rooms lined with cheap wood paneling, is an epic power ballad of a story about love, friendship, and the high costs of each…

The ladies of 'American Hustle'
The ladies of ‘American Hustle’

Here’s the trailer, which reveals absolutely nothing about the plot; dig it: