The FBI's Abscam anti-corruption operation of the 1970s forms the backdrop for American Hustle, a stylish crime romp directed by David O. Russell. It reunites Russell with his Silver Linings Playbook stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, and adds Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner.
Bale is a brilliant con artist who is partnered up with a seductive Brit (Adams). They are forced to work for an FBI agent (Cooper). Just who is conning who isn't really clear, and the FBI agent seems in over his head. Caught between the two sides is a New Jersey political operator (Renner). And threatening to pull the wall down on the whole scheme is Bale's unpredictable wife (Lawrence).
Bale, who is famous for losing and gaining massive amounts of weight for his roles, packed on 40 pounds to give his character more of a presence.
American Hustle is among the leading nominees for the Golden Globe Awards, has been toasted by critics and has emerged as a possible frontrunner in next year's Oscars. Critical reception is wildly positive. Rated 18+
Last Vegas – The Bucket List meets The Hangover in this comedy about four lifelong friends, all in their 60s, who head to Las Vegas to party and gamble and celebrate the impending marriage of the last single member of their group. Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline star. Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure, The Sorcerer's Apprentice) directs. Critical reception is mixed, leaning unfavorably. Rated 13+
Homefront – Sylvester Stallone penned the screenplay to this drama, with Jason Statham taking the lead role as a widowed former drugs-enforcement agent who seeks a quiet life in a small town, but he runs into conflict with a local meth kingpin (James Franco). Kate Bosworth, Clancy Brown and Winona Ryder also star. Critical reception is mixed, leaning to unfavorable. It's at SF cinemas. Rated 18+
Journey to the Christmas Star – Because it just wouldn't feel like Christmas in Bangkok if there weren't a Christmas movie in cinemas, this Norwegian family film is about a courageous girl who sets out on an adventure to find the Christmas star, free her land from a curse and bring back a long-lost princess. It's in English with Thai subs at Major Cineplex (including EGV, Esplanade, Mega, Paragon, Paradise). Rated G
Dhoom 3 – Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra reprise their roles as Jai Dixit and Ali Akbar in this third installment of the Bollywood action franchise. Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif also star. This is one of the biggest releases in years for a Bollywood film in Thailand, opening on Friday in six theaters, including EGV Grand Seacon Square, Major Cineplex Sukhumvit, Major Rama III and Paragon, as well as Chiang Mai Airport Plaza and Major Cineplex Pattaya.
The Friese-Greene Club – The private cinema club's "antidote to holiday cheer" continues with "troubled adult" movies, offering Todd Solondz' controversial 1998 drama Happiness tonight. Tomorrow, it's American Beauty, but it's already fully booked. And Saturday is the quirky Me and You and Everyone We Know by Miranda July. Sunday is the last of the Christmas classics this season, It's a Wonderful Life. The club will then be taking a break for a week or so before returning with new programming sometime next year. The FGC is down an alley next to the Queen's Park Imperial Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22. With just nine seats, the screening room fills up fast. Also, there are often last-minute changes in the schedule, so please check the website and Facebook page before paying a visit (for example, last week, Carrie ended up being cancelled).
Captain Phillips – Tom Hanks' latest high-seas adventure wasn't due to open in Thai cinemas until around New Year's, but here it is before Christmas and it's already in a sneak preview run, playing in most multiplexes from around 8 nightly. Barkhad Abdi also stars, playing the pirate captain. Directed by Paul "Shakycam" Greengrass, it's based on an actual piracy incident. It's among the films frequently tipped for one award or another, and critical reception is mostly positive. Rated 15+
House on RCA is closed from Saturday through Christmas Eve. It'll be back open on Christmas day with Blue Is the Warmest Color, and hopefully continuing to show Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy, which is worth seeing, twice even. Next week, other movies will be released a day earlier than usual as well, thanks to the Christmas holiday. Check back then for more details.