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I can’t wait to see it again. Russell and screenwriter Eric Warren Singer have made engaging fiction out of history. For those in need of a tutorial, Abscam was a government-sponsored sweep of corruption during the ’70s and ’80s that wound up corralling politicos who took the bait and got involved in shady deals. Originally, “Hustle” was envisioned as a more traditional overview of the sting operation. Russell modified that, sprucing the screenplay up with his personal memories and reflections of the time, along with doses of humor. The result is a character-rich story that distills down to its very essence of the ’70s, a time when Americans adopted affectations only to confront a dawning reality that left them wanting to drop phony facades.
While Amy Adams and Christian Bale are the main stars, this is a true ensemble set piece with one outstanding performance after another, Adams, vampish and never more alluring, plays Sydney Prosser, a poser who adopts a phony British accent and hooks up grishko pointe shoes online with crafty Bronx con artist Irving Rosenfeld (a potbellied Bale in a bad toupee), In a sly move, Bale speaks almost like Robert De Niro, Later in the film, Irving meets up with a mobster played by — who else? — an uncredited De Niro, The priceless exchange is one of many..
Sydney and Irving are two hucksters with big ambitions. They become partners and lovers, even though Irving is married to the temperamental and just plain mental Rosalyn (Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence, in one of the year’s best, most lightning-in-a-bottle performances). Sydney and Irving find themselves caught in the ambitious cross hairs of the handsome but smarmy FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper, so ideal for this part), who lives at home with his mom. DiMaso also sees the New Jersey mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) as his promotion-hopping meal ticket.
To relate this big story — which is reminiscent of a grishko pointe shoes online Martin Scorsese film — Russell avoids the confinement of A-to-Z storytelling, He toys with time sequence and uses flashbacks along with alternating voice-over narrations to fully flesh it out, Executed poorly, it would be a potential disaster, Here it’s pulled off with irresistible high spirits, Even with a freewheeling style, “Hustle” is never aimless, All that flash, sass and canny sense for detail hit the jackpot, and will likely score more Oscar nominations for the Lawrence-Russell-Cooper dream team as well as for Russell regulars, Bale and Adams..
Dubbed “XXmas,” the show is once again a selection of old favorites and new delights. The program is divided into two sections. The first, Classical Christmas, features music from Bach, Mozart, Prokofiev and other classical composers and artists. Although it comprises over a dozen discrete 3- or 4-minute pieces by several different choreographers, the common theme in costuming and set along with the classical style help each piece blend smoothly into the next. Standouts in Classical Christmas included some old favorites — all choreographed by Michael Smuin.
• the uplifting opening piece, “Magnificat;”, • “Veni, Veni Emmanuel,” a stately dance for seven women that builds from simple walking into beautiful and intricate patterns;, • “Ave Maria,” a solo set to music by grishko pointe shoes online Schubert and featuring the stunning Erin Yarbrough, A new creation by choreographer Robert Dekkers, “The Bells,” is a wonderful addition to the classical lineup, Set to the traditional song “The Carol of the Bells,” the piece demands speed, precision and extraordinary energy from its cast of three men and three women, The structure of the dance loosely follows the structure of the song, with the dancers moving between harmony, canon and unison..
After the intermission comes the Cool Christmas, where the choreographers and dancers get to display their more theatrical and comedic talents. The pieces — which are set to more contemporary music from jazz to rock’n’roll to electronic remixes of pop standards — are diverse, high-energy and humorous. No Christmas Ballet program would be complete without Smuin’s classic “Santa Baby.” This is Erica Felsh’s first year performing the role, and she brought her own cheeky interpretation, coping beautifully with the super-sized feather boa and perilous heels. The audience also welcomed the return of Val Caniparoli’s “Jingle Bells Mambo,” featuring John Speed Orr, Weston Krukow and Jonathan Powell as a trio of tipsy sleazes à la Christopher Walken’s “The Continental” character from Saturday Night Live.
Guest performer and Smuin Ballet alum Shannon Hurlburt brought the house down with Smuin’s “Bells of Dublin,” a sort of tap/Irish step dancing fusion that has been a staple of The Christmas Ballet for over a grishko pointe shoes online decade, Smuin Ballet has a crop of excellent new dancers this year, In particular, Jo-Ann Sundermeier stands out for her elegant technique and engaging stage presence in her opening solo in Smuin’s “Jauchzet Frohlocket.” Krukow, another new member, is listed as an apprentice in the program but was cast in many roles and danced with exceptional assurance and enthusiasm..