Northanger Abbey (2007): 6/10
Fluffy, cheap, and utterly inconsequential, but damn is Felicity Jones adorable. That and Jane Austen's trademark wit are enough to save this from a 4 or a 5.
Sense and Sensibility (1995): 9/10
I'm not terribly convinced by the actual story here, which relies too heavily upon contrivance to be truly satisfying in and of itself, nor am I convinced by Austen's male characters, or at least the screenplay's treatment of them. These problems would be enough in most instances to seriously drag a movie down, but director Ang Lee paces and shoots this story incredibly well, and the actors are all pitch-perfect in their roles, even if nearly every character here is a caricature of one sort of another. The key to this film's resounding success is how it rarely takes itself seriously--nearly every scene is laced with dry humor and border-line farcical elements, two elements that more Austen adaptations would do well to incorporate, or at least to emphasize. Plus, Alan Rickman. The man manages to chew the scenery here without being over-the-top or without even being a villain. Rickman is one actor I don't think I could ever tire of watching or listening to. Easily one of the finest Austen adaptations out there.
American Hustle (2013): 10/10
Director David O. Russell gifts us with his take on the heist movie, incorporating stylistic elements from Scorsese, Tarantino, and Paul Thomas Anderson, all without losing his own sensibilities. This is a generous film--absolutely thrilling and absolutely comical, stuffed to the brim (and this is a long movie!) with characters who love to talk and who are a joy to listen to, all of whom are ensnared in a typically convoluted heist movie plot in which they take turns pulling the strings and having their own strings pulled. O. Russell is smart enough to know that characters who are entertaining to watch and listen to are far more interesting than likable characters--I don't know that you'll come to care about too many of the personalities here (nearly all of which are played way over-the-top), but you'll sure love spending time with them. Fantastic use of music (not wholly unlike Goodfellas), absolutely insane wardrobe and makeup design (Amy Adams' cleavage deserves an Oscar), a couple of great cameos, and Jennifer Lawrence's role as Chaos Personified (is there nothing this woman can't do?) are just icing on a pretty much perfect cake. An instant classic, and one of the best times I've had in a theatre all year.