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Do the Hustle

American Hustle,” which hits theaters on December 13, already has Hollywood insiders predicting a slew of Oscar nominations. Even the trailer is getting raves — one critic likened it to “Ocean's Eleven as directed by Martin Scorcese.” In fact, it’s the work of David O. Russell, a former indie auteur known for making smart, satisfying movies with ensemble casts (“The Fighter,” “Silver Linings Playbook”). For “Hustle,” Russell brought together his all-star team, including Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence. But what’s most promising is the story. Loosely based on the infamous Abscam sting operation, it involves the FBI, the New Jersey mafia, assorted politicians and a world-class con man who pretends to be an Arab sheikh. The movie is set in the late ’70s (as you’ll know immediately from the costumes and soundtrack), beginning roughly around the time “Goodfellas” left off. —John Birmingham

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