Lawless is a good movie. Is it great? I don’t know. There was something about it that couldn’t let me fully enjoy it. The person I went with loved it. They cried, like, four times during the movie. They proclaimed it was a great film. I couldn’t.
Just like in The Dark Knight Rises I think part of that was Tom Hardy’s voice. Everyone else in the movie spoke plain English with slight accents. They had Hardy talk in a bad southern accent with a mouth full of marbles. He primarily grunted a lot.
The film takes place in Virginia during the depression and prohibition. The Bondurant brothers kind of rule the roost in the moonshine business. Legend has it they are also invincible. There’s Howard, Jason Clarke (“Brotherhood,” Public Enemies, Death Race), the oldest. He fought during WWI and mainly just gets drunk a lot. He would be the enforcer of the family. Forrest, Tom Hardy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Warrior), is the middle child. He’s also the leader. Then there’s the baby brother, Jack, Shia LaBeouf (Transformers, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Disturbia). Jack has aspirations of becoming a big time gangster like his idol, Floyd Banner, Gary Oldman (The Fifth Element, Leon: The Professional, The Dark Knight). However, Jack isn’t built like his brothers. He doesn’t have the muscle or the grit to stand up for himself and/or be violent when necessary. The men have a nice life until Special Deputy Charlie Rakes, Guy Pearce (Memento, L.A. Confidential, The Hurt Locker), comes to town. The man from Chicago is determined to shut down the liquor business…or at least get a cut of their profit, but the Bondurant’s will have none of that. So, a feud begins. After an injury to Forrest, Jack makes a deal with Banner to up their production. This also increases their money. It also makes them gangster like kings of back country moonshine.
There are two love stories in this movie. Both aren’t really necessary. Jacks love interest is Bertha Minnix, Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre, Albert Nobbs, Alice in Wonderland), the daughter of a strict religious preacher. You can imagine how that goes. For the most part the gorgeous Wasikowska goes unused. The only noteworthy scene with her is when she puts on a yellow dress. You read that right. I have no other way of describing that scene. It’s a tender moment and she steals the entire scene. The other love interest is Jessica Chastain (The Help, Take Shelter, The Tree of Life) as Maggie Beauford. She’s Forrest’s love interest, she works at the Bondurant’s restaurant/diner/thingie, and she’s from the city. Chastain is also not used very well. They only require her to show any real emotion once in the film, and her nude scene was awkward and unnecessary. I can’t believe I just complained about that.
I already mentioned my disdain for Tom Hardy’s voice so lets move on to the other major players. LaBeouf was…LaBeouf? They’re still giving the 26 year old roles that seem fit for a teenager. Childlike innocence. Naive. I wonder what he could have done if he was given the role of Forrest. His performance wasn’t bad, but it’s not exactly memorable either. Guy Pearce was another one that annoyed the shit out of me. I love the little character traits he has. It’s interesting to see a badass gangster-like being with a germ problem. However, his lack of eyebrows and severe part in his hair left me puzzled. I think a normal Pearce can be intimidating enough without drastically and comically altering his appearance. The dark horse in this one is Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) who plays Cricket Pate. The best way to describe him would probably be a crippled genius. He’s the brains behind the mechanics of the operation, but it’s his childlike innocence that wins the character. Opposite of LaBeouf his innocence is endearing. His performance was fantastic.
So why was it good? Well…the music is awesome. The setting is gorgeous. In all seriousness I’m a huge fan of the gangster/mobster genre. I liked seeing one that took it out of the big city and brought it into a small focus. We’ve always seen the gangster movies where they’re bringing the liquor in, but we’ve never had the opportunity to see where that liquor came from. The violence is also done extremely well. More like A History of Violence than Scarface.
The movie is directed by John Hillcoat. His most notable work is with the Viggo Mortensen helmed The Road. The film is based on the novel “The Wettest County in the World” by Matt Bondurant, and the screenplay is done by notable composer Nick Cave. He’s worked on the soundtrack for films like Scream, Shrek 2, Hellboy, and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
I would say to go see it in theatres for the cinematography alone, but you can really wait until this one is online or it comes out on DVD.
I never had any desire to watch The King’s Speech when it was doing the Oscar rounds. Mainly because this is what I heard, “It’s this really awesome movie about a guy who has a speech impediment and this dude teaches him how to speak properly.”
Well…doesn’t that just sound interesting? No. No it doesn’t sound interesting. I even made it half way through the movie thinking this was the dumbest fucking thing I’ve ever watched. That’s a lie, but you get the idea. Honestly though, how is a movie about a speech impediment supposed to be Oscar worthy?
Of course I had to watch it.
The movie stars Colin Firth (Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually, A Single Man) as King George VI. Well, technically the movie doesn’t start out with him as King George VI. He starts out as Albert. Albert is the second son of King George V, played by Michael Gambon (the Harry Potter series, Sleepy Hollow, the Harry Potter series). The first son is Edward, played by Guy Pearce (Memento, L.A. Confidential, The Hurt Locker), who would later become King Edward VIII. I’m getting ahead of myself but it’s kind of necessary. Albert never really expected to hold any place in politics yet his father demanded that he be involved, and give speeches. Albert had a speech impediment. They call it a stammer but really it’s more like freezing. He just clams up. His wife, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, later Queen Elizabeth, played by Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland), was determined to help him correct his impediment. After many highly reputed unsuccessful doctors she came across Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush (Quills, Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth). Lionel had a more unorthodox and impractical approach to curing speech problems. Now…here’s how all that political shit went down. When King George V died Albert’s brother, Edward, became King Edward VIII. Within a year he abdicated the throne to his brother (because he wanted to marry a twice divorced American woman), Albert, who became King George VI…father of the current Queen, Queen Elizabeth II. Naturally the role of the movie is to show how this shy, impossible public speaker, managed to become King, and conquer his own fears to do so.
No shit. The first half of the movie is boring. In fact I got to that point thinking I was entirely right that this was a stupid fucking movie to get an Oscar nod. It ended up winning four. Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay. It was nominated for a further eight. Should it have gotten that? Fuck no. I honestly don’t know what the Academy was thinking on that one. That best picture Oscar went up against Black Swan, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone. Really? A dude with a speech impediment beat 127 Hours? Did they even watch Winter’s Bone? I’m even more flabbergasted now that I’ve actually seen it. Yes, the second half of the movie is pretty fantastic. I even teared up at the end. However, to say that it was the best picture of that year? Poppycock. I won’t deny Colin Firth’s performance. It was pretty good. I still don’t know if it tops James Franco for 127 Hours or Jeff Bridges for True Grit.
The writer, David Seidler, also wrote Tucker: The Man and His Dream. That’s all I have to really say about him. Because that movie is fucking awesome. The director, Tom Hooper, the guy who one for Best Director, hadn’t really done much but TV directing. I’m pretty confused about that one.
I just…I don’t get it.
It was a good movie though. I didn’t think it was great. It has a period piece feel to it so be forewarned if you decide to watch it.
Holy shit…Lockout is Pg-13? I wouldn’t have guessed that. Was the language really that profane less? Ahem. Sorry. Anyway.
Lockout stars Guy Pearce (Memento, Ravenous, L.A. Confidential) as Snow. He’s a smartass. He’s an asshole. He’s pretty fucking hilarious. He’s also a badass. In the beginning of the movie he gets tangled up in a conspiracy plot that finds him captured and placed under arrest. Flash forward to space. Many of the worlds governments, with the United States as its head, have built a maximum security prison in space. All of the prisoners are placed in stasis. In effect there is no violence and/or sexual assaults that are common in other prisons. At the moment the prison only has several hundred inmates, but they’re planning on potentially holding hundreds of thousands. The Presidents (that being the President of the United States of America) daughter, Emilie, played by Maggie Grace (Knight and Day, “Lost,” Taken), is on a mission to see how humane a stasis prison is. She’s heard that it can cause many problems with people; including dementia, insanity, and violent behavior. So, naturally, she is going to conduct a few interviews with thawed out prisoners to see how they are doing. Because her Secret Service detail is with her one of them decides to break the rules and carry his gun in. For some insane fucking reason one of the prisoners interviewed is a deranged lunatic named Hydell, played by Joseph Gilgun (“Emmerdale,” Harry Brown, This is England). Of course Hydell causes a fuck storm and all of the prisoners are freed. Because Snow is who he is they decide to send him in like a one man army to rescue Emilie.
Basically the movie turns into Escape from New York…in space. They try to throw in a little subplot with Lennie James (“Jericho,” Snatch, Colombiana) as another agent named Shaw. Mainly that he’s trying to help Snow escape his charges. To do so Snow needs to find out where a buddy of his hid a briefcase. That buddy so happens to also be in the prison. Vincent Regan (300, Unleashed, Troy) plays Alex, the leader of the convicts. Peter Stormare (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Constantine) has the role of the asshole agent that hates Snow.
If you’ve seen Escape from New York or Escape from L.A. you can get the basic gist of what this movie is like. The action is solid, but its actually more of a comedy. I enjoyed it. There were several moments where I laughed out loud. I thought I was the only one but I could hear other people in the theatre laughing under their breath. Apparently I have a weird sense of humor.
Guy Pearce does a solid. He got jacked for this role. Rather than perform the character as all bad assery he adds a human quality to it. He’s also an asshole. I thought Maggie Grace was a bit weak. For the life of me I kept thinking she was Leslie Bibb (Iron Man, Wristcutter: A Love Story, Law Abiding Citizen). I’m sure they could have found someone better for the role. She seemed a bit…well…boring. I also thought Lennie James was spectacularly miscast. For the exact opposite reason. Lennie James is fucking awesome and they stuck him in a lackluster side role with little weight. Joseph Gilgun is fairly amazing as the main bad guy. I think they could have done an entire movie on him and I would have watched it. He’s like a deranged child that is given weapons.
The movie is a bit rushed though. It’s only a little over and hour and half and they don’t really exploit the potential of the prison. For the most part the film only follows a small group of convicts. Snow only interacts with the larger population once, and they could have done so much more with that.
A decent popcorn flick, but you can certainly wait until video.