A rootin’, tootin’ moonshine-runnin’ flick hits theaters today. There’s violence, romance, action, and plenty of illegal activity in director John Hillcoat's Lawless, formerly known as The Wettest County in the World and based off the book of the same name, and the film boasts some serious star power for a late summer indie.
Shia LaBeouf headlines the film in one of his better performances, the ubiquitous Jessica Chastain provides the lovely lady presence, and Guy Pearce is the ruthless tormentor. But lurking in a floppy hat on the posters and in a barely visible flash in the latest ads for the Prohibition Era film is formidable screen presence Tom Hardy. And despite his subdued presence in the marketing materials, when the action starts rolling in the film, Hardy is the man holding it all together. As so often seems to be the case with the criminally underutilized actor. Of course, Hardy’s name is hardly one unfamiliar to moviegoing audiences. He was the main villain in the biggest movie of the year for godsakes. From the first whiff of his being cast as the baddie Bane in The Dark Knight Rises back in October 2010, when it was still called Batman 3, Hardy's casting was noteworthy. He rode off the buzz he got as Eames in Christopher Nolan’s last film before TDKR, Inception – which ruled the box office in summer 2010 and in which Hardy has, arguably, the best line – and straight into a role in one of the most talked-about films in the last two years. But even with his role in the record-breaking TDKR, Hardy can't seem to catch a break as a star. In this case, the culprit could be the insurmountable pressure of portraying the unlucky villain to succeed Heath Ledger's transcendent Joker in The Dark Knight and the fact that audiences had a hard time understanding his muffled dialogue overshadowed a great performance.
Hell, by the time he was gearing up for the release of 2011’s critically acclaimed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Warrior, the actor had gained enough fame to be a frequent gossip topic: Who was he dating? What’s the deal with his “fluid sexuality?” Did you see his spread in Men’s Health? Did anyone see that movie back in 2008 in which he did full frontal? (It was Bronson, and it should be known that the movie has got a lot more to it than that.) But he still wasn't quite The Next Big Thing. He wasn't the outright star of any film – even in Warrior, he was slated as the Christian Bale to Joel Edgerton’s Mark Wahlberg a la The Fighter – but Hardy was and is constantly the name on everyone’s lips whenever he takes on a new project. But why is that? He’s yet to have his own leading man role. We’ve yet to see anything we could truly call “a Tom Hardy movie.” And if that’s so, why are we constantly concerned with his ability to enunciate or if some role will be the role that makes him huge? What is it about Hardy that’s kept him the “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” of handsome, dashing, talented actors? (Even in the otherwise forgettable Valentine’s Day rom-com, This Means War, he loses the lady to hunky bona fide leading man Chris Pine). Well, it’s not for lack of the “whole package.” Freelance film writer and self-proclaimed Tom Hardy aficionado Jenni Miller tells Hollywood.com, “He's charming, he's funny, and he's honest about his screwed-up past. He is very handsome to a wide variety of people, regardless of gender or sexuality.” Not to mention actor has a wide range of ability. He can go from bashing heads in RocknRolla to staring wistfully upon the moors in Wuthering Heights. “He's got this tough guy/soft heart thing going on. I mean, hello, he was in Wuthering Heights! And that video of him rapping with a baby! It makes my brain hurt,” adds Miller. Still, Hardy, who’s enjoyed a similar level of murmured praises to those which Michael Fassbender garnered after he popped up in Inglorious Basterds in 2009, has yet to break out as the clamored-for leading man the way audiences and filmmakers, alike, pine after Fassbender. “It's definitely an interesting comparison, because both he and [Fassbender] can pull off glossy men's magazine photo shoots and physically intense work environments, although I think [Fassbender’s] Hunger probably trumps anything in Warrior or TDKR, for obvious reasons,” says Miller. And it’s true. Like Fassbender, Hardy has clearly been accepted into the Hollywood fold — he's even working with heavyweights Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire on an anti-poaching documentary already. Still, Hardy’s performances in his breakout roles are strong, but only strong enough to get him noticed. They're not mighty enough to propel him into leading man land. We should keep in mind that it wasn’t until 2011 that Fassbender blew away a wide range of audiences from varying genres with back-to-back-to-back performances in Jane Eyre, X-Men: First Class, A Dangerous Method, and his pièce de résistance Shame. It was the perfect set-up for stealing hearts and minds, and he delivered perfectly in each instance. Hardy has yet to experience that rapid fire success and he’s yet to deliver a performance to wide audiences that can match Fassbender's level. And as of now, his only upcoming project is the remake, Mad Max: Fury Road, which is in a way, his tipping point. Hardy has built up significant, and organic, buzz with his progression from “who’s that guy in Inception?” to being the breakout star of Warrior to the super villain we can’t help but talk about ad nauseam in TDKR. His next few films will be the determining factors in his rise or puttering, respectable success. He’ll either pull a Fassbender, or be relegated to respectable, but middling success of his Warrior co-star, Edgerton. The latter fate, however, would be wasteful. Longtime Hardy fan, Willie Mack, tells Hollywood.com that he realizes the difficulty in Hardy’s ability to seize the leading man spotlight. “Kind of like with Idris Elba, you see him and you want him to play a leading role … You’re hoping that once he’ll be a leading man eventually and hopefully the public will start catching on,” he says. And to some extent, he’s almost there in The Dark Knight Rises and Lawless. But not quite. He delivers performances, that while not perfect by any means, are infinitely curious. And for the time being, his roles are, at the very least, keeping audiences talking. But until he actually sinks or swims, that chatter is just about the best thing a potential big star like Hardy can hope for. Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: Weinstein Company] More: 'Lawless,' Moonshine, and America's Modern Prohibition New 'Lawless' Trailer: The Other Bad Boys Of Summer Hollywood.com's Review of 'Lawless'
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
Lohan has reportedly been trying to contact Erin Muller, and allegedly called her work phone last Thursday (21Jan10) - a direct violation of the ban his former fiancee has against him.
Lohan was taken in by Nassau County Police in New York on Thursday (28Jan10).
Joan Eames, Public Information officer at Nassau County Police Department, confirmed Lohan's arrest, telling RadarOnline.com he was detained for "criminal contempt of his Order of Protection".
Lohan has denied the charges against him, accusing Muller of lying about the phone call.
He tells the website, "Erin lied and pressed charges. She is being arrested again in NY City and Nassau County 2nd Precinct. Erin said I called her but she lied because she heard I was in Costa Rica instead. I have proof and she doesn't. Her lawyer asked for money to drop the charges. How is it that I have proof and she doesn't?"
He is due in court over the matter on 25 February (10).
Lohan was previously accused of breaking the terms of his restraining order by contacting Muller in November (09). Meanwhile, Lohan accused Muller of kicking him in the head during a heated argument later that month, but the case was dismissed earlier this month (Jan10).
Top Story: Billy Joel in Yet Another Car Crash
One wonders if Billy Joel might need a refresher course at driving school. Slightly injured but mostly embarrassed, the singer/songwriter was involved in his third car accident in two years on Sunday when he lost control of his car on a rain-slicked road and banged into a house in Nassau County, New York, The Associated Press reports. The accident occurred at about 4 p.m., when Joel, driving a vintage VW bug, crashed through a row of bushes and banged into a small beige home one block from the beach. The singer suffered a small cut on his hand but refused medical attention, AP reports. "He seemed embarrassed that he lost control of the car," witness Thomas Phillips Jr. told AP. "He said, 'I can't believe I got in another accident.' He was just going out to get a pizza." There was no evidence of alcohol or drug involvement and Joel was not suspected of any crime, Nassau County police spokeswoman Joan Eames told AP. After his second accident in June 2002, Joel checked himself into a rehabilitation center for substance abuse.
Johnson's Company Files For Bankruptcy
Don Johnson's company, Timber Doodle Glade Equity Venture LLC, which holds title on the actor's Woody Creek ranch in Aspen, Colo., filed for Chapter 11 April 14, AP reports. The bankruptcy filing follows a lawsuit brought by City National Bank of Los Angeles in March, asking the court to allow the ranch to be auctioned to collect $930,000 Johnson owes the bank. Johnson's publicist, Elliot Mintz, told AP the actor is refinancing the ranch and the bankruptcy filing will stave off creditors until Johnson can get the financing he needs.
Stone Gets Kudos From Lesbian Group
Actress Sharon Stone will receive the National Center for Lesbian Rights Spirit Award for her support of gay and lesbian civil rights, including helping to raise millions of dollars for AIDS research, AP reports. "Sharon Stone has a very long history of leadership and involvement with volunteer groups," Ruth Harris, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based center told AP. "We're honoring her for a whole range of things over a many year period."
Knight Released From Prison
After serving 10 months for violating his parole, rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight was released from a California prison Thursday, Reuter reports. A state parole panel had sent Knight back to prison on Aug. 4 for his second parole violation in a 1997 assault conviction after he punched a parking attendant outside a Hollywood nightclub last summer. Knight, 39, also announced Monday that he plans to produce a hip-hop album to benefit financially troubled families of soldiers in Iraq by Christmas, Reuters reports.
Cosmetics Maven Lauder Dies
Estee Lauder, who created one of the world's largest cosmetic companies and a $10 billion empire, died Saturday in New York from cardiopulmonary failure, Reuters reports. She was 97.
Role Call: Sykes Joins Monster, Locklear Steps Into Mother Role, Biggs in Guy X
Comedian Wanda Sykes has joined the cast of Monster-In-Law, starring Jennifer Lopez as a woman who is set to marry the perfect guy (Michael Vartan)--until she meets his mother (Jane Fonda). Sykes will play Fonda's wisecracking assistant…Speaking of mothers, Heather Locklear is set to play one to Hilary Duff in the romantic The Perfect Man. Duff plays a teenager who is trying to find the best mate for her single, romantically challenged mom. Chris Noth and Mike O'Malley also have been cast in the Universal Pictures project…American Pie's Jason Biggs has signed on to star in the dark (and cold) comedy Guy X. Set in 1979 as Ronald Reagan is gearing up his presidential campaign and the Cold War is entering its endgame, the film focuses on a hapless American soldier transferred by clerical error to the Qangattarsa base in the Arctic, and unable to escape because he no longer officially exists.