There's an allure to imperfection. With his latest drama Lawless director John Hillcoat taps directly into the side of human nature that draws us to it. Hillcoat finds it in Prohibition history a time when the regulations of alcohol consumption were subverted by most of the population; He finds it in the rural landscapes of Virginia: dingy raw and mesmerizing. And most importantly he finds it in his main character Jack Bondurant (Shia LaBeouf) the scrappy third brother of a moonshining family who is desperate to prove his worth. Jack forcefully injects himself into the family business only to discover there's an underbelly to the underbelly. Lawless is a beautiful film that's violent as hell striking in a way only unfiltered Americana could be.
Acting as the driver for his two outlaw brothers Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) isn't enough for Jack. He's enticed by the power of the gangster figure and entranced by what moonshine money can buy. So like any fledgling entrepreneur Jack takes matters into his own hands. Recruiting crippled family friend/distillery mastermind Cricket (Dane DeHaan) the young whippersnapper sets out to brew his own batch sell it to top dog Floyd Banner and make the family rich. The plan works — but it puts the Bondurant boys in over their heads with a new threat: the corrupt law enforcers of Chicago.
Unlike many stories of crime life Lawless isn't about escalation. The movie drifts back and forth leisurely popping in moments like the beats of a great TV episode. One second the Bondurants could be talking shop with their female shopkeep Maggie Beauford (Jessica Chastain). The next Forrest is beating the bloody pulp out of a cop blackmailing their operation. The plot isn't thick; Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave preferring to bask in the landscapes the quiet moments the haunting terror that comes with a life on the other side of the tracks. A feature film doesn't offer enough time for Lawless to build — it recalls cinema-level TV currently playing on outlets like HBO and AMC that have truly spoiled us — but what the duo accomplish is engrossing.
Accompanying the glowing visuals and Cave's knockout workout on the music side (a toe-tapping mix of spirituals bluegrass and the writer/musician's spine-tingling violin) are muted performances from some of Hollywood's rising stars. Despite LaBeouf's off-screen antics he lights up Lawless and nails the in-deep whippersnapper. His playful relationship with a local religious girl (Mia Wasikowska) solidifies him as a leading man but like everything in the movie you want more. Tom Hardy is one of the few performers who can "uurrr" and "mmmnerm" his way through a scene and come out on top. His greatest sparring partner isn't a hulking thug but Chastain who brings out the heart of the impenetrable beast. The real gem of Lawless is Guy Pearce as the Bondurant trio's biggest threat. Shaved eyebrows pristine city clothes and a temper like a rabid wolverine Pearce's Charlie Rakes is the most frightening villain of 2012. He viciously chews up every moment he's on screen. That's even before he starts drawing blood.
Lawless is the perfect movie for the late August haze — not quite the Oscary prestige picture or the summertime shoot-'em-up. It's drama that has its moonshine and swigs it too. Just don't drink too much.
German supermodel Claudia Schiffer is expecting her first child with her husband of three months, British producer Matthew Vaughn. According to Reuters, a spokeswoman for Schiffer said Monday, "We can confirm she is pregnant and has got through the first trimester." The couple married on May 25 in a lavish English country wedding.
Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster will receive the outstanding achievement in acting award from the Hollywood Film Festival. Foster will be honored along with Motion Picture Association president Jack Valenti, director Martin Scorsese, screenwriter Robert Towne, producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher, cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, composer Marc Shaiman, editor Pietro Scalia, production designer Harold Michelson and casting director Marcia Ross. The Hollywood Movie Awards Gala Ceremony will be held on Oct. 7.
Director John Lee Hancock (The Rookie) is near a deal to helm the historical epic The Alamo, Variety reports. Hancock would replace director Ron Howard, who bailed on the project after the studio had difficulty jump starting production. It also looks as though Russell Crowe, who was to star in the role of Sam Houston, will also exit from the project. Disney had an option on Hancock's next film and has been offering him everything in its arsenal. Now it looks as though Hancock will be landing the studio's biggest film.
Jack Nicholson is in negotiations to star in an untitled comedy for Sony Pictures written by Nancy Meyers (What Women Want), who is also set to direct. According to Variety, the film is about an older man who falls for the mother of his young girlfriend.
Paralegal Erin Brockovich, who inspired Steven Soderbergh's dramatic comedy Erin Brockovich, will host a reality-drama series titled Final Justice for the Lifetime TV cable channel. The show will present true accounts of real-life women who encounter injustice and take on the system, Variety reports.
'N Sync singer Lance Bass wants to turn three popular comic strips into a TV series through his California-based production company A Happy Place Prods., Variety reports. The strips include Glenn McCoy's The Duplex, Mark Tatulli's Heart of the City and Bill Hinds' Cleats.
A Jamaican court has issued an arrest warrant for American rapper Ja Rule for failing to appear on charges of using profanity during the country's Reggae Sumfest last year. According to The Associated Press, Ja Rule was in Jamaica this weekend to perform at the same festival and was served with a summons to appear in court Monday. However, Ja Rule apparently left the island Sunday. Judge Wilson Smith ordered his arrest warrant when the rapper, whose real name is Jeff Atkins, failed to appear. If convicted, he faces a maximum charge of...$20.