Anna Faris Gains a Famous Mom: Mother/daughter relationships can be tough — but we're greatly looking forward to the one that forms the core relationship on the upcoming CBS sitcom Mom, since Allison Janney and Anna Faris are the duo in question. Janney's casting was officially announced today — she'll play Bonnie, whose daughter is struggling to maintain sobriety in Napa Valley, CA. Sounds like a nightmare. [Hollywood Reporter]
Smulders to Join S.H.I.E.L.D?: How I Met Your Mother may never end, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Cobie Smulders isn't open to joining Joss Whedon's upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D project. Smulders, who plays agent Maria Hill in The Avengers franchise, told IAmRogue.com that there have been talks about her at least making cameos on the series... but she can't say much more. [TVLine]
Family Feud: NBC is following in the History Channel's footsteps with its new pilot, a modern-day take on the legendary feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys. The show will take place in Pittsburgh, when a sudden death re-ignites the fight between the dueling families. The History Channel's 2012 miniseries about the feud drew 14 million viewers for the network. [Entertainment Weekly]
Yuuuup! Storage Wars Bad Blood: According to A&E, former Storage Wars cast member Dave Hester's claims that the show is totally rigged are totally false. Hester filed a lawsuit in December alleging that the network planted memorabilia in storage lockers for the show, which could be illegal. However, in new legal papers A&E says Hester participated in the planting he's renouncing the network for. A&E wants Hester to prove his claims against the show — and since they say he can't, they want the lawsuit tossed. [THR]
Hunka hunka Burning Love: Internet-based Bachelor spoof Burning Love, from the mind of funnyman (and Children's Hospital star) Ken Marino, is branching out into a new medium: TV. The first season of the online series will air on E! beginning Monday, Feb. 25 at 10 p.m., and will run as seven half-hour episodes. Season two of the series premieres online on Feb. 14. [EW]
Always the Bridesmaids: The Bridesmaids success continues for two alums of the comedy hit who have just landed new TV roles. Wendi McLendon-Covey will recur on Showtime's Masters of Sex (premiering in the fall) as a mentor to sex researcher Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan). They're two of the only females in the boys' club that is their hospital. Meanwhile, erstwhile air marshal Ben Falcone will stir up trouble for Matthew Perry's therapy group in NBC's freshman sitcom Go On. He'll play a dinner party guest who disrupts Perry's plan to help one of his groupmates. [Deadline, THR]
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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.