Lawless

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. In Search Of: Complete Series The universe is filled with mystery, and for several years the best place learn more about in on a weekly basis was the show In Search Of… with host Leonard Nimoy. The series tackled all manner of the unknown from aliens to the Bermuda Triangle to conspiracies to the Loch Ness Monster and beyond. The Bigfoot episode was where I first saw footage of the creature walking through the woods. Sure the video was later debunked, but it was magic unspooling across the screen and I still remember my first viewing. Several of the episodes are dated, but many of the topics remain mysteries to this day. Note: Amazon.ca has the set cheaper so we’re linking there. [Extras: Featurette, all eight episodes of the 2002 remake with Mitch Pileggi]

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Brad Pitt in Killing Them Softly

After the box office bust and critical disappointment of their Lawless (hey! I liked it!), The Weinstein Company has pushed back their potential awards contender, Andrew Dominik‘s Killing Them Softly, to the more awards-friendly date of November 30. The film was last slated for a release on October 19, after being moved there in July, when TWC moved it off its first release date (September 21) after they announced that The Master (another one of their awards contenders) would open in limited release on September 14 and then expand on September 21. In regards to the choice, Deadline Hollywood reports (via /Film) that Harvey Weinstein commented, ““In this industry it is a very rare event to look at a weekend where your movie could open as the only wide release picture…November 30th will allow us to bring Killing Them Softly to a wide audience without competition. Additionally, the critical response to the movie has been very favorable especially on the amazing performances and November 30th positions us better in the Awards season calendar.” Two points for honesty. Simon saw Killing Them Softly back during Cannes, and he called it “an artfully crafted, occasionally very funny satire dressed up in tough-guy leathers and packing a knuckle duster punch.” Check out his review HERE, and give the film’s trailer a look right HERE.

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Jason Clarke in Lawless

Lawless features some towering performances. Tom Hardy commands with every grunt, Guy Pearce snarls in every scene, and Gary Oldman gives a quietly vicious performance. Then there’s Jason Clarke, playing the oldest of the three Bondurant brothers, Howard. He’s the brute of the group, the unhinged ox who’s seen a mass-scale violence, and he has clearly been affected by it. Clarke, like Hardy and his grunts, walks through the film with a lumbering physicality, as if he’s not even in much control over his own violent tendencies. That physicality is a factor Clarke put a lot of thought into, from using a smaller heel on his boot to wearing weights on his ankles. It’s that sort of commitment which seems to have earned the actor gigs with the likes of Baz Luhrmann, Kathryn Bigelow, John Hillcoat, and the two peas in the pod, Roland Emmerich and Terrence Malick. The actor was kind enough to take time off from walking around the White House for Emmerich to discuss his love for research, finding a character, and how you should never be afraid to go big.

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John Hillcoat and Tom Hardy

Director John Hillcoat isn’t entirely known for crowd-pleasing studio fare. After putting The Road and The Proposition under his belt, Hillcoat showed he’s the type of filmmaker never to shy away from bleakness. One would think that’s what made Lawless such a difficult project to get off the ground, but surprisingly, Hillcoat has made a real summer movie. However, even when striving for some of those cinematic thrills, the acclaimed director never pulls his punches. One major difference between Lawless and his previous films is the fact Hillcoat shot the picture digitally. Although he sounded quite sensitive about going that route, Hillcoat approached the film with a futurist point of view. Still, the director states there’s nothing more magical than celluloid, even after dealing with advantages and disadvantages of digital. Here’s what Lawless director John Hillcoat had to say about his attraction to brutal violence, the film’s sociopathic villain, and his experience with the ARRIRAW:

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The twelve-year run of prohibition in the United States was a period that punctuated social imparity, religious activism, and was a launchpad for some of the biggest names in organized crime. Basically, it’s a mixed bag of deeply interesting subject matter that is spot-on perfect for the big screen. Director John Hillcoat‘s Lawless is a violent slice of that era’s dying days. Distilled by screenwriter Nick Cave from the pages of Matt Bondurant‘s 2008 historical novel, “The Wettest County in the World,” Lawless tells the story of the Bondurant brothers, a family of moonshiners in the Blue Ridge Foothills of Franklin County, Virginia. In the midst of the Great Depression, the citizenry of Franklin County carved a living out of  making moonshine, and none are more successful than the brothers Bondurant, who run a healthy bootlegging racket.

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Jason Clarke

Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Wes Bentley, Isabel Lucas, Joel Kinnaman, Imogen Poots, Freida Pinto, and Ryan O’Neal…with that cast, and others unmentioned, one would think Terrence Malick would have enough actors for a single movie. Apparently, that’s not the case, as Malick has added another name to his project about life, love, and probably other poetic things of that nature. That name is Jason Clarke. While speaking with us today about John Hillcoat‘s Lawless, Clarke revealed he just finished shooting on Malick’s Knight of Cups. When discussing the visionary filmmakers he’s worked with lately – Michael Mann, Baz Luhrmann, Kathryn Bigelow, and so on –  the actor made sure to mention Malick’s name in that list, “I did a film with Terrence Malick as well. Knight of Cups, it’s another one that he’s producing.”

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This hasn’t been the most prolific of summers as far as blockbusters are concerned. The Avengers gave this season a promising start, but no action film came close to matching its scope and sheer love for fun. Last month was the most disappointing proof of that, with the very flawed Amazing Spider-Man and the messy finale we got with The Dark Knight Rises. However, there’s been a good run of independent releases so far — Killer Joe, Headhunters, Safety Not Guarnteed, Your Sister’s Sister, Take This Waltz, etc. —  and this August is no different, with plenty of small and greatly satisfying offerings to be discovered.

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Last year, I kicked off the FSR Cannes Awards by taking the opportunity to give three awards to The Artist (three of the Oscars it won actually, if you’re interested in just how much of a boss I am), and though there isn’t quite the same standout type of film at this year’s festival, there were some notable highlights. The rain was not one of them. This year, I saw 21 of the hundreds of films available to see, so these awards obviously only take in those that I deemed worthy of my attention (or which were possible to see given the intense mathematical equations required to see everything and write reviews of them all in timely enough fashion that all of the key information doesn’t bugger off out of your head). Here are my own highlights of the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival:

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The Paperboy John Cusack

Last year’s Cannes Film Festival featured this year’s Oscar winning Best Actor performance thanks to the inclusion of the wonderful The Artist in competition, and though the films seem to have been chosen for their artistry and provocative subtexts more than any really commercial pointers (as always happens the year after the festival is deemed “too commercial”), there have been some seriously fine performances this year as well. There wasn’t an Uggy this year, but there was a murdered pooch in Moonrise Kingdom, a bitey Killer Whale in Rust & Bone, and a striking performance from an armadillo in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Me and You, so we’ll have to wait and see who emerges with the best animal performance. Probably won’t come from Madagascar 3 though…so for the time being, let’s stick to the humans.

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There are somewhere around a million reasons to look forward to John Hillcoat’s upcoming movie about Depression-era bootleggers, Lawless. Not the least of which is that it’s got one of the most exciting up-and-coming actors on the planet, Tom Hardy, in a prominent role. Hardy has already proven to be a versatile enough talent, but it’s clear that he’s always at his best when he’s projecting an aura of extreme manliness, and these two new clips from Lawless give us a chance to watch him do just that. In the first his bootlegger character, Forrest Bondurant, is trading some snarky dialogue with the new authority in town who’s been tasked to take him down, as played by Guy Pearce. You see, Pearce’s character is all snooty and from the big city of Chicago, so he thinks he’s going to roll into town and run the joint, and Hardy’s character is from the backwoods and doesn’t get impressed by fancy big talk, so he’s not going to listen to anybody. When they get nose to nose and start poking at each other you could swear that you’re watching a hype video for this year’s Wrestlemania. It’s glorious.

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In Lawless, John Hillcoat has almost crafted the perfect modern Western, infusing more explicitly the gangster genre elements that always occur in the genre, but never quite so explicitly. The film follows the Bondurant brothers – Jack (Shia Labeouf), Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) – rise as the most famous bootleggers in sun-dried Prohibition-era Virginia, and the government’s attempts to stop them. The government’s chief agent is Guy Pearce‘s Charlie Rakes, a flamboyant looking, but profoundly villainous Special Deputy, let off his leash when the Bondurants, lead by Hardy’s powerhouse Forrest refuse to pay a monthly toll on their illegal activities. While it may sound like an all guns-blazing, epic Prohibition-era Western, the story, adapted well from Matt Bondurant‘s historical novel by Nick Cave (who also once again offers a superlative score) focuses on human stories to add poignancy and depth to the more explosive sequences.

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What is Movie News After Dark DRINKING? It’s the end result of a long work day, a half dozen mini doughnuts, a glass of cheap Canadian whisky, Robert Fure, and a keyboard. Suck on it, suckers! This week’s movie news after Drinking is brought to you by Revel Stoke spiced whisky (We should not get paid for this because I’m not drinking this again. Or no we should still get paid, but I’m not drinking this again). But basically the deal is I get kind of drunk and then try to type up a whole bunch of movie news before my arms stop working. If you’re wondering why I’m typing all this nonsense, it’s because we need a certain amount of buffer before we move into the news to put a proper text break in here. But totally keep reading because Will Smith NO JOKE SLAPS A RUSSIAN IN THE FACE IN THE FIRST STORY. (OH LOOK AT ME I’M FRILMCRIT HULK BECAUSE THIS IS ALL CAPITALS)

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Simon has already weighed in on Moonrise Kingdom – his first Cannes film of 2012 – but we check in with him to see what 6 films he’s looking forward to the most. Plus, Movies.com’s Peter Hall faces off against Landon Palmer in the Movies News Pop Quiz, and we end up asking important questions about repertory screenings. Will the films of the future digitally last forever? Download Episode #134

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Director John Hillcoat’s (The Road) upcoming project tells the tale of a family of Depression-era bootleggers coming under the scrutiny of a crooked and cutthroat authority. It’s adapted from a Matt Bondurant novel called “The Wettest County in the World,” it was once being referred to as The Wettest County, and for some reason it’s now called Lawless – but a movie with this cast by any other name would be just as badass. The film’s first theatrical trailer has hit the net today, thanks to Yahoo! Movies, and for the first time we’re getting a glimpse of just how much fun it is to see all of these actors working together; which is a whole lot of fun indeed. First off, you’ve got Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke, and Tom Hardy playing the Bondurant Boys, the bootlegging trio of brothers who are, at least in some way, based off the author of the source material’s real family history. Then you’ve got Gary Oldman playing the big-time crook they’re working for, Guy Pearce playing the corrupt authority figure brought in to make sure they’re either getting shut down or giving the government their required cut of the profits, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska playing a couple of ladies they become romantically entangled with, and a whole host of grizzled-looking character actors filling out the rest of the cast of backwoods Virginia hillbillies.

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After literally days of rampant speculation and fanciful rumor-spreading (on my part), this year’s official line-up for the Cannes 2012 Film Festival has officially been unveiled by officials in the South of France. Officially. Unsurprisingly, and as predicted, my own 13 film wishlist was largely completely wrong – but I did predict a massive four (including the absence, thankfully, of Terrence Malick), and in my defense, Michael Haneke’s Love was the 14th film on my list until I decided to oust it for timing reasons. Brad Pitt, Robert Pattinson and Tom Hardy will battle each other as Killing Them Softly (the awfully renamed adaptation of Cogan’s Trade), Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and the other needlessly renamed flick, Lawless (why not just keep it as The Wettest County?) compete for the Palme d’Or.

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Nothing says “summer at the movies” quite like a metric ton of big name blockbusters flooding theaters near you – superheroes on top of superheroes, classic television series brought back from the dead, animated gems about finding yourself – oh my! But with the cinema summer growing ever-larger, the stakes being pushed ever-higher, and enough content to keep audience members in their seats ever-longer, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Which is why all the members of the Voting Body of Film School Rejects gathered together in our secret chambers to vote on just which films have won our Most Anticipated nod. Twenty films emerged from our complicated, decades-old voting process (read: a Google doc) to be crowned winners. Why twenty? Well, there are twenty weeks in the cinematic summer season (if you count May, which we do – April will be included next year if Hollywood keeps this up), and that should give you movie-lovers a reasonable goal to meet for the viewing season. We’ve even managed to pinpoint our most anticipated movie-going weekend of the summer – June 22nd, when four films open in theaters, all of which made our list. But beyond the mathematics that went into picking the summer’s best weekend, there were also some genuine surprises on the list – including big tentpole films missing completely (sorry, Battleship and Dark Shadows), some indies that sneaked in with lots of votes, a battle royale that went down between our number one and number two picks, […]

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Due to her Oscar-winning role in Black Swan and her pregnancy-imposed break from acting, Natalie Portman has been the subject of much talk in the movie world. When will she come back to work? What will her first post-Oscar role be? There have been reports of filmmakers as big as the Wachowskis actively recruiting her to come on board their projects, but still no word of an official signing. That is until now. Sorry, Hollywood directors, but Terrence Malick has beaten you to the punch. And, just to smear some dirt in your wounds, he’s done it twice. Deadline Ottawa is reporting that Portman has signed on to be in not one, but two of Malick’s upcoming projects, both shooting in 2012, which will mark her much anticipated return to acting. The first film is the Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett-starring Knight of the Cups, which is scheduled to start shooting this summer. The second is a film called Lawless, which sees Portman teamed again with Bale and Blanchett, in addition to other notable names like Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara. This film is scheduled to shoot in the fall.

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Terrence Malick has long been thought of as a difficult-to-work-with perfectionist. He once went a stretch of twenty years without making any movies at all, and when he is actively making them, they usually only come out once every five years or so. But lately he’s been filming things at a pace completely new to his career. After finishing his 2011 release The Tree of Life, he jumped pretty directly into making a still-untitled romantic film starring Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams. Also, there have been rumblings that even before that film was finished, Malick had already lined up another movie that would star Christian Bale. It turns out that wasn’t all of the story, though. In somewhat shocking news, Variety is reporting that Malick already has plans to make two more movies, which will shoot back to back in 2012. The common thread between both films is that they will star Bale and Cate Blanchett in featured roles, but this isn’t some kind of series. Both films are separate stories, completely independent of one another. The first is said to be called Lawless, and in addition to Bale and Blanchett, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, and Haley Bennett will also star. The second project will be called Knight of Cups, and will see actress Isabel Lucas join the duo.

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published: 10.30.2014
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published: 10.29.2014
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published: 10.27.2014
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published: 10.24.2014
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