Lawless: Your Burning Questions Answered

by Ethan Alter August 29, 2012 10:46 am
<i>Lawless</i>: Your Burning Questions Answered

At the tail end of last summer, The Weinstein Company made a bet that adult audiences weary of sequels, comic-book movies and other blockbuster fare would turn out for a straight-up, grown-up thriller distinguished by a cast of respected character actors and a historical hook. That movie was The Debt -- which told the story of a group of retired Israeli Mossad agents who flash back to an operation from the '60s that changed all of their lives -- and it wound up doing solid business, solid enough that the Weinsteins are pulling the same late-summer counterprogramming stunt today with Lawless, a Prohibition-era crime thriller about a trio of bootlegging brothers in Virginia who refuse to bend to the new law of the land or the crooked businessmen who want in on their operation. Directed by critical darling John Hillcoat (best known for the Down Under Western The Proposition) and featuring a heavy-hitting ensemble that includes Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain (who also appeared in The Debt), Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman and... um, Shia LaBeouf, Lawless certainly has the pedigree to be this summer's token prestige picture, but is the whole as great as the sum of its parts? I'll answer that -- and more of your burning questions -- below.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Oh, the Humanity!

by Ethan Alter June 29, 2011 6:00 am
<i>Transformers: Dark of the Moon</i>: Oh, the Humanity!

In the run-up to the release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third entry in the feature film franchise based on the old Hasbro toy line, director Michael Bay has been telling anyone who'll listen that the new film won't commit the sins of its predecessor, the widely loathed Revenge of the Fallen. From where I sat though, Dark of the Moon played like more of the same: a largely incoherent assembly of eardrum-shattering, chaotically-choreographed action sequences that are occasionally interrupted by hilariously campy dramatic moments and painfully unfunny bits of "comedy," as well as a few randomly inserted slow-mo money shots of one of the interchangeable CGI-robots actually transforming in a desperate attempt to make the audience think they're having a good time.



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