Blu-ray Review “Lawless”

Starring: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Shia LaBeouf
Director: John Hillcoat
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
Release Date: November 27, 2012
Run Time: 116 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When I first heard of “Lawless”, a film about bootlegging brothers in a Prohibition-era Virginia, I wasn’t completely sold.  Then I found out about this all-star cast including Shia LaBeouf (“Transformers” franchise,) Tom Hardy (“The Dark Knight Rises”), Gary Oldman (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”), Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland”), Jessica Chastain (“The Help”) and Guy Pearce (“Prometheus”), and I was instant sold.  The performances in this film are honestly Oscar worthy.  Tom Hardy is amazing, as is Gary Oldman and Guy Pierce.  All three of them are having a great year with “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Prometheus”. This is easily one of my favorite films of the year with a hell of a wild-kick ass showdown. Highly recommended.

Official Premise: They were brothers who became outlaws, and outlaws who became heroes… The three Bondurant boys (Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke), along with their sultry new hire (Jessica Chastain), command the most lucrative bootlegging operation in Franklin County, Virginia. The locals consider them “indestructible.” But the law — in the form of a corrupt special deputy (Guy Pearce) — wants a cut of their action, at any cost. When youngest brother Jack (LaBeouf) gets a taste of power with a deadly gangster (Gary Oldman), the whole business blows sky high. Based on the astonishing true story, the Bondurant brotherhood is the stuff of legend.

The film is releases as a Blu-ray combo Pack.  It comes a Blu-ray, a DVD and a digital copy disc.  The Blu-ray resolution looks sharp with its 1080p transfer and it’s original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.  The sound is also sharp with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track.  The bullets are literally flying by your head and the period music sounds great.  The special features include an audio commentary with Director John Hillcoat and Author Matt Bondurant; two featurettes: “The True Story of the Wettest County In The World” and “Franklin County, VA: Then and Now”; Willie Nelson’s “Midnight Run” music video; and deleted scene.  Overall they are very impressive and are a nice compliment to the film.


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Dane DeHaan talks about working on “Lawless”

Dane DeHaan starred as Andrew Detmer earlier this year in the hit film “Chronicle”. He is co-starring with an ensemble cast of Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman in his new film “Lawless”, playing Cricket Tate. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dane about his new role and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about the dynamic that your character brings to this film?
Dane DeHaan: I play the role of Cricket Tate. He is the heart of the movie in many ways, like the light at the end of the tunnel. It is a very broodish and violent world that the movie takes place in. They say about Cricket that he “can never hurt a fly”. Well the three brothers have hurt their fair share of files. He soups up the cars and makes the moonshine better. So I would say that Cricket is also the brains behind the operation, as well as the heart.

MG: Did you explore the novel, “The Wettest County In The World” prior to shooting?
DD: Yeah I read the novel. For me, what I got out of the novel most was Cricket physicality. It talks a lot of about how he crouches a lot, which it didn’t necessarily say that in the script. So I got a lot of that from the novel.

MG: It is such a phenomenal cast, tell us about working witheveryone on this film?
DD: It was a dream come true. It has a lot of my favorite piers and my heroes. I got throw in and got to have a good time with them. It was a great experience.

MG: What was your most challenging task working on this film?
DD: The film presented a lot of challenges for me. The way I walked in the movie was physically taxing on my body. Keeping the hope within the movie was challenging to fulfill in that role. When I make a movie, it’s like every day presents its own challenges and I like overcoming those challenges each day. I don’t know it is just one thing sticks out as the hardest.

MG: How was it going from a apex predator (in “Chronicle”) to a moonshine bootlegger (in “Lawless”)?
DD: It was really fun. That is what I look for. I look for the variation and the difference in roles and new ways of challenging myself. They are very different people. Cricket Tate and Andrew Detmer are definitely very different people from very different times and with different sets of problems. I love playing those different spectrums.

CD Review “Nick Cave & Warren Ellis Present: Lawless – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Lawless: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Distributed by: Sony Masterworks
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Tracks: 14
Running Time: 39 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis have collaborated on many films including “The Proposition”, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and “The Road”. They all seem to have the same feel to each of them, though all unique. The film is based on Matt Bondurant’s 2008 novel “The Wettest County in the World” and that novel was adapted into a screenplay by Nick Cave. The soundtrack is a nice mixture of original songs written by Nick Cave for the movie and performances by Country legends Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris along with Grammy Award winner Ralph Stanley (O Brother, Where Art Thou) and Mark Lanegan from Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age.

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis are best known for their work in the critically acclaimed rock band, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Cave and Ellis mixed their original music with innovative vocal under the name of The Bootleggers, which was the band they formed for the project. After listening to this album on loop a few times, I did start to dig it a bit more, but I feel it still runs a little too short for my taste. Nonetheless, it definitely captures the essence of the film very well. It also has a real period feel of country mixed with bluegrass. I would actually recommend listening to it and THEN seeing the film, since it will definitely get you in the mood.

The track from country legend Willie Nelson was actually previously unreleased and packs a mean harmonica. There are two versions of Velvet Underground’s “White Light/White Heat”, one by Mark Lanegan and the other by bluegrass veteran Ralph Stanley. The two new songs that Cave and Ellis specifically wrote for this film was “Cosmonaut” and “Fire in the Blood” featuring versions from Emmylou Harris and Ralph Stanley. The album ends on an instrumental track called “End Crawl, which is a brave move but is a good close.

Track Listings
1. Fire and Brimstone
2. Burnin’ Hell
3. Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do
4. Fire in the Blood
5. White Light / White Heat
6. Cosmonaut
7. Fire in the Blood / Snake Song
8. So You’ll Aim Towards the Sky
9. Fire in the Blood
10. Fire and Brimstone
11. Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do
12. White Light / White Heat
13. End Crawl
14. Midnight Run
15. Midnight Run (Buddy Cannon Mix)


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