1. Lawless (The Weinstein Company, 2,565 Theaters, 115 Minutes, Rated R): Usually, when Hollywood does a crime story set in Prohibition-era America, it’s usually focused on the Al Capone-type figures who were the face of the opposition in big cities. This film takes a look at the rural bootleggers that did the grunt work on the back roads of the country during this period.
The film has an intriguing cast, including The Dark Knight Rises‘ Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman, Oscar Nominee Jessica Chastain, and, sticking out like a sore thumb, Shia LeBeouf. Okay, that was a bit cruel. LeBeouf has done good work in films other than the big-budget blockbusters, so he’s not that awkward of a fit.
This film was adapted by rock star Nick Cave, whose last screenplay was for The Proposition, which was also directed by John Hillcoat and starred Guy Pearce.
2. The Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure (Kenn Viselman Presents, 2,160 Theaters, Rated G): Good lord, where to begin with this utterly bizarre movie.
As the father of a three-year old, I have seen a lot of entertainment aimed at kids. A lot. And the prevalent theme in a lot of this entertainment is its sheer stupidity. Not “simplified so kids can understand it” stupid but “kids aren’t worth it so why even bother trying” stupid. For every Sesame Street there’s a Teletubbies, the creator of which, coincidentally, is the creative force behind this film. That should tell you something.
I saw the trailer for this film before Brave, and I was saddened about what so many of my favorite actors have to stoop to. Christopher Lloyd was Doc Brown! Cary Elwes was Westley! Chazz Palminteri has an Oscar nomination for goodness sakes! And yet, on the other hand, these are the biggest names the producers could afford to make a fool of themselves on the films paltry budget.