Tom hardy

Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

May 14 // Matthew Razak
[embed]219448:42382:0[/embed] Mad Max: Fury RoadDirector: George MillerRelease Date: May 14, 2015Rated: R  If you're not a child of the 80s and you subsequently ignored everyone telling you to watch at least one of the Mad Max films for the past 20 years then it's possible you don't know the premise of the franchise. That really isn't a problem. One of the strangely wonderful things about this series is that continuity is the last thing it cares about. Instead its focus is on its themes and the mythic creation of a man called Max.  There are a few key elements, of course. It's somewhere in the post-apocalyptic future. Water, gas and areas that aren't desert are scarce. Man has fallen into lawlessness and still wears far more leather than you'd expect. The world is dependent on despots who run small fiefdoms where they control the supplies and the cars -- car chases are really popular in the future. Max (Tom Hardy) is a loner haunted by something terrible that happened in his past (possibly the tragic ending of the first film, but it's never made clear).  He's taken prisoner by one of these fiefdoms run by a mutated man named Immortan Joe, who has developed a war like cult around his control of water. On a routine gas run Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) steels the tanker she's carrying so she can rescue five women from being bred by Joe. A chase across the desert ensues in which both Max and one of Joe's half-life warriors, Nux (Nicholas Hoult) join the fray. It may sound like I'm simplifying much of the film with that last sentence, but I'm not. Once Fury Road gets started on its chase premise it holds onto it until the very end, only stopping every so often to deliver exposition of some surprisingly sentient plot points. It is as non-stop as a film can be and it works magically. Characters are developed almost entirely through actions leaving dull blather and burdensome world creations (I'm looking at you, Jupiter Ascending) in the background. At first it may feel like the movie is being horribly unclear because it refuses to hold your hand, but then you realize that by letting the story ride along with the car chases its not holding your hand, but yanking you along with it screaming, "Shut up and enjoy the damn ride!" Miller's blend of actual stunts and limited CGI is a master work in cinematic action. The only person who could even come close to him right now is Gareth Evans of The Raid and The Raid 2 fame, and he owes much of his style to Miller's original trilogy. It's the kind of action that makes you shift your thinking from "this is fun and dumb" to "this is fun and art." The kind of relentlessly, perfectly contstructed set pieces that prove just exactly what's wrong with the likes of lazy action direction we get from Michael Bay types. The difference is just how relentlessly old school Miller is in his direction. It's as if Miller didn't get the memo that over-cranking to speed things up just isn't done anymore or that pushing into an extreme close up at high speed is considered tacky now. No one told him and so he just does it and it works. It works so damn well and feels so original that even the most jaded action connoisseur will be on the edge of their seat during the film's climatic final chase. This all despite the fact that really each sequence is the exact same thing (tanker getting chased by cars). That's not a problem, though, because in reality the movie is just one long, beautiful action sequence. It's the tanker chase from Road Warrior drawn out across an entire film and it's glorious. This isn't to say that there's nothing to bite your mental teeth into. Mad Max isn't really about the nitty gritty of characters, but more a study of archetypes, humanity and the ever present lone wolf hero. Max isn't a character, he's a symbol for survival, rebirth and redemption. That's why the films have almost no continuity between them. It's why Tom Hardy's almost monosyllabic performance is so spot on. It's why the characters around him are the driving force of emotion while he is simply the hammer that triggers change. If anything Theron's Furiousa is the star of this film as she takes the role of the heart -- albeit one that can kick some serious ass. All this is why the movie's use of the rescue of a group of "pure" women trope actually works despite the cliche. Fury Road is delivering an incredibly meta, two-hour action think piece on the genre itself. You may think I'm over analyzing all this, and that's absolutely fine. You can come out of Fury Road thinking everything I just said is idiotic, but you can't come out of it thinking you saw anything but a kick in the ass to action cinema. Mad Max is actually mad, and weird and strange and different. It features a double-guitar-flameflower playing mutant strapped to the top of a car that is basically a massive speaker system. It has people wearing ridiculous clothing and some of the maddest dialog this side of a David Lynch production.  Fury Road may be a "sequel," but it feels entirely original, and that might be the real reason it stands out so well. In an industry that has become so cannibalistic, to the point that it could destroy itself, Fury Road is undeniably unapologetic about being different. If this is what is on the other side of the superhero movie apocalypse then sign me up. 
Mad Max Review photo
Way beyond Thunderdome
You might be wondering just why a franchise (or whatever Mad Max films are) to a trilogy that came out in the 80s and starred Mel Gibson is getting a sequel now. The real reasons probably have something to do with money and c...

Mad Max Trailer photo
Mad Max Trailer

Newest Mad Max: Fury Road trailer has all the furious roads


Apr 17
// Nick Valdez
Do you need any more convincing? At this point, you're either as hyped as I am for the next Mad Max or you're super uncool. But if you needed just one more trailer, than the latest one featuring footage of the old films will do just the trick. Mad Max: Fury Road opens May 15th.
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New Mad Max: Fury Road trailer wants to know who's really crazy


The answer is anyone who doesn't think this movie looks wonderful
Mar 31
// Matt Liparota
Seriously, how great does Mad Max: Fury Road look? The newest trailer for the franchise's revival, unleashed on the world this spring, is utterly bonkers. Over-the-top apocalyptic action featuring Tom Hardy and Charlize Ther...

New Mad Max trailer photo
New Mad Max trailer

International trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road


I'm going MAD waiting for this movie to come out...
Mar 20
// Sean Walsh
This Japanese trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road has more of everything I want from this film: more madness. More Max. More, more MORE. The giant Japanese characters strewn throughout make it even more enjoyable. The May 15th release feels so far away. I can't imagine living in Japan and having to wait until 6/20. [via YouTube]
Suicide Squad  photo
Suicide Squad

Joel Kinnaman replacing Tom Hardy in Suicide Squad


Feb 18
// Nick Valdez
One of the weirdest films coming out of Warner Bros and DC's upcoming film slate is definitely the supervillain team up film, Suicide Squad. Normally I'd make some joke about a bland white guy replacing a bland white guy...
Child 44 trailer photo
Child 44 trailer

First trailer for Child 44 debuts


Tom Hardy has a Russian accent!
Jan 27
// Megan Porch
Child 44 tells the story of a Soviet military officer investigating a series of gruesome child murders in a country where murder isn't supposed to exist. Based on the bestselling novel by Tom Rob Smith and directed by Daniel...

Nick's Top 15 Movies of 2014

Jan 16 // Nick Valdez
30-16: The Lego Movie, The Babadook, 22 Jump Street, The Purge: Anarchy, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Maleficent, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Snowpiercer, Frank, Top Five, Gone Girl, Pride, The Drop, Nymphomaniac Vol 1, A Most Violent Year 15. Locke  I nearly missed out on Locke. With the smallest of small releases, I didn't see this until it was recommended by a friend a few weeks ago. I'm super glad I finally took the plunge. It's got the weirdest barrier of entry (it's better if you see it at night, you have to be in the right mindset), but it's totally worth the trouble. In a year full of bloated blockbusters, Locke is the concise breath of fresh air that reminds you what cinema is capable of. In the length of a Sunday night drive, Tom Hardy goes through so many complicated emotions. Enclosed, intimate, and fantastic.  14. Nightcrawler Nightcrawler (and Enemy, in fact) proved Jake Gyllenhaal still has some sides of his acting talent hidden away. With a strikingly dark, yet practical performance, he sells the film's dissection of sensationalist journalism. Literally crawling through the muck, Nightcrawler portrays the opposite end of ambition. When ambition morphs into an unhealthy aggression, one of the best films of 2014 was born.  Read our review of Nightcrawler here. 13. John Wick John Wick was an utter surprise and delight. Literally coming out of nowhere with a generic trailer that made the film seem like nothing more than a direct to home video action film mistakenly released to theaters, John Wick has a fantastic setting (I want another movie of just interactions within the assassin hotel hideout), wonderfully choreographed action (Keanu Reeves is really Neo at this point, which made the fantastical nature of the fights even more believable), and a story with so many cheesy twists and turns I fell in love instantly. Oh and the dog, Daisy! Oh. My. God. 12. Boyhood Filmed over the course of twelve years, it sort of makes sense to put Boyhood here. Both as a little dig, and because while I love what it did for cinema (and how much I enjoyed it directly afterward), I'm not as fond of it as I thought I was. While some of Mason's life speaks to me (I too had a drunk and abusive parent, was also directionless for the majority of life), a lot of it glazed over what my life was really like. Yeah, I know Boyhood won't be a depiction of my life, but it kind of stung to see someone live a happier life than mine. I don't hold it against the film critically (that's why it's here), but I'll never truly connect with it the way I think I'm supposed to.  Read our review of Boyhood here. 11. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes APEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is what we get for not hailing to the chimp. A summer blockbuster that was not only intelligent, well paced, and full of stunning visuals, but made me expect more out of my popcorn flicks. Bad action and explosions just aren't going to cut it anymore. Dawn says we can have both AND be a successful prequel/sequel at the same time. It doesn't get any better. This is what blockbusters should strive to.  Read our review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes here. 10. The Guest The Guest is a film that will forever be welcome in my home. Before my screening, I knew nothing of it other than it was a follow up from the You're Next (which is also a film you need to see someday) duo of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett. Figuring they were kind of a one trick pony (sorry, guys), I expected a run of the mill thriller with a genre twist at the end. But that's nowhere near the case with Guest. Completely confident in its lead Dan Stevens (with good reason), the film is full throttle from beginning to end. Its tone is never once tiring. With its homages to older horror films, a groovy synth inspired soundtrack, stylistic filming (there's a great use of light throughout) and fantastically staged finale, The Guest was one of my favorite movie going experiences last year. Read our review of The Guest here. 9. Joe Wow, so where has THIS Nicolas Cage been? We make fun of the guy for signing up for everything and anything, but he's some kind of wicked genius. It's when we forget how talented of an actor he can be that he decides to come out with a legitimately gripping performance. That's the heart of Joe. Three great performances (from Cage, Tye Sheridan, and the now passed Gary Poulter) root this tale in the South with the most human characters I saw last year. Remember Your Highness? This is from the same director. I just can't believe that.  Read our review of Joe here. 8. Edge of Tomorrow Just like with Nic Cage, Tom Cruise always has a surprise up his sleeve for when we forget how talented he is. It appears that both actors can truly surprise given the right material. Edge of Tomorrow (or whatever the hell it's named now) is a science fiction story about how some nerdy, cowardly man transforms into action star Tom Cruise after dying a thousand times. In the most unique premise of any science fiction film in recent memory (which is saying quite a bit as you can allude to sources like videogames), a man's life gets a reset button every time he's killed in a battle leading to some of the best and hilarious editing of 2014. And you know what else? Emily Blunt is a killer viking goddess badass and I wouldn't have it any other way.  Read our review of Edge of Tomorrow/All You Need is Kill/Live.Die.Repeat here. 7. Birdman Speaking of actors we've forgotten about, out comes Michael Keaton reminding us how much of a juggernaut he is. Sure he's had some subversive turns in films like The Other Guys, Toy Story 3 and RoboCop recently, but I haven't seen him challenged like this in a long time. Birdman breaks down Keaton and builds him back up again. A heartbreaking, absurd, hilarious, soul crushing, wonderfully shot film, Birdman is truly the peak of artistic creativity. Too bad Keaton overshadowed everyone else. But is that such a bad problem to have?  Read our review of Birdman here. 6. The Grand Budapest Hotel Budapest was my very first Wes Anderson film experience, and I'm so glad I finally took the plunge. Budapest is a film full of so much love, hard work, and time that it could only be put together after as long career. With one of the most outstanding casts (each utilized to the fullest, even in the smaller roles), a vignette style story, and an amazing performance from Ralph Fiennes, Budapest had my attention from beginning to end. The reason it's not higher on this list is because there were a few that had my attention a little bit more. And that's definitely tough in this case.  Read our review of The Grand Budapest Hotel here. 5. The Interview Say what you will about whether or not The Interview "deserved" all of the problems it caused, or whether or not it's some stupid exercise of free speech, underneath all of the drama, The Interview was the funnest experience I had last year. It's not some grand satire of North Korea's politics, nor is it your patriotic duty to witness it unfold, but you'd do yourself a disservice by missing out. Well tuned humor, great performances (with some of the best James Franco faces) led by Randall Park, and an explosive finale you're sure to remember. The Interview is a firework. Boom, boom, boom.  Read our review of The Interview here. 4. Whiplash On the opposite end of the spectrum is Whiplash. A film I had no idea existed full of darkness. Yet, that darkness is truly compelling. J.K. Simmons is a fantastic lead (if you tell me Miles Teller is the lead, I will politely ask you to leave) with a performance that's striking, violent, and full of the best kind of black humor. Imagine if his turn as J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man was even more aggressive, and you've got Whiplash. Backing up Simmons is a truly great film that's more about a bloody need to prove you're the best. Intense, rich, and has an a different kind of explosive finale.  Read our review of Whiplash here. 3. Obvious Child  Within a year so full of men that even the cartoons resemble our landscape, Obvious Child stood out from the outset. I've always loved comedienne Jenny Slate as she's great at creating tragically trashy characters,  but I was just waiting for her to break out. And the wait's been worth it. Based off a short film of the same name, Obvious Child tackles not often spoken topics like womanhood, abortion, and late twenties uncertainty with not only tact, but a sophisticated and illuminating point of view with often hilarious results. Jenny Slate is a dynamo as Donna Stern, and the film ending's blend of awkwardness and hope still gives me chills.  2. Palo Alto As James Franco continues to branch out, some of his projects don't go over so well but are nonetheless interesting. His collection of short stories, Palo Alto, and its adaptation got some attention a few months back because Franco himself inadvertently hit on an underage girl on Instagram. That's the only reason I knew about the project, and now I realize how wrong I was. Palo Alto is f**king fantastic for all involved. A well realized weave of stories helped established a broken, and compelling world. I was so invested, I couldn't help but want more. Yet, we're given just the right amount of story thanks to Gia Coppola's outstanding direction.  Featuring an eclectic cast with Franco as a creepy teacher, Emma Roberts as a misguided teen, Jack (and to a lesser extent, Val) Kilmer as a lost kid, and Nat Wolff with the most emotionally charged performance of the year. Seriously, I could not believe that the kid from The Naked Brothers Band had some talent. The final scene of the film where he charges into the night has stuck with me to this day.  1. Fury With how much Obvious Child and Palo Alto stuck with me, only one film did much more. As a fan of David Ayer's career, I was on top of Fury from day one. Though my anticipation sort of wavered in the middle thanks to some bad trailer editing, and I didn't think Logan Lerman was going to be an effective lead, once I sat down with the film all of that faded away. Fury is magnificent. Five terrific performances anchor the film's small story within this admittedly overwrought setting. Fury isn't a typical WWII film, and it delivers with a not so typical emotionally charged finale.  And Shia LaBeouf? Thank you for giving up all of that Transformers trash. This is what you're meant to do.  Read our review of Fury here.  What are your favorite movies from 2014? Did I miss any of your favorites? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! While you're at it, why not check out my Top 5 Animated Movies of 2014, Top 5 Sequels, Top 10 Movie Music Moments, and 2014's Best Dog in Film lists too!
Nick's Top 15 of 2014 photo
I have seen 107 films released in 2014. Here are 15 of the best ones
It was the best of films, it was the blurst of films. Hey everyone I'm Nick Valdez, News Editor here for Flixist and you've probably seen my name on a good chunk of the stuff written here. If not, then I'll tell you a bit abo...

Mad Max images photo
Mad Max images

Newest Mad Max: Fury Road images are still badass


Jan 05
// Nick Valdez
Damn, son. This continues to be my most anticipated film of 2015. Fury Road rages into theaters May 15th.  [via The Playlist]
Fury Road Trailer photo
Fury Road Trailer

Trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road has a road...it is furious


Dec 11
// Nick Valdez
You never know quite what you're getting with Mad Max, and Fury Road will deliver that bonkers mentality in spades. With this trailer (and the one released around San Diego Comic-Con) I'm already won over completely. Stunning visuals, comic grit, and we have yet to see Tom Hardy say a word. Calling it early, 2015 Movie of the Year for sure Mad Max: Fury Road opens May 15th next year. 

Review: The Drop

Sep 12 // Matthew Razak
[embed]218332:41829:0[/embed] The DropMichaël R. Roskam Rated: RRelease Date: September 12, 2014 The Drop is definitely a small feeling movie. They push it as a crime thriller, but really its more of a character study on Tom Hardy's Bob. Bob is a barkeep in the bar owned by his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini). Marv use to be a bit of a mob boss, but he was pushed out by a foreign gang and now the bar acts as a drop spot for illegal gambling. It's often hard to tell where the film is going and who were supposed to be fighting against as the story unfolds and Bob finds a puppy in the trash can of Nadia (Noomi Rapace). The two kindle a kind of romance as her ex starts to stalk Bob and the bar gets robbed. The movie, far from being an actual thriller, is more about Bob and who he is. As the light plot unrolls were treated to less tension and more mystery. Bob seems a little simple and straightforward, but there's something underneath there. As the story unfolds the complexity of the character does as well. The unfortunate thing is that the film doesn't always want to be a character study and veers towards crime thriller ever so often. It veers too much, taking us through a few too many twists and turns instead of delivering its strongest aspect, Bob. Tom Hardy is a revelation in the role. If you now him as an actor you could barely expect that he could pull off the shy, off-kilter New Yorker that is Bob, but he is completely transformed from the guy we know as Bane. His eyes constantly shift, unable to make contacting with anyone else. He's smaller and removed and yet still a presence on screen and he deftly handles a character that is layered. In the hands of another actor Bob's story would seem contrived -- and then the movie would have really not worked -- but Hardy turns a caricature into a human with his performance. It is stunning to watch. Nothing else in the film is as stunning. Roskam's subdued direction doesn't do anything to get in the way, but it certainly doesn't help out either. Things often feel flat, especially after the film reaches its apex and we're winding down. There's nothing else there to make the movie pop up despite a strong performance from Gandolfini. Rapace is present, but her role gets a bit too confused as the film goes on. Thankfully Hardy is there to ground it all in his character. A detective character played by John Ortiz also feels very out of place and simply an excuse to progress the plot and say meaningful things every once in a while. Structurally the film has issues like this as it tries to inject crime Thriller aspects in. This is not to say that the movie is bad at all. As a character study it could be pushing towards great, but as a crime thriller it simply sits too much. Hardy is the key, though. He takes the movie to a level where I would easily recommend seeing it even if you I don't think it's the best thing out there.  And if you need more convincing there's an adorable puppy. Everyone loves puppies.
The Drop Review photo
The role of a lifetime in the wrong film
The Drop is one of those little crime thrillers that comes out and no one really hears about it and you aren't sure why it was made. Possibly the studio thought it could grab some award love or something, but nothing is ...

First official trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road

Jul 28 // Nick Valdez
Haunted by his turbulent past, Mad Max believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. They are escaping a Citadel tyrannized by the Immortan Joe, from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the Warlord marshals all his gangs and pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows. 
Mad Max Trailer photo
Furiously cool
Thanks to the Mad Max: Fury Road panel at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, we've finally gotten our first trailer for the long awaited, long delayed, long in trouble sequel to George Miller's original trilogy. It's str...

Mad Max images photo
Mad Max images

These new Mad Max: Fury Road images are filthy


Jun 26
// Nick Valdez
Mad Max: Fury Road's production has have been a bumpy road with constant delays, hiccups and whatnot. For example, it's not hitting theaters until next year yet most of the film has been shot since December 2012. But by the l...
The Drop Trailer photo
The Drop Trailer

First trailer for The Drop, starring Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini


Apr 03
// Nick Valdez
The Drop has the unfortunate stigma of being James Gandolfini's final film. Whether or not it's spectacular, there's always going to be a sense of dread watching the film knowing we've lost a man with such potential. Like wi...
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First trailer for Locke brings Tom Hardy into a car


Or is it an ad for BMW hands-free calling?
Feb 18
// Matthew Razak
If you were paying attention to Sundance you probably heard about Locke, which stars Tom Hardy as a man driving around in a car making phone calls. Riveting, right? Well, according to everyone and their mother, yes, yes it i...
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Tom Hardy to play Elton John in Rocketman


Oct 24
// Matthew Razak
I'm not sure Elton John could ever be considered handsome no matter what stage of his career we're talking about so the casting of Tom Hard as the legendary singer is a bit of a head scratcher. Word has come down that Rocket ...
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Takashi Miike's first English film starring Tom Hardy


The Outsider seems like an apt title
Jun 07
// Matthew Razak
Takashi Miike is one of the biggest names in Japanese cinema, but if you throw his name out to the general U.S. public they'll ask you if you accidentally put an extra "i" in his last name. The Outsider is his first Engl...
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First pic of Tom Hardy as Max in Mad Max: Fury Road


Forgive the poor quality
Dec 20
// Thor Latham
Even though there were initially doubts, it looks like this pic of Tom Hardy as Max from Mad Max:Fury Road is the real deal. Warner Bros. confirmed earlier today that the pic was a keepsake signed by Hardy and given to t...
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Tom Hardy & Noomi Rapace in talks for Animal Rescue drama


Dec 18
// Liz Rugg
This header basically sums up my reaction to this casting news. "PUPPIES! Oh, also Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace will probably be there too." Rapace and Hardy are two actors who seem to be gaining popularity this year, staring i...
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Mad Max: Fury Road has finished principal photography


Dec 17
// Hubert Vigilla
Principal photography has wrapped on George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road. The shoot took six months to complete, mostly on location in Namibia and South Africa. The production (with an estimated budget of $100 million) was del...
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Get a glimpse of Tom Hardy's transformation into Bane


Spoiler alert: he gained weight
Nov 21
// Thor Latham
Tom Hardy's Bane proved to be a capable foil to Christian Bale's Batman, strange accent aside, and I don't think anyone who isn't familiar with what Hardy looks like would recognize him as the the bulky bad-guy, even if you h...
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Tom Hardy to star in Splinter Cell movie


Nov 14
// Hubert Vigilla
Lots of big developments today in the film adaptation of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. According to Variety, Tom Hardy has signed on to star as Sam Fisher. (Seen above, but without them three green eyes so you can enjoy Hardy's...

Review: Lawless

Aug 30 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]212599:38784[/embed] LawlessDirector: John HillcoatRating: RRelease Date: August 29th, 2012 Bondurant's book was based on the lives of his own grandfather and two great-uncles who lived in Franklin County, Virginia during prohibition. The three Bordurant boys were moonshiners who made ends meet by handing out white lightning in mason jars. There's the leader of the posse, Forrest (Tom Hardy); there's the ox/muscle, Howard (Jason Clarke); and there's the runty wannabe, Jack (Shia LaBeouf). In the first 20 minutes, a cheekbone gets caved in by a pair of brass knuckles and two people get ventilated via Tommy gun by a man named Banner, a Chicago gangster moseying through town (Gary Oldman). So far, so good, my rowdy friends. These are the cowboys of the American East. The hats have been fussed over to keep the sun out just right, except for Jack who keeps the brim snapped up just so. Their pieces are on them at all times, and there's a certain cruelty that comes with their way of life. Part of it's posturing, but that posturing might be a lifesaver. It's Hillcoat's wheelhouse, and he's explored it in the Australian outback, in the fall of the civilized world, and now in the dust of the Depression. In the hills of green are smoke and fire, in the dance halls are wild men buying hooch and Mennonites none the wiser. There again, the rowdy and the tender; it excuses many of the tonal shifts in Lawless, because throughout there are dots of funny stuff in the dark places. For stretches, Lawless gets by on the strength of a few key performances. Jessica Chastain plays Maggie, a woman from the city looking for a job with the Bondurants. Chastain's always had a certain look and a way of carrying herself whether in Tree of Life, Take Shelter, or any of the dozen other movies she's been in over the last two years. She can pass as working class and high society -- she can play hewn from granite or fashioned out of marble. If Lawless, like its director and screenwriter, plays with dichotomies of tender and rowdy, Chastain is fittingly graceful and sultry, and her character gets to indulge in the latter. She's a would-be Bonnie Parker for the stoic Forrest, the man who's the hub of the movie even if he's not technically the main character. Hardy's Forrest is so strangely affected. He seems aloof and ineffectual sometimes, but he seems to play it as a front. Could be he's just a total eccentric who happens to be an incredible badass as well. Hardy lumbers around all glares and grunts. It's almost like Hillcoat placed a mic in Hardy's throat and sinuses to pick up those little guttural noises he makes. In real life, it'd sound like a sigh or chair scooted back suddenly, but only just. Yet those sounds that Forrest makes, minute as they are, are as expressive in Lawless as a full sentence. Same goes for his mumbled cusses and vocal creaks that are the partial, stopped-short words of real life. When Forrest turns on that brutality, it's that much more intense given the way he carries himself otherwise. Oldman makes an impression with his brief screentime (more on that in a bit), but it's Guy Pearce who's the most aggressive actor in the film. He's Charlie Rakes, a special deputy out to bring down the bootlegging operation, and he's also a big damn cartoon villain but in the best possible way. Eyebrows are non-existent, suits and gloves a must, and he has a wide part down the middle of his slicked-back hair, a part so clean and perfect that it must have been made with a straight razor at the barber shop. He's Willem Dafoe and Udo Kier and so over-the-top. Pearce makes it work, at least when playing against Forrest and Maggie and Harold, and he relishes in classist insults. But then there's Jack, and he's the yoke on the film. He's also the main character. We're supposed to sympathize with Jack, I think, but there's something unsympathetic and even unlikable about him. I never go to movies or read books to make friends with the characters, but we're meant to feel something for Jack, and Jack leaves me empty. Jack the runt is just so boring and conventional. He's trying to date the pretty Mennonite girl (Mia Wasikowska), he's trying to prove he's tough to his brothers, he's infected with pride and ostentation. It's that familiar story of the youngest kid who screws everything up and is too stupid to see it otherwise, but then there's a forced sense of growth since he's the hero and needs a perfunctory arc of some kind. Sure, Jack's funny when he bumbles through courtship, but it's not as amusing when his blunders are matters of life and death. In those latter cases, he's acting dumb or arrogant as a means to drive the plot. For a while I wondered if Jack bothered me because of the writing or if Jack bothered me because I have an aversion to Shia LaBeouf. (Sometimes it's hard to forget the person and see only the character.) But his real-life persona aside, LaBeouf doesn't have the same acting muscles as Hardy, Pearce, or Chastain. Even Clarke as the burly Harold conveys so much life in a drunken flop that LaBeouf doesn't while crying. There are good moments from LaBeouf, like one creeping half-smile in a key scene, but they're few, and his overall performance is dulled by the actors around him. But I think in the end, my problems with Jack had more to do with the writing, which is surprising because as a novelist, screenwriter, and lyricist, Nick Cave is usually very good. Jack's part of the story is far less engaging than the stories of the others. If there's a literary designation for the unreliable narrator and the detached narrator, Jack's ultimate shortcoming is that he's the unfortunate narrator -- unfortunate because he's the main character and also the least interesting. Since Jack's the emotional center and the real drive for the last half of the movie, all that promise of rowdiness and tenderness felt squandered. It'd come back again when Hardy, Chastain, Pearce, and Oldman were on screen, but it'd go away again once LaBeouf and the underwritten Wasikowska were there. Oldman's character even feels underused and unrealized, and just seems like an aside in the film despite providing a few of the movie's most memorable moments. What should be a thrilling, emotional climax to the movie winds up being a grunt, but it's not as expressive or full as one of Forrest's grunts. It's something rushed into and telegraphed well in advance. Most of that finale doesn't even feel as brutal as the mayhem that happens before, but it should have been the rowdiest bit of them all. Part of me wonders if the unevenness of Lawless had something to do with the source material. I haven't read The Wettest County in the World, so I'm not sure. (Apparently Winesburg, Ohio author Sherwood Anderson is a narrator in the book, so I'm intrigued.) Maybe Jack reads better than he's portrayed, or something in the text was lost in translation. There's a kind of coda to Lawless that seems like it'd work better in a novel, especially if the moment feels earned by the voice and the characters. Hillcoat was able to get Cormac McCarthy's text across in the end of The Road well enough, so he knows how to reach a certain kind of pitch in a story as long as most everything else leading up to that moment hits. Lawless has its wind down, and I'm sure it's supposed to make you feel something. Despite what's goes right for the movie, that something just wasn't there. God dammit, Jack.
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There's something about John Hillcoat and Nick Cave collaborations that click when they're working. I think about that harsh Aussie western The Proposition, or Cave and Warren Ellis's scores on The Proposition and The Road. B...

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Attractive men making movie against poaching


Aug 28
// Matthew Razak
Attention! Attractive men do not like poaching. This point is proven by the new movie being produced to Warner Bros. The film is being put together by Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Tom Hardy according to THR. No word o...
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New pics from Lawless


Aug 27
// Thor Latham
If the thought of having to wait two more days to see Lawless is killing you inside, we have a smattering of images from the film that will hopefully hold you over. Starring Tom Hardy, Shia LeBeouf, Gary Oldman, Guy Pier...
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Trailer: Lawless (Red Band)


Aug 22
// Hubert Vigilla
As the release date for John Hillcoat's Lawless approaches, a red band trailer has popped up for the Prohibition-era crime drama. It's much moodier than the previous trailer for Lawless, and it has me even more interested in...
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New Mad Max: Fury Road info confirms 'Word Burgers'


Aug 17
// Nick Valdez
Although we've known that George Miller's Mad Max reboot/sequel Mad Max: Fury Road has been going through some rough patches for awhile now, principal photography for the film has finally begun. Tom Hardy is still going to st...
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13 minute Dark Knight Rises featurette aims to amaze


Jul 09
// Alex Katz
Holy crap, guys, The Dark Knight Rises is in theaters next Friday. It's the film many of us have been aching to see since first stepping out of The Dark Knight four years ago. Four years ago, I was unmarried, still...
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Three new Dark Knight Rises images; midnight tix sell out


Jan 12
// Hubert Vigilla
Over at Entertainment Weekly, three new images have arisen for The Dark Knight Rises. There's nothing too revealing here: a little more Bane, Commissioner Gordon commissioning and Gordon-ing, and Batman and Bane fighting for ...

Dark Knight Rises prologue: Analysis & Spoilers

Dec 16 // Sean Walsh
So, it starts with a little eulogy for Harvey Dent by Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman). This felt very out of place given the context of the rest of the eight minutes. While effective, it’s quite short (maybe thirty seconds) and has jack squat to do with the rest of the prologue. After Gordon says he believed in Harvey Dent, we shift to some mountainous terrain and a plane. Some guys have a doctor named Leonid Pavel who is apparently from the viral marketing campaign (beats me) and some other guys in black hoods and handcuffs (it’s like they really knew we were about to see a Mission: Impossible film!) and give them to Littlefinger from Game of Thrones, who is with the CIA and also kind of awesome. So everyone gets in the plane and take off with the men in hoods and Littlefinger dangles the guys one by one out of the plane in the hopes that they’ll tell him about Bane and why Bane wears a mask that belongs on Sub-Zero in the next Mortal Kombat movie. Then one of the guys in the hoods speaks up with a mechanized voice. Could this be Bane, pulling one over on the CIA guys? Of course it is. What happens next confuses me. Not because the action or directing is unclear, but I could catch maybe every third word out of Tom Hardy’s mouth. If you’ve read a write-up elsewhere already, you’ve probably already heard that the big bad Bane’s dialogue is incredibly hard to understand. If you haven’t read about it anywhere else, trust me when I say it’s incredibly hard to understand. Anyways, after Littlefinger puts on a little show of badassery since he’s not in handcuffs and Bane is, some henchmen attack the plane (surprise), Bane breaks free, and things get super action-packed as a bigger plane attaches itself to the CIA’s smaller plane and basically F’s it in the A, causing it to go vertical and knock everyone around. Except Bane who grabs hold of a chair because he is teh master tactician. So there’s a scuffle, Bane straps Pavel to himself, and all the bad guys zip away except for one because Bane tells him that they’ll expect one of them in the wreckage (so I’m told, because I couldn’t understand him). The one who stays behind seems like he’s ready and willing to die for the cause. “We started a fire?” he asks. Then Bane zips up to the other plane with the screaming doctor. After that, we get a bunch of teasers to whet our appetites for the rest of the movie. Batman with a big laser or something (what!?), Anne Hathaway in both her ‘costume’ and an orange jumpsuit (my new fetish), Joseph Gordon Levitt decked out as a cop, a camouflaged Bat-Tank or Tumblr or whatever it’s called, somebody on the Bat-Bike, and finally, somebody (probably Bane) kicking the broken Bat-mask from the new poster. Did the fact that Bane sounded like a McDonalds drive-thru take away from this trailer? For me, yeah a little bit. There’s already lots of talk of the dialogue being rerecorded or fixed or whatever, which is good because after eight minutes of it I was ready to Hulk-out. The rest of the trailer was awesome though. Littlefinger was effective as the “hey that guy!” role that William Fichtner played in the opening scene of the last film. There was lots of high-flying action and you really don’t see enough sweet plane scenes anymore. The real question is was it worth tracking down one of the IMAX theaters playing the prologue? Yeah, it was pretty cool. But, bear in mind, I was also amped as hell for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. From the way some people talked about the prologue, I feared that they might have made the trek just to see Bane ask you if you wanted fries with your Big Mac. Basically, go see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in IMAX and enjoy the neat eight-minute prologue to The Dark Knight Rises. It’s not quite as awesome, for me, as the last film’s prologue but it’s definitely cool as hell.
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I have had my reservations about Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (along with Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman and the eight-year gap in canon between Dark Knight and Rises). Now, after sitting through the eigh...

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Trailer: This Means War


Oct 14
// Alex Katz
After watching this trailer for This Means War (which you can see in HD over at Apple Trailers), I had two questions. The first was how in blessed f**kery does McG keep getting paying work? The man has driven a tractor-sized...

Review: Warrior

Sep 09 // Alex Katz
The Conlon family is as messed up a brood as you'll find. Father Paddy (Nick Nolte, NOT playing his mugshot for once) drove his family away with decades of alcoholism. The youngest brother Tom (Tom Hardy) ran off with his mother and cut all ties to the family, eventually enlisting in the Marines, while older brother Brendan grew up to marry his high school sweetheart and raise a family on an inner-city science teacher's pay. Brendan finds himself returning to the world of parking lot venue mixed martial arts when the bank threatens to foreclose his house, while Tommy returns to his father and demands to be trained to fight. Both men find eventually find themselves members of the Sparta tournament, an event likened to the Super Bowl for MMA, where they find themselves on a collision course towards each other, where they must confront the decades of issues that have torn them apart. There's an interesting story here, which is why it pains me to say that it's not well told. The notion of two brothers, estranged for years thanks to a terrible family conflict, is always good fodder for storytelling. It's basically a universal concept, and I think there's not one person with siblings out there that can't empathize, even a little. In Warrior, though, most of the back story is told to us with a complete lack of subtlety. We're merely TOLD that the brothers have a bad history, and we're TOLD that there was this big event that tore the family apart. Telling rather than showing can work some of the time, but not when it comes to one of the central conflicts of the story. It kind of removes the weight from whatever you're doing if you're just content to have someone explain whatever bullshit story your characters are supposed to have, unless you're Shakespeare. The pacing is mostly draggy as hell, up until the last act, when we finally get to the tournament, and everything ratchets up to eleven. Performances are solid, though nothing terribly special. Tom Hardy, probably one of the most talented actors of his age, walks a thin line between unrepentant thug and tortured soul with a heart o' gold as Tommy. His performance becomes more interesting as we learn his reasons for why it's so important for him to win the prize money from Sparta, but he walks this bizarre line early on, when we're not supposed to know that he's not such a bad guy after all, like he hasn't read the rest of the script. Joel Edgerton basically just sits on screen and says his lines. The best I can say is that he was unobtrusive. Nick Nolte, though, uses this movie to remind us all that he's still an actor that matters. He spends more time internalizing the decades of pain and suffering he's went through thanks to the hell he put his kids though than most actor spend actually reading the script. He's a broken man trying desperately to do right, only to be rebuffed by his son. It's tough to watch him on screen, as he's being beaten up moreso than either of his sons without taking a single punch. There's some not-too subtle metaphors going on with him, as he's constantly listening to an audiobook of Moby Dick, but he doesn't let it get int he way of a command performance. Visually, the movie doesn't really take off until the fight sequences. This is where the film's real strength lies. The bouts in the film feature some of the best staged MMA fights on film I've ever seen. They're visceral, as real-looking as houses, and filmed absolutely expertly. They have more tension and flow and conflict than every other part of the film combined. I'd almost say the film's worth seeing just for the last act, when all of these amazing fights are going down. At the end of the day, there's just not a lot to Warrior. It's a basically serviceable movie. I wouldn't say it's a good movie, though there's the occasional flash of one that could have been, and I wouldn't say that it's awful, though it's certainly not good. At the end of the day, it's a lot like most other sports movies: mediocre, with occasional moments of good and shit. It's ultimately just kind of limp. Andres Bolivar: 62 - Okay. Before I watched Warrior, I thought the world of MMA was essentially awful t-shirts and two dudes wrestling and punching the snot out of each other. After watching the film, I still pretty much think it's that, but damn it if it wasn't entertaining. Warrior is chock full of ridiculous happenstance, cookie cutter characters and terrible pacing, but by the the last act of the film I was right there with the rest of the audience sitting at the edge of my seat and applauding at each victory. It's a hard film to rate considering there's so much wrong with it, but I must say I was charmed by Tom "my shoulders are swallowing my neck" Hardy and his animalistic calm and Nick Nolte's broken and awaiting salvation-like performance. The film is easy in the sense that it drives on the fumes of daddy issues and sibling rivalry, but it's still done well in the sense that it will speak to you. In no way is it worth the ticket price and you're probably better off fast forwarding to the last act of the film when you rent it, but it's still something that should be watched, even if it is in passing.
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Sports movies are basically the easiest things ever. There's an easily definable plot, opportunities for a cast of diverse, interesting characters, action, drama, and always, always a climactic battle. They may be formul...

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First images released from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy


May 31
// Xander Markham
The upcoming adaptation of John Le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, as directed by Let The Right One In's Tomas Alfredson, is a movie I am very much looking forward to. It has an outstanding cast - counting Gary Oldm...
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Trailer: Warrior


Apr 08
// Alex Katz
Warrior is a movie about MMA fighters training for a worldwide championship. Normally, I wouldn't be terribly interested in this, but it happens to be written and directed by Gavin O'Connor, the writer and director of Miracl...
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Mia Wasikowska to star in Stoker & Wettest County in World


Jan 20
// Tom Fronczak
Hard to believe that gorgeous girl on the left and that Gila monster on the right are both the same woman. Luckily for us audience folk it doesn't look like she'll have any smiling roles to play any time soon. With her next ...

Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy confirmed for Catwoman and Bane

Jan 19 // Tom Fronczak
It turns out the rumor that Tom Hardy will star in The Dark Knight Returns is true, but as Bane instead of Dr. Hugo Strange. Christian Bale will of course return as Batman, and the lengthy search for the right Hollywood lady to play both Selina Kyle and Catwoman has finally come to a close. After reportedly considering Blake Lively, Charlize Theron, Keira Knightley, Vera Farmiga, Rachel Weisz, Kacie Thomas, Naomi Watts, and Natalie Portman, Christopher Nolan has finally decided on Anne Hathaway. As someone whose favorite Batman villains were Two Face, Bane, and Clayface, this is great news for me. It's also great news for Anne Hathaway, who recently starred in the dud film Love and Other Drugs and could definitely use another big release to keep her fame inflated longer. Speaking of drugs, one of our editors just got out of a painful knee surgery a few days ago and is still loopy from his pain meds. We decided to have him create an artistic rendering of what Catwoman will look like in full costume in The Dark Knight Returns, which is still set for a July 20, 2012 release in theaters. Check out his superb mockup picture below, or hit the jump for the full press release.{{page_break}}   BURBANK, CA, January 19, 2011 – Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that Anne Hathaway has been cast as Selina Kyle in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises.”  She will be starring alongside Christian Bale, who returns in the title role of Bruce Wayne/Batman.        Christopher Nolan stated, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Anne Hathaway, who will be a fantastic addition to our ensemble as we complete our story.”       In addition, Tom Hardy has been set to play Bane.  Nolan said, “I am delighted to be working with Tom again and excited to watch him bring to life our new interpretation of one of Batman’s most formidable enemies.”       Nolan will direct the film from a screenplay he wrote with Jonathan Nolan, from a story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer.  Nolan will also produce the film with his longtime producing partner, Emma Thomas, and Charles Roven.       “The Dark Knight Rises” is slated for release on July 20, 2012.  The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.  
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It turns out the rumor that Tom Hardy will star in The Dark Knight Returns is true, but as Bane instead of Dr. Hugo Strange. Christian Bale will of course return as Batman, and the lengthy search for the right Hollywood lady...

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Shia & Tom Hardy to star in The Wettest County in the World


Dec 08
// Tom Fronczak
Directed by John Hillcoat (The Road), The Wettest County in the World is based on a Matt Bondurant novel about the crimes committed by and against a Prohibition era family of bootleggers. Nick Cave (who was a writer for The ...

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