Archive for August, 2012

‘Lawless’ director John Hillcoat talks about Nick Cave, on-set fights, and Guy Pearce’s hair

John Hillcoat’s breakout movie “The Proposition” was a gritty Western set in the Australian outback written by postpunk legend and Bad Seed Nick Cave. The movie was a critical hit, and soon Hollywood came knocking. His follow-up movie was the screen adaptation of Cormac MacCarthy’s bleak masterpiece “The Road,” starring Viggo Mortensen.

Hillcoat’s latest movie “Lawless,” again penned by Cave, is a two-fisted gangster tale set in the backwoods of Virginia during Prohibition. The movie is based on the true-life bootlegging exploits of the Bondurant brothers as detailed in bestselling book “The Wettest County in the World” and stars Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, and Jessica Chastain. While the movie features the requisite amount of violence, fisticuffs, and manly comradery — Hardy somehow manages to make a cardigan sweater look badass — “Lawless” is also striking for the depth and strength of its female characters, a rarity in the gangster genre. Jessica Chastain, as always, is particularly good as Maggie, an ex-dancer who sees through Hardy’s character’s flinty exterior. But the real standout of the movie is Guy Pearce who plays Charlie Rakes, a corrupt sheriff/dandy sociopath who loves flamboyant suits, fine cologne, and sadism. There have been few villains in recent years more fun to root against than Rakes. Continue reading ‘‘Lawless’ director John Hillcoat talks about Nick Cave, on-set fights, and Guy Pearce’s hair’

Indie Roundup: ‘Sleepwalk With Me’

Comic Mike Birbiglia’s voice seems perpetually perplexed not only by the strangeness of whatever situation he’s in but by the words coming out of his mouth. His spacey delivery and his shambling demeanor belie the sharpness of his observations, making them feel unexpected and frequently hilarious. He opens his movie “Sleepwalk With Me” addressing the camera directly while driving his car. “I’m going to tell you a story, and it’s true…I always have to tell people that,” he says before going on a meandering spiel about shutting off your cell phones. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘Sleepwalk With Me’’

Indie Roundup: ‘Robot & Frank’

The billing of the new movie “Robot & Frank” is all wrong. It should have been called “Frank & Robot,” as it’s really a one-human show.

The Frank in the title is the veteran actor Frank Langella. He’s won piles of prizes for his stage work and he garnered an Oscar nomination for his turn as Richard M. Nixon in “Frost/Nixon.” In this movie, Langella plays another kind of crook — an irascible, retired cat burglar who lives up in a quaint house in the countryside at some time in the “near future.” Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘Robot & Frank’’

Indie Roundup: ‘Compliance’

The new movie “Compliance” is an intensely visceral cinematic psych experiment that will leave you clutching your head in disbelief or shouting at the characters on the screen.

Based on a true story, the movie opens at a drab ChickWich fast-food franchise in suburban Ohio, where we see harried middle-aged manager Sandra (Ann Dowd) getting berated by a corporate suit. It’s Friday, the busiest day of the week, and one of her underlings left the freezer door open the night before, spoiling $15,000 worth of bacon. Then, still smarting from that, she gets mocked behind her back by her pretty 19-year-old employee Becky (Dreama Walker). Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘Compliance’’

Robert Pattinson set to play Lawrence of Arabia

Days before his cinematic head-trip, “Cosmopolis,” is slated for limited release, Robert Pattinson announced that he is going to play none other than British Army officer T.E. Lawrence in the upcoming indie flick “Queen of the Desert.” The movie will also star Naomi Watts and will be directed by art house icon Werner Herzog. Continue reading ‘Robert Pattinson set to play Lawrence of Arabia’

Indie Roundup: Director Fernando Meirelles talks about ‘360’

Director Fernando Meirelles first garnered international attention in 2002 for his propulsive crime drama “City of God.” That movie, which nabbed him an Oscar nomination for best director, sizzled with the violence and passion of the favela, and it featured, hands down, the best performance by a chicken in the history of cinema. For his subsequent movie, he swapped Rio for the slums of Nairobi, detailing a different kind of violence in “The Constant Gardener.” The movie earned Rachel Weisz an Oscar for her role as a woman who railed against the evil activities of an international corporation. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: Director Fernando Meirelles talks about ‘360’’

Movies and real life blur for Anthony Hopkins in ‘360’

Anthony Hopkins has won just about every acting award under the sun, including an Oscar for his legendarily creepy turn as Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs.” He’s also memorably played Richard Nixon, John Quincy Adams, and Thor’s dad. He has his pick of movie parts. So why did he agree to play a small part in the upcoming indie film “360”?

Director Fernando Meirelles know the answer. “Anthony Hopkins was drawn to the story because his character in the film is really similar to his own personal story.” Continue reading ‘Movies and real life blur for Anthony Hopkins in ‘360’’


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