Wednesday movie roundup: Moonshine and lollipops
It's hard to think of two movies as different as the ones opening in theaters today in tone and quality.
"Lawless" is a rough, violent and often engrossing tale of moonshiners in Depression-era Virginia. It centers on the Bondurant brothers hulking oldest brother Forrest (Tom Hardy, fresh off of "The Dark Knight Rises"), wild-child middle brother Howard (Jason Clarke), and ambitious pipsqueak Jack (Shia LaBeouf) who make and sell bootleg liquor. The brothers get into a battle when they defy a dirty state official and his brutal special agent, Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce). Director Jeff Hillcoat ("The Road") and screenwriter Nick Cave (the rocker who also co-wrote the score) create a rich portrait of crime and corruption.
On the other end is "The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure," a G-rated adventure aimed at the preschool crowd. It involves three "Teletubbies"-like characters on a journey to retrieve five magical balloons. The search brings the Crayola-colored figures into contact with such guest stars as Cloris Leachman and Toni Braxton, in interactive song-and-dance numbers that gets the littlest audience members up on their feet. It's all cheap-looking, cloying and condescendingly dim.