Lawless

(R) ★★☆☆☆

This bootlegging drama should be excellent, but it’s not. The Bondurant brothers run a hooch operation during Prohibition. While the youngest, Jack (Shia LaBeouf), leads and narrates, the reason to see the picture is the gruff leader, Forrest (Tom Hardy). Unfortunately for these family men, the law comes down in the form of a greasy-weasel special agent played by Guy Pearce. While the crack cast also includes Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and even Gary Oldman, the drama remains bland and the violence is just over the top.

Suggested Next Read

Sparkle

Short Reviews

Sparkle

By Tribune Media Services

(PG-13) ★★★☆☆ Already known as Whitney Houston’s swan song, this remake of the original actually works. Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) is one-third of a singing sister act who writes her own material and has to hide it from her God-fearing mother (Houston). The mother, Emma, is a heartbroken vocalist, who chased her dreams at a young age but ran into bad luck and worse men. With deft direction and pleasantly restrained dramatics, as well as the performances, the film does its source material proud.

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