This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
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.