Sign in | Register now | Like us on FacebookLike Us | Follow us on TwitterFollow Us

Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

Tue
Hi: 78
Lo: 61
Wed
Hi: 79
Lo: 68
Thu
Hi: 84
Lo: 72
Advertise on OnMilwaukee.com
#Eastwooding. It's a thing.
#Eastwooding. It's a thing.

Have you "Eastwooded?"

Unless you've actively unplugged and gone full Grizzly Man, you've probably heard about this little thing called the Republican National Convention that's going on in Florida. To say it's gotten some buzz – especially locally, now that Paul Ryan's officially sealed the deal as Romney's running mate – is a bit of an understatement.

On a national level, though, it seemed to be politics as usual until last night, when Clint Eastwood took the stage to speak to the convention – and the empty chair next to him.

The speech became an instant conversation piece on Twitter, almost immediately spawning the hashtag and fad #Eastwooding. Easier than its trendy predecessors "planking" and "Tebowing," Eastwooding only requires Tweeps to upload their own sassy pictures of empty chairs.

And so they did, overloading Twitter with hundreds of thousands of entries to the satirical online collective.

Is it silly? Totally. But then, so was Eastwood's speech. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, though, it's nice to have something to laugh at in the midst of all the Serious Business.

Tom Hardy and Shia LaBoeuf star in "Lawless," in theaters now.
Tom Hardy and Shia LaBoeuf star in "Lawless," in theaters now.

"Lawless" finds order in chaos

After the release of "Gangster Squad" got pushed out to next year, I consoled myself with the knowledge that I could still get my old-timey ne'er-do-well fix off of "Lawless."

Sure, Depression-era Virginia wilderness isn't quite the substitute for the glamorous L.A. glory years, but watching Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain chew the scenery (which is rife with bootlegging, corruption and backwoods intrigue, might I add) for just under two hours can't possibly be too much of a let-down.

Sadly, I think I may have put this bottle of movie moonshine on too high of a pedestal. Its spirits are well-intentioned, but it has all the ups and downs of a rail alcohol bender. I didn't wind up with a headache, but I did leave the theater wondering what happened to that attractive, intriguing film I thought I was spending my time with.

Based on a novel/true story from Depression-era Franklin County, Va., "Lawless" is the story of the supposedly indestructible Bondurant brothers and their bootlegging ring. After their steady local enterprise falls into conflict with corrupt Chicago deputy Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) and the encroaching influences of gangster magnate Floyd Banner (Gary Oldman), Jack (Shia LaBeouf), Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) fall deeper into the illicit world and its deadly consequences.

With all these characters running around getting into trouble, the plot was bound to be a mess. An ably managed mess to be sure, but a mess nonetheless. "Lawless" focuses mainly on Jack – even taking him as a narrator when necessary – as he rises in the family ranks from timid shipment driver to a showboating wheeler and dealer. The problem with this approach, however, is two-fold.

First, he doesn't make for a very interesting or relatable character. Almost all of Jack's success is made on dumb luck and rash judgements, but he plays it off like it was all part of the plan – in particular to his trusting friend and partner Cricket (Dane DeHaan) a…

Read more...
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dania Ramirez star in "Premium Rush," in theaters now.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dania Ramirez star in "Premium Rush," in theaters now.

"Premium Rush" a fast-paced, breezy ride

It seems kind of ridiculous to base an action thriller around bike messengers. I mean, chase scenes are nothing without the horsepower and collateral damage cars bring to the screen, right?

The people behind "Premium Rush" disagree, and aim to convince audiences of the same with this whirlwind two-wheeled ride. At its center is Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a daring cyclist thrust into a dangerous game of cat and mouse after he's tasked with delivering a mysterious envelope. He finds himself doggedly pursued by Michael Shannon's character, Bobby Monday, and soon comes to realize his problems may be more serious than stealthy maneuvers can handle.

Gordon-Levitt is perfect in this lead role. Wilee is witty and affable, and his performance is as quick as the movie's pace. Shannon's Monday gets his fair share of screen time to produce the plot's main conflict, bringing the intensity with his comically unhinged antagonist – a characteristic that sets the tone for the movie, for better or for worse.

Although it's unlikely movie-goers will walk into "Premium Rush" expecting a typical action movie, those who do will catch on quickly. The very first scene – Wilee flying in slow motion across the shot after being thrown from his bike – captures the movie's tongue-in-cheek action sensibility to a tee.

It's an unconventional approach to an unconventional plotline, and once the audience starts picking up what "Premium Rush" is putting down, it becomes a lot of fun to watch. That learning curve, however, makes the exposition difficult to navigate and unfortunately the entertainment value suffers at the outset as viewers work to figure out whether they walked into an action/comedy or just an unintentionally funny action movie.

Once things get sorted out and the plot starts moving, though, it's hard not to like "Premium Rush." Its moves are as streamlined as Wilee's hypothetical bike paths (a slick visualization that, while a little cheesy, is still cool). The bike stunt…

Read more...
All the colors in the world can't distract me.
All the colors in the world can't distract me.

Color me intimidated

I've never been a runner. My Phy. Ed. years are littered with neon green Field Day "participant" stickers and mercy-laden Bs doled out by sympathetic gym teachers who graded on effort.

However, I've always been stubborn. And now that I've set my sights on – and tamed, if not conquered – various athletic feats of increasing difficulty, it's time I face my nemesis.

In a move that was half peer pressure and half masochistic intrigue, I joined my friends' team for this Friday's Color Run, otherwise known as the "Up With People" hippie of 5K society. They throw colored powder at you while you run. Colored powder and joy. Seriously, check out the website. It's a regular love-in over there.

So, I found the best possible arena to exorcise my run-phobia. I was good – until they sent out the race map.

Listen, I know how far five kilometers is. But, one look at that map – with its seemingly endless path winding around the tiniest representation of Miller Park I've ever seen – completely shook up my game.

I should know better. Logical Adult Brain keeps insisting that 5K is 5K is 5K, no matter how it looks on a map. But, Wiggy Regressing Brain is telling Logical Adult Brain to shut it because LOOK HOW FAR THAT IS. And somewhere in the middle, I'm stuck, because they just prattle on and on when deep down both of them know that come Friday I have to – and will – run that 5K.

It won't be that bad. And yes, Color Run, all that matters is I try. I just need to steer clear of that map, is all.