From the moment the lights dim to the moment they brighten again, Lawless grabs you by your neck with the force of a drunken step-father and never lets go. This movie has a certain authenticity to it that I really appreciate. From the lush backwoods environment to the deep-fried, syrup soaked southern accents, everything feels real. At it's core, Lawless is a story about family; Four brothers to be specific, that band together when a new power threatens the family business.
To write Lawless off as merely another story about family would be an insult. The way that Nick Cave is able to weave so many different sub plots and themes into the framework of Lawless is amazing. The aspect that really take Lawless from another rag-tag shoot em' up type movie to a cinematic masterpiece, is the magic that happens when you place the engine of great dialogue into an even better vehicle of phenomenal actors. While Shia LaBeouf delivers with the same excellence that we've come to expect from him at this point in his career, for me it was Tom Hardy who was the true star in this movie.
While there aren't any one liners or breathtaking monologues by Hardy, the intimidation and uneasiness that he evokes onscreen is an amazing thing to see. While the same can be said of his stellar performance in Dark Knight, the methods that Hardy uses to accomplish this feeling are completely different. In Dark Knight, he was much more animated, theatric if you will, often using his hands, raising his voice, etc. In Lawless, he is much more quiet and reserved. 
Most of Hardy's dialogue is merely a grunt, groan, or a remark, that if not listened to carefully could easily pass for the former. Not only does he deliver his lines with an amazing since of conviction, but his ability use of silence to convey implied dialogue is uncanny. With each movie that I see Tom Hardy in, he gets that much closer to becoming my favorite actor. 

As for the rest of the cast, everyone plays their part to a tee. I really enjoyed mix of veteran heavy hitters and young rising stars. Actors like Dane DeHaan (Most notably of Chronicle), Jessica Chastain (The Help, Tree of Life), and Mia Wasikowska (Alice and Wonderland) seemed right at home in the midst of actors like Guy Pearce (Promethius, Memento, LA Confidential) and Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Series, Harry Potter, The Book of Eli). That balance of old and new really gives life to a film that could've easily been average.
Lawless is definitely a must-see for anyone who enjoys movies. It's easily one of the best movies of 2012, and a movie that has instantly become one of my favorites.


Four Fall Essentials for Men.

Has it honestly been a year already? It feels like just yesterday when I sat down and wrote about the Four Fall Essentials for Men. And while my essentials from last season still hold up pretty well after a year's time, it can never hurt to add variety to your wardrobe. I've been doing a bit of shopping lately (maybe too much) and I've condensed my list of items into a bare minimum, skin and bones survival kit that even the machoest of men can benefit from. Without further ado, here are my four fall essentials for 2012.

1) Camo Print
I've always had a special place in my heart for camo print but my love for this amazing pattern was reawakened by the amount of items that I've been able to find that do camo ptint the right way. What do I mean by the "right way"? I mean prints that won't get you mistaken for someone who drives a monster truck with a #3 sticker slapped on the side of it and a hunting rifle in the backseat. Yes, camo can be a very tricky pattern to pull off, but when found on the the right item of clothing, in the correct pattern, and when used in moderation, camo can be a nice curve ball to put a basic outfit over the top. Before you scour the internet for war clothing to stunt in, please heed my advice:
  • Make sure the pattern is correct. Bape (the manufacturer of the shirt above) changed the camo game with their design. While Bape is out of a lot of people's price range, there are many brands that produce close to the same design for a fraction of the cost. 
  • Whatever is that you're wearing with camo print, be it pants or a shirt, make sure the accompanying garment is free of any patterns whatsoever. For instance, don't wear camo pants with a plaid shirt. There's enough going on with the camo item already, give the rest of your outfit a break, and when all else fails, keep it simple.
If you're not quite sure about camo, military colors (greens, browns, greys, etc.) always go well together. My army green pants are probably my favorite pair of pants, and places like Forever21 for Men have really cheap basic color tees that feel amazing and work well on their own or as undershirts.

2) Brogues
I have never been one for big flashy items. To me, flashy items are the easy way out. They show that you care entirely too much about what's "in" and not enough about being an individual. The thought of skipping the most personal and gratifying part of assembling an outfit absolutely disgusts me. I could give two shits that you're dressed in Armani from head to toe, if you didn't get to experience the pleasure of evaluating all the pieces that were available before assembling it, why do I care? I went on a bit of a tangent there, but I say all of this to say that shoes should never be treated as an afterthought; merely the vehicle to deliver the outfit in, nor should they purposely be the most expensive part of the outfit that takes attention away from the rest. There must always be balance. If your shoes are the vehicle, wouldn't you rather it be a 1970 Chevelle than an 2014 Escalade? I'm not saying they have to be the most expensive shoes on the planet, but by no means should they be a $30 pair of Sketchers either. One thing that I've noticed about a moderately priced pair of dress shoes is that they tend to last a lot longer than a cheap pair. I tend to prefer a nice accent and a round toe for brown dress shoes and a minimal more squared toe for black dress shoes. As always, comfort comes first. There is zero logic in crippling yourself for the sake of having a nice pair of shoes. What good are your shoes if you can't walk in them?

3) Henleys
If you know anything about my taste in clothing, you know that I'm a sucker for details. Your average person would look at a henley and ask, "What the hell makes this shirt so special?". After all, it's merely a long-sleeved shirt with a couple of buttons on it. While that is true, these buttons are exactly what makes the henley such a versatile piece. Paired it with khakis and a denim button-up you have the perfect balance of detail and care-free for a house party or chill gathering; At the same time, you could wear that same henley with a nice pair of chinos, maybe a cardigan, and (dare I say) brogues, and you have a outfit that's not only dressy but also comfy for a more formal gathering. I'm all for outfits that can but put together in 10 minutes or less that make you look like you spent at least 30 minutes to assemble. You can never go wrong with a henley.

4) Chinos
If there's one item on this list that I'm most excited about, it is the chino pant. The first thing that I noticed about chinos as I put them on is that they fit extremely well. Think of these pants as a wearable posturepedic bed for your legs. I promise you, these are the most stylish pair of sweats you will ever own. If you have more of an athletic build like I do, it's extremely hard to find a pair of pants that fit well. I prefer slim, more tapered pants, but due to the fact that I have muscular legs, I'm usually either relegated to either straighter-legged pants or slim jeans that are a size or two bigger in the waist just to have more room through the leg of the pant. Instead of boring you with my infinite complaints of having big legs, I will instead show my fellow horse-legged brethren the light. Behold Express! No longer do you have to be exiled to the likes of "relaxed fit" and "straight leg" pants. Express has finally answered our prayers with chinos that fit the stocky meathead just as well as they fit the pole-thin marathon runner! Another thing that that I love about chinos is that they come in an amazing variety of colors. While I understand that every color isn't for everyone, It's great for people like myself who like to integrate color other ways than the standard t-shirt or shoes. The right pair of chinos affords you the opportunity to give the rest of your outfit a day off, if executed correctly. You can never go wrong with a vibrant pair of chinos (possibly cuffed just above the ankle), a pair of chucks, and a plain v-neck. It's an easy win, and the best part? People think you're bold for wearing a red pair of pants with such confidence. You're welcome.

There it is folks, this year's Fantastic Four for your fall wardrobe. As I always like to state, these pieces aren't "fad" pieces nor are they the ceiling for you in terms of your closet. Take these pieces and add your own touch that creates a look that's unique to you. At the end of the day, confidence is the best thing you can wear and it's usually the first thing people see before they even look at the logo on your shirt. Keeping that in mind, don't be afraid to try new looks, patterns, or colors. Happy pumpkin season!