Sunday, August 20, 2017
West Virginia family man Jimmy Logan teams up with his one-armed brother Clyde and sister Mellie to steal money from the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Jimmy also recruits demolition expert Joe Bang to help them break into the track's underground system. Complications arise when a mix-up forces the crew to pull off the heist during a popular NASCAR race while also trying to dodge a relentless FBI agent.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes, Riley Keough
Release Date: Aug 18, 2017
Genres: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Rated PG-13 for language and some crude comments
Logan Lucky is a fun energetic return for Steven Soderbergh after a 4 year “retirement.” This heist caper is like a Dixie styled Ocean’s 11 with a good sense of fun. It never takes itself too serious and knows how to keep the audiences attention from waning. Soderbergh’s direction is slick as always, resulting in a breezy film that never really feels long or hits many dips in energy. The cast is all fully committed with each member giving a fun if occasionally understated performances, except for Daniel Craig who’s clearly having a ball. Most of the characters are broadly drawn but they do their job in service of the story. Only a handful of them feel out of place like Seth McFarland over the top Nascar owner and Hilary Swank’s under baked FBI agent who shows up far to late in the game to be taken seriously. Still, Logan Lucky a welcome return for Soderbergh and his film making style.
Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the promising pair of The Hitman's Bodyguard and Logan Lucky.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
First up: The Hitman's Bodyguard.
When a former assassin's testimony is needed at the International Criminal Court, it's up to a disgraced personal security expert to get him there safely.
The Hitman's Bodyguard is exactly as advertised, a thrilling and wildly funny action-comedy. Co-stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson have as much chemistry as the best buddy-comedy pairs, easily playing off one another in hilarious fashion. Gary Oldman digs his cartoonish bad-guy schtick out of storage for a broad, accented turn reminiscent of his mid-90s meat and potatoes. He's not really in the movie as much as I'd have liked, but, as always, he puts his screen time to good use. Action is almost non-stop, though the story beneath never feels underdone. Pretty European locales and a multi-cultural cast give the film a nice international flavor. Only the final chase scene seems to drag on just a bit too long; otherwise, the movie is a perfect balance of well-crafted action and foul-mouthed comedy.
The Hitman's Bodyguard clocks in at 118 minutes and is rated R for "strong violence and language throughout."
The Hitman's Bodyguard is a rollicking end-of-summer blast. Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Hitman's Bodyguard gets eight.
Fangirl points: GARY! (Duh.)
Next on the docket: Logan Lucky.
A pair of small-town brothers attempts to rob Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Dear reader(s), I'll consider it more a warning than a spoiler to tell you one thing about Logan Lucky that you probably didn't guess from the trailer: It's not really a comedy. It's amusing at times, and the overall tone certainly isn't heavy, but it is not the laugh-riot promised by the trailer.
Logan Lucky IS a clever, well-acted yarn about a down-on-his-luck West Virginia boy (Channing Tatum) who conscripts his brother (Adam Driver) into a wild plot to rob Charlotte Motor Speedway. The brothers enlist an "in-car-cer-rated" felon (Daniel Craig, playing delightfully against type) to assist with the scheme, which obviously doesn't go entirely as planned, or there'd be no movie. The terrific cast is rounded out by Katie Holmes, Riley Keough, Seth McFarlane, Katherine Waterston, Dwight Yoakam, and Sebastian Stan in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it turn. When Logan Lucky is funny, it's really funny, but unfortunately you've already seen most of what's really funny in the trailer. The twists and turns along our would-be robbers' path are well-plotted and certainly not boring, but the movie is so unlike its advertising that the whole can't help feeling kinda dull.
Logan Lucky runs 119 minutes and is rated PG13 for "language and some crude comments."
Logan Lucky is a smartly-crafted heist picture whose impact is sadly diminished by misleading advertising.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Logan Lucky gets six.
Fangirl points: Sebastian Stan!
Also, however much it may have been intended to make fun of us, a roomful of people singing Country Roads will always put a teardrop in my eye.
Until next time...
Sunday, August 13, 2017
A couple still grieving the death of their daughter take in children from a local orphanage, but the family are soon terrorized by a demented doll known as Annabelle. Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, and Lulu Wilson star in this horror sequel from director David F. Sandberg (David F. Sandberg). ~ Jack Rodgers, Rovi
Director: David F. Sandberg
Cast: Lulu Wilson, Grace Fulton, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto
Release Date: Aug 11, 2017
Genres: Horror, Suspense/Thriller
Rated R for horror violence and terror
Annabelle: Creation is a better film than it deserves to be. Horror clichés run amok in a script that seem more interested in moving from set up to set up than telling a coherent story. Director David F. Sandberg doesn’t seem to know the meaning of efficiency as his movie is a bloated overlong hodgepodge of things we’ve seen before. Again, it’s a decent horror film, there are far worse films in the genre that’s for sure, but it’s slightly frustrating because it feels like there is a better film in there somewhere. The decision to cast Anthony LaPaglia & Miranda Otto seemed like it’d give the film a bit of credibility but the script moves them to the sidelines and barely uses them at all. What we’re left with is an ensemble film with kid actors who do the best they can but it’s never terribly interesting or engaging. Annabelle: Creation is the very definition of a wait for cable type of film.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
A police raid in Detroit in 1967 results in one of the largest RACE riots in United States history. The story is centered around the Algiers Motel incident, which occurred in Detroit, Michigan on July 25, 1967, during the racially charged 12th Street Riot. It involves the death of three black men and the brutal beatings of nine other people: seven black men and two white women.
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Cast: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie, John Krasinski, Jack Reynor, Jason Mitchell, Hanna Murray
Release Date: Aug 4 2017
Genres: Crime, Drama, History
Rated R for strong violence and pervasive language
Detroit is a tense, uncomfortable and incredibly timely film. Kathryn Bigelow’s style of filmmaking is perfectly suited for the story being told. Bigelow’s immersive style leaves like a fly on the wall during the entire ordeal. It’s an intense film that’s anchored by a strong ensemble cast. John Boyega and Will Poulter really shine throughout the film, with some of the films best moments are watching their character’s process and think through situations. Poulter though is the real surprise here since he’s been mostly a comedic actor. Poulter provides the character an unsettling detachment and coldness that’s deeply unsettling. The film loses a little steam after it moves on to the aftermath with the court proceedings and post event stories. I was personally more interested in what happened to John Boyega’s character but the film chose a different direction. It’s a small issue on an otherwise strong film that really shines a light on a dark portion of American history.