FlixChatter Review: Logan Lucky (2017)

It’s been ages since Steven Soderbergh, though I gotta admit I wasn’t too impressed with his last film Side Effects. But still, glad he didn’t end up retiring after all, and he returns to do a heist action comedy, as Soderbergh himself described, Logan Lucky is an anti-glam version of an Ocean movie (per EW) and it’s definitely much smarter than it looks.

Channing Tatum and Adam Driver play brothers Jimmy & Clyde who attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in Charlotte, North Carolina. It did give me a pause for a moment considering what just happened in that town. In any case, they ended up enlisting an explosive expert aptly named Joe Bang (a hilarious Daniel Craig) to help with the plan. The film’s pacing could’ve been a bit more dynamic but fortunately it’s got enough going for it to keep my attention thanks to the actors’ performance. Watching these actors attempt Southern accent was a hoot, Craig was the most surprising as he’s a Brit but I thought Adam Driver’s accent was spot on and made me giggle every time.

The film offers plenty of laughs. There’s a pretty amusing cameo by Seth MacFarlane doing a spot on Cockney accent. But the funniest moments are during the heist itself, and I do think Craig has a career in comedy once his Bond stints are done. The heist faced some challenges along the way, but there’s a clever twist at the end that made you go ha!

I think the strength of the film is the likable characters. Unlike the handsome, well-dressed smarty-pants like the Oceans’ movies, the Logans and the Bangs siblings are simple folks. They’re essentially nice guys who have been dealt a bad hand at life. Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson (yet another talented Irish actor from the Gleeson family!) as Joe Bang’s two brothers are pretty funny as well. Riley Keough (yep, Elvis’ granddaughter) is pretty decent as the sister of the Logan brothers, and cameos by Katie Holmes as Jimmy’s ex wife and Hilary Swank as a Federal Agent. There’s also a sweet father/daughter relationship between Jimmy and his daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie).

I just learned about Soderbergh’s unorthodox distribution deals for this film (made on a relatively low budget of $29 mil). Heh, that’s too bad Logan Lucky didn’t do well as I’d like more filmmakers getting creative control for their work. I hope more people would go and support this movie whilst it’s still in theatres. It’s a zany yet shrewd script by first time screenwriter Rebecca Blunt, who I hope would continue to get more work (that is if that isn’t just a pseudonym). It’s a pretty fun movie that never took itself too seriously, and I find it refreshing that it’s not mean-spirited nor foul-mouthed like so many comedies these days.

Did you see LOGAN LUCKY? Well, what did you think?

TCFF Day 3: Another based-on-a-true-story drama CONVICTION

TCFF scored another feat with this one, screening it two weeks before this is out on limited release. All four studio movies screened at Twin Cities Film Fest are inspired by real-life people, this time it’s about Betty Anne Waters, an unemployed single mother who spent nearly two decades putting herself through school to earn a law degree so she could represent her wrongly-convicted brother in court. Even just reading about her story I had tears in my eyes!

I wish I had been able to catch this one last night, I don’t know what came over me that I left this one out of my five flix to see list. The role of Betty Anne looks tailor-made for two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank, and she surrounds herself with a great cast that includes Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo, Juliette Lewis and Peter Gallagher. The actor/director/producer Tony Goldwyn, best known for playing Patrick Swayze’s nemesis in Ghost, helms this project. Waters’ remarkable story definitely makes for a compelling film, and one that’s bound to be noticed come Award season. Both Swank and Rockwell seem poised to get a few nominations for their intense performance.

Now, the trailer is pretty serviceable, but I was quite engrossed in it… until that score came on towards the end. Why in the world do they use the exact same one as in the Avatar trailer?? I mean, I actually quite like that score the first time I heard it, but I found it so distracting here I couldn’t even focus on the trailer once it came on. It’s like that Hans Zimmer Gladiator score that got recycled mercilessly, regardless of what movie or genre, or whether it even fit the mood of the story!

In any case, has anybody seen this movie? Well, what did you think?