A redneck Ocean’s Eleven, I’m giving Logan Lucky a B.
Jimmy Logan (played by Channing Tatum) has lost his job and possibly his daughter but he’s a man with a plan. He enlists help from his brother, Clyde (played by Adam Driver) who lost his arm after two tours in Iraq and his sister, Mellie (played by Riley Keough), a hairdresser with a lead foot. But in order to rob Charlotte Motor Speedway, they will need the help of an expert in explosives- enter Joe Bang (played by Daniel Craig). Unfortunately, Joe is in prison with six months left to serve.
What begins as a list on Jimmy’s fridge, turns into wild ride as the pieces fall into place. The Logan brothers break Joe out of prison, enlist the help of Joe’s two brothers and gain access to the vault, but you must count on things going wrong, after all…the Logan’s are cursed.
It’s a funny movie about a family who truly cares for each other, no matter what. And when one of them needs the other…they all join in, even if it’s breaking the law.
Filled with an amazing cast, including Katie Holmes, Hillary Swank, Sebastian Stan and Dwight Yoakam, most are only seen for a short moment. However, Daniel Craig steals the movie. His character is both charming and a little insane. With his white bleached hair and prison tattoos, he’s as far from James Bond as can be. I’d love to see him do more comedy roles. He has definite talent for it!
Directed by Steven Soderbergh who had directed Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13 as well as Magic Mike, Logan Lucky feels very much like a poor man’s Ocean 11. Soderbergh had retired from directing four years ago and changed his mind for this movie. No wonder it has the same feeling and similar storyline.
Logan Lucky features many surprises right up until the end, when they reveal what really happened. Sadly the movie feels a little slow at points and long. There were certainly some characters which could have been cut like Seth MacFarland’s British NASCAR sponsor. Also the heist is contrived. It goes off with very little real problems. But if you are looking for a movie which entertains and has a good feel, you’ll want to catch it. Just don’t spend big bucks!
Buckle up for a full action bromance filled with more F bombs than bullets. I give The Hitman’s Bodyguard an A.
Michael Bryce (played by Ryan Reynolds) was on the top of his game. He was a triple A bodyguard until one unfortunate assassination sends him spiraling toward the bottom. When his ex-girlfriend needs someone under the radar to protect Darius Kincaid (played by Samuel L. Jackson), Bryce and Kincaid team up to get Kincaid to the Netherlands in order to testify against an evil dictator (played by Gary Oldman) in a world court.
Bryce and Kincaid are opposites. One plans while the other flies by the seat of his pants. One is willing to do anything for his wife, the other still holds a torch for his ex. But together these two must work together to get from England to the Netherlands before 5 pm without being killed by the dictator’s henchmen. To make matters worse, there’s a leak at Interpol and so they can’t count on them for help.
The movie feels like a police version of Deadpool, with Reynolds sarcastic comebacks and Jackson’s f-bombs. This isn’t for those who are easily offended by swearing. But it’s the over the top chase scenes which will have you thinking of Bond. Between boats, motorcycles and cars, no vehicle is immune to a bullet hole or crash.
Even with this much action, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a relationship piece as Bryce and Kincaid end up opening up to each other about their lives and love lives. Even with the bromance this movie is at heart a comedy from Ryan’s snarky facial expressions to the inside jokes between the two characters. Selma Hayek steals the movie as Kincaid’s wife. She’s as fierce as her husband and drops a few dozen f-bombs herself.
The predictable nature of the movie means going in, that the bad guys must lose and but how they get there is what keeps the viewer paying attention. This is a movie to watch with friends who will laugh out loud with you or a full theater. Be sure to pay attention to Jackson’s songwriting stylings and the fun extra scene during the credits. With all the laughter going on during the movie, it has me wondering how Reynolds and Jackson kept a straight face for any part of filming!
Detroit is an intense movie which will have you thinking and talking about it way after the movie ends. I’m giving it an A-.
Set among the backdrop of the 1967 Detroit riots, director, Kathryn Bigelow, and screenwriter, Mark Boal tell the story of the incident at the Algier’s Motel annex on July 25, 1967, where seven black men and two white women were tortured by law enforcement. Detroit begins with a Jacob Lawrence painting montage showing how the African American’s came from the south to Detroit as well as some of the events of the Harlem Renaissance and Great Migration. (For those not familiar, Jacob Lawrence was a well-known African American artist of the early 20th century.)
Opening with the events at the blind pig which spark the riots, Detroit quickly escalates from rock throwing to Molotov cocktails. As the city burns around them, the Detroit Police are under-manned and the State Police and National Guard are called in. This was a dark time in Detroit’s history. Looting and vandals were destroying the very neighborhoods they called home, despite the urging from people like John Conyers and other leaders. During this short period of time, the lawlessness bled over into the Algiers’s Hotel.
Ms. Bigelow focuses on two characters throughout the movie, Larry Cleveland (played by Algee Smith), an up and coming Motown singer and security guard (played by John Boyega), Dismukes. Both are men with dreams and the ability to make them come true. However, their stories are forever changed after that night at the Algiers.
Believing shots to have been fired from a sniper at the hotel, the police and National Guard investigate, shooting up the place and rounding up the nine suspects. Most of the movie focuses on this event as three white Detroit cops and one black security guard try to get the story from the nine suspects. Violence, from beatings and threats to accusations and mind games, is played on the suspects in order to get them to tell about the gun, which was never found. These moments on screen are difficult to watch and are very graphic.
Three young men less than 20 years old are dead. The last part of the movie focuses on what happens following that night. The three police officers and security guard are put on trial, but are acquitted. We finally see what happened to the suspects and how their lives were forever torn apart.
The movie has some amazing characters but we don’t get to see the inner thoughts they dealt with during the situation. The cops are portrayed as all racist as well, the riots only serve as a backdrop rather than the focus of the movie. Viewers don’t get to understand why the people were burning down their homes. And while the characters were fabulous actors, in many cases they were too old for the people they were playing. Jason Mitchell (age 30), played Carl, a 17-year-old victim. Had the actors been a little closer to the correct age, the movie would have had more impact as these were just kids, not adults.
All in all, a powerful movie which sheds light on a time in Detroit’s history. Many viewers still recall seeing the tanks driving down Woodward Ave. or feared for their families. But like many true stories, this movie remains a dramatization with some inaccuracies since the director and writer used a conglomeration of people to create the evil police officers, since the real ones were acquitted of any charges.
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