Monday, August 14, 2017

Soderbergh's back -- with the smart, fast, funny but low-key frolic, LOGAN LUCKY

Steven Soderburgh (shown below) said goodbye to movies a few years back -- but not to cable TV, for which he'd already directed Behind the Candelabra and soon would oversee The Knick. Now, like Frank Sinatra and his many good-bye concerts and recordings, the filmmaker is back. And if his latest -- LOGAN LUCKY -- is any indication, he's simply gotten all that much better during his flirtation with those premium channels. Over the past couple of decades, TrustMovies has been up-and-down regarding Soderburgh's work. Some of his most successful -- those Oceans movies and especially Traffic (his mediocre remake of one of the best-ever British television series) and the more recent Magic Mike -- have been among my least favorites.

Logan Lucky, I think, is one of Soderburgh's best. Maybe the best. Among this filmmaker's biggest strengths is his ability to match his style (never a hugely showy thing) to the particular atmosphere and content to which he's currently involved. Thus we get the Oceans movies' gloss, The Underneath's noir-osity, The Good German's sense of time and place, Erin Brockovich's documentary feel, and Haywire's speedy, lo-calorie smarts. Though Logan Lucky is a heist movie (as were the Oceans), it is set in what we might fondly call the redneck territory of NASCAR racing, among the lower-, middle- and upper-classes of our nation's no-one-would-mistake-them-for-classy citizens. Hence, his film, which is supremely well-written (though it is credited to one, Rebecca Blunt, the IMDB says that this name is likely a pseudonym), has the slow-but-sure look, feel, sound and movement of that down-home place and people. The movie may take it sweet time to unfurl, but, boy, does it deliver 'dem goods!

It also gives Channing Tatum (above) another great role to inhabit, which he does in spades, playing the careful, caring dad who, like so many Americans these days, is having employment trouble. (That's the sweet young actress, Farrah Mackenzie, above, who plays his daughter.)

To solve our hero, Jimmy's, financial problems, he and his Iraq War-wounded brother, Clyde (another fine job in another unusual role by Adam Driver, above, left), conspire to rob the NASCAR racetrack vault. This is of course ridiculous, but so cleverly is the convoluted screenplay conceived and executed, with Soderburgh taking just enough time to explain what we need to know when we need to know it, that we're suckered in and then hooked from beginning through the very exciting heist itself, and on to the to the film's funny climax and quite fabulous, if quietly ironic, denouement.

Along for the ride is such a huge and mostly memorable cast that I don't begin to have time to list them all. But, in the movie's biggest hoot of a joke, the end credits herald the "introduction" of an actor by the name of Daniel Craig. Yes, that classy Brit-and-Bond-ish Daniel Craig, above, in a role the likes of which you will not have seen this very capable performer previously essay. Hillary Swank (below) makes a very late-in-the-game entrance, too, and she provides a good deal of quietly determined fun.

I hope this movie is a huge success, but I do have some doubts. Its heist plot is so complicated that I fear a mainstream American audience may not be able to easily or properly follow it. So concentrate, please. There are plenty of funny, exciting, clever moments along the way to keep you occupied, as well as all those name actors popping up and doing their smart thing smartly.

From Bleecker Street and Fingerprint Releasing (Soderbergh's own firm, which you can read more about by clinking the preceding link), Logan Lucky opens nationwide this Friday, August 18. Here in South Florida, you can see it all over the place: In the Miami area at the AMC Sunset Place 24 Theatres, AMC Hialeah 12, AMC Aventura Mall 24, AMC Tamiami 18, AMC Pompano Beach 18, Cobb Dolphin Cinema, Cobb Hialeah Grand 18, Cobb Miami Lakes 17, CMX Brickell City Center, Cineopolis Grove, Regal The Falls, Regal Oakwood, Regal Kendall Village 16, Regal Westfork, Regal Southland Mall, and Regal South Beach 18.

In Ft. Lauderdale it will play the AMC Coral Ridge 10 Theatres, Classic Gateway, Silverspot Coconut Creek, Cineapolis Deerfield, Cinemark Paradise 24, Thunderbird Drive-In, Paragon Ridge Plaza 8, Regal Magnolia Place, Regal Cypress Creek, Regal Broward 12, Regal Sawgrass.

In West Palm Beach/Boca/Delray and further north areas, look for it at the Living Room Theater, Regal Shadowood 16, Movies of Delray 5/Movies of Lake Worth, Cinemark Boynton Beach 14, AMC City Place 20, Cobb Downtown at the Mall Gardens, Paragon Wellington 10, Regal Royal Palm Beach 18, Regency Square 8, AMC St Lucie 14, AMC Indian River 24 , Palm 16, Regal Treasure Coast Mall 16, Majestic 11, Cinepolis Jupiter 14. Normally, I'd provide links for the all these many theaters, but I need to get to bed by midnight for an early day tomorrow....

Wherever you live across the USA, to locate a theater near you, click here

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