28th Aug2017

Logan Lucky (Film)

by timbaros

Steven Soderbergh said in 2013 that he planned to retire from filmmaking. Well, his short retirement is over and he’s back in the cinema with “Logan Lucky.”

The man who gave us “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” “Out of Sight,” “Erin Brokovich,” “Magic Mike,” and the Ocean’s Trilogy has returned with a film that, while it’s not groundbreaking, is littered with excellent performances but its a case of been there seen that.

So alike “Logan Lucky” is with “Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen” that it could as well have been Ocean’s fourteen but set in the Confederate state of Virginia. “Logan Lucky” is the story of a bank robbery, a bank robbery that’s so cleverly planned and executed that it’s a bit unrealistic and unbelievable.

Channing Tatum is down on his luck Jimmy Logan who can’t seem to get a break and keep a job due to his permanent limp. His daughter, Sadie (a memorable and amazing little Farrah MacKenzie) is a beauty pageant winner wanna be, and she’s in the care of his ex-wife Bobbie Jo (a very good Katie Holmes). His one-armed brother Clyde (a good as usual Adam Driver) owns a bar called Duck Tape, and they have a sister Mellie (Riley Keough). Jimmy, after talking to brothers Sam (Brian Gleason) and Fish (Jack Quaid), who have mentioned that their other brother Joe (Daniel Craig, at his best ever, better than his James Bond character), who happens to be incarcerated, can and will break out of jail and can help the gang break into the underground cash-handling system at the Charlotte Motor Speedway during one of the it’s busiest days of the year – the Coca Cola 600 race. Did I mention that the plot is a bit far-fetched?

Clyde (who got himself arrested just for the sole purpose of helping Joe escape jail for the day) and Joe successfully, in another ridiculous moment, escape jail. And it’s then a dream team attempting to steal money from a stadium chock-a-block full of people yet there is absolutely no one guarding the underground area where the money is dropped in via a tube system. Absolutely no one, not a security guard, employees, garbage collectors, no one at all. And all seems to go according to plan, thus lacking in any suspense whatsoever.

It’s in the performances where “Logan Lucky” is saved, barely. Craig is fantastic as the seasoned thief, Driver is good (as always) as the one-armed brother. Holmes surpasses expectations as Jimmy’s ex-wife who is now married to a wealthy man (more of her in the future please), while Seth MacFarlane is unrecognizable and fantastic as an arrogant personality famous for who knows what. The script, by Rebecca Blunt, has some very good moments but “Logan Lucky” is basically “Ocean’s 14” but with a better cast and a cool and quirky Southern vibe. Perhaps Soderberg’s next film will be an original, this one certainly wasn’t. But he’s putting together “Ocean’s Eight” at the moment, so it will be more of the same.

26th Oct2014

This is Where I Leave You – Film

by timbaros

images-274A dysfunctional family with a sexy matriarch is the premise of the new dramatic comedy This is Where I Leave You.

Jane Fonda stars as the outspoken Hillary Altman. Her husband has just passed away so all of her children come to the family home for the funeral, to live under the same roof, for seven days. The Altman children include Judd (Jason Bateman), a 40-something radio producer who catches his wife in bed with his star DJ Wade Beaufort (Dax Shepard); Tina Fey plays Wendy – she’s the sensible one, very close to Judd, with two children and a husband always on the phone making deals; Adam Driver is Phillip – he’s in his mid 30’s going on 25 but who is dating a woman almost double his age (played confidently by Connie Britton); and then there’s the oldest and responsible brother Paul (Corey Stoll), who works in the company business with their now deceased father but is having a hard time trying to have a baby with his wife him Annie (Kathryn Hahn).

In a film that has cute moments together with some awful moments, This is Where I Leave You is basically a film about a family that is just as dysfunctional and loopy as we’ve seen before on the screen. Awkward moments abound, especially as the father’s dying wish was to have all his children come home and spend seven days Sitting Shiva (a seven-day period of mourning in the Jewish religion). Hillary goes on to tell her children “For the next seven days you are all my children again. And you are all grounded.” The Altman family basically don’t know what to say to each other and the silence is louder than words. Other Awkward moments include Hillary’s breasts. They loom large when she’s making a bed for Judd and tell’s him “these are the same breasts you sucked on as a child,” and he tells her “Oh no they’re not.”

With the four adult children back in their hometown, past romantic liaisons come alive again. Rose Byrne plays Penny Moore, a hometown girl who’s always carried a torch for Judd, too bad for her that he unknowingly has sex with her daughter. And Paul’s wife Annie has always carried a torch for Judd and even asks him to impregnate her as it appears her husband Paul’s sperm is not doing the trick. And Wendy has to come face to face with a high school sweetheart (Timothy Olyphant) who was in a tragic accident and was incapable of being the man she wanted him to be so she moved on with her life.

This is Where I Leave You is recommended for it’s smart cast (they all do very well in light of a very weak script with some unfunny jokes) and direction that could’ve been tighter and more focused. And it could’ve finished with a different ending as I didn’t believe the  relationship Wendy is now in. Having said that, it’s a fun film that you will more than likely forget a couple hours after leaving the cinema.