Logan Lucky (2017)

Logan Lucky

The Logan Brothers (Adam Driver and Channing Tatum), discuss a very elaborate plan…

Surprises are aplenty in Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky, a film that is proof that a script is still the most essential ingredient to any movie made.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that that the film’s screenwriter, Rebecca Blunt, is perhaps not even a real person. Only through emails did communication with the “author” of the script ever occur. Regardless, it is some very strong writing.

The film opens in West Virginia, where a divorced man, Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), is spending time with his daughter (Farrah Mackenzie). While dropping her off at her mother’s (Katie Holmes) house, Jimmy finds out that his ex is moving across state lines with her new husband (David Denman), making it more difficult for Jimmy to see his daughter (he has just been laid off his job in construction).

After a talk with his one armed brother Clyde (Adam Driver, showing us no signs that he is also Star Wars‘ Kylo Ren), he comes up with a plan to make money to afford seeing his daughter: rob the money being made at the NASCAR speedway where he has been working construction. To say the plan is meticulous is an understatement. I don’t know how long Blunt (or whoever wrote the script) spent, but it is well worth it.

There are others in the film that help out along the way, including two hillbilly brothers (Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson) who only agree to help if it is for “moral” reasons. And while the movie does show some other celebrity cameos I did not expect (nor will I ruin), the best (and most surprising) is clearly Daniel Craig. His Joe Bang is an explosions expert, who not only plays a character that can go over the top, but is even subtle when he needs to be. I doubt I am alone when I had a hard time remembering that this is the same person who played James Bond.

Parents, the movie is PG-13, and it is mainly for some swearing (maybe an F bomb or two). There is no sexual content (despite a character telling another they are about to get  naked and not look), so I would totally say Middle School and up would be fine.

My only real problem with the movie are a few minor details, thinking that the plan may have been “too thought out”. It would be something I would have to watch the movie again in order to explain properly.

Luckily, Logan Lucky is a movie that is worth multiple viewings, the type you will find new things every time you watch it.

 

Overall: Four Stars ****

The Hateful Eight (2015)

The Hateful Eight

Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kurt Russell, just two of “The Hateful Eight”.

 

One of the worst things people can do as movie goers is shy away from a Tarantino flick just because it is violent (that is going to be violent goes without saying).

Althought The Hateful Eight was almost not made (more on that later), it is still classic QT. It contains the usual amount of violence, and (most importantly) sharp, wonderful dialogue that no one does better. The film stars Tarantino regular Samuel L. Jackson as Major Marquis Warren. He stumbles upon bounty hunter John Ruth (an excellent Kurt Russell) on his way to the city of Red Rock, where he will deliver murderer Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh, equally fantastic). A snowstorm delays them to a cabin filled with others including Bob (Demian Bichir), Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth,) Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) and Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern).

My favorite thing about Tarantino is that I never know what will ever happen next. This means I never know who lives and who dies. I obviously won’t go further into the story, except to say that not every character is what they seem to be. There is also a part here played by Channing Tatum, which proves (along with 2014’s Foxcatcher) that he can be a great actor if given the right script).

Parents, the fact that this is Quentin Tarintino means that the film will deserve its R rating (though the only sexual thing is a character showing that he was forced to give oral sex and that he was fully nude while doing it.) So yes, 17 and up. Still, for those who can handle a Tarantino flick, the film is well worth it (It is not his best, but then how could he top a film like Pulp Fiction?)

I close by saying why the film was almost not made. Tarantino’s script was leaked online, and therefore did not want to make it. Fortunatly, he was convinced to do so. To those people who like to find out about movies before they are released, I say the following: Why? Why not wait for the surprise in the first place? Can you at least stop ruining it for others?

Overall: Four Stars ****

Jupiter Ascending (2015)

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Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis in “Jupiter Ascending”.

I remember back when The Matrix came out, and (after having to see it twice, since I was a little young to comprehend what the heck was happening) thinking it was awesome. And while I did enjoy the second film (I never saw the third), the only other thing I think the Wachowskis did worth seeing was V for Vendetta (I will always remember  remember the fifth of November).

However, there is a big crash known as Jupiter Ascending. It is one of the most confusing movies I have seen recently, but, unlike in The Matrix, I do not have the desire to go back to find out what it was about. Any movie is in trouble when you want to play on you mobile device over watching it.

I will try to see what I can put together. The movie starts out when Jupiter (Mila Kunis) is telling about how her father was murdered right before she was born (and just after he decides to name her after the planet). She, along with her Russian (I think) family cleaning houses (she is stuck to bathroom duty). We then meet Caine (Channing Tatum), some form of space warrior who is sent to protect Jupiter because we find out she is meant to be the Queen of Earth (she also apparently can handle bees well because, you know, they sense her Queenyness. Yeah, I evented a word).

There is also one of Caine’s friends, Stinger (the always present Sean Bean). We find out that Earth is to be “harvested” by an evil Abrasax family. There is the mother Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) and one of her sons Titus (Douglas Booth). However, it is her other son, Balem, who is the main bad guy. He is played by recent Oscar Winner Eddie Redmayne, who I still think is a great actor. I say this because his performance in this film absolutly stunk, and made no sense. He, like the film, was trying to be original, and failed miserably.

Another problem with the film is Mila Kunis. She is a good, likable actor, but her character is not even worth mentioning in the same sentence as female heroines such as Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripely, even Nintendo’s Samus Aran. Jupiter lacks any toughness, or spark, and humor.

Parents, the film has one scene where a (minor) character is in her underwear, but that is it. There is also some swearing, a little action, and some kissing. There is not, however, any real character development, good action, or, worst of all, entertaining content.

 

Overall: One Star *