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What’s up everybody? I’m Joe Baress and this IS “Five Minutes in the Film Room.”
Steven Soderbergh came out of retirement to make Logan Lucky, another heist film to add to his resume, which includes the Ocean’s trilogy. I really enjoy Ocean’s 11 and 13. 12 is OK, but ultimately the trilogy is a lot of fun. It has a great ensemble cast, the writing is solid and the jokes land. Soderbergh once again delved into the heist world with Logan Lucky. Would it pay off? … Let’s go to the tape.
Logan Lucky has many similarities with the Ocean’s trilogy, but instead of the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, Logan Lucky is set in the world of NASCAR at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. The plot boils down to a family who is cursed with bad luck and to flip the curse two brothers and a sister, with the help of friends, go for the big score at one of the biggest races of the year, the Coca-Cola 600.
Something Soderbergh does well is bring in a strong cast. Just go back to the Ocean’s movies where you’ll find arguably the biggest ensemble cast in the history of film. While not as star-studded, Logan Lucky also fills its roles with some well-known names. And the right ones at that as the acting is one of the major strengths of the film.
Once seen as a meathead, Channing Tatum has now proven to be a quality actor time and time again. I first saw his acting chops in 21 Jump Street, where he showed he could pull off comedy. Then came his dramatic role in Foxcatcher, where he was snubbed for an Oscar nomination. Tatum shines again in Logan Lucky, capturing the West Virginia accent, humor and physicality of the role. All traits he has perfected as he has grown as an actor. Also, to get it out of the way or I’ll be saying it about every actor, they all nail the accent, humor and physicality of their roles.
Adam Driver, who plays Tatum’s brother, also turns in a great performance. He’s just a great actor that has proven himself in the small sample size of movies I’ve seen him in, including Silence and of course Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’m very excited to see the next chapter in Kylo Ren’s story in The Last Jedi.
Daniel Craig is my favorite James Bond and just an all-around great actor. That doesn’t change here. He just switches from the swagger of Bond to a tattooed convict. The man could obviously act, but he takes this character to a place we’ve never seen Craig go before, which is refreshing. It’s nice to see actors go from the role of a lifetime to a very different role in between films. Reports say Craig will be back for his fifth installment of Bond. Here’s to hoping he goes off on a high note.
Also, Riley Keough shines as the sister of Tatum and Driver who serves as the driver for the group. She has an understated performance where people overlook her intelligence because she’s gorgeous. She uses her sexuality to her advantage without overly flaunting it. It was an effective performance and impressive because of the acting talent around her.
I think I’ve made it clear that I’ve enjoyed the acting, even the Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski cameos, but there’s a lot of other great things about Logan Lucky. If you’ve seen other Soderbergh films, especially Ocean’s 11, you know what they are. There’s a great script, vibrant shots and funny sequences. Exactly what we’ve come to expect from the great director.
What didn’t work was the same thing that fell flat in the Ocean’s movies. Where it’s the love interests in Ocean’s, it’s Tatum relationship with his daughter that doesn’t land in Logan Lucky. It’s not that the chemistry isn’t there. Farrah Mackenzie does a great job, but the relationship is so cliché. The daughter loves him and her parents are divorced and the father tries to do right, but fails. You know the rest. I mean, it’s fine when that’s the main focus of the film, but it just ends up slowing down the movie. I didn’t care about it because it wasn’t necessary. It didn’t add to or take away from the plot. It was just there.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Logan Lucky delivers and is a welcome return for Soderbergh. The acting, script and direction are great, and, ultimately, it’s a good time. If you like Ocean’s 11, you’ll like Logan Lucky. It’s just a different setting.
I’ll rank this movie as Brett Favre. As in, he retired just like Soderbergh and then came back after a short period. While Favre struggled with the Jets in his first year back and as much as I hate to admit it as a Packer fan, he went back to throwing darts when he got to the Vikings. Let’s just hope Soderbergh can stay on top of his game in future films.