Tuesday, September 12, 2017

What I Watched in August

As far as I'm concerned it's always a good thing when Steven Soderbergh returns to cinemas. He's an incredibly capable filmmaker who seems to be able to craft nearly any kind of movie and his record for me is much more hit than miss. With LOGAN LUCKY he returns to the crime genre for a fun, clever romp in West Virginia.

Often when Soderbergh does a crime film it seems that he doesn't concern himself quite as much as he should with the mechanics of the crime. I often wish he would spend more time making the crime plausible enough to engage my willing suspension of disbelief. That is not the case with this film though. Here the director is intent on making sure that we understand the mechanics of the crime, the setup for each section of it and the psychology of why each person is involved so that when each piece fits into place right before the end credits, it's impossible to keep a smile off your face. He wants everyone in on not just the crime, but each individual joke along the way. Wonderfully, the humor in this film works very well. I've read a lot of BS in the media about how Soderbergh doesn't understand Southerners or doesn't understand low-income people or doesn't understand country people or whatever idiotic thing can be said to try to make sure that people think that this fellow doesn't understand the characters in the movie. Let me just say that, as a Tennessean, he honestly he got it right. All of the characters in this movie are recognizable as people I see and interact with every day of my life.

Now, to be sure, the people in this movie are generally much more competent, much smarter and much more able to follow through on a complicated and dangerous plan than most of the Rednecks that I know. But that's as it should be in a crime caper film. It's not much fun to watch incompetent morons stumble out of the gate and shoot themselves in the foot. Well actually, I guess it could be. But in this case we instead get to see a pretty competent group of people pull off a robbery and see just how complicated things get after the fact as well.

Things I learned from this film that I did not expect to learn.
- I'm becoming a Channing Tatum fan.
- I still enjoy seeing Katie Holmes on screen.
- Adam Driver does deadpan humor extraordinarily well.
- It's never a good idea to deny prisoners the latest George RR Martin novel.
- This Daniel Craig guy is going to go far in movies, I think.

The List 

THE HALLOW (2015) - 8 (rewatch)
ROAR (1981) -4 (madness on film)
ISLAND OF LOST WOMEN - 5  (pretty standard of it's type)
HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961) - 9 (rewatch)
DOCTOR WHO AND THE DALEKS (1965) - 6 (rewatch)
WILD BEASTS (1983) - 7 (rewatch)
DUNKIRK (2017) - 8
HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE (1973) - 8 (rewatch)
MISTER X (1967) - 4
...TICK...TICK...TICK... (1970) - 7 (excellent, tense race relations study) 
LOGAN LUCKY (2017) - 8
EVIL EYE (1975) - 6 (Euro-Trash mystery without a real ending)
ATOMIC BLONDE (2017) - 8 (saw it again!)
FRIGHT NIGHT (1985) - 9 (rewatch)

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