Combustible Celluloid
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With: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Farrah Mackenzie, Katherine Waterston, Dwight Yoakam, Sebastian Stan, Brian Gleeson, Jack Quaid, Daniel Craig, Hilary Swank, Jesco White, David Denman, Jim O'Heir, Macon Blair, LeAnn Rimes
Written by: Rebecca Blunt
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and some crude comments
Running Time: 118
Date: 08/18/2017

Logan Lucky (2017)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Outrageous Fortune

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The talented, unpredictable Steven Soderbergh returns to cinemas after a self-imposed "retirement" with a movie very much in the vein of his Ocean's trilogy (Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve, Ocean's Thirteen), but pulpier and quirkier, and tons of fun.

In Logan Lucky, Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) loses his job due to an insurance problem, and his bartender brother Clyde (Adam Driver) reminds him of his theory: that the Logans have a bad luck curse. Clyde himself lost a hand in the Iraq war. But Jimmy has a foolproof plan to rob North Carolina's Charlotte Motor Speedway; Jimmy's lost job offered him views of how the cash was handled in underground tubes.

To pull off the job, they'll need help from their pretty sister Mellie (Riley Keough), as well as an explosives expert, Joe Bang (Daniel Craig). Their first hurdle will be to get Joe out of prison, and then back again, before anyone discovers he's gone. But there are many more challenges ahead, including a clash with wealthy and obnoxious NASCAR sponsor Max Chilblain (Seth MacFarlane).

Whereas the three Ocean's movies were slick and sophisticated with a big-city sheen, Logan Lucky offers the other side of the coin, a country cousin version, consisting of members of a more close-knit, laid-back rural community, with an entirely different rhythm. The lazy drawls of these characters recalls some of the Coen brothers' funniest films (Raising Arizona; O Brother, Where Art Thou?, etc.) and their criminal cleverness recalls some of Quentin Tarantino's work.

The screenplay by Rebecca Blunt — her first — cooks up a sharp, air-tight, surprising heist plan, as well as many hilarious, offbeat lines of dialogue, but, like so many movies of this type, she fails to consistently balance both elements.

The first half of the movie is funnier and the second half is more thrilling, but the mixing of the two things doesn't happen as easily as it could have. Nevertheless, the movie is packed with so many sparkling moments, so many belly laughs, and so many truly clever ploys, that it'll be worth several viewings.

Universal's Blu-ray release comes with a bonus DVD and digital copy. No complaints on the picture and sound, which are superb, but the only extra is a couple of short deleted scenes.

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