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LOGAN LUCKY: NOT AS GOOD AS ITS CAST

Logan Lucky is a likable-enough redneck heist movie set behind the scenes at a NASCAR championship event. At two hours it’s longer than it ought to be and takes too much time recapping how the central caper was executed at the end of the picture. Director Steven Soderbergh and first-time screenwriter Rebecca Blunt set things up for us to cheer at the finish line but the movie never rouses that kind of enthusiasm.

Logan Lucky’s ace in the hole is the casting of Daniel Craig as a sly, tow-headed Southern convict named Joe Bang, who’s spirited out of prison in order to help Channing Tatum and his crew pull off a daring racetrack robbery. Craig seems to be having fun in this lively supporting role and he is definitely fun to watch.

Craig is surrounded by a first-rate ensemble, from Adam Driver as Tatum’s bartending brother (a solid, well-drawn character) to Seth MacFarlane, as a loud-mouthed British race-car driver who seems to have escaped from an old Mike Myers movie. Riley Keough, Katherine Waterston, Dwight Yoakam, Brian Gleeson, Sebastian Stan, Jack Quaid, Katie Holmes, and Hilary Swank flesh out the cast. Ten-year-old Farrah Mackenzie plays Tatum’s daughter, who’s already a veteran of pint-sized beauty (and talent) pageants.

Soderbergh is savvy enough to know how to put these ingredients together. Perhaps if he’d taken one more look at the finished product and pruned it—which he’s famous for doing for fellow directors—he would have had a better, punchier movie. As it stands, Logan Lucky is pleasant but utterly forgettable.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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November 2017
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