Weird month. Busy month. Stupid month. But not a bad month for movies.
Let’s start things off with LOGAN LUCKY. This is director Steven Soderbergh’s return to filmmaking after a brief ‘retirement’ and I’m happy he’s officially back. It’s not wrong to say that Logan Lucky is the redneck Ocean’s Eleven (Soderbergh directed the Ocean’s trilogy), but I feel that undersells it. This is a hilarious film. Daniel Craig deserves all the love he’s getting for his offbeat performance as a southern explosive’s expert, but the entire cast is really good, particularly Channing Tatum and Adam Driver. It also manages to find something to say about being poor in a capitalist country. One might find issue with how the twists unfolded if you look at it too closely, but I was having too much fun to care. It’s a blast.
Hirokazu Koreeda's AFTER THE STORM is a lovely film. Honest, sad, and often quite funny, too. My favorite performance from Hiroshi Abe, who plays a lovable loser we're rooting for even though he may not deserve it. And Kirin Kiki is wonderful. A movie full of wit and wisdom.
FREE FIRE. "Boys, knock it off!" That was so much more fun than I ever would've expected. Copley and Hammer are the MVPs. A dark comedy about a gun deal that goes bad, devolving into everyone shooting at each other in an abandoned warehouse.
DOBERMAN COP. A culture clash action movie with Sonny Chiba, a pig, and a dash of Dirty Harry. You can read my full review at City on Fire.
MISSISSIPPI GRIND is California Split by way of Alexander Payne. I quite liked it. A realistic look at gambling addiction that not only works as a character study but also helps the viewer understand the addiction’s highs and lows. Ben Mendelsohn is great and Ryan Reynolds gives what is perhaps his best performance out of a Deadpool mask.
THE FINAL MASTER. A kung fu drama from the writer of Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster. It crosses off a couple interesting characters too early but it's a very strong film overall. Fantastic finale. Read my buddy Martin Sandinson’s review at City on Fire for more.
And finally, SONG TO SONG is my favorite Terrence Malick film since the beautiful Tree of Life. (Haven’t seen his IMAX doc yet, though.) Malick, who made only a handful of films between the 70s and the 00s, has entered his most prolific and experimental phase of his career recently. I’ve not been the biggest fan of his new, largely unscripted films. To the Wonder is like an extended perfume commercial and I still don’t know what to make of Knight of Cups. But Song to Song works for me, not least of all because the characters actually interest me this time around. Rooney Mara and Michael Fassbender are great. And extra points for casting Val Kilmer as an insane rockstar.
That’s it for August. Until next time.
Writer of horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Lover of books and film. Lifelong Godzilla fan. Reluctant blogger.
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