o you have a critic you hate so much that you instantly know what your opinion of a film will be just by yours always being the instinctive opposite? My least favorite film critic is Rex Reed, who has actually walked out of movies in the first 20 minutes and then had the gall to review them anyway. In his review of "Identity Crisis," he fat-shamed Melissa McCarthy.
So when Reed was quoted as saying "'Logan Lucky' is as charming and welcome as toenail fungus" I knew I was in for a treat. For one, this was the triumphant return of director Steven Soderbergh after four years of self-imposed retirement (during which he directed, shot and edited every single episode of Cinemax's masterpiece "The Knick").
Secondly, it's STEVEN F@$&ING SODERBERGH, responsible for the delightful "Oceans" Trilogy, the criminally underrated "Out of Sight," the near perfect "The Limey" and about a dozen other classics including "Erin Brockovich." To use the word "genius" in describing Soderbergh is like saying that Stephen Hawking is pretty good at science.
Going into "Lucky Logan," I was a soft sell. I knew the movie would be great, yet somehow it exceeded every expectation I had. As one character describes it, the movie is basically "Oceans 7-11," trading in Danny Ocean and his friends that steal for the art of it instead of the money. "Logan Lucky" is populated with a pair of down-on-their-luck brothers who hatch a scheme to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
If you would have told me in 2017 Channing Tatum would be one of my favorite actors, I would have called you a damn liar. He's effortlessly charming here and continues his trend of becoming a stronger actor with each role. Adam Driver is so hysterically deadpan as Tatum's one-handed brother that he threatens to steal the entire movie until Daniel Craig shows up. Forget Bond, Craig should play the explosives expert Joe Bang at least a dozen more times.
he worst thing about the "Oceans" franchise is the robberies themselves. The structure of the team starting their incredibly convoluted robbery while the audience is in the dark about the actual plan is a good one. It allows the films to be surprising and fun as everyone is double and triple-crossed—until Clooney pulls back the curtain and proves that he was the wizard all the time. The problem is that Clooney, Pitt, Damon and crew are always so many steps ahead of everyone else that there's no real tension to what they're doing. We get to enjoy watching them be brilliant, but they're never in any real danger of being caught.
"Logan Lucky" does a beautiful job making you care about everyone. You're genuinely concerned they might get caught. These characters aren't rich, like Danny Ocean. They have child support to pay and blue collar jobs to supplement. The Logans aren't necessarily a wish-fulfillment fantasy as they are a rebuke to the idea that a master thief has to be a boujee one-percenter instead of a hard-working regular joe.
Every second of this movie is a treasure. At turns charming, though-provoking and crown pleasing, "Logan Lucky" will paint a smile on your face for hours... no matter what Rex Reed says.
Dir. Steven Soderbergh
Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX, Sisters Movie House, Redmond Cinema