Monday, June 17, 2024

Very Good “Logan Lucky” Has Daniel Craig Ditching James Bond, a Script Written by A Phantom, No Red Carpet Premiere


Steven Soderbergh’s heist comedy “Logan Lucky”– we’re lucky to have it. Like the Logan family, we were having a cursed summer. But here’s an original film that’s so entertaining, funny, witty, well made, acted, directed and,hmmm… written by someone.

Someone is Rebecca Blunt, who is either Soderbergh using a pseudonym, his wife Jules Asner, some member of Emily Blunt’s family, or an actual person with that name who somehow scored her first screenplay with a two time Oscar winning director.

I’ll say it’s Soderbergh. Leave it at that.

Soderbergh, you recall, was supposedly retiring from filmmaking. He was done. And then he wasn’t.

Well, he’s back just in the nick of time with “Logan Lucky,” a clever heist movie with a lot of inside jokes and humor. One of the characters refers to their job– stealing all the money from the Charlotte Motorway during a NASCAR race– as “Oceans 7-11.” LOL.

Instead of Clooney, Pitt, Roberts and Zeta Jones– cool, classy– we get Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as white trash brothers from West Virginia, their sister (Riley Keough– best yet– Elvis is smiling), Daniel Craig as a smarter than you think jailed con, Katie Holmes, Seth MacFarlane (hilariously unrecognizable as a Brit billionaire a la Richard Branson), with Hillary Swank as dessert.

There’s just enough character development that you get it, we know the story right away, who’s with who, backstories, all simple and clean. (Thanks, Rebecca Blunt.) Then we have the heist–also clean, told one way first then we back up to get what really happened. The looting of the Motorway is totally ingenious– it involves pneumatic tubes. That’s all I can say.

Daniel Craig is so happy not to be James Bond, he’s grinning through the whole film. He has one of the show stopping scenes involving bleach pens and a plastic bag. Channing Tatum, shirt on whole movie, is completely winning. He really is the Danny Ocean of this group, and pulls it with aplomb. Kudos.

Great country rock soundtrack. Editing by Soderbergh, as usual. One spoiler– “Game of Thrones” is used as a knockout punchline– you’ll see. Katherine Waterston has a minor role but it’s always good to see her.

I’m a huge Hillary Swank fan, so I was thrilled to see her come in to try and clean this craziness up. Maybe I’m reading into it, but I thought she was doing a little Dirty Harry as her own inside joke.

“Logan Lucky” is depending on reviews– so far 96 to 100 on Rotten Tomatoes. They had one weird premiere in Tennessee with Tatum and Soderbergh. No one else. No New York or Hollywood publicity. I guess the screenwriter thing is being avoided, and maybe Craig didn’t want to answer questions from nosy reporters. Despite all that, it’s going to work out.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News