Monthly Archives: August 2017

Logan Lucky

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It’s a little slow to kick in, but director Stephen Soderberg’s latest heist flick, Logan Lucky, Ocean’s 11 (or 12 or 13) for the redneck set, is a rollicking, spinning ride. Straddling North Carolina and West Virginia, the film follows down-on-his-luck Jimmy Logan (a winning Channing Tatum, who has inexplicably become a strong comedic presence), who cooks up a scheme to rob the vault at a major Nascar race. He enlists the aid of his brother, Clyde (Adam Driver), a one-armed er one-handed vet bartender, and Mellie, (Riley Keough), their baby-sister driver. They also secure the talents of local criminal Joe Bang (a delightful Daniel Craig) and his dimwitted brothers.

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On Top of Mt. Baldy (or I Climbed a Mountain, and I Turned Around)

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Sometimes, the best ideas come from alcohol. Mostly, the worst, but sometimes there’s a keeper in there. And that’s how it started. I was having people over for a BBQ on the fourth of July and while the adults sat on the table watching the kids play beer pong (full disclosure: I had just finished playing beer pong and joined the adults, and the kids to whom I’m referring were all mostly pushing thirty), someone had the grand idea to go climb a mountain. That’s all it was.

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Neighborhood Watched

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Sometimes, excitement can hit you from different places than you expected. I thought my Saturday evening excitement would come from the game night I was about to host, but then the police came to my neighborhood. Now, I’ll be honest, other than the police officers I know, the sight of that uniform doesn’t instill confidence in me. It’s mostly fear, even though I’m white and generally law-abiding, I still have a long-ingrained apprehension when it comes to cops. It may not be fair, but there it is. So, when my neighborhood was overrun by dozens of police officers, I was curious and wary mostly. But let me go back.

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Detroit

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Director Kathryn Bigelow has always been a master at depicting tension and aggression. Previous efforts Zero Dark Thirty and the Hurt Locker, and even going back to Point Break, are all examples of this. Detroit magnifies the tension and aggression in a true story from the 60s that is as relevant and important as it was then. Set amidst the riots in Detroit in 1967, the film focuses on one racially-charged event at the Algiers hotel, when a group of local policemen along with a national guardsman take a group of black men and two white women hostage, resulting in a wave of brutality that is as difficult to watch as it is important to understand.

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Landline

Landline

The wistful family drama of Landline almost chokes on its own sense of nostalgia. Set in the mid-90s, the film follows a family as it slowly implodes. Oldest daughter Jenny Slate is having a quarter-life crisis dealing with a grown-up world she isn’t ready for and a fiancé (Jay Duplass) she’s not sure if she wants to marry. Teenage sister Abby Quinn is sneaking out at night, doing all the bad things parents worry their kids are doing. Dad John Turturro is a passive and bored creative. And mom Edie Falco is a woman on the verge. Despite how well-executed, it’s still a bit overstuffed and exhausting.

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Dunkirk

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While the trailer makes Dunkirk seem like a big, old-school, epic war movie, the film itself tells a different story. It’s actually a fairly small, intimate war movie focused on mood and theme rather than plot and character. The atrocity of war is covered with the land, sea, and air fight at Dunkirk, France, where allied retreat from the Nazis was the only option.

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