Wednesday, October 21, 2020

What's inside the Millennium Falcon? (Star Wars)

More than you ever wanted to know about The Millenium Falcon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5-WI7XN6uo

Contrary to what is presented in the video, I would expect redundant systems in any kind of spacecraft.  Nothing is mentioned of heat shielding for re-entry, although if you could slow a craft to a near stop then you wouldn't need it.

Even if we could create and store antimatter, which would be the most compact fuel possible, it would still take an enormous amount of fuel to continuously accelerate a craft all the way to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.  Reaching anywhere near the speed of light takes several times more mass of antimatter than the mass of the ship.

Cats on HBO

Started watching the movie "Cats" on HBO Max. I'm 26 minutes into it. It was voted by some as the worst movie of last year. There were some problems with the CGI in the original release that was fixed in a later update.

As long as you aren't expecting much in the way of plot, which barely exists in this film, the movie consists almost entirely of energetic singing and dancing. As such it is a visual spectacle. If this were on stage it would seem brilliant, which is why "Cats" was one of the most successful stage musicals ever made, but it is not exactly what you would expect to see in a movie.

I like what I have seen so far, but I'm not sure if another 60 minutes of this will maintain my interest.

--
Best wishes,

John Coffey

http://www.entertainmentjourney.com

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Fatman Trailer #1 (2020)

This is like the weirdest movie ever.  It sort of falls under the category of, "Is nothing sacred?"  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z64XvPERZ50

Nine Days Trailer #1 (2021) | Movieclips Trailers

The premise seems pretty questionable to me.  It is possible that this will actually be a beautiful movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LzKeEDael0

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Vast of the Night


The Vast of the Night was released to drive-in theaters and on Amazon Prime in May of this year.

When I was reviewing the movie "The Signal", I said that the trouble with low budget science fiction movies is that these types of films might have one good idea, whereas a big-budget movie like "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" is loaded with many good ideas. The Signal kept you in suspense for the whole film, making you think that this story was leading up to something wonderful. There was a payoff in the end, but that payoff was so short that if you had closed your eyes for just a couple of seconds then you would have missed it. Literally. Everything I said about "The Signal" is also true for "The Vast of the Night", except the ending is a little longer. However, both movies are an exercise in prolonged tension to arrive at similar endings. The Vast of the Night feels like a master class in low budget filmmaking. It does a great job with its long camera shots and its unknown actors who give stellar performances. The movie starts by showing an old fashioned television screen like it is playing an episode of the old Twilight Zone. The camera zooms into the screen and now we are following characters in a 1950's small New Mexico town on the night of a high school basketball game. It spends a long 20 minutes introducing its settings and characters, after which the local switchboard operator starts noticing weird things happening. She teams up with her friend, a disk jockey at a one-man radio station to investigate what is going on. Many of the scenes drag on a bit, mostly with conversation. But there is a frantic tension that builds toward the conclusion. Fortunately, the actors really sell this story. We get a sense that these are ordinary people caught up in something big that they don't understand. The minimalist style of this film could be called experimental, but for 85 minutes it works really well. Rating: B+. A reviewer on youtube gave the film an A-. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HEcnacyI_8


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Sonic The Hedgehog



The first trailer for Sonic The Hedgehog sparked an internet backlash because many people thought that the Sonic character looked kind of creepy.  The production company responded to the backlash by redoing the animation, and the final result looks fairly good.  I noticed some very minor imperfections in the CGI, but nothing too distracting.

Because of the initial backlash, some of the critics expressed great surprise by saying that the movie is actually good.  This is not what they were expecting.  

Sonic is mostly a kid's film that is not intellectually deep at all, but it has enough jokes that connect and fun stuff to make it a good time.  Jim Carrey plays Dr. Robotnik.  He is essentially playing a cartoon villain, which he plays way over the top, so much so that I found him annoying, but Jim Carrey is also the funniest when he is way over the top.  I was laughing out loud several times, which is a good thing.  We get Jim Carrey at his full nuttiness, although it would have been better if he were more restrained.

There is a bar fight scene in the middle of the movie that is mostly gratuitous because it feels like filler.  However, like the rest of the movie, it is mildly amusing.

If we compare Sonic to another videogame adaptation, Pokemon Detective Pikachu, the story is much more coherent and less of a mess.

Rating:  B.



Tuesday, September 15, 2020

1917


The movie 1917 is likely to be one of the best movies I will see this year.  It follows a pair of World War I soldiers on a time-critical mission to get a message to another unit so as to avoid an attack that will end in disaster.  This is based on a real story told to writer and director Sam Mendes by his grandfather.

The movie is filmed in such a way that it appears to be one continuous shot, except for a couple of obvious breaks.  There are continuous shots that last at least 40 minutes.  The camera follows the soldiers through long trenches, across fields, into farmhouses, rivers, underground bunkers, and troop transports.  This is like another character because I spent the whole movie wondering how on earth did they film this?  It is technically very difficult to have everything properly lit while the camera follows the actors through miles of territory. 

The movie creates a suspense that is perfect.  There is not much direct combat, but the horrible aftermath of combat is everywhere in this movie.  On the journey, the soldiers are constantly passing dead bodies and destruction.  The way the movie is filmed gives it an extra sense of realism.

The movie is rated R for war violence and a few swear words.

Rating: A+.



The Mandalorian | Season 2 Official Trailer

This looks neat.  I'm not convinced that they are going to recapture the magic of the first season.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW7Twd85m2g

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Dune Trailer #1 (2020)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6r-WSSbKUC8

I read the entire Dune series of books in the 1970's. Although good books, I can't imagine them making good movies. The story is overly convoluted and probably not very cinematic.

The previous attempt at a Dune movie was of questionable quality.

Frank Herbert tended to write very weird novels. His "Whipping Star" series of books are a good read, but weird as all get out.

The trailer gives us nothing to indicate that it will be any good. It could be another Battlefield Earth.

Friday, September 4, 2020

John Boyega DESTROYS Disney Star Wars!

https://youtu.be/lwGLZa-io9U?t=473

In this video, Matt Jarbo actually says he is hoping that someone can "red pill" him on The Last Jedi.  So I had to take my shot:

I'm not sure if you have seen my previous comments over the last 2+ years defending The Last Jedi, because you never respond, but please allow me to make my case. There are several minor problems with the film that I didn't find too objectionable. I'll cover these, but first, let me say that if you look past these things then there is a pretty entertaining story there. There is so much in the movie that I like: All the interaction between Luke and Rey. The force bond between Rey and Kylo. Rey's vision.  Everything that happened in the throne room is gold, and it concludes with Ben practically proposing to Rey which is even more interesting. The Canto Bight story is not the best, but neither does it take up as much screen time as people claim it does. Parts of it, such as the chase scene, are interesting. Everything that happened during the Battle of Crait was also excellent, except for the stupid Rose scene. I liked being surprised by Luke's force projection. His passing, or becoming one with the Force, moved me to tears. 

If you look at Rey's vision, I really feel that they were going to make her a clone, but changed their 
minds later. 

For me, the good parts outweigh the bad by a good margin. 

The first time around I was a little uncertain how I felt about broom boy. I found the scene both emotionally moving and a little cheesy, but this scene has grown on me. It creates hope for the future. Also, The Last Jedi takes Star Wars in a slightly new direction and I really felt like it needed that. It needed something fresh, and not just you have to have the right bloodline to be a Jedi. 

The Last Jedi does what Lucas always did, which is to take us to new exotic locations and introduce new ideas that are controversial. (Ewoks, Jar Jar, Midichrorians.) Compare that to The Rise of Crapwalker which hardly does anything original. (I like the movie, but it is my least favorite of the nine. There are real logical problems, like Rey and Kylo both wanting the same goal, which is to go to Exegol to kill Palpatine, but somehow these two characters who have the same goal are fighting each other to the death.) 

Most of the things that people complain about as cringe-worthy didn't feel that bad. The big one was the direction that they took Luke in, but I feel like we don't own the story. It is up to them to tell the story that they want to tell, and if they want to make Luke a burned-out Jedi, then this actually makes for a pretty interesting story. It is not the story I would have chosen to tell, but I'm not a good storyteller. If they gave me exactly what I expected then I would be bored. 

I didn't mind the scene with Leia saving herself because I liked seeing her use the Force. It is logical that she could do that. I dislike people comparing this scene to Mary Poppins. I went and looked at the scene in Marry Poppins and they are nothing alike. The Poe joking around bit was not the best, but I kind of enjoyed it anyway. General Hux was always a comical character. His grand speech in The Force Awakens is over the top, so I never saw him as a serious character. 

Things I don't like in The Last Jedi: 1. Laura Dern's Professor of Gender Studies character. She does not look like a rebel and feels out of place. They are beating us over the head with Social Justice Warrior messages. 2. Rose's very bad dialog. More social justice warrior messages along with her stupid dialog in saving Finn. I like Rose Tico, but I don't l like her dialog. 3. Since when has fuel ever been an issue in a Star Wars movie? 4. The slow-speed chase doesn't make sense because the First Order could hyperspace ahead of the rebel fleet. 

Although I like The Force Awakens, I have some problems with the movie because they don't explain or set up anything. We learn nothing about the new Republic and there are so many unexplained things that the movie feels like it is full of holes. 

I had high hopes that the third film would pull it all together in a way that would redeem the trilogy, but the third film only proves that they didn't have a plan.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Terminator: Dark Fate


On the surface, Terminator: Dark Fate seems like an example of everything wrong with movie-making in the last five years:  Take a 35-year-old franchise and reboot it with new heroes, most of which are female who seem far more capable than they should be, throw in a few subtle political messages and then make the movie with essentially the same plot that we have already seen.  One critic called the movie "garbage" because the female lead takes down two men twice her size simultaneously in hand to hand combat, as if the laws of physics have no meaning.  

Dark Fate is essentially a remake of Terminator II Judgement Day, but not as good.  The movie has heart, but not as much.  It has suspense, but it doesn't achieve the fantastic level of dread that Terminator II did.

However, Terminator: Dark Fate still has much to offer.  It has some of the best action scenes of the entire franchise.  These scenes are not perfect, because they are a bit too frenetic, too dark, and a little over the top, but they kept me riveted to my seat.  The movie also offers a few new twists on the old formula.

It is easier to appreciate this movie if we look at the history of the Terminator movies.

"The Terminator" in 1984 was a great low budget science fiction horror film.  Terminator II took this story to a much higher level and higher budget in 1991.  However, that was the last time the franchise was really great.  

Every movie since then has attempted to continue the story while also serving as a reboot that would allow the franchise to move forward.  In this regard, all the previous films failed.  I like the mostly forgettable Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) and the somewhat better Terminator 4 Salvation (2009), but the movies had mixed reviews and the franchise failed to recapture its former glory.  Then came Terminator Genisys in 2015 that completely flopped.  The story was a dud.

Therefore, since these films are based on time travel, Terminator: Dark Fate continues the story after Terminator II in a way that completely throws away the last three movies.  This is actually a good thing because it is entertaining enough to allow the franchise to move forward again.  

The way the movie achieves this reboot might rub some people the wrong way.  There are a number of people who dislike this film.  Therefore, it seems likely to fail as a reboot.  What matters to me is that the movie is plenty entertaining despite a few minor flaws.  This is like Terminator Salvation, which I thought was pretty good, but not everyone liked it as much as I did.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Terminator 3 movie

I watched Terminator 3 on Netflix, which I had not seen since it came out in the theaters in 2003. The problem with this film is that the entire movie is almost one long chase scene. It is lacking in the interesting characters and emotions that the previous film had. Despite this, it manages to be moderately entertaining, but it hasn't aged well. For the 167 million dollar budget, it feels only slightly better than a made for TV movie. Rating: B-.

I liked the 4th film in the franchise, but not everyone did. No matter how many times they have tried, they can't seem to recapture the magic of the first two films.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Onward


A long time ago there was magic. Magic was used to help people and to make their lives better.  However, magic was difficult to master, and once people discovered technology which was easier, they forgot about magic.

This feels like a world that could have been much more explored, but the movie plays it safe by having all the characters be no different than modern boring humans.  However, that is part of the point, since this is a culture that has lost its heritage.  The movie holds a surprise for us, because what seems on the surface like a three-star film, delivers in a big way with a four-star ending.  This is by no means the best Pixar film, but Pixar can still work a magic of their own.

Our two main characters, both elves and both brothers, go on a quest to find something magical that will bring back their long-deceased father just for a day so that they meet him.  As a result, they discover more about themselves and help their culture regain some of what it lost.

Rating: B+.    I would love to see a sequel where they better explore this world.

P.S. There is much stuff in the trailer that didn't make it into the movie.  This happens sometimes when a movie undergoes many revisions before being released.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Secret Life of Pets II


The Secret Life of Pets was way too dark for a kid's movie, with a psycho bunny who wants to kill humans. This movie is definitely not funny and has completely the wrong tone for an animated film. The bunny gets reformed at the end of the film, and in The Secret Life of Pets II becomes more of a nutty character who desperately wants to be a superhero. The best thing that I can say about the sequel is that it is not as dark as the first film, is somewhat funny, and has a brief sequence with Harrison Ford as an old farm dog who teaches the main character how to be brave. There is a second plot where the bunny rescues a tiger from a stereotypical abusive Russian circus master, and this part of the movie is still kind of dark, which bothered me a bit. Mostly the stereotyped cruel Russian circus master bothered me, and it still feels like the wrong tone for a kid's film. However, overall the movie is passable entertainment and parts of it are exciting.  Without Harrison Ford as the crusty old farm dog, the movie wouldn't be worth my time.


Rating: B. The Secret Life of Pets II is available on Netflix streaming.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Frozen II


The snow queen Elsa hears a voice calling her from the northern enchanted forest.  Elsa, along with her sister Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven travel north to uncover this mystery and a dark secret from their past.

I was pleasantly surprised that Frozen II is a musical, but I should have known this because the original Frozen surprised me in the same way.  At first, I was very impressed, but a couple of the later songs fall flat.  Overall the music is competent and does a good job of conveying the emotions of the characters, but none of the songs are particularly memorable, and none rise to the level of "Let It Go" or "Summer" from the first film.  I get the impression that the movie is trying very hard to reach the musical level of its predecessor, but falls short.

Visually this an amazing movie to look at.  The story is reasonably good, but it has the problem that it keeps promising a big payoff in the end because the characters are supposed to be journeying toward something wonderful, but the payoff is only just okay, which is what I suspected would happen.  The movie also throws in an environmental political message that seems a little out of place in a Disney film.  The story is also a bit convoluted because there are many storylines and characters to keep track of, so it wasn't clear to me if it all made sense.

Olaf, the snowman, is used for comic relief, and this works, but I found him more charming in the first movie.  Kristoff and Sven are also used as comic relief, but they feel underutilized because they had more important roles in the first film

Overall, Frozen 2 feels like a pretty good movie that is also visually very impressive, but it also feels like it didn't reach its full potential.

I think the problem with sequels is that it is hard to recapture the same magic.  Movies have release dates and production schedules that they have to meet, so the movies are only as good as they can make them in the time frame that they have.

Rating:  B+.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Sully

If you are looking for a movie to watch this weekend, then look no further.  Although Hell or High Water would be an excellent choice, my first choice would be Sully.  It is hard to image that Clint Eastwood could have made a better film about "The Miracle On the Hudson" or its pilot, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger.

On January 15th, 2009. US Airways Flight 1549 Airbus A320-214 took of from New York's LaGuardia airport.  Three minutes into the flight, the plane struck a flock of Canada geese and lost power in both engines.  Four minutes later Captain Sullenberger managed to safely land the plane in the Hudson River.  Fast response by nearby ships and local rescue forces helped save the passengers and crew.

The film focuses heavily on the investigations conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board, which initially tried to blame Captain Sullenberger for not returning the plane to the airport.  Meanwhile, the press and the general public were treating Sullenberger as a hero.  Tom Hanks does a marvelous job playing "Sully" as a man conflicted after the crash.

News stories that gain national attention like this one become part of our national identity.  As a result, we feel connected to these events.  Therefore it is easy to feel connected to the film, just like watching movies about 9-11.  These kinds of films are moving, and I am glad that Clint Eastwood did such a good job on this one.

Compared to Hell or High Water, which is so negative in its view of America, it is nice to get an uplifting film about an American hero who saved the lives of 155 people just by doing his job to the best of his ability.

Rating:  A-

Star Wars sequel trilogy

The three movies of the Disney made Star Wars sequel trilogy, episodes 7, 8 and 9, were entertaining enough, but they really feel like a huge opportunity lost to do something better. The movies could have been another Lord of the Rings, or another Game of Thrones, not that I'm a huge fan of either one of these things, but the new Star Wars trilogy had a chance to be epic, but instead, it was splintered into different creative visions that did not mesh well. I had high hopes that there was some master plan that would pull it all together in the end, but the final film pretty much proved that there was none.

The seventh film was largely a remake of the original Star Wars with new younger characters. Although it might have a few new ideas, it doesn't feel very original and its goal was to just evoke nostalgia. This is not how George Lucas made Star Wars movies because every one of his movies introduced new and sometimes controversial ideas and took us to new unfamiliar exotic locations.

J.J. Abrams, the writer and director of Episode 7, reportedly had a master plan in the beginning. Part of the plan involved Carrie Fisher being critically important to the 9nth film, but she died three years before the movie came out, and a year before it went into production. They did manage to use some old footage of Carrie Fisher in the movie. Colin Trevorrow was scheduled to write and direct Episode 9, and reportedly he had some really interesting ideas, but he was fired over creative differences that conflicted with Episode 8, so J.J. Abrams ended up also writing and directing the 9nth movie.

Part of the problem was that a mostly unproven director, Rian Johnson, was given free rein by Lucasfilm to do whatever he wanted in Episode 8, The Last Jedi. It appears that Rian Johnson ignored any plans that J.J. Abrams had, and made the movie that he wanted to make. Rian Johnson admitted that he had no concern for continuity or what came before, and that he was only interested in his own vision. Johnson introduced some news ideas that could have taken Star Wars in a slightly new direction, and I think that this had the potential to be interesting.

However, in Episode 9, The Rise of Skywalker, J.J. Abrams appears to have gone out of his way to disregard everything Rian Johnson did.

The problem is that Episode 8, The Last Jedi, split the fanbase. It was a little inconsistent with the Star Wars that fans were familiar with. Although I liked The Last Jedi a great deal and it is my favorite of the trilogy, at least half the fans hated it with an almost irrational passion. The was a major backlash to the film.

Because of the backlash to The Last Jedi, this created strife between Disney and Lucasfilm. There was an edict issued by Disney that Episode 9 had to please *all* the fans and not just half of them. George Lucas was brought back to act as a script consultant and introduced some of his ideas, but midway through filming Lucasfilm informed Disney that the new film might not please all the fans as they wanted. This caused the parent company, Disney, to put their foot down and demand rewrites and reshoots.

What we got with Episode 9 feels like it is too crammed full of crowd-pleasing moments. The story proceeds at such a frenetic pace that the audience doesn't have time to notice that much of the movie doesn't make logical sense. I think that the last act is way over the top. The problem is that movie is very entertaining just so long as you don't think about it too much. This might explain the critic score of only 52%.







Friday, July 31, 2020

Uncut Gems


Adam Sandler plays a jeweler who is also a gambling addict in trouble with the mob, and who can't seem to stop his gambling.  He is a bit of a conman because he has to be to keep at bay all the people who are after him.  He is also unfaithful to his wife with a couple of affairs, so his wife is planning to divorce him.

This is a good performance by Adam Sandler, but my problem with the movie is that it is about unpleasant people doing bad things.  In addition, the film is dropping f-bombs literally every five seconds.  I didn't hate the movie from start to finish, because the ending is pretty good, but overall I found the movie to be an unpleasant experience.  I feel the same way about Uncut Gems as I did about American Beauty; there is no way I want to spend two hours with such horrible people.  There is an unpleasant tension as Adam Sandler's character goes from bad to worse. The Guardian said, "Uncut Gems is so stressful it should come with a panic attack warning.  Adam Sandler thriller is brilliant, but watching it is a horrible experience."  I feel the same way.

All the tension in the film does make it somewhat watchable.  I actually considered walking out of the movie, but I wanted to see how the movie ended, so I stayed.  I am glad that I saw the ending because it is the only redeeming part of the movie.

Uncut Gems has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and I'm sure that there are some people who think that this movie is brilliant, but it is telling that the audience score is only 51%.

Maybe the movie serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of addiction.

Rating:  C.

The Seventh Seal

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seventh_Seal

This is described as one of the greatest movies of all time.  I thought that it was a little boring.  The movie seems pretty dated now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Knives Out


Knives Out is a mystery whodunit in the spirit of Agatha Cristie, but with quite a few twists, which is a given since it is from director Rian Johnson.  As entertainment, it works really well, although I didn't find it totally believable and I predicted the twist ending.  The movie also tries a little too hard to be a social commentary.

However, Rian Johnson shows that he can make a pretty entertaining movie.

Rating: A-.  My initial thought was to give it a B+, but I did find the movie thoroughly entertaining.   Knives Out has a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


Thursday, July 9, 2020

28 Days Later

The 2002 "28 Days Later" was a pretty good zombie film. It was about the same level of quality as the Will Smith "I am Legend" that came out in 2007. Also out in 2007 was the sequel to "28 Days Later" called, guess what, "28 Weeks Later." It was okay. It was a good movie.

For a long time now, fans of the first two films have been demanding a third film. After years of telling us that a third movie was never going to happen, apparently it is now starting production. All these years the fans have been assuming that the next film would be called "28 Months Later" since we seem to be following units of time measurement. I see no reason why they would have to stick to this naming convention, but reportedly they are going to comply with the fan expectations.

If we take this naming scheme to its logical extreme, then the following two films will be called "28 years later" and "28 Decades Later."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/28_Days_Later

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Rocketman


Rocketman is probably the best movie that I will see this year.  It starts with Elton John checking himself into rehab around 1990, whereupon the film shortly breaks into song.  This is surprising, but it seems appropriate, if not downright brilliant, that a biopic about a musician should be a musical.  The movie has a habit of breaking into elaborate musical numbers when you least expect it, like when Elton John tries to kill himself.  However, for a musician as flashy as Elton John, this is the perfect way to tell the story.  I just kept thinking about how brilliant this all was.

In rehab, Elton John tells everyone just how very screwed up he is, and then he recounts the story of his life telling how he got that way.  This is where the movie shines, showing his boyhood living in public housing and his troubled relationship with an uncaring father and somewhat distant mother.  The young Reginald Dwight (his real name) quickly learns that he has a talent for the piano and is showing great musical prowess by his teens.  In the 1960's he struggled to make a living as a musician, but things begin to improve when he meets and teams up with Bernie Taupin, who was his lifelong collaborator and wrote most of the lyrics to Elton John's songs.   However, in 1970 he makes an appearance at the famous West Hollywood nightclub, the Troubadour, which he was almost too nervous to do.  There Elton becomes a huge hit and his career immediately takes off.  

All this success doesn't make Elton John any less screwed up.  His drug and alcohol problems get worse until finally, his close friends are urging him to get help.

The movie doesn't shy away from Elton John's homosexuality, depicting his relationship with his lover and manager John Reid.

My one complaint is that the end of the movie shows Elton John doing a music video post-rehab.  The movie plays loose with the facts, because the music video, "I'm still standing", is actually from 1983.  The only problem here is that the music video looks fuzzy like we are watching it on a television set.  This takes us out of the moment.

The film fails to tell us very much about Elton John post-rehab.  It is like the rest of his life is encapsulated into a minute of text and pictures at the end of the movie.  This misses out on possible dramatic moments showing how much better his life was after recovery.

Prior to the fuzzy music video, I was going to give the movie an "A+", because it is that brilliant.  In addition, the film could have given us more, if not a great deal more, about Elton John's life.  It is not like his life ended when he got out of rehab.

Rating:  A

Logan Lucky


Two redneck brothers from West Virginia, both with disabilities, one with a limp from a football injury, and the other missing an arm after serving in Iraq, decide to stick it to the system by pulling off the heist of the century at a Nascar race.

Logan Lucky is one of the most clever comedies to come along in recent years.  It also makes a good drama.  Although the characters are a little over the top with their country redneck accents, they feel as real as your neighbors.  Even the ending manages to touch your heart in a very sweet way.  This is a very smart comedy about dumb characters, who might not be so dumb after all.

Daniel Craig, former James Bond, is very convincing as a redneck bomb expert, and so are Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as the two brothers.

Rating:  A-

Logan Lucky is destined to become a classic.  It is rated PG-13 for crude language.

Cloud Atlas on Netflix

I was way impressed by the movie and its ambition. but the execution isn't quite as good as its vision.  As good as the movie is, it drags on a little too much. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Rise of Skywalker


I hesitated to see The Rise of Skywalker a second time, which is very unusual for me with Star Wars movies. There are minor problems with the movie. I didn't think that it was particularly logical, and the final act is a little over the top. However, it is much easier to appreciate this movie on the second viewing.

On the positive side, the film is a grand spectacle, and I pretty much had a blast for the first 75% of it. The last act is still a grand spectacle, and I understand the movie better and what it was trying to do by seeing it a second time.