Review of reviews: Film
Directed by Steven Soderbergh (PG-13)
Two brothers plot a NASCAR track heist.
“Can Steven Soderbergh bring something new to the heist genre after his outstanding Ocean’s trilogy?” asked Jordan Hoffman in The Guardian (U.K.). Ending a four-year hiatus from feature filmmaking, the director has come up with a redstate caper picture “brimming with humor and life.” Channing Tatum and Adam Driver costar as West Virginia brothers who hatch a plot to rob a NASCAR stadium, and though the heist scenes prove “as satisfying to watch as an elaborate domino sculpture,” Logan Lucky is also “one of the great hangin’-out pictures”—filled with terrific characters. Good as Riley Keough is as the masterminds’ hairdresser sister, “nobody is having more fun” than James Bond star Daniel Craig, said David Ehrlich in IndieWire.com. Craig plays Joe Bang, a hillbilly explosives expert roped into the scheme, and one of his scenes, involving the racetrack’s underground pneumatic tube system, is “almost single-handedly worth the price of admission.” Nothing about the movie will surprise viewers, said Richard Lawson in Vanity Fair. Logan Lucky brushes up against issues like economic malaise, but it’s mostly “easygoing” summer entertainment—“a lightly fried snack between courses of Soderbergh’s strange and ever-involving feast.”
Directed by Taylor Sheridan (R)
Murder darkens a Native American reservation.
“At times poetic, at others bleak,” Wind River turns out to be “the most accomplished violent thriller in quite some time,” said Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. In a chilling opening, a terrified Native American teenager runs barefoot through the snow, fleeing an unseen killer. Her body will be discovered by a seasoned wildlife officer, who’ll team with a rookie female FBI agent to find the murderer. But despite some familiar story beats, this movie set on an Indian reservation is distinguished by “an unmistakable tang of authenticity.” The story, in fact, “doesn’t measure up to the spectacular scenery,” said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. Director Taylor Sheridan is an Oscarnominated screenwriter, but his narrative at times “veers sharply off course into Tarantino-tinged violence, some of it patently silly.” Co-stars Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen keep us watching, though, as does the movie’s tone. When the shocking climax arrives, its accompanying revelation “makes immediate, sickening sense,” said Glenn Kenny in The New York Times. The sobering realization that too little has been solved here “sinks in later.”
Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie (R)
A two-bit crook scrambles to bail out his sidekick.
Once just a pinup boy, Robert Pattinson is proving himself an “electrifying” actor, said A.A. Dowd in AVClub.com. Five years after his last teenage vampire movie, Pattinson delivers an “enthralling” turn as a New York City bank robber who puts his mentally challenged brother in a bad spot and spends a long night trying to spring him from Rikers Island jail. As he dodges pursuers and scams new marks, Pattinson “lets us see not just the caged-animal attitude of the character but the improvisational spark of his intellect.” This charismatic scoundrel also “loves with a ferocity that inevitably proves to be destructive,” said Emily Yoshida in NYMag.com. There’s apparently no end to the number of innocent bystanders he’ll screw over to feed his sense that he’s doing right by his weaker sibling. Good Time harks back to the gritty New York crime movies of the 1970s, but it’s also “strikingly modern,” said K. Austin Collins in TheRinger.com. Brothers Josh and Benny Safdie grew up in the city, and their New York “genuinely seems to become a state of mind,” often a brutal one, where inequity is a given and nothing’s fair. With their fourth feature, they’ve delivered “one of the best contemporary New York movies in recent memory.”