Movie Review – “Blade Runner 2049” (2017)

 

Believe it or not, I was one of the few film buffs who wasn’t looking forward to “Blade Runner 2049” for a long time. I am not a huge fan of the original “Blade Runner,” especially since it took me three attempts to watch it all the way through without falling asleep. I attribute this to pacing problems with the original film and emphasis on style over substance. While the style of “Blade Runner” is unmistakable in its gritty film noir-esque depiction of the future, I never felt it was enough to carry the movie.

It wasn’t until they annouced that Denis Villeneuve was directing and Roger Deakins would do the cinematography that I started getting excited. Villeneuve had already proven himself in the science fiction genre with last year’s “Arrival,” while cinematographer Roger Deakins has shown that he is the most imaginative and creative eye for captivating images in all of Hollywood with films like “Skyfall,” “Prisoners,” “Sicario” and “No Country for Old Men.” Deakins is almost single-handedly responsible for just about every visually stunning movie out of Hollywood in the last ten years.

In this aspect, Villeneuve and Deakins do not disappoint with “Blade Runner 2049.” I went into the movie with slight skepticism and left the theater loving nearly every scene in that movie. It takes the concepts and visuals that “Blade Runner” started and gives it a 21st-century face lift, putting the visuals on an even bigger scale and telling a story that is dripping with style and substance.

 

 

Set thirty years after the original “Blade Runner,” we see that the bioengineered human race known as replicants have been remodeled to be subserviant and loyal to humans, while the remaining resistant replicants are still slowly hunted down and terminated by a special branch of the police force, known as the blade runners. One of these runners is K (Ryan Gosling), an obedient newer model replicant. During his hunt to locate the growing replicant resistance movement, he finds a buried box next to a dead tree, something people in this world don’t seem to know about anymore.

The LAPD examine the contents of the box and find the bones of a dead replicant, in particular Rachael from the first film, a highly advanced one-of-a-kind model that was lost years ago along with former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). But the analysis finally reveals what was so unique about Rachael – she died giving birth.

Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright) is stunned by this news, since it has always been believed that replicants could never procreate. She tells K to keep this startling news a secret, since if anyone finds out it could start a war between humans and replicants. Joshi also assigns K to track down Rachael’s child and terminate it before it’s too late.

 

 

The main takeaway from “Blade Runner 2049” is that it is visually stunning and the best looking film of the last few years. This film is worth seeing for the visuals alone. From the opening scenes of a farm that consists of crop-circle like solar panels, to the increasingly large landscape of downtown Los Angeles that looks like buildings are staked on top of other buildings. Nearly every shot in the this movie is pleasing to the eye, especially with its neon color palette that makes anything yellow or orange stand out like a forest fire in the night.

“Blade Runner 2049” is like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” in that both films are always throwing unique yet interesting futuristic devices at the audience to show you how much the world has grown. From its holographic girlfriends that you can pay extra to take outside of the house, to the cameras that can make the blind see again, to technology that allows you to create and recreate memories.

But unlike “2001,” the world in this movie is far from utopia. If anything this world is a dystopia. While the people of Los Angeles live in comfort for the most part, surrounded by all the creature comforts they could ever want, nature and animals are nonexistent. We never see the sun at all in this movie and the most sustainable food source are maggots. Entire cities have been turned into giant garbage heaps, while others like Las Vegas look more like the surface of Mars.

 

 

If the original “Blade Runner” wanted to look like a gritty and darker version of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis,” then “Blade Runner 2049” looks like if “Metropolis” went through a nuclear war.

Outside of the visuals and the world of “Blade Runner,” the film gives us a compelling mystery with enough twists to always keep the journey interesting while also having a great sense of humanity and emotions, even with its main character being a robot. The first film asked questions about robots having souls, but this movie basically asks what makes up a soul in the first place. Is a soul memories? Ideologies? Emotions? K certainly seems just as emotional as any other character and has a strong code of honor to not kill anyone with a soul; does that give him a soul?

Like the first film, this one has no shortage of philosophical questions about what makes us human and what it means to be alive. The difference with “Blade Runner 2049” is that it doesn’t make these questions tedious or uninteresting.

Overall, while “Blade Runner 2049” has some pacing problems from time to time, that is a minor nitpick to an otherwise great movie. Even if you’re never seen the original “Blade Runner,” the visuals are breath-taking and never lets up, while the world the film creates is imaginative while still being startling in its bleakness. The story is compelling and the acting gets the job done, with Ryan Gosling turning in a subtle performance. I highly recommend this film, if only to watch the most visually appealing science fiction movie of the last ten years.

Final Grade: A-

 

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Movie Review – “My Little Pony: The Movie” (2017)

 

 

E’Yup. I saw this movie in theaters. Was it awkward? It was weird to say “Can I get one ticket to ‘My Little Pony: The Movie’ please?” but other than that, I was the only one in the movie theater. That’s what going at 10 p.m. on a Thursday night will do for you.

But I can honestly say that, if you’re a fan of the show “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic,” then you will enjoy this movie. It is the same humor, characterization, storytelling, and mythology as the show but on a much bigger budget and slightly changed animation style. If you don’t care for “Friendship Is Magic” or outright hate the show, then you will hate this movie just as much if not more.

This movie isn’t going to convert any haters or disbelievers of the show into fans. Like “Friendship Is Magic” in general, it is targeted mostly towards little kids and this movie excels at keeping those toddlers and little girls engrossed. The adult fans of the show? It depends on what they’re looking for.

Personally, watching “My Little Pony: The Movie” makes me appreciate the most recent season of MLP even more because of how much the characters have changed. My biggest grip with the movie is that it focuses too much on certain characters, in particular Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie, giving them all the good lines, jokes, and standout moments. This leaves little for the three other main characters, Rarity, Applejack, and Fluttershy. AJ and Fluttershy especially get the shaft in this movie, as they get almost nothing to do over the course of the film outside of be in the background.

 

 

Even when Fluttershy gets to do something in this movie, it usually resorts to her traditional cowering in the corner and being afraid of all the threats they face. The problem is that the show’s version of Fluttershy has evolved beyond this point. In seasons six and seven, she has overcome her fears and anxieties to become a rather assertive yet still kind pony. The movie’s version of her resorts back to the early seasons, where every episode she had to overcome a new fear that hadn’t surfaced until that episode.

Also, not a single line of dialogue from one of my favorite new characters in “Friendship Is Magic,” Starlight Glimmer. This shows that the movie is stuck in the early days of the show, where characterization is basic and mostly revolves around simple ideas for the characters, like Rainbow Dash always talking about being awesome or Rarity only focusing on fashion. That was a little disappointing to see.

While I would prefer to watch a good two-part of the show over this movie, like “To Where And Back Again” or “Twilight’s Kingdom,” the movie still isn’t bad. It nails the style and sense of humor of the show and it does feel grand seeing our heroes traverse an entirely new land to discover all new races with their own backstories and mythology. I even enjoy the animation style since it makes all their movements feel more fluid and connected, and the detail on all their eyes is wonderful.

If you’re a parent with a little kid who wants to see this movie, they will have a good time. If you’re an adult fan of the show, try going to a late showing on a weeknight when there won’t be any kids around and you will at least enjoy some parts of the movie. If you’re on the fence about this movie, then this probably isn’t for you.

Final Grade: C+

 

Movie Review – “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (2017)

 

 

It’s been more than three years since “Kingsmen: The Secret Service” came out and my opinion on the movie has changed slightly. In my initial review, I talked about it is a smart yet stupid action movie with a sense of class and dignity to their mission to save the world. Since then, while I still think there’s an air of class to the majority of the movie that you do not get from other dumb popcorn flicks, the scene in the church is way too much and really takes the audience out of the movie. Even if that’s the part everyone remembers, it was still unnecessary and went against the atmosphere and tone of the rest of the film.

Well, with the sequel, “Kingsmen: The Golden Circle,” imagine that church scene but stretched out to nearly two-and-a-half hours combined with an unbelievably cynical and hateful attitude towards all living creatures. That should give you an idea of how disappointing and off-putting this movie is.

The main thing this movie wants to stress is over-stylized action or violence, but does so in the most asinine or mean-spirited way possible. Even from the opening scene, we’re reintroduced to our lead character Eggsy (Taron Egerton) through a CGI car chase sequence through London, where we quickly learn the whole “manners maketh man” point of the first film has gone out the window just to showcase flashy action sequences.

Throughout the movie, we’re subjected to multiple cases of our “heroes” doing some really terrible things, like when Eggsy has to use a condom tracker on an unsuspecting woman by any means necessary, or nearly drowning a former colleague (Colin Firth) to job his memory.

 

 

I can forgive the utterly ludicrous and stupid plot of using recreational drugs to take over the world, but what I cannot forgive is how negative and horrible these people can truly be. This is not fun to watch, and feels more like an exercise in patience and strength of will.

The only scene I enjoyed in “The Golden Circle” came near the end of the film, after Colin Firth’s character has returned to his normal spy-self and Eggsy, his former apprentice, tells Colin that he has a girlfriend now even though it’s against Kingsmen protocol. Colin, usually being the stick-in-the-mud who always sticks to regulations, tells Eggsy about what he felt when he was dying – nothing. No fond memories, and no images of loved ones, because he did not have any. At that moment, he realized that emotional attachments are not a weakness, they make life worth living.

And this wonderfully touching and poignant moment is immediately followed up with this films’ equivalent of President Trump condemning everyone in the world who has ever taken recreational drugs to a slow and painful death and then calling himself a hero for doing so. Look, I understand that Trump is, for lack of a better term, “Trump” (and to keep politics out of these movie reviews), but the scenes with the President in this movie are painful to watch. I do not care what your stance on Trump is, but this movie is made so much worse because of its lack of empathy, which can be traced back to these President scenes.

 

 

The other part of “The Golden Circle” that gets me riled up is how it tries to build up having an all-star cast with dozens of big name stars. Channing Tatum is in the movie for all of five minutes, nor does he really do anything cool. Jeff Bridges is in the movie for about three minutes and the most exciting thing he does is throw a cowboy hat. Halle Berry has a few scenes but spends most of it staring at a computer screen and reading off reports.

And yet the “star” that gets more screen time than all three of these great actors put together, but was barely mentioned in advertising, is Elton John. I swear Elton John is onscreen more than Colin Firth. He supposedly plays himself, but this version of Elton John curses up a storm and threatens to fight several bodyguards and scientists. His inclusion would have been fine if he did not have such a prominent role and have so many speaking lines that were clearly written by a screenwriter instead of Elton himself. This version of Elton acted more like Deadpool than someone whose been knighted by Queen Elizabeth.

 

 

If you’re going to have someone play themselves in a movie, give us the genuine article, not some fantasized idea of that person.

There is very little I enjoyed about “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.” If the film was not boring me with its popcorn-flick science or unnecessary plot twists, it was being unbelievably cynical, taking all the drive and passion out of the action sequences. It tries to throw everything it can at the screen and hope that something sticks, only for most of it to miss the screen entirely. If you’re interested in seeing this film, save yourself the trouble and rewatch “The Secret Service” instead.

Final Grade: D

 

Movie Review – “American Made” (2017)

 

 

Here’s a type of story that is getting more difficult to tell with each passing film – the fading tale of the American Dream.

There have been a plethora of movies that have done this well, including “Goodfellas,” “American Movie,” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” and more recently “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Films that showcase the highest of highs in passionate greedy glory and revile in the lowest of lows when egos become bigger than bank accounts and reality comes crashing back down. There’s a hard truth to these movies that hands down righteous justice to our characters, some going from a job that’s better than being the President to being an average nobody, while still taking the time to glorify how amazing their lives were.

“American Made” is the newest film to join this genre, and while it has some crazy moments here and there, it exchanges the pomp and circumstance for a more gritty realistic interpretation. This ends up taking a lot of the excitement out of the movie, especially when Tom Cruise’s performance is so mellow and underwhelming.

The movie follows TWA pilot Barry Seal (Cruise) after he contacted by CIA agent Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson). Schafer hires Seal to be a private pilot for him, assigned to take pictures of small Central American villages and weapon shacks with a special camera inserted into his airplane. Eventually, Seal is contacted by the Columbian drug cartel to smuggle their produce into America without being caught, which Seal agrees to do. Seal is eventually caught, but Schafer bails him out and hires him for a new task of helping out the contras in Nicaragua by bringing them weapons and even training them on his own private airfield, all while becoming filthy rich.

 

 

My problem with “American Made” is Tom Cruise’s performance as Barry Seal and how lifeless he feels. Maybe this is because he’s always looking over his shoulder or because he knows he cannot trust anyone, but Barry never seems to take joy in anything he does. He has enough money to fill up his whole closet and burying more in his backyard, and I do not think he ever raises his voice above a whisper. Since he always acts like he’s in the middle of his lowest low, he is so unemotional here that it takes most of the fun out of his rise to glory.

The camera work in “American Made” is pretty horrendous, with lots of shaky or unsteady camera movement and unnecessary zooms in the middle of some shots. The cinematography is going for a home video from the 1980s feel, but it draws so much unnecessary attention to itself that it took me out of the viewing experience.

 

 

While Barry Seal’s journey from TWA pilot to CIA henchman to drug and soldier delivery man is not a boring one, and even has some great moments about the kind of power rush he can only get in America, “American Made” lacks any sort of charm to its journey. There was not any scene that stood out as being entertaining or note-worthy, just a dull version of “Goodfellas” or “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Final Grade: C-

 

Movie Review – “The Lego Ninjago Movie” (2017)

 

 

If you asked me what my favorite animated film of the 2010s is so far, I would say “The Lego Movie” without any hesitation. Aside from one of the most visually stunning animated movies of the last decade, as well as having a visual style that no other movie has ever had, it has this massive sense of imagination and wonder where you feel like anything could happen. The movie even has a fantastic twist that makes the whole movie far more understanding and heartwarming.

It’s a movie where Batman, Star Wars, pirates, and astronauts obsessed with building space ships all set out on this massive adventure across equally imaginative landscapes. How can anyone hate this movie? Even “The Lego Batman Movie” still had this great sense of wonder and scope while still doing its own thing by acting as a love letter to everything Batman has ever done.

Which is why it pains me to say “The Lego Ninjago Movie” is such a disappointment. Not only does the film mostly limit itself to action movie clichés, but it does little with its Lego-setup, never fully utilizing that unique concept to its full potential. The movie feels like a 2-D animated kids adventure flick that was converted into a Lego movie at the last minute.

Told through the perspective of an old antique shop keeper (Jackie Chan), he tells a little boy the story of Lloyd (Dave Franco), a Lego teenager who lives in Ninjago City, a relatively peaceful metropolis except for the occasional attack from the evil Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux), Lloyd’s father. But everything Garmadon attacks the city, the Ninjago ninjas are always there to stop his evil plans with their giant mechas. Lloyd is the Green Ninja of this group of six ninjas, trained by Master Wu (also Jackie Chan), who face their toughest battle yet when their plan to finally defeat Garmadon goes horribly wrong.

 

 

Part of the problem is that most of these characters leave no impression on me. Most of the ninjas get little to no screen time or development, outside of Lloyd, and are mostly delegated to churning out one-liners or there to fight the bad guys. Lloyd is irritating at times and average at other points. The relationship with his father gets grating especially when the film forces hacky father-son moments near the end of the film.

The only character I enjoyed in the movie was Zane (Zach Woods), the ice ninja of the group. He’s a robot, programmed to act and think like a teenager, which leads to the funniest lines in the movie. He tries to act like he has all these problems every other kid in high school has, only to find out the way his “mother” yells at him is by screaming the old internet dial-up noise. He’s like a comedic-version of Data from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

This movie would have been so much better if Zane had a bigger focus or if he were the main character in general. He has more quirks and charm than Lloyd does, so that would have at least saved the movie. Instead, he spends most of the time in the background with an emotionless face. This makes it even weirder in the later parts of the movie when the ninjas need to concentrate and calm their minds to gain new powers and they never bring up the fact that one of them is a robot.

 

 

The biggest problem with “The Lego Ninjago Movie” is that it does not take any chances. The reason the previous two Lego movies stood out is because they tried to do so many different things with their characters and plot, some things that no other movies have done before in terms of scope. But this movie is so straight-forward and by-the-books. Even from the opening scene where Jackie Chan explains how to look at something from a new perspective, the point is made that this is your standard animated kids film with little to no surprises.

As a kids movie, “The Lego Ninjago Movie” is fine. It is bright and colorful with a fine story that will keep kids entertained. But as a fan of the Lego movies to this point, I feel let down by this film because it lacks that same grand sense of wonder. The film does not take a piece of plastic and make a grand adventure out of it for people of all ages, it just makes an average yet clichéd little kid movie.

If “The Lego Movie” is like a kid using his toys to reenact “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, then “The Lego Ninjago Movie” is like a kid lazily playing on a Sunday afternoon.

Final Grade: C-

 

Movie Review – “It” (2017)

 

 

I cannot stress this enough – Your reaction to “It” will be different from everyone else. Whether you find the movie scary or not will depend entirely on your fears and sensibilities. The majority of the crowd I saw “It” with was terrified of the supernatural clown that hunted down children, even though I found myself laughing most of the time this movie tried to scare me. The only person who should tell you if this movie is too scary for you is yourself.

In that case, ask yourself these questions. Do clowns freak you out? Are you petrefied when there’s a jump scare? If you answered yes to one or both these questions, then you’ll probably need a change of pants after watching “It.” But, if you’re like me and are not afraid of clowns and can see jump scares coming from a mile away, then most of the scenes with Pennywise the Dancing Clown will want to make you laugh at how serious they want you to take red balloons and a little kid in a yellow rain coat.

That being said, even if you do not find “It” scary, there is still a solid film to be found here. It might be hiding behind a screen of horror, but this movie works much better as a thriller with a solid group of kid main characters and the hilarious comradery they have. Imagine “Stand By Me” but instead of going to find a dead body, they were trying to find a murderous all-seeing demon creature disguised as a clown.

Set mostly in 1989 in Derry, Maine, the authorities have set a town-wide curfew after several children have gone missing. One of the first to disappear is little Georgie Denbrough, whose brother Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) takes pretty hard but is convinced that he is out there somewhere and not dead like everyone else thinks. In the summer, Bill convinces his high school friends Stan (Wyatt Oleff), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), and Richie (Finn Wolfhard) to help him track down his brother in a marshy area known as the Barrens. Instead, the group stumbles across the creepy dancing clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) that seems pretty keen on helping them float, just like the rest.

Eventually, our group of young high schoolers come across Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Mike (Chosen Jacobs) and Beverly (Sophia Lillis), who have all had strange run-ins with this clown as well. Once they all start putting the pieces together to find out more about Pennywise, the clown starts to pick up on it and stops at nothing to break these children before they can get to him.

 

 

Bill Skarsgard does a good job as Pennywise, but only when the filmmakers let him be creepy. His performance is chilling when a scene with Skarsgard is allowed to play out and its the clown that is the most terrifying part, instead of the special effects or the “BOO!” moment near the end. Unfortunately, most of the time the filmmakers feel the need to cut off Skarsgard’s performance so they can put in a big effect shot at the end of the scene, which I feel cheapens his role.

His scene at the beginning with Georgie and his toy boat was wonderfully handled, especially when they linger on Skarsgard for far longer than they need to. There were few effects in that scene, just a clown trying to get some candy. Then there are moments, like when Pennywise is in Bill’s flooded basement and the creepy factor ends when the clown rises out of the water and starts charging at Bill while shaking his head violently. That’s not Skarsgard being scary, but a bad digital effect that acts as little more than a jump scare.

It is my firm belief that jump scares are not scary. They are startling. It is the cinematic equivalent of yelling “BOO!” in someone’s face. And “It” has at least 20 jump scares, which is about 15 too many.

 

 

There are certainly horror moments in “It,” with the stand out scene coming about halfway through the movie in Beverly’s bathroom. The scene is something straight out of “The Shining” or “Nightmare on Elm Street” that leaves Beverly emotionally and mentally scarred for the rest of the film, and relies very little on digital trickery, instead going for practical effects, which is a rarity in this day-and-age. But the primary focus of the movie is on this group of children that slowly but surely overcome prejudice, bad rumors, abusive parents and other disabilities and evolve from children into adults.

Forget about the clown, the true star of the movie are these kids and the relationships they forge.

 

 

Going into this movie, I thought these children would be something straight out of some horrendous after-school special, with no personalities and serve only as fodder for Pennywise. I was proved completely wrong when you hear how foul-mouthed and feisty they can be. Each of them leads a fairly messed up life, some a bit more horrific than others, but they never lose any likability or overly sympathetic, especially Eddie, Richie, and Beverly. Each of them are funny in their own quirky way, like Richie who spews insults like crazy and has a bit of a motor-mouth.

I will remember “It” as a coming-of-age story with plenty of supernatural elements to it. While the filmmakers want to bombard you with silly scares, both digital and startling, the strength of this film comes down to these flawed kids fighting, not just a clown, but an entire world that did not believe in them. Your mileage on the horror elements will vary, but “It” was at least worth watching to see these children stand up for themselves.

Final Grade: B

 

Movie Review – “Logan Lucky” (2017)

 

 

Recently, I had a discussion with others about the best films of 2017 up to this point, where we all noticed that many of the best films fell into same genres – Action, Children, and a little bit of horror or science fiction. Basically every noteworthy movie of the year falls into one of those categories, whether that be “Wonder Woman,” “Dunkirk,” “The Lego Batman Movie” or “War for the Planet of the Apes.” But if that’s the best 2017 has to offer, then that would be a little bit sad, considering one major genre has been left out – comedy.

Let’s face it, 2017 has been a poor year for comedies. Studios were banking on films like “Baywatch,” “Girls Trip” and “Rough Night” but none of them produced the box office or critical responses that studio executives were hoping for. In fact, “Baywatch” was such a critical and box office disaster that the director outright blamed Rotten Tomatoes for ruining his good movie, when in reality it did terrible all around because it was a bad and pointless movie. This does show that either studios are continually making bad comedies that people don’t want to see or that audiences just aren’t as interested in comedies anymore.

I lean more towards the former, considering that we have had two indie comedy hits of 2017, “The Big Sick” and “Logan Lucky.” Now I haven’t seen “The Big Sick,” so I won’t comment on that movie. But I will take this opportunity to say how refreshing “Logan Lucky” felt in a year full of action movies. The film wasn’t always laugh-out-loud funny, but every moment of this movie is filled with strange over-the-top characters being their true selves, making the country bumpkin attitude feel honest.

The film follows Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) after he is let go from his latest job after his superiors see him limping around. Jimmy is in desperate need of money though, as well as his one-handed brother Clyde (Adam Driver), so the two begin to work out the details to a heist that would make both of them filthy-stinking rich. While Jimmy was at his most recent job at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, he found the pipes underneath the stadium that transport all the money into their vault. Their plan is to break in, blow open a hole in the piping system and suck all the money out of the vault while no one is looking. The two hire on several people for their “expertise,” including a trio of brothers, two of them being dumb-witted “tech experts” and the other being the incarcerated explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig).

 

 

“Logan Lucky” plays out like a hillbilly version of “Ocean’s Eleven,” where calm and careful planning is instead replaced with half-thought out plans and our heroes flying by the seams of their pants. Director Steven Soderbergh, who also directed “Ocean’s Eleven,” perfectly captures the atmosphere of West Virginia while filling his world with characters who genuinely surprise you with their intelligence. I fell that is where most of the comedy comes from, how easily the film deceives you into thinking these guys could never get their plan off the ground, only to find out how competent and strategic they can be.

The best part of the movie are the trio of brothers, with Daniel Craig’s Joe Bang being the standout. Aside from Craig’s hilarious high-pitched southern accent, he is someone who is not afraid to express his emotions no matter how insulting or stupid they sound. His brothers are a riot, they are slow yet think they know everything about the world. One of them claims to be a computer expert, yet I don’t think we ever see him on a computer, but at least he knows “all the Twitters.”

 

 

Also, after watching this film, I’m convinced that Adam Driver is the chameleon of actors, able to blend into any back story or role you send his way without ever coming across as insincere or fake. His southern drawl and mannerisms as Clyde Logan add another dimension to his character and the bar he owns, while amplifying the West Virginian community.

Overall, “Logan Lucky” is funny without removing the intelligence of its characters. Most of these people might be bumbling or full of themselves, but their plan is intriguing and constantly evolving, so the film will always keep you on your toes. The tension is consistent and surprisingly effective for a comedy. It was nice to finally see a comedy that didn’t dumb itself down just for the sake of a joke and remained honest to its roots all the way through.

Final Grade: B+