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Logan Lucky: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital Review

Logan Lucky (2017) movie poster Logan Lucky

Theatrical Release: August 18, 2017 / Running Time: 119 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Steven Soderbergh / Writer: Rebecca Blunt

Cast: Channing Tatum (Jimmy Logan), Adam Driver (Clyde Logan), Seth MacFarlane (Max Chilblain), Riley Keough (Mellie Logan), Katie Holmes (Bobbie Jo Logan Chapman), Katherine Waterston (Sylvia Harrison), Dwight Yoakam (Warden Burns), Sebastian Stan (Dayton White), Brian Gleeson (Sam Bang), Jack Quaid (Fish Bang), Hilary Swank (Special Agent Sarah Grayson), Daniel Craig (Joe Bang), Farrah MacKenzie (Sadie Logan), Macon Blair (Special Agent Brad Noonan), David Denman (Moody Chapman), Jim O'Heir (Cal), Ann Mahoney (Gleema Purdue), Jon Eyez (Naaman), Deneen Tyler (Jesco), Mike Joy (Himself), Darrell Waltrip (Himself), Jeff Gordon (Himself), LeAnn Rimes (Herself), Danielle Trotta (Herself), Adam Alexander (Himself)

Buy Logan Lucky from Amazon.com: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital Blu-ray + DVD + Digital DVD Instant Video

When Steven Soderbergh announced his plans to retire from filmmaking around the time he turned 50, many had their doubts that he would follow through. By then, Soderbergh had already spent more than half his life living and breathing film. He had directed one of the quintessential works of the late-20th century indie movement in Sex, Lies, and Videotape,
a film that would have been a deserving Best Picture winner in Traffic, and one of the most entertaining and rewatchable movies ever made in Ocean's Eleven. So his plan to step away from Hollywood to focus on painting seemed comparable to Joaquin Phoenix vowing to retire and become a rapper in what was later confirmed to be a stunt for a mockumentary no one liked.

If 2013 was to be Soderbergh's farewell tour, it would consist of the well-reviewed character study Side Effects and HBO's Emmy-decorated Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra. But would Soderbergh's love of film really only endure in the features found on his personal website, like lists of films he's watched and recuts of classics like Psycho and Raiders of the Lost Ark?

Turns out, Soderbergh's less widely reported remarks clarifying his retirement as a sabbatical were more accurate because after four years out of the director's chair, he returns with Logan Lucky, exactly the kind of movie you hope to see from the maker of the Ocean's trilogy and Out of Sight.

"Logan Lucky" stars Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as two brothers looking to reverse their family's history of bad luck.

Not to be confused with the year's dark Wolverine send-off (or its black and white home video edit Logan Noir), this Logan is an original heist comedy from a mystery writer credited as Rebecca Blunt, believed to be a pseudonym and possibly of Soderbergh's longtime wife Jules Asner. It focuses on a family residing around the border of West Virginia and North Carolina. They include Jimmy (Channing Tatum), a former high school football star whose promising career was cut short by a knee injury, and his brother Clyde (Adam Driver), a bartender who lost his forearm near the tail end of his second Iraq tour. Jimmy has a beloved young daughter Sadie (Farrah MacKenzie) with his ex-wife (Katie Holmes), who has remarried into money (David Denman, still best known for his recurring stint in the early seasons of "The Office"). There is also a third Logan, Mellie (Riley Keough), a hair stylist whose wardrobe is full of mesh tops and brightly colored bras.

Clyde has a theory about the family's lack of luck, which may be to blame for Jimmy's latest misfortune: getting fired from his construction job after he is spotted limping and determined an insurance liability. Jimmy doesn't get angry. Instead, he makes a clear-headed plan to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway, drawing up a list of rules to follow. The list helps Jimmy persuade Clyde to get on board with the plan. The two brothers then bring the plan to Joe Bang (a bleached blonde Daniel Craig), an incarcerated convict and explosives expert who is essential to pulling off what should be a multi-million dollar robbery.

Once Joe agrees to getting busted out of jail to do his part, his two redneck brothers also get involved, once the Logans give them reasons to make the robbery align with their own morality.

For their ambitious heist, the Logan brothers turn to Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), an incarcerated explosives expert.

And well, we get another Steven Soderbergh heist movie. It's not George Clooney and company looking cool and outwitting Vegas casinos. But it's a similarly enjoyable experience, the most fun a Soderbergh film has been since Eleven back in 2001. His virtuoso skills as director, cinematographer, and editor are on full display here. While it's possible he's really "Rebecca Blunt" (which would be tacky, given the paucity of creative jobs for actual females in Hollywood), Soderbergh hasn't taken a feature writing credit since 2002's disappointing Solaris.
Still, his gifts as a director always enhance the storytelling and that is certainly the case here. Logan's story feels a little more like a Coen Brothers comedy than one of the director's slick capers, but the two classes are not that far removed (even the onscreen personnel has repeatedly overlapped).

Soderbergh provides something with a little more broad appeal than the Coens' irony-laden farces. There isn't the same intellectualism and subtext that make the Coens' efforts such critical darlings, but there is still intelligence and emotion to Logan.

The film isn't perfect. The final act seems to run about three times as long as it should. Main characters disappear for long stretches, while in one case a minor character (played by Sebastian Stan) gets clumsily introduced at a random time just so we know who he is later. But a movie doesn't have to be structurally flawess to offer a really good time, something Soderbergh himself showed on The Informant!. So, yes, the film's post-heist reveals aren't the big payoffs that, say, the twists in Ocean's Eleven were to teenaged me, but they don't stop the film from being just pure cinematic joy, with a tone and artistry that is pretty comparable to, but not quite as agreeable as, Edgar Wright's acclaimed summer sleeper Baby Driver.

The biggest concern for some viewers may be whether Soderbergh, the cast, and the mystery screenwriter are extending a middle finger at the Bible Belt or simply having fun with the lifestyles that part of the country produces. Yes, the characters here are simple minded, but most of them are treated with respect. The hillbilly brothers, one of whom prominently sports a "Dangerus" tattoo on his arm, may be reproachable and is anyone completely comfortable with the child beauty pageants in which Jimmy's daughter is active? But no one here is a complete caricature or void of redeemable characteristics. The joy that Joe Bang shows upon hearing the Logan brothers' prison break plan, a welcome respite from his life of striped onesies and low sodium salted hard boiled eggs, is impossible to miss. Likewise, there's a yesteryear sweetness to the John Denver-loving, working class Jimmy and one-armed Clyde, throwbacks who make up for their lack of schooling and worldliness with loyalty and heart.

In the comedies of Jared Hess, even Napoleon Dynamite but moreso his follow-ups, it's easy to ask if viewers are supposed to be laughing with or at the characters. Here, it's pretty clear who we're supposed to laugh at (Seth MacFarlane's pompous British racecar driver and the two hick Bangs) and also clear why we're rooting for who we're supposed to be rooting for. As it should, the heist itself subverts expectations and even keeps us guessing all the way down to the final scene.

Logan Lucky wielded more obvious mainstream box office potential than the previous fourteen releases of its distributor Bleecker Street. And though it handily became the young, small studio's widest and best-attended release to date, its $28 million domestic gross on a $29 M production budget certainly can't be deemed successful by any standard, especially in the summer where Baby Driver, with less star power, still crossed the $100 M domestic mark on comparably influential enthusiastic reviews. Snubbed even by the Golden Globes, who have their own comedy or musical categories, Logan Lucky has been on home video since November, itching as one of last year's best films you haven't seen.

Logan Lucky: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com 4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), DTS 5.1 (French Canadian), DTS 2.0 (Low-Level English Soundtrack), Dolby Surround 2.0 (Descriptive Video Service)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish, French Canadian
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: November 28, 2017
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-66 & BD-50)
Suggested Retail Price: $34.98 (Reduced from $49.99)
Also available as Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD ($39.99 SRP), DVD ($29.99 SRP), and Amazon Instant Video
Black Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover

VIDEO and AUDIO

Soderbergh films always delight on a technical level and Logan Lucky is no different. Whether you're watching it on 4K or Blu-ray, the 2.40:1 compositions burst with detail and sharpness, supplying vibrant visuals that are complemented by a fine soundtrack. Universal also offers a "low-level" English soundtrack tailored to quiet viewing needs.

The Logan brothers (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver) listen to Joe Bang at greater length in this extended scene. "Logan Lucky" sports a patriotic top menu on Blu-ray.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Perhaps not surprisingly given the underperformance,
Logan Lucky is joined by just two deleted scenes (3:53) in the way of bonus features. One extends a Joe Bang prison monologue and the other finds the other inmates entertaining themselves while unsupervised in the cafeteria.

The discs open with full trailers for Breathe, American Made, and Brad's Status, with a 30-second spots for Atomic Blonde between the last two. These previews are not accessible by menu and Logan Lucky's trailer isn't included at all.

The static main menu attaches score to a mild update of the poster/cover art.

The silver Blu-ray and full-color 4K discs share a black keepcase with a Digital HD insert that doubles as a promo for other Universal 4Ks. The case is topped by a sleek embossed slipcover.

Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) and his plastic bag of gummy bears leads the way in the Logan brothers' heist of the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Logan Lucky is a grand return for Steven Soderbergh, like if Michael Jordan won the championship back in his 1995 return instead of needing another off-season and motivation. Soderbergh's most enjoyable movie since the original Ocean's Eleven, this high-spirited caper deserves a bigger audience than it got in theaters. While Universal's 4K edition is bizarrely light on extras, the movie and its presentation are still good enough to recommend.

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4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
New to Disc: Baby Driver Wind River
Channing Tatum: 21 Jump Street Hail, Caesar! Foxcatcher
Adam Driver: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Midnight Special Frances Ha
Riley Keough: American Honey Mad Max: Fury Road | Daniel Craig: Spectre
Directed by Steven Soderbergh: Ocean's Thirteen Traffic Contagion Behind the Candelabra
Masterminds Hell or High Water Bottle Rocket Fargo American Hustle

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Reviewed February 23, 2018.



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