Logan Lucky’s awesome cast is a huge part of the comedy’s enormous appeal. Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Hillary Swank headline this outrageously funny crime fable that’s ironic and witty, and elevates southern white trashers to philosophical intellectuals. Two brothers (Channing and Driver), one armless, attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina with the help of an “in-car-cer-a-ted” super thief. The bros plan to bust him out of prison for a night to carry out the theft – involving money delivered via a tube velocity system – and then bust him back inside. Steven Soderbergh retired from directing features many years ago but comes back strong with this gem. Elvis’ granddaughter Riley Keough is the bros’ helpful sister, Seth MacFarlane is an obnoxious, sneering English race star, Swank is a polymath investigator and there’s Katherine Waterston, Katie Holmes, Dwight Yoakum, plus the sons of Brendan Gleeson and Dennis Quaid with Meg Ryan. The film has a lot going for it including its satirical riff on the cornpone and its hilarity. Soderberg’s music is tongue-in-cheek Southern fried.
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The dark comedy Ingrid Goes West stars Aubrey Plaza as an isolated social media fixated fan that moves to LA to be near Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen) an “influencer”, in order to worm her way onto her life / lifestyle. Ingrid uses an inheritance to move west solely to meet her idol. She succeeds and insinuates herself into her world telling a pack of lies, even as she notices Taylor’s life is nothing like her glamourous Instagram profile she puts forward. Eventually Taylor’s brother discovers the truth about Ingrid and threatens her forcing her to react. Filmmaker Matt Spicer takes aim at the spell cast by social media and the ways it can be used to hurt vulnerable people. It’s a pretty easy target and takes few chances so the story is interesting but a middling success. Instead catch Plaza in Little Hours and Olsen in Wind River to see them shine.
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In This Corner of the World follows Suzu who changes her life when she marries and relocates to Urano just before the nuclear bomb attack on nearby Hiroshima. It’s a stirring mediation on strength, courage and the ability we have to rebuild lives following darkness and tragedy. Sunao Katabuchi directs with a voice cast that includes Yoshimasa Hosoya, Natsuki Inaba, Minori Omi and Daisuke Ono. This is the film we all need to see about now to restore faith in our fellow humans.
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The latest Princess Diana doc to be released in the past few weeks “celebrating the 20th anny of her death is easily the most naked portrait of a woman in trouble. Diana – Her Story premieres Tuesday on PBS featuring previously unseen footage and interviews with some of her closest confidants. She speaks remarkably openly about her relationship with Charles, his fumbling, over eager courtship, throwing himself at her (which she found disgusting), her full knowledge of Camilla from the beginning, their sad sex life, growing resentment of one another and ultimate split. Diana names the happiest time of her life –you’ll be surprised. Her speech coach Peter Settelen released intimate and private videos he made of her unguarded confessions at Kensington Palace; it’s unclear whether she intended them to be seen by the public. Diana is utterly charming but clearly disturbed and looking for someone to listen and care. Her confidant James Colthurst, ballet teacher Anne Allan, private secretary Patrick Jephson and personal protection officer Ken Wharfe reveal new information. She appears to have been a naïve teenage girl who was able to transform herself into a worldly schemer but was she a threat to the monarchy? You’ll feel dirty watching but it is intriguing.
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Vera Season 7 on Acorn is currently my favourite series on TV – there is nothing that meets the standard of writing and performance that is as engaging as this eccentric police procedural. Brenda Blethyn plays Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, a colourful, blunt, sometimes mean tempered and blindingly brilliant sixty-something who runs her unit with an iron fist. When she needs to be, she’s devastatingly till she gets her target where she wants it and pounces. Vera always has her favourite handsome young detective tagging along behind her as they scour the windswept seaside towns and country for clues. It’s always windy and changeable and suits her moody nature perfectly. The storytelling is richly layered, the rural characters she comes across are beautifully written, the show is and dense and whodunit is always a surprise. Just four episodes per season, each 90 minutes in length.
Netflix’ doc Chasing Coral is a jarring reminder that we have to do more to save our home planet and this underwater ecosystem that nourishes that environment. Called “the nursery for all life in the oceans”, coral beds are experiencing “bleaching” a new phenomenon resulting from global carbon emissions that warm the sea to dangerous levels. Meet the dedicated scientists gathering proof that it’s happening and why and determining what negative impact coral death will have now and in the future. It’s beautifully shot; we get to meet gorgeous underwater inhabitants, flora and fauna, as see the scientists reach their conclusions. It’s emotional and dramatic and important. Spread the word.
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The new series Marvel’s The Defenders premieres on Netflix on August 18 which follows four superheroes as they team up to save New York. Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Danny Rand/Iron Fist (Finn Jones) are “singular heroes” with their own troubles who realise that working together is the only way to fulfill their commitment to fight crime . Academy-Award nominated actress Sigourney Weaver joins a terrific young cast that also includes Elodie Yung (Elektra), Scott Glenn (Stick), Deborah Ann Woll (Karen Page), Elden Henson (Foggy Nelson), and Carrie-Anne Moss (Jeri Hogarth). In the TV series, the founding members of the Defenders are Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. In the comics they are Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer and Namor the Sub-Mariner.
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