Logan Lucky (2017)

Logan Lucky
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Rebecca Blunt
Cast: Channing TatumAdam DriverDaniel CraigRiley KeoughKatie HolmesKatherine WaterstonSeth MacFarlaneJim O’HeirBrian GleesonJack QuaidHilary Swank
Seen on: 18.9.2017

Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) just got fired. So instead of a regular income, he needs a different way to get some money. Fortunately he has a plan. Together with his brother Clyde (Adam Driver) and his sister Mellie (Riley Keough) they’re going to rob the NASCAR bets during a race. But first, they need somebody who knows explosives and there’s nobody more knowledgeable than Joe Bang (Daniel Craig). Fortunately, Joe is currently in prison. So they all have their work cut out for them.

Logan Lucky is very entertaining, albeit not particularly deep. It may think that it’s a little funnier than it is, but it is funny enough to make it absolutely enjoyable.

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The Homesman (2014)

The Homesman
Director: Tommy Lee Jones
Writer: Tommy Lee Jones,Kieran Fitzgerald, Wesley A. Oliver
Based on: Glendon Swarthout‘s novel
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, David Dencik, William Fichtner, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson, James Spader, Hailee Steinfeld, Meryl Streep
Seen on: 06.01.2015

At the very west of the settling effort in the USA, three women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter) have a psychotic break and there are no options for help in the settlements and their husbands (David Dencik, William Fichtner, Jesse Plemons) are partly overwhelmed and partly cruel, but generally of not much use. Reverend Dowd (John Lithgow) suggest that the women should be taken back east to get some help, and the only one willing to do that is Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) who is trying to build her life in the west on her own. Mary Bee stumbles upon George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) who has been left to hang, and saves his life, but demands that he come with her to bring the women to safety. And so the five of them set off on the dangerous trek, despite the general unwillingness of everybody involved but Mary Bee.

The Homesman could have been a good film, if it hadn’t been for George Briggs and the movie’s obsession with him.


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The Resident (2011)

The Resident
Director: Antti Jokinen
Writer: Antti Jokinen, Robert Orr
Cast: Hilary Swank, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lee Pace, Christopher Lee

Juliet (Hilary Swank) just broke up with her boyfriend Jack (Lee Pace), so she’s looking for a new apartment. And she can barely believe her luck when she finds a huge apartement at a very low prize and with the really sexy landlord Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). But things that seem too good to be true often are and so it quickly turns out that Max isn’t only into Juliet, he’s completely obsessed with her and watches her at every moment.

The movie has beautiful art direction and a great cast but it unfortunately fails to create any kind of tension whatsoever.

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Conviction (2010)

Conviction is the newest film by Tony Goldwyn, starring Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo, Clea DuVall, Ari Graynor, Peter Gallagher and Juliette Lewis.

Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell) gets convicted of murder. He insists that he’s innocent and his sister Betty Anne (Hilary Swank) believes him. From then on, she does everything she can think of to get Kenny out. She even starts going to law school in the evening, even though she has a a job and two kids. And she sticks with it – for 16 years.

Conviction tells a fascinating story but gets a bit too sappy at times. But anchored by the amazing cast, you can lean back and enjoy the sap.

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Amelia (2009)

Amelia is the story of Amelia Earhart. It was directed by Mira Nair and stars Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston, Joe Anderson and Mia Wasikowska.

Amelia (Hilary Swank) wants to be a pilot, and not just any pilot. With the help of publisher George Putnam (Richard Gere) she manages to be the first woman to cross the Atlantic (even if “only” as a passenger). From then on, she continues to challenge herself and set new records, while trying to encourage women everywhere to become pilots themselves.

After the abysmal reviews Amelia has been getting (and it didn’t even saw a cinematic release in Austria), I didn’t expect much from this film. [But how could I not watch a movie that featured both Ewan McGregor and Christopher Eccleston?] But I was really pleasantly surprised. It’s actually a really nice film.

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All-but-Irish Men in Ireland and Non-American Cowboys

P.S. I Love You was exactly as it should be: wonderful. Funny and sad and full of gorgeous guys. I mean, I knew Gerard Butler was hot, but then getting Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a bonus was perfect. The only thing a little weird was that it was set in New York. K. said that it’s an Hollywood law that RomComs can only play in NY but honestly, the ending seemed a little strained because of that. I can only assume that Hilary Swank can’t fake an Irish accent. Interestingly enough, neither Gerard Butler nor Jeffrey Dean Morgan are from Ireland (GB: Glasgow and JDM: Seattle). At least for someone like me (non-english-native and never been to Ireland), their Irish accents were very believable.
Richard LaGravenese brought us a perfect chick flick. (This time there’s not too much pathos as in Horse Whisperer or the we’ve-all-seen-that-before effect from Freedom Writers…)
K. will lend me the book tomorrow, can’t wait to read it.

Before I start talking about 3:10 to Yuma, a little disclaimer: I was never a Western fan. I never watched the classics and am not that interested to do so in the future. Therefore, I might lack a little understanding for the genre and the cultere within. But the ending just left me puzzled.
(Warning, spoiler ahead!)
Why the hell did Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) help Dan Evans (Christian Bale) in the end? I mean, you are in the middle of strangling someone then he tells you he’s never been a hero but can’t let his kids know and suddenly you stop and make him a hero? That just doesn’t really make sense to me.
(Spoiler end.)
Maybe, apart from a lack of understanding for Westerns, I also have a severe lack of testosterone to understand them anyway.
K., who has a profound education in Spaghetti-Westerns, told me that it cited a lot of movies (like exploding horses and the such). Therefore, it gets a little more credit but altogether there was too much “huh?” for me.
Things I enjoyed about it: Well, watching Christian Bale (looks and talent) and Russell Crowe (looks and I know there is some talent buried deep down somewhere) is always a treat. Luke Wilson‘s brief appearance (not necessarily because of him but because of the whole scene). Doc Potter (Alan Tudyk‘s character). Ben Foster‘s acting (seriously, this guy knows how to act. 10 minutes in the movie and I already thought: Psycho! Judging from his performance in X-Men: The Last Stand I wouldn’t have thought that possible).
Interesting: Neither Christian Bale nor Russell Crowe are Americans (CB: somewhere in Wales and Russell Crowe: Wellington [New Zealand, damn, I thought he was from Australia… It’s probably good, he’ll never read this blog…]).
The whole thing is based on a short story by Elmore Leonard who I thought I didn’t know and K. mistook for some other writer. A little research shows: not only have I seen movies which were written by him or based on one of his novels (Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, Out of Sight) but I actually have a book by him (Mr. Paradise). I can only excuse this by blaming, first, the size of my private library and second, the fact that I haven’t read it yet and third, that I am a bad human being.

I’m sorry that this isn’t very coherent but there are really many things worth noting in this film and it’s one of those which get better the more you think about it. I really enjoyed everything up to the ending, I think it was beautifully done (but James Mangold already proved himself before so that was no suprise) and well played. It didn’t shrink from the violence nor did they have to show everything in all gory details. But I’m no Western fan and this film won’t change my mind. Maybe I will understand the ending someday but until then I’m afraid it’s number three of worst Christian Bale movies (Number 2 being Reign of Fire and Number 1: American Psycho [so much potential – great book, great actor – just going to waste]). I’d only recommend it to male Western fans.