Category Archives: The Cubicle Escapee

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: LOGAN LUCKY

LOGAN LUCKY is easily the best heist film since 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven, and the funny part is that both are directed by the same man, Steven Soderberg. Even making fun of it’s self in the film (at one point a reporter calls it Ocean’s 7-11), this heist film has a hillbilly redneck southern twist to it that makes it much more enjoyable than if everything was played straight. It is a solid entertaining two hours where nothing feels out of place and it even manages to cook up a few surprises that I didn’t see coming. I’m writing this review now seeing that the movie didn’t make all that much at the box office this weekend, which is a shame because you should go out with your friends ASAP and see this. I swear you will have an enjoyable time.

What makes this film so good is the acting. Channing Tatum becomes a better actor with each film that he does, especially if he has Soderberg behind the lens. His country accent and manner is just right, not going too over the top, with a perfect southern drawl and presence. Adam Driver and Riley Keough do good here as well, as well as all the supporting players, Seth McFarlane, Katherine Waterson, Dwight Yoakem, Katie Holmes and Hilary Swank, even though a lot of them don’t get much screen time at all.

But the real winner is is 007 himself, Daniel Craig. He steals every single scene he is in and after Bond he should seriously go into more comedy roles, because he clearly has a knack for what makes an audience laugh. He completely lights up the screen here, with his very funny high pitched accent and mannerisms. He is worth the price of admission alone. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is Oscar worthy (some people have been saying that), I could see Daniel Craig getting nominated for an Oscar at some point in his life, and probably for a comedy and not a drama.

The story and heist is great. It isn’t like Rogue One where the heist is completely done in less than ten minutes. The film takes it’s time, with the entire second half of the film devoted to the heist, every second of which is fun and interesting. And the plan isn’t outlandish either, the screenplay is smart and doesn’t try to treat the audience as if they were idiots. Some critics have been saying it is hard to see that a heist could be planned by a person in real life that Channing Tatum plays, but I say that we all judge a book by its cover at some point, where a man like this could really be smarter and more than what he seems.

I loved this southern fried chicken heist. While not better than Ocean’s 11 or Snatched, it is way way better than any of the Ocean’s sequels and a movie I could completely keep on television and watch over and over in the coming future. Just like The Hitman’s Bodyguard it is a surprise late hit summer fun for me. You all made Hitman’s Bodyguard a modest hit the weekend, why don’t you go back and give Logan Lucky a shot. It is true that this film is being marketed more as a comedy than a heist, but it is both equal parts, with the heist not getting any back burner, and having fun right along with the comedy in the drivers seat.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: WIND RIVER

WIND RIVER concludes writer/director Taylor Sheridan’s “American Frontier trilogy” that started with Sicario, and was followed up by Hell or High Water, both of which ended up on my best lists at the end of the year. Even though I don’t consider Sicario part of that trilogy (especially since it itself is having a sequel coming out next year and doesn’t really have the same feel as High Water or Wind River), I guess since people are grouping those three together, I will have to as well. And if so, my friends, this is one of those rare perfect “in spirit of” trilogies that is absolutely perfect, because not only is Wind River a masterpiece as well, but it will definitely be on my best list at the end of the year. Not as high as Hell or High Water (that was  #1, but definitely above Sicario).

You probably haven’t even fucking heard of Wind River. Which is fine because it is another independent film, but you should soon hear of it for Oscar noms and the fact that it stars to Avengers, Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch). The movie takes place in Wyoming and it is about a US Fish and Wildlife Service Agent and an FBI agent who try to solve a murder on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Jeremy Renner finds a young woman frozen to death but foul play seems to be involved as it looks like she was raped before dying. Then Jeremy Renner uses his knowledge of tracking to help the FBI agent played by Olsen to find the criminals, looking for some solace in a tragic past that Renner himself experienced.

The cinematography in this film is absolutely beautiful. Every shot is expertly planned and I felt like I was out there in the snow with the entire cast. The tone, atmosphere, and mood of the film made me feel a bitter chill while watching the movie, exactly what I was supposed to feel. And the acting is absolutely top notch. Elizabeth Olsen proves that she needs more Oscar heavy fair, and Jeremy Renner gives his best performance since his Oscar nominated ones in The Town and Zero Dark Thirty.

Even though this is basically a “who-dun-it” mystery, don’t go in expecting a lot of twists and turns. It’s a straight forward investigation that goes absolutely haywire in it’s climax with a bittersweet kind of ending. The reveal of what happened is sad and absolutely horrifying, knowing that something so small can escalate into something so terrifying and nightmarish. The dialogue is smart, quip, and it feels as though real people are talking in the real world. Every character is well rounded and even the side characters, with little screen time, are three dimensional.

Wind River is an incredible masterpiece and a film I could watch over and over again. Taylor Sheridan is joining Tarantino, Mamet, and Boal as one of my favorite screenwriters of all time. His way with actors, words, character, stories, basically everything is thought provoking as well as thought out. We need more deary snow setting murder mystery movies. This chilled me to the bone and I loved every second. It is playing in a bunch of theaters now when it was limited last week, so you should easily be able to check it out. Please, please do.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: AMERICAN ASSASSIN (releases September 15th)

When AMERICAN ASSASSIN comes out in about a month, I urge you to go and check it out in theaters. It a rip and roaring, non-stop action thrill ride whose pace never lets you go. It’s also a turn your brain off kind of sit back and eat popcorn type of good old fashioned entertainment. But it isn’t XXX Vin Diesel kind of cheesy. The film is a giant box packed to brim with tension and fantastic performances. Dylan O’Brian proves that he can ultimately get away from his Teen Wolf status, while Michael Keaton goes full on Michael Keaton at some points in the film where you wish he would just come back and do a sequel to Beetlejuice. A fun yet tense time at the movies.

Boy is the beginning of the film extremely hard to watch. If you’ve seen the previews, you know that Mitch Rapp (played by Dylan O’Brian is on vacation with his girlfriend when a bunch of terrorists come up on to the vacation beach resort and just start mowing down civilians with machine guns. And they do not cut away. It makes your heart pound knowing shit like this has happened in real life, and makes the audience sympathy with his character that much more interesting. He decides that he wants to get his revenge after seeing the main terrorist shoot his girlfriend down so for 12 months he prepares, extreme and non-stop. He gets the attention of the CIA and a special ops type of agent played by Sanaa Lathan, who recruits him and puts him under a man named Stan Hurley (Keaton) who trains the shit out of him for missions. When plutonium is stolen, Hurley and Rapp try to get to the bottom of it, finding out that a pupil (played by Taylor Kitsch) who was once under Hurley’s wing, is behind it all. And they have to stop it.

Yeah, the plot sounds generic with the whole stopping the bomb in time and stuff like that, but the journey is fantastic. The movie is long enough to have great action beats, character development, and fantastic thrills, without going Michael Bay overboard. And no, Bay doesn’t have anything to do with this film. Within the story there are a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming, and one of the twists is a nice “gotcha” moment that you think is going to go a cliched way that has been done before, but ends up going a different route.

I love that this moved never let up. It’s one of the action films you will actually remember, instead of the ones that have a great action scene at the beginning, too much flub and exposition in the middle, and then one of those anti-climatic endings that you can see from miles away. And I am loving Michael Keaton these past couple of years. He has gotten his career back and he is going full force masterful on us. First Spider-Man this year and now this. And there a couple of moments were Keaton goes full on bug-eyed, I don’t give a fuck Keaton moments from the 80s (like the original Batman, “You wanna get nuts?! Come on, let’s get nuts!) that had me laughing loud and hard.

American Assassin is the action movie of the early fall. I loved every minute of it and its one of those action pieces I could find on television one day and sit and watch all the way through again (I’m probably going to buy it anyway). What a roller coaster ride. Apparently, this was adapted from a long series of novels and if it does well we should be getting sequels. Please, see this, make it successful so we can get those sequels. But for now I’ll start reading the novels anyway. Please, see this in a month.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: ANNABELLE CREATION

Look, if you can go back and look at my Facebook review of Annabelle, I was not kind. I hated and still hate the first Annabelle movie. It isn’t even in the same league of The Conjuring 1 and 2, even though it is in the same universe. But thankfully, continuing the trend set by Ouija 2: Origin of Evil, ANNABELLE 2 is not only better, it is scary as shit, tells a good tale, and finally enters the same ballpark with the greatness of both Conjuring movies. So I guess now if I hate the first movie in a horror franchise I should always look forward to the second one huh? Everything about this is better, and probably the reason for that is the directors changed, the director of the first went on to do the shitty Wish Upon, but this new guy did the Lights Out movie, which I thought was good and scary for being PG-13, but this is Rated R, and brings everything great to the table.

Annabelle Creation, just like Ouija: Origin of Evil, is a prequel to Annabelle, showing how the doll and the evil spirit within it, first came to be. In fact, it ties itself directly with the first film at the end to make sure it can be nothing but sequels from here on out, which I like. By the way, it is also starting to be like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, teasing it’s upcoming releases, and it does a great one mid movie with The Nun, which I wasn’t at first, but am now looking forward to. Anyway, this movie is about a couple, the husband of which makes dolls. His daughter dies in an accident at a early age and they pray to whatever power to bring it back. Unfortunately a demon answers, and they manage to keep it in a closet at bay. Also unfortunately, they now run their home as a sort of orphanage, and a bus full of orphaned girls and a woman nun are staying there.

And you slowly find out the story, and scary shit happens. I’m not going to ruin the rest of the film or any of the scares, because the scares and good and well earned. Even though I didn’t jump (Kim did because she’s a wuss) I was drained by the time the film ended, being on edge for the entire thing. Also, for a scary movie, the acting was top notch. All the kids did fantastic, and the adults all brought their A game as well. Wish there was more Miranda Otto in the film, as she is a fine actress, but the reason she isn’t there is valid, and she is very powerful when needed to be.

I just wish that like Child’s Play, the doll would actually move and talk, and that we would get that those great practical effects here like they did with Chucky back in the day. And while the first movie didn’t do that, unfortunately this one doesn’t either, but now that I think about it, not seeing the doll move and talk is creepier than actually seeing it, so I forgive it for all its trespasses. There is some predictability in this, as what objects or beings they will be used for scares, but the way they eventually bring those things into play is patient and brilliant. They don’t bring it up and then two minutes later play their hand. They keep their cards close to the chest the entire time.

To not waste your time and get you to go to a theater with a loud system, I am going to cut my review a little short (actually it is already a little long isn’t it?). If you want a scary time at the movies, look no further. Annabelle Creation is another rare sequel/prequel that is much much much much much better than the original. It provides plenty of thrills that aren’t cheap with a good serviceable story that ties everything together. This + Child’s Play will prevent you from ever buying dolls again.