Tuesday, November 21, 2017
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What's new in theaters: 'The Hitman's Bodyguard,' 'Logan Lucky,' 'Wind River'

RECOMMENDED READING


OPENING FRIDAY:

THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD

Loving the trailer for The Hitman's Bodyguard (R) poking fun at quotes from reviewers prone to phrases like "It's a roller coaster ride!" for better chances to see their names in TV ads.

People quoted in this trailer would have their names in it, anyway.

"'Ryan Reynolds is extraordinarily annoying' — Samuel L. Jackson," reads one blurb.

"'Sam Jackson is obnoxious in every way' — Ryan Reynolds," counters another.

"'Stop flirting and get a room already' — Salma Hayek," crashing the bromance, capping the ad.

Pretty much sums up The Hitman's Bodyguard formula: two parts shade-tossing action antiheroes, one part sizzle, add gunpowder and Gary Oldman, shake well.

Reynolds plays the title role, keeping a paid assassin (Jackson) alive to testify in international court. Hayek's a deadly dame with a crush on the hitman. Neither cares much for the bodyguard's snarky remarks under fire. Too Deadpool for their tastes, perhaps.

Read a review at tampabay.com/movies.

LOGAN LUCKY

Steven Soderbergh beats everyone to the punch in Logan Lucky (PG-13), pegging a harebrained scheme to rob a redneck mecca as Ocean's 7-Eleven. It's a throwaway line in a movie playing more like O brother, where have you been? Logan Lucky is a hoot, a holler, a drag at times and doesn't know when to end but it's fun.

Set in almost heaven West Virginia, Logan Lucky is a shaggy tableau of Appalachian factors. Jimmy and Clyde Logan (Channing Tatum, Adam Driver) are snakebit brothers too dim to find both ends and make them meet. Jimmy lost a job today due to pre-existing condition liability; Clyde lost an arm in Iraq.

Jimmy's job was driving a front loader filling sinkholes beneath the Charlotte Motor Speedway, home of NASCAR. He noticed the race track uses a pneumatic tube system to transfer cash from all vendors and box offices to a central vault. Tap into the tubes and a fortune can be diverted. In heist comedy tradition, it won't be easy.

Click here to read a full Grade B review.

WIND RIVER

Taylor Sheridan makes a serviceable directing debut with Wind River (R) after Sicario and Hell or High Water thrust him to the forefront of Hollywood screenwriters. Wind River is another slow burn crime story in desolate surroundings, this time a Wyoming reservation where a Native American woman's assaulted body is discovered in the snow.

Wildlife tracker Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) knows her. He also has a personal reason for helping out-of-element FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen, meh) solve the woman's death by exposure. Wind River's mystery barely takes enough shape to keep us curious, then Sheridan plops viewers into an unsavory third act spilling everything.

The movie's strength is Sheridan's knack for vivid characterization through little more than casual remarks and consistent voices. Renner isn't an actor of great range but that works here by trusting the words. A sense of dignity written into the reservation's poverty culture allows solid roles for Graham Greene as a rez lawman and Gil Birmingham as a grieving alcoholic.

Ben Richardson's deep-freeze cinematography and a sparse, foreboding score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis assist in making Wind River one of late summer's finer movie choices for grownups. B

INDIE FLICKS:

BRIGSBY BEAR

Saturday Night Live's Kyle Mooney co-wrote and stars in Brigsby Bear (PG-13), a sweetly strange fable of how pop culture both stifles and inspires. Cut from the same odd cloth as Be Kind, Rewind, the movie wobbles the lines between poignant and silly, profound and navel gazing.

Mooney plays James Pope, an ultra-innocent living in survivalist mode with his parents, Ted and April (Mark Hamill, Jane Adams). James has one children's program keeping him entertained, the weekly VHS adventures of Brigsby Bear, spouting the virtues of family solitude and noncuriosity.

One day the outside world intrudes, upending everything James believes, even Brigsby's existence. Pulled into a civilization he has never known, James decides to continue the Brigsby Bear show, finishing a story while eventually finding his new self.

The fewer details known about Brigsby Bear — plus appreciation for Michel Gondry's superior films — the more its minor ingenuity may impress. Director Dave McCary maintains a suitably goofy tone and inspired casting (Hamill, Greg Kinnear, Claire Danes) make for a pleasantly uneven experience. B-

STEP

Amanda Lipitz's documentary Step (PG) follows three teenage Baltimore girls through their senior year, members of a high school step dancing team. Each hopes to become first in their families to attend college, as the city simmers with racial unrest.

Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday called Step "a soaring, heart-bursting portrait … guaranteed to bring audiences to their feet."

In theaters: our Top 5

Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:

1 Dunkirk: Christopher Nolan's WWII masterpiece will be chased all awards season.

2 Logan Lucky: Channing Tatum, above, and Adam Driver play dumber than two bags of hammers. Review, Page 10

3 Wind River: Wildlife tracker (Jeremy Renner) hunts a killer on a Wyoming reservation.

4 The Big Sick: A charmer redefining what romantic comedy means.

5 Detroit: Kathryn Bigelow embeds viewers in Motown's 1967 racial disturbance.

UPCOMING RELEASES

(Dates subject to change)

Aug. 31: Patti Cake$

Sept. 1: The Trip to Spain

Sept. 8: It; Home Again

Sept. 15: American Assassin; Brad's Status; Mother!; All I See Is You

   
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