LOGAN LUCKY: I’m more than willing to give director Steven Soderbergh (TRAFFIC) “props” for having the wisdom to, in essence, remake his lesser films into something significantly better. This movie about two “cursed” brothers (Adam Driver, Channing Tatum) and their hairstylist sister (Riley Keough) who devise a plan to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Coca Cola 600 race is definitely a redneck riff on his OCEAN’S flicks which were all painfully average. But by utilizing the sort of quirky, deadpan humor found in the Coen brothers’ RAISING ARIZONA (1987), Rebecca Blunt’s screenplay injects a subtle, regional parody that’s consistently amusing in an underplayed style. That’s not to say that the work isn’t replete with stereotypes about Southerners because they’re here to be found. But these red state residents are at least brainy enough to pull off an elaborate heist even if I didn’t totally believe they were all bright enough to carry it out. But the whole caper moves effortlessly from scene to scene even though at times, I felt like I was watching a promotional trailer for NASCAR with all of its’ shameless product placement. The ensemble cast deftly creates the kind of memorable characters that raises this movie to a higher level than one might expect. Tatum (FOXCATCHER) has a lot of depth as a former star athlete sidelined in life by a bum leg, divorce and a run of bad luck while Daniel Craig (SPECTRE) sheds all traces of his 007 persona as an incarcerated demolitions expert who can make Gummi Bears blow up. There are times when the musical soundtrack is rather intrusive but overall, the work has no trace of pretension about it even though we may not totally buy into the logistics and mechanics of the robbery itself or its luck-changing outcome. But it’s familiar territory for Soderbergh who must have had that moment of clarity when he realized that remaking his own movies isn’t such a futile idea if they should have been way better but weren’t. It’s so good to see an artist learning from prior mistakes. CRITIC’S GRADE: B

CLOSING CREDITS: Here are some good movies starring funny man Jerry Lewis who died on August 20th – THE STOOGE (1951), JUMPING JACKS (1952), THE CADDY (1953), THE ROAD TO BALI (1953), LIVING IT UP (1954), ARTISTS AND MODELS (1955), YOU’RE NEVER TOO YOUNG (1955), THE DELICATE DELINQUENT (1956), ROCK-A-BYE BABY (1958), THE BELLBOY (1960), THE LADIES’ MAN (1961), IT’$ ONLY MONEY (1962), THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (1963), THE DISORDERLY ORDERLY (1964), BOEING BOEING (1965), THE KING OF COMEDY (1983), COOKIE (1989)