speedracer5

I Just Watched...

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2 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

In my opinion, Double Indemnity is the performance that Robinson should have won an Oscar for. It's not as flashy or loud as many of his others, but as you say, it's a perfect example of what a great supporting performance should be. And it's a helluva lot better than Barry Fitzgerald in Going My Way.

Agreed.  Robinson makes Double Indemnity.  Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck are great, but it's Robinson who I find the most interesting in the film.  Here he is trying to do his job (investigate a claim before issuing payment) and even though all signs point toward an accident, he has this nagging feeling that he just can't shake.  Even more so, he is suspicious of his subordinate, MacMurray, even though up until now, they'd had a good relationship.  Robinson had trusted MacMurray and he was his best salesman.  However, once MacMurray hooks up with Stanwyck, Robinson has his doubts.  I get the sense that he's torn between his camaraderie with MacMurray and his duty to his employer.  I also think that Robinson keeps investigating MacMurray because he wants to clear him, he wants to find some reason to believe that his best salesman didn't have something to do with this attempt at insurance fraud. 

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Fill the Void (2012)

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I selected this film for viewing knowing nothing about it, other than the premise described in the schedule guide - that a young womain in a Haredi Jewish community finds herself pressured to marry her sister's widower, when that sister dies suddenly.

You'd think that with that premise, what would follow could a drama-laden battle of an individual against the system type of story, but instead you get quietly nuanced performances, where any tensions are deliberately underplayed, but still quite palpable. If there is a battle, it is played out largely within the young woman herself, as she attempts to find a path she feels is right by her immediate family, her community & lastly, herself. There's no regional politics & no conflict between the secular & the religious domains - everything is played out by characters acting within an environment they all appear entirely settled within.

It's a film I suspect that I will have to watch a few more times to get a proper handle on, especially the very last few moments, which left me wondering whether the main character was ultimately comfortable with the path she took.

Source: MoviePlex

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On 12/9/2017 at 3:16 AM, limey said:

Lady on a Train (1945):

Entertaining, nicely paced little romp with extra points for Edward Everett Horton coming up with rhymes like...

Find a penny in a well

and all your troubles... er.. disappear....

Also of interest for the sequence showing long-gone elevated railways (though I always wince at the sight of Ms Durbin meandering down the right of way, narrowly not getting squished by speeding trains, whilst simultaneously not tripping over the 3rd rail carrying something in the region of 700 crackling volts DC...).

Edward Everett Horton makes everything he’s in better. I liked the nightclub scene where Durbin sings “Gimme a Little Kiss, Will Ya Huh?”  The strong but deceptive pull of nostalgia makes one yearn for those types of elegant places where everyone is decked out in tuxedos and evening gowns.  The dreamy cinematography by Woody Bredell is classic noir though the script is a little wobbly.  Bredell also lensed Phantom Lady (1944) and The Killers (1946).  Durbin’s rendition of Silent Night was a tad too risqué considering the song, but it got her out of a jam.

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16 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Trip to Spain (2017) - Third in a series of light comedies, from IFC Films and director Michael Winterbottom. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon return as barely-fictionalized versions of themselves, once again on a tour to write articles about local cuisine. This time they're in Spain, but the focus remains on the dialogue and camaraderie between Coogan and Brydon, as they once again have dueling celebrity impressions of Roger Moore, Michael Caine, Mick Jagger and more. Also featuring Marta Barrio and Claire Keelan.

This follows 2010's The Trip and 2014's The Trip to Italy, and they are all virtually the same, with only the location changing: part travelogue, part haute cuisine foodie indulgence, but mainly witty, at times laugh-out-loud hilarious conversation between British film and TV stars Coogan and Brydon. The Spanish scenery is spectacular, and the many ancient buildings visited are a highlight. This one does end on a much different note than the others, and I'll be curious to see if, or how, the next one comes about. The formula still hasn't gotten old for me, and I'd be willing to watch more of these from all over the globe.  (7/10)

Source: Shout Factory DVD.

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I missed this even though it was on my radar.  I agree this formula is always alot of fun.  Once they start doing those impersonations I can't stop laughing.  

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On 12/9/2017 at 11:07 PM, NickAndNora34 said:

ZODIAC (2007)

starring Robert Downey, Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, and Mark Ruffalo. I stumbled upon this movie purely by accident (meaning I wasn't looking for it when I logged onto Netflix the other day). I am interested in true crime stories, and obviously the Zodiac was one of the more prolific American degenerates in the 20th century. I am fascinated by the mental aspect of homicides (that is to say, the psychological piece). It fascinates me just how complex a machine the human brain is, and how, if provoked, it can suffer a snap/fracture, and begin to operate outside "normal" standards. 

That being said, I didn't enjoy this movie as much as I had anticipated. It started off fairly promising, but as the movie traveled on, unfortunately my brain and attention span did not travel on with it. It kind of reminded me of the film "JFK," in the sense that both of these films could have potentially prospered from a shorter running time. 

Source: Netflix; 2.5/5 

Image result for zodiac 2007

David Fincher is a great stylist and one of my favorite filmmakers.  He's behind a show called Mindhunter that's streaming on Netflix.  The show explores the psyche of serial killers.  Fincher even directed the first two episodes. 

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1 hour ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

 

In Key Largo he was really just redoing the gangster persona he had developed in films around a decade before.   It is a good performance but at the same time he could have just 'phoned that one in' since there wasn't anything unique or developed in it.

 

 

I doubt Robinson was phoning it in when he did Key Largo. Johnny Rocco may not be as complex a character some of the other roles Robinson did but he always gave it 100 percent, and I don't necessary believe a role has to be super duper complex or developed to make a great performance.

If Key Largo's Rocco was too similar to Robinson's earlier gangster persona from the 30's, one could make the same argument for James Cagney's Cody Jarrett in White Heat (Jarrett could have been an older, more psychotic version of Tom Powers from The Public Enemy). But I won't be the one to make that argument because I feel the same way about Cagney's Jarrett as I do about Robinson's Rocco....they are both great performances from two great actors.

I do agree that Robinson's performance in Double Indemnity should have been the role that finally snagged him an Oscar nomination and win.

 

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23 hours ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

I doubt Robinson was phoning it in when he did Key Largo. Johnny Rocco may not be as complex a character some of the other roles Robinson did but he always gave it 100 percent, and I don't necessary believe a role has to be super duper complex or developed to make a great performance.

If Key Largo's Rocco was too similar to Robinson's earlier gangster persona from the 30's, one could make the same argument for James Cagney's Cody Jarrett in White Heat (Jarrett could have been an older, more psychotic version of Tom Powers from The Public Enemy). But I won't be the one to make that argument because I feel the same way about Cagney's Jarrett as I do about Robinson's Rocco....they are both great performances from two great actors.

I do agree that Robinson's performance in Double Indemnity should have been the role that finally snagged him an Oscar nomination and win.

 

I said he 'could phone it in',  which is a compliment,  in that he had that persona down pat and being such a fine actor such a role would be easy for him.

The same is mostly true with regards to Cagney and While Heat.   Cagney didn't wish to take this role on at all but he was hurting financially (his own productions since leaving Warner Bros. failed at the box office) and agreed to work for Jack Warner again  (a man Cagney despised) for the role \ money.    But in White Heat Cagney displayed a gangster with a mental illness and the film being a noir,  showed more of what made Cody tick (a major difference between criminals in tradition crime film and noir films).

 

 

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Detroit (2017) - True story suspense drama from Annapurna Pictures, writer Mark Boal, and director Kathryn Bigelow. It's 1967, and rioting and looting has broken out in the city of Detroit, with buildings being burned and shots being fired. The situation has progressed to the point that National Guard troops have been mobilized in the streets, and no one is safe. It's with this setting that the main story unfolds when shots are reported fired from a hotel, and police and troops converge on the building, leading to tense situation that leaves several people dead. The cast includes John Boyega as a black, uniformed security guard who gets swept up in events; Will Poulter as the leader of a trio of beat cops who take things too far; Algee Smith as an aspiring pop singer who has the misfortune of checking into the hotel; Anthony Mackie as a recently discharged Army veteran; and Hannah Murray, Kaitlyn Dever, Ben O'Toole, Jack Reynor, Malcolm David Kelly, Tyler James Williams, Jason Mitchell, Will Bouvier, and John Krasinski.

This seemed like the kind of film to ignite a firestorm of controversy, with its setting of racial unrest and us-vs-them police misconduct coming on the heels of the recent incidents across the country, from Ferguson to Baltimore. Maybe people were exhausted from the news, or perhaps other current event spectacles rendered past injustices as moot points, whatever the reason, the film flopped at the box office although the critics enjoyed it. I liked it as well, but not as much as they did. Bigelow and Boal previously collaborated on the superior The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. They attempt a "you are there" cinema verite style that uses a lot of handheld camera and very little gloss or overly stylish cinematic tricks. They also made the wise decision to cast relative unknowns so as not to distract from the story, with the biggest names in the cast (Mackie and Krasinski) in lesser roles. There's quite a bit of build up before the movie gets to its main focus, but that may have been necessary to explain the actions of those involved when things finally hit the fan. Running just under 2 and a half hours, I found it a bit over long, and could have seen at least 15 minutes trimmed away. The performances are good for the most part, but I'm not too fond of Poulter. This isn't a bad movie at all, but it fails to rise to the level of a year's best.   (7/10)

Source: Fox Blu-Ray.

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I just watched "The Lady in the Lake". Adapted from Raymond Chandler's novel, it's Philip Marlowe at his best. The technique used by Robert Montgomery (who directed as well as starred) of having the camera reflect only what Marlowe sees is both unique and interesting. Audrey Totter plays the perfect femme fatale . I look forward to seeing more of her in other film noir classics.

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21 hours ago, Hoganman1 said:

I just watched "The Lady in the Lake". Adapted from Raymond Chandler's novel, it's Philip Marlowe at his best. The technique used by Robert Montgomery (who directed as well as starred) of having the camera reflect only what Marlowe sees is both unique and interesting. Audrey Totter plays the perfect femme fatale . I look forward to seeing more of her in other film noir classics.

The character Audrey Totter plays (Adrienne Fromsett)  is NOT a femme fatale.   At the end the noir protagonist (Marlowe), and Fromsett decide to leave to start a new life together.    With a perfect femme fatale the man ends up dead like Jeff in Out of the Past or Jim in The Killers.    (thus Jane Greer or Ava Gardner are the perfect femme fatale in those films).

In The Lady in the Lake the actual femme fatale is "the woman Marlowe meets (Jayne Meadows), the one who asked for money from Kingsby, turns out to be Mildred Havelend, alias Mrs. Falbrook, alias Muriel. She is the one who killed Chrystal (the "lady in the lake"), as well her former employer's wife and Lavery".

 

 

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Hoganman1 said:

I just watched "The Lady in the Lake". Adapted from Raymond Chandler's novel, it's Philip Marlowe at his best. The technique used by Robert Montgomery (who directed as well as starred) of having the camera reflect only what Marlowe sees is both unique and interesting. Audrey Totter plays the perfect femme fatale . I look forward to seeing more of her in other film noir classics.

I agree that Robert Montgomery's decision (or perhaps it was the screenwriter's decision?) to present the story in a first person perspective was an interesting choice.  I understand that Chandler hated this decision and refused an on-screen credit for his participation in this film.  Personally, I preferred how first person perspective was used in Dark Passage over how it was used in Lady in the Lake.  Though I do like both films. 

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4 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I agree that Robert Montgomery's decision (or perhaps it was the screenwriter's decision?) to present the story in a first person perspective was an interesting choice.  I understand that Chandler hated this decision and refused an on-screen credit for his participation in this film.  Personally, I preferred how first person perspective was used in Dark Passage over how it was used in Lady in the Lake.  Though I do like both films. 

I agree that the first person perspective was over used in the film.    Maybe if it was used on in certain scenes the film would have been a better overall film. 

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48 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

The character Audrey Totter plays (Adrienne Fromsett)  is NOT a femme fatale.   At the end the noir protagonist (Marlow), and Fromsett decide to leave to start a new life together.    With a perfect femme fatale the man ends up dead like Jeff in Out of the Past or Jim in The Killers.    (thus Jane Greer or Ava Gardner are the perfect femme fatale in those films).

In The Lady in the Lake the actual femme fatale is "the woman Marlowe meets (Jayne Meadows), the one who asked for money from Kingsby, turns out to be Mildred Havelend, alias Mrs. Falbrook, alias Muriel. She is the one who killed Chrystal (the "lady in the lake"), as well her former employer's wife and Lavery".

 

 

 

 

I really like The Lady in the Lake.  Great film!  Yes, Adrienne Fromsett (played beautifully by Audrey Totter) is not really a femme fatale, but seemed cold and uncaring to Marlowe's character.  Robert Montgomery (a debonair and superb Marlowe), was usually professional, but we can see him responding to Adrienne eventually.

Beneath the surface of other characters we discover their true motivations.  Mrs. Falbrook (skillfully played by Jayne Meadows) had a number of aliases and killed the lady in the lake, as well as others standing in her way.

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26 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I agree that Robert Montgomery's decision (or perhaps it was the screenwriter's decision?) to present the story in a first person perspective was an interesting choice.  I understand that Chandler hated this decision and refused an on-screen credit for his participation in this film.  Personally, I preferred how first person perspective was used in Dark Passage over how it was used in Lady in the Lake.  Though I do like both films. 

I too felt that the first person perspective was a unique choice, but did prefer how it was done in Dark Passage.  I agree on that.   Both are good Film Noirs, but one of my favorites is Dark Passage

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Just watched The Breaking Point, a 1950 retelling of Ernest Hemingway's To Have and Have Not, starring John Garfield as a boat charter, with a family and up to his neck in financial troubles, who gets involved with some shady characters for the use of his boat, ends up getting double crossed more than once.

I never read Hemingway's original story but I understand that this is supposed to be more faithful to his story than the Bogey/Lauren Bacall 1944 film. Does anyone know what Hemingway felt about The Breaking Point? Because I heard he wasn't fond of the story he wrote.

For my part, I love both versions, hard for me to pick one over the other. I say the Bogey/Bacall/Hawks movie is the 'fun' side of the story while the Garfield/Michael Curtiz film is the more serious/faithful interpretation.

Why was Garfield not nominated? He was just great in this.

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11 hours ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Just watched The Breaking Point, a 1950 retelling of Ernest Hemingway's To Have and Have Not, starring John Garfield as a boat charter, with a family and up to his neck in financial troubles, who gets involved with some shady characters for the use of his boat, ends up getting double crossed more than once.

I never read Hemingway's original story but I understand that this is supposed to be more faithful to his story than the Bogey/Lauren Bacall 1944 film. Does anyone know what Hemingway felt about The Breaking Point? Because I heard he wasn't fond of the story he wrote.

For my part, I love both versions, hard for me to pick one over the other. I say the Bogey/Bacall/Hawks movie is the 'fun' side of the story while the Garfield/Michael Curtiz film is the more serious/faithful interpretation.

Why was Garfield not nominated? He was just great in this.

Great film, great sad ending with Wesley Park's (Juano Hernández) son Joseph Park (Juan Hernández) standing on the dock waiting for his father who's never coming back. 

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On 12/13/2017 at 12:30 PM, LawrenceA said:

In my opinion, Double Indemnity is the performance that Robinson should have won an Oscar for. It's not as flashy or loud as many of his others, but as you say, it's a perfect example of what a great supporting performance should be. And it's a helluva lot better than Barry Fitzgerald in Going My Way.

Screen+Shot+2016-05-21+at+3.57.17+PM.png

"Bet you wouldn't have said that if I had played Santa Claus."

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Just now, TomJH said:

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"Bet you wouldn't have said that if I had played Santa Claus."

I think Barry should have played all of his roles in every film in that outfit. 

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1 minute ago, LawrenceA said:

I think Barry should have played all of his roles in every film in that outfit. 

Screen+Shot+2016-05-21+at+3.57.17+PM.png

"No Christmas gifts for you this year."

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23 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I agree that the first person perspective was over used in the film.    Maybe if it was used on in certain scenes the film would have been a better overall film. 

I agree. After a while the subjective camera in Lady in the Lake starts to seem like what it is - a mechanical device.

Dark Passage works far better for me for a variety of reasons, not the least of it was finally giving the audience relief from that first person camera.

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11 minutes ago, TomJH said:

I agree. After a while the subjective camera in Lady in the Lake starts to seem like what it is - a mechanical device.

Dark Passage works far better for me for a variety of reasons, not the least of it was finally giving the audience relief from that first person camera.

In Lady of the Lake, I think if they'd just stayed with the first person perspective the whole film (and Montgomery wasn't seen at all), I may have liked it better? Maybe? It was the switch between seeing everything from Montgomery's perspective to seeing his reflection in mirrors and such that I found annoying.  After awhile, the first person perspective seemed more gimmicky, rather than an effective method to tell the story.  I agree that Dark Passage's use of first person perspective only in the first part of the film was better.  It is only after Bogart's character has his makeover and later reveal that we finally see Bogart.  Bogart's character (whom we see pictured in the newspaper) looks nothing like Bogart.  The fact that he undergoes this transformation and looks completely different (and now looks like Bogart) made the plot angles work better in my opinion.  Of course, Agnes Moorehead's character could not be fooled--because obviously his voice would have stayed the same, unless he went through some voice lessons in the film that we didn't see.

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On 12/13/2017 at 7:18 PM, Bethluvsfilms said:

Just watched The Breaking Point, a 1950 retelling of Ernest Hemingway's To Have and Have Not, starring John Garfield as a boat charter, with a family and up to his neck in financial troubles, who gets involved with some shady characters for the use of his boat, ends up getting double crossed more than once.

I never read Hemingway's original story but I understand that this is supposed to be more faithful to his story than the Bogey/Lauren Bacall 1944 film. Does anyone know what Hemingway felt about The Breaking Point? Because I heard he wasn't fond of the story he wrote.

For my part, I love both versions, hard for me to pick one over the other. I say the Bogey/Bacall/Hawks movie is the 'fun' side of the story while the Garfield/Michael Curtiz film is the more serious/faithful interpretation.

Why was Garfield not nominated? He was just great in this.

Patricia Neal said that Hemingway told her Breaking Point was his favourite screen adaption of any of his works. Maybe, to be more precise, it was one of the few he could stand.

I've always preferred the Michael Curtiz-Garfield version over the Casablanca-ized To Have and Have Not of Hawks.

The Hawks version is an entertaining breezy romantic adventure made most memorable by the sexual bantering between Bogart and Bacall. And that's fine on a superficial level.

But we all know that macho super hero Bogart will ultimately be triumphant in that version. That is not the case with post war insecure Garfield, filled with self doubt. Plus the family scenes in Breaking Point, with Garfield as a man driven to take chances for fear of not being able to support that family, brings far more human angst and potential tragedy to the story than anything to be found in the Hawks-Bogart take.

Breaking Point has wonderful performances by virtually all the cast members, with a special nod to John Garfield (perhaps the performance of his career) and the marvelous Juano Hernandez as his faithful ship mate and best friend. That final crane shot in the film of the little boy searching for his father is one of the most poignant final images I have ever seen in a movie. It speaks to the humanity of the film and its exploration of relationships that brings a depth to The Breaking Point, in my opinion, one might not be expecting to find when first tuning into it.

As far as Garfield not being nominated for an Oscar for The Breaking Point that was the least of his problems at the time. He was having difficulty getting employment of any kind in Hollywood after his name appeared in Red Channels, and Jack Warner cancelled out on making a second picture with him after Breaking Point because if it.

Remember Garfield's mantra as Harry Morgan, " A man alone ain't got no chance"? Soon John Garfield would feel like a man alone in Hollywood as he tried to get a job.

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1 minute ago, speedracer5 said:

It was the switch between seeing everything from Montgomery's perspective to seeing his reflection in mirrors and such that I found annoying.

Oddly enough, I was just about to comment that I liked the way that they used mirror sequences to remind the viewer that Montgomery was really still there & that they weren't merely sitting behind a camera lens.

The ultimate result was gimmicky compared to the more limited use in Dark Passage, which better served to emphasize the flow of the plot.

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3 hours ago, TomJH said:

 

As far as Garfield not being nominated for an Oscar for The Breaking Point that was the least of his problems at the time. He was having difficulty getting employment of any kind in Hollywood after his name appeared in Red Channels, and Jack Warner cancelled out on making a second picture with him after Breaking Point because if it.

Remember Gafield's mantra as Harry Morgan, " A man alone ain't got no chance"? Soon John Garfield would feel like a man alone in Hollywood as he tried to get a job.

 

What happened to John Garfield is so sad.....one can only think of the career he might have had had he not been blacklisted, but I guess you can say that to just about everyone who ended up getting their careers derailed because of McCarthy and the HUAC.

BTW I am curious.....have you have seen either versions of the Postman Always Rings Twice....I have and as much as I like Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange, they can't hold a candle to Garfield and Lana Turner. (I was disappointed to read in a book about Nicholson's films how he was so dismissive towards Garfield's performance in the original 1946 film. The fact that the version with Nicholson and Lange was more sexually explicit does not make it better than the Garfield/Turner movie).

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Logan Lucky (2017) - Entertaining heist comedy from Universal Pictures and director Steven Soderbergh. Down-on-his-luck Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) has just lost his job. Once he was a promising football player but an injury ended his career and now he's barely making ends meet. He decides to pull off an audacious robbery at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and he recruits a motley gang to pull it off, including his Iraq-war-vet brother Clyde (Adam Driver), their hairdresser sister Mellie (Riley Keough), and an incarcerated explosives expert named Joe Bang (Daniel Craig). Also featuring Farrah Mackenzie, Katie Holmes, Seth MacFarlane, Sebastian Stan, Katherine Waterston, Dwight Yoakam, Macon Blair, Jim O'Heir, David Denman, Jack Quaid, Brian Gleeson, Jon Eyez, and Hilary Swank.

I was hesitant to watch this one; while I like heist films, and many of director Soderbergh's films, the "southern fried" milieu, coupled with the NASCAR setting seemed like something I'd rather avoid. I was pleasantly surprised that the movie doesn't dwell on mocking southern stereotypes, and the NASCAR elements are kept largely in the background. The performances are good, with Tatum and Driver making for believable blank-faced losers who are maybe a bit sharper than they let on. Craig gets the showiest part, with his hair bleached almost white and the outline of West Virginia tattooed on his neck. The heist particulars are intricate and interesting, but I had the feeling after finishing the movie that dwelling on the details for too long would make a lot of it fall apart. Still, this was better than expected, and an enjoyable time for those not expecting too much.   (7/10)

Source: Universal Blu-Ray.

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