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Lo­gan Lucky (12A) opens with Jimmy Lo­gan (Chan­ning Ta­tum) be­ing laid off from his job as a con­struc­tion worker help­ing to un­der­pin the struc­ture of the Char­lotte Mo­tor Speed­way, the home of NASCAR. In dire need of funds to legally chal­lenge his ex-wife’s right to move to an­other state with their daugh­ter, Sadie (Far­rah Macken­zie), Jimmy de­cides to rob the Speed­way, and as­sem­bles a less-than-crack-crew of heis­ters: his one-armed brother Clyde (Adam Driver), no­to­ri­ous (but in­car­cer­ated) safe­cracker Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), and Joe’s sim­ple-minded broth­ers Fish (Jack Quaid) and Sam (Brian Glee­son), their ef­forts over­seen by Jimmy’s sis­ter, Mel­lie (Riley Keough). Writ­ten by Re­becca Blunt and di­rected by Steven Soder­bergh, Lo­gan Lucky is an hi­lar­i­ously down­beat homage to, and spoof of, the clas­sic heist flicks, in­clud­ing Soder­bergh’s own Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve and Thir­teen. The cast­ing is su­perb, with Daniel Craig in par­tic­u­lar in scene-chew­ing form as a hill­billy safe-cracker, but it’s the subtlety of the re­la­tion­ships that make Lo­gan Lucky work, and es­pe­cially that be­tween Chan­ning Ta­tum and young Far­rah Macken­zie – the mo­ment when lit­tle Sadie bursts into John Den­ver’s Take Me Home, Coun­try Roads is a two-tis­sue weepy. You get value for money with this movie: it’s a heist movie so clever that it also func­tions as a how-to if you’re won­der­ing how to make a heist movie, and it also man­ages to shoe­horn in a prison break that re­quires the es­capees to break back into prison. It’s not quite per­fect – no movie is – but as a comic tale of in­ept crim­i­nals bit­ing off more than they can chew, Lo­gan Lucky is up there along­side Fargo and Get Shorty. Open­ing in 1978, and based on a true story,

Amer­i­can Made (15A) stars Tom Cruise as Barry Seal, a TWA airline pilot with a sub­ver­sive streak of mis­chief. When Seal is ap­proached by CIA agent Schafer (Domh­nall Glee­son) and of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to do a lit­tle free­lance re­con­nais­sance work, he quickly ac­cepts, only to find him­self smug­gling drugs, guns and money in and out of var­i­ous Cen­tral Amer­i­can re­publics and rub­bing shoul­ders with such wor­thies as Pablo Es­co­bar and Manuel Nor­iega. Writ­ten by Gary Spinelli and di­rected by Doug Li­man, Amer­i­can Made of­fers only the tip of the ice­berg when it comes to Barry Seal’s tor­tu­ously con­vo­luted his­tory as a smuggler, but even so there’s more than

enough here to make for an en­ter­tain­ing ac­tion-ad­ven­ture romp. Tom Cruise is in typ­i­cally en­er­getic form as the ami­able Seal, por­tray­ing the life-long smuggler as a sweet but dumb fall-guy who sim­ply loves to fly, and who can’t be­lieve his luck when the money starts pour­ing in. The tale treads a well-worn path, but Li­man keeps the story belt­ing along at a crack­ing pace, blend­ing ac­tion se­quences with his­tor­i­cal footage and in­vest­ing it all with dol­lops of black hu­mour. Domh­nall Glee­son doesn’t get a huge amount of screen-time, but he does a fine job as the slip­pery CIA agent Schafer, even if the comic tone largely un­der­mines any no­tion of Amer­i­can Made be­ing an ex­posé of Amer­ica’s black ops in Cen­tral Amer­ica.

Detroit (15A) opens in 1967, dur­ing the race riot that took place on July 25, and cen­tres on the Al­giers Mo­tel, where the po­lice have rounded up a group of black men they be­lieve to have opened fire on the po­lice. Led by Pa­trol­men Krauss (Will Poul­ter) and De­mens (Jack Reynor), the white po­lice­men vi­o­lently in­ter­ro­gate the men, along with the two white women dis­cov­ered at the Al­giers, in an in­creas­ingly tense tale that ex­plodes into cold-blooded mur­der. Writ­ten by Mark Boal and di­rected by Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit is a haunt­ing tale of naked racism that couldn’t be more timely. Much of the ac­tion takes place in the claus­tro­pho­bic con­fines of a hall­way in the Al­giers Mo­tel, a ver­i­ta­ble melt­ing-pot of late-1960s Amer­ica where the worst ex­cesses of Jim Crow re­pres­sion, as rep­re­sented by Krauss and De­mens, col­lides head on with the Civil Rights era and the peace-and-love ethos es­poused by hippy chicks Karen (Kait­lyn Dever) and Julie (Hannah Mur­ray). Poul­ter is a blandly sa­tanic pres­ence as the cracker cop in­censed by the pos­si­bil­ity of white women sleep­ing with black men, and he gets strong sup­port from Reynor, play­ing a none-too-bright co-con­spir­a­tor, and An­thony Mackie as one of the vic­tims who re­fuses to be cowed by Krauss’s brand of sum­mary jus­tice. John Boyega, mean­while, is qui­etly bril­liant in a very dif­fi­cult role, play­ing a se­cu­rity guard at­tempt­ing to tamp down the re­ac­tions on both sides, but re­garded as an Un­cle Tom by his peers. Kathryn Bigelow de­liv­ers a mas­ter­class in sus­tained ten­sion, de­liv­er­ing a pow­er­ful, un­set­tling drama that doesn’t flinch at por­tray­ing the racist bru­tal­ity, and which of­fers no easy an­swers or pat con­so­la­tions.

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