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Gary Chew

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Gary Chew was a classical music host, programmer and producer on Capital Public Radio’s KXPR 88.9FM, Sacramento for 18 years. He retired in January 2007. Read more about Gary's long and storied career here.

Aug 172017
 
 By , August 17, 2017
Movie Review: "Logan Lucky"

Logan Lucky

“Logan Lucky” – a film review by Gary Chew

Even cast members of Logan Lucky don’t really know who Rebecca Blunt is. A person so named is credited with writing the screenplay for this new Steven Soderbergh film. If a woman, perhaps she’s a sister to Emily Blunt… though I’d guess not. For all we know, Rebecca might be a dude. On the other hand, after seeing Logan Lucky, everyone should readily understand just how freaking clever “Rebecca’s” script is. That’s astoundingly ironic too, since the movie is populated with a cadre of wholly total half wits… mostly men… who have larceny in their hearts and Easy Street in their dreams.

Logan LuckyLogan Lucky (PG-13) presents to an audience with all the veracity of a Roadrunner cartoon you used to see after the coming attractions and before the main feature. Almost everything that happens in this exquisitely timed caper is pure perfection. (By the way, it’s not animated.) All of the shenanigans are brought off by “modern day” West Virginia hillbillies who, if in a polling place, would mark their X for Donald J. Trump. That’s about as clear as I can put it.

Jimmy Logan (Tatum Channing) is a former high school football star now with a gimpy leg. The mine business he subterraneously works for dumps Jimmy when someone reports Logan limps. Big mining companies are sensitive to any kind of liabilities that might ensue with an employee. Our hero is pretty pissed. Out-of-work Jimmy and his brother, Clyde (Adam Driver) who lost his left hand on duty in Iraq, come up with a notion to rob the Charlotte NASCAR raceway on one of its biggest days. Clyde’s just a bar keep at the local Duck Tape beer joint. The Logans could, sure ‘nuf, use a pickup bed load of that NASCAR cash, now.

Logan LuckyJust so happens, the raceway is snugged up to the mine where Jimmy got fired from. How convenient. (I said it’s sort of like a Roadrunner cartoon.) With the right digging and jostlin’ ’round, the Logans could gain entry to the underground speedway money cache that’s adjacent to the depths of where Jimmy had a job. The cache is jammed with plastic money tubes that are connected up to the ticket booths the fans go through when puttin’ down their hard earned Yankee dollars. (Don’t use that term when you talk to them about money, though.) Those greenbacks do some big time swooshin’ on their way to a bigger pile in the raceway basement.

Oh my god, but the Logans need a safe crackin’ kind of feller to completely bring off the heist. Golly, the only “friend” they’ve got in that department is Joe Bang (Daniel Craig). But Joe’s in the joint! He’s locked up like most of Vladimir Putin’s coastal waterways are when the snow flies. The scheme the boys cook up unfolds before your very eyes while telling this totally unbelievable story that will cause a pretty good deal o’ laughing… on your part. Some slow places show up in the movie, but not to the extent that you’d wanna go out in the lobby and just eat tepid popcorn with extra butter.

Double-Oh-Seven as a red neck, convict without a trace of a Brit accent?! That’s a big 10-4, Folks. Did I mention that Craig is an excellent actor. It’s a role the great Sean Connery would not have touched with anybody’s 10-foot fly rod. Mucho kudos to Dan’l. What a sport that feller is, anyhow.

Logan LuckyThere are many other colorful characters to contend with. Dwight Yoakam (Sling Blade, 1996) plays Warden Burns. He runs the “bar motel” where Joe Bang currently resides. Seth MacFarlane is hard to recognize as a bearded Brit race car driver you’ll just want to run over when you see what kind of bloke he is.

Katie Holmes is Jimmy’s ex-wife, now ensconced in a fancy 3-story home with their little girl named Sadie (Farrah MacKenzie). Sadie’s gonna be a beauty queen when she grows up, yes sir. And Jimmy’s ex has also remarried. Then late in the third act, a female FBI agent appears after much of the excitement ebbs. She’s gonna bring everybody to justice. That would be Hillary Swank playin’ the part of Agent Grayson. She means bid’ness.

Logan Lucky is a breath of fresh Appalachian mountain air for the grown ups, mostly in that it shows you “how the other half steals.” Most movies today and news reports, as well, more often relate how the upper one-percent does that.

Jul 282017
 
 By , July 28, 2017
Movie Review: "Atomic Blonde"

“Atomic Blonde” – a film review by Gary Chew There are two big things to report out on having seen Atomic Blonde. First of all, this Charlize Theron vehicle finally provides us with a more extended fight scene than the seems-like-forever fisticuffs we endured between [more…]

Jul 262017
 
 By , July 26, 2017
Movie Review: "A Ghost Story"
Movie Review: "A Ghost Story"

“A Ghost Story” – and also a film review by Gary Chew The first author to put in my head the concept of a character becoming disconnected from the passage of time as we know it was Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. That character’s name is Billy [more…]

Jul 062017
 
 By , July 6, 2017
Movie Review: "The Big Sick"
Movie Review: "The Big Sick"

“The Big Sick” – a film review by Gary Chew A word like “big” in a title can become a big deal. The Big Sleep, 1946; The Big Hurt, 1959; The Big Valley, 1965; The Big Chill, 1983 and in 1998, a really humongous biggie [more…]

Jun 152017
 
 By , June 15, 2017
Movie Review: "Beatriz at Dinner"
Movie Review: "Beatriz at Dinner"

“Beatriz at Dinner” – a film review by Gary Chew It may well be that director Miguel Artete and screenwriter Mike White have initiated a new franchise for a string of movies unlike those regarding our friend Harry Potter and more akin to our president [more…]

Jun 102017
 
 By , June 10, 2017
Movie Review: "My Cousin Rachel"
Movie Review: "My Cousin Rachel"

“My Cousin Rachel” – a film review by Gary Chew If you’re a movie fan easily engrossed in tales about the personal minutiae of the leisure class, then have I got a flick for you! My Cousin Rachel, written by Daphne du Maurier and published [more…]

May 182017
 
 By , May 18, 2017
Movie Review: "The Lovers"

“The Lovers” – a film review by Gary Chew The Lovers is the title a new film just opening that has conjured up a certain amount of cynicism. The title, at first glance, suggests it’s likely a foreign film centered around an attractive young woman [more…]

Apr 232017
 
 By , April 23, 2017
Movie Review: "Their Finest"

“Their Finest” – a film review by Gary Chew “If the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’” Then there’s the novel, “Their Finest Hour and a Half” by Lissa Evans. It would [more…]

Mar 292017
 
 By , March 29, 2017
Movie Review: "The Zookeeper's Wife"

“The Zookeeper’s Wife” – a film review by Gary Chew Three of the most powerful movies I can conjure up for the moment are Sophie’s Choice, Schindler’s List and The Pianist. Together, they took a total of eleven Oscars. Each informed film-goers — unable to [more…]

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