Director: Steven Soderbergh.
Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough. USA 2017. 119 mins.
Having announced his retirement from movie-making after 2013’s Side Effects, maverick director Steven Soderbergh felt compelled to re-enter the fray after reading Rebecca Blunt’s script about the ill-fated Logan brothers, Jimmy (Tatum) and Clyde (Driver), who set out to execute an elaborate robbery during the legendary Coca-Cola 600 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Referencing his highly successful heist franchise, Soderbergh describes it as an “inversion of an Ocean’s movie” – and there are certainly some wonderfully comedic moments and wild-card twists, not least when the redneck siblings’ lack of experience leads them to spring safe-cracking supremo Joe Bang (Craig) from jail. Seth McFarlane (as a bumptious racing driver), Hilary Swank (as a suspicious cop) and Katie Holmes (as Jimmy’s antsy ex-wife) add to the very considerable fun.
Director: Doug Liman.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright. USA 2017. 115 mins.
Barry Seal (Cruise) was a wise-cracking TWA airline pilot recruited by the CIA to undertake light aircraft reconnaissance of the burgeoning communist threat for the CIA in Central America. Being an incorrigible chancer, he took the opportunity to play both sides against the middle, running drugs and money for the Medellín Cartel. Maverick director Doug Liman and Cruise are working together once more, with Brendan Gleeson’s son, Domhnall, as Seal’s ambitious, morally challenged CIA handler and Sarah Wright (TV’s Parks And Recreation) as his long-suffering wife. As well as some spine-tingling flying sequences, Cruise gets to show his considerable comic talents. Based on actual events, American Made casts telling light on the political shenanigans which eventually produced the Iran-Contra scandal and almost brought down the Reagan White House administration.