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Baby Driver – ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ Theatrical Review

Baby Driver


In Baby Driver, writer/director Edgar Wright has combined music and action to create one of the most exciting and stylish heist films I’ve seen in a long, long time.  It may have been a little heavier on style than it was on plot, but the mix made it incredibly entertaining.


Baby (Ansel Elgort) is the best getaway driver criminal mastermind Doc (Kevin Spacey) has ever met, but now Baby wants out.  The timing couldn’t be better, he’s paid off the debt he owes Doc, and he’s just met an attractive waitress named Debora (Lily James).  But getting out of a life of crime is never as easy as one would think.  Doc has another robbery planned, which could be the most dangerous yet, not just because of the target, but because of the crew: Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza González) and Bats (Jamie Foxx).  Buddy and Darling are a couple and Bats is ….. well it’s probably best to describe him as batty…. or bat-shit crazy.  Baby is a great driver and when he’s behind the wheel he can escape any situation on the road, but once Bats discovers that Baby is trying to leave the crew on the night before their heist, he also discovers who Debora is (and where she works), then the real escape plan begins.  Baby has to find a way to get out of the heist, get Debora and get out completely, all without anyone following him, and without getting hurt.


When you heard talk of Baby Driver you probably heard people talking about the soundtrack, and it was incredible.  A fantastic mix of music that meshed organically and naturally with the action on screen.  It would be a shame if the film is not nominated for a few of the more technical Oscars this year.  I could see it getting nods for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, and possibly even for Film Editing.  The thing about Edgar Wright’s films that I love is the amount of detail that goes into the script, the planning and that ends up on the screen.  During the opening credits, Baby is dancing along to the music (Harlem Shuffle) while on a coffee run and several of the lyrics appropriately show up on the screen, hidden in graffiti in the background at just the right time.  As in several other of Wright’s films, key plot points of the film are subtly foreshadowed well ahead of time.  Lines overheard on television end up being lines used by characters, and lines you think are throwaway lines end up coming true.


Solid acting was guaranteed with two Best Actor Oscar winners in the cast in Foxx and Spacey, but James and Elgort gave equally excellent performances as well.  The stunt work was top notch too, especially the driving (obviously).  I even managed to resist the urge to speed on my way home after seeing this in theatres.  Usually after seeing a movie that features a lot of car chases, I want to drive just like the people I saw on screen.  Heist movies are always fun, but Baby Driver managed to be more than just a simple summer popcorn flick.  It balanced the action, music, drama and even humour perfectly, creating a film that will be enjoyed for many years to come.


Bottom Line: I can’t wait to pick this up on Blu-Ray.  Wright usually puts a “trivia” track on the home video releases of his films so we can see exactly what he was thinking when a shot plays out, or we can see the Easter eggs he had hidden throughout the film.  I like to think I pick up on a lot of them, but it will be nice to see how many I miss!

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Million Dollar Arm – DVD review

Product Details4 Stars


The first thing I’ll say is that it probably wasn’t that good.  Not 4 stars good, but I still enjoyed it, because I like baseball movies. I’ve also always wondered the same thing that JB (John Hamm) postulated in the film, what would happen if you put a cricket bowler on a baseball mound?  The second thing I’ll say is that I watched this a few weeks ago, but haven’t had the time or energy to put up a review.  With Game 6 of the World Series being played tonight (Giants at Kansas City leading the series 3-2) I couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to finally write this up.  Well, Game 7 would be more appropriate I suppose, but you can never tell if you’re going to get one of those.


Sports agent JB (John Hamm) and his partner Aash (Aasif Mandvi) are out of luck and down to their bottom dollar, desperately trying to sign a major athlete or any athlete to keep their heads above water, when they have an idea.  India is the largest market untapped by North American sports.  They plan to hold a contest to recruit the next star baseball pitcher from a field of cricket bowlers.  Bringing an aged scout (Alan Arkin) with him, and meeting with a few Indian sports executives he eventually finds two prospects that he brings back to America to learn how to play baseball.  From here we get a fish out of water story, the story about a detached and frustrated businessman, and a story of friendship.  Nothing too surprising, but still these stories resonate.  The acting was good, the story is based on real life events, and it was just a fun watch.

 

Bottom Line: My top baseball movie is The Natural with Robert Redford, which is equal parts charming as it is cheesy.

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