An Inconvenient Sequel – 6

Preaching to the choir, or more like droning to the choir, Al Gore is a plodding, un-nuanced presence to spend two hours with. The early scenes of global warming’s effects are bracing, but they are never really put in context and quickly give way to the former Vice President’s leadership training seminars. Shots of the Paris Climate Conference are of interest, but it’s hard to believe that our hero Gore is really playing a pivotal role. And then when Trump is elected and pulls the U.S. out of the Paris Accords, you wonder where this meandering documentary is heading. If you only see one environmental movie this year, make it Tomorrow.

Logan Lucky – 7.5

A totally fun movie, filled with colorful characters and a believably silly heist plot. It’s never clear whether we’re laughing at or with the good-old-boys of the NASCAR world. The fact that they get away with their robbery and nobody gets hurt suggests that Director Steven Soderbergh didn’t mean to insult; the movie’s lack of acceptance in the South, however, makes one wonder. Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Daniel Craig are good company, and the film’s ambiguous ending actually provides something to think about as you leave the theater.

Detroit – 8

Not a fun movie. In the first part you feel you are in the middle of Detroit’s 1967 race riot. In the next, you are held captive in the Algiers Hotel Annex as a trio of white policemen brutalize a random group of blacks, and two white girls. Then, in almost a coda, you see justice denied, thanks to all-too-familiar legal tactics. Will Poulter, the white police villain, will never get an award for his ugly, but extraordinary portrayal. Director Kathryn Bigelow maybe won’t, but should. Fifty years later we still have Charlottesville and Black Lives Matter, but I like to think Detroit is a historic relic and a useful reminder.

Girls Trip – 6.9

A formulaic comedy about four old friends reuniting for a weekend on the town – in this case, EssenceFest in New Orleans – made fresh by starring four black women in an almost all-black setting, with one goofy and one out-of-it white woman as comic relief. Regina Hall was engaging as the woman who has it all, loses it all, then finds her true strength, bringing tears to my eyes, as the formula dictates. It was also refreshing – liberating? – to hear uber-bawdy lines from women, for a change.