High Flying Bird ★★★★

Steven Soderbergh loves process movies, films where collaboration has to take place in order to achieve a set goal. So, heists. Almost all of Soderbergh's movies have a heist element in the text -- often literally, as with the "Ocean's" franchise or "Logan Lucky"; sometimes deeper, as with "Magic Mike" or "High Flying Bird." This new Soderbergh joint is a fucking blast -- and right from the start, with Andre Holland rat-tat-tating his way through a fancy lunch with an NBA rookie who's still wet behind the ears (Melvin Gregg, good stuff). On the face of it, "High Flying Bird" is a heist movie, one where we watch Holland's Ray and his dogged former assistant (Zazie Beetz) use shoe-leather to stop an NBA lockout and make themselves a lot of money in the process. But its deeper reading is about a disrupter trying to disrupt again without falling behind the curve (it might as well be about Soderbergh himself). The ideas presented in "High Flying Bird" are so modern its almost as if Soderbergh has seen the future, one where athletes democratize sports in the way so many other fields have been democratized by social media. The production and release of "High Flying Bird" -- it was shot on an iPhone and dropped on Netflix -- are timely too. Soderbergh continues to get over on all these guys, doing it better and faster than most people half his age. Maybe he loves heists so much because he's made a career out of pulling jobs on the unsuspecting for 30 years.