July 5, 2012
Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012)  3/4
Excuse me Brokeback Mountain, you need to move aside, Magic Mike is now the gayest movie of all time. Full of (mostly) naked men for over half the movie, and multiple sassy looks by all of them, this is not a movie for the heterosexual female, this one is for the gay man. Now, most will be upset with that statement because 85% of the audience that went to the film this weekend did in-fact have a vagina, yet I would like to bet many of them came out displeased. Yes, you get to see Channing Tatum and multiple other men dance around in thongs and bowties as they do a wonderfully choreographed dance routine, but that’s all you really get. This may be enough for some women but the audience I was with seemed a little bored by the end, especially because they stopped making oohs and ahhs after the first ten minutes. Is it because of the ridiculously obvious homoerotic tendencies between all the male characters? I would like to think it is.
Magic Mike tells the story of Adam aka “The Kid” (Alex Pettyfer), who lives with his sister in Tampa Florida after loosing a football scholarship due to a fight with the coach. While working construction, he meets Mike Lane (Channing Tatum), a 30-year-old entrepreneur male stripper. While half tricking him into coming to the club, Mike makes Adam help out at the male club for one night. When something goes wrong and the hilariously awesome Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) needs another act, Adam is forced to go out on stage and take off his clothes. Impressing Dallas, the manager of the club, he offers Adam a spot at the club. While he experiences the excitement and the ecstasy (no, really) his life spins out of control and his relationship with his sister goes uneasy.
The film plays out like most backstage films and lets the audience experience a life they always dreamed about while then reminding them why they should stick to their day job. Director Steven Soderbergh is a huge genre jumper when it comes to directing films, but I feel that makes him one of the strongest leaders in the industry today. His last film, this years Haywire was the worst piece of garbage I have ever seen; never have I hated a movie so much during viewing.  I was very worried that Soderbergh had lost his touch and was out of connect with his early brilliance as a director, Magic Mike has restored that faith. The way the club scenes were done simply made me smile and it just wasn’t because there were strippers everywhere, it was because the scenes were actually beautiful. It takes someone talented to show beauty within a strip club but honestly, Soderbergh does it with elegance.
The characters within Magic Mike are awesome and really add depth to the otherwise lacking storyline. It’s typical to have unique characters in backstage films but the film makes it feel exciting and new, most likely because of the subject matter. Channing Tatum’s character is half fun and crazy stripper, half sensitive “I want to be something in life” kind of guy. That honestly sounds really dumb on paper but Tatum’s performance is shockingly well and is definitely a breakout performance of this year. The rest of the cast, Matt Bomer, Cody Horn, Joe Manganiello, Olivia Munn, and of course, Matthew McConaughey are amazing together and all bring fun and an unusual amount of depth to the film. The sister played by Cody Horn is annoying as hell and has a terrible laugh, but her character and purpose in the film pulls off well in the end.
Overall, Magic Mike is a great “rise and fall of a star” movie. The story is thin and doesn’t offer a very deep plotline but is saved by its fun and charismatic characters. Soderbergh’s direction and use of filters brings across a cool, cocky, and fun atmosphere that leaves you wanting more. The homoerotic tendencies by all the strippers are possibly normal for the type of people, but I really feel Soderbergh chose to push that envelope more to please the gay audience. The films overly sexual characters are a joy to watch because they are as real as it gets, portraying the average American twenty-something. In the end, Magic Mike is Channing Tatum’s film and it proves he can act and is destined for more stardom, even though his bare ass distracts that a little. 

Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012)  3/4

Excuse me Brokeback Mountain, you need to move aside, Magic Mike is now the gayest movie of all time. Full of (mostly) naked men for over half the movie, and multiple sassy looks by all of them, this is not a movie for the heterosexual female, this one is for the gay man. Now, most will be upset with that statement because 85% of the audience that went to the film this weekend did in-fact have a vagina, yet I would like to bet many of them came out displeased. Yes, you get to see Channing Tatum and multiple other men dance around in thongs and bowties as they do a wonderfully choreographed dance routine, but that’s all you really get. This may be enough for some women but the audience I was with seemed a little bored by the end, especially because they stopped making oohs and ahhs after the first ten minutes. Is it because of the ridiculously obvious homoerotic tendencies between all the male characters? I would like to think it is.

Magic Mike tells the story of Adam aka “The Kid” (Alex Pettyfer), who lives with his sister in Tampa Florida after loosing a football scholarship due to a fight with the coach. While working construction, he meets Mike Lane (Channing Tatum), a 30-year-old entrepreneur male stripper. While half tricking him into coming to the club, Mike makes Adam help out at the male club for one night. When something goes wrong and the hilariously awesome Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) needs another act, Adam is forced to go out on stage and take off his clothes. Impressing Dallas, the manager of the club, he offers Adam a spot at the club. While he experiences the excitement and the ecstasy (no, really) his life spins out of control and his relationship with his sister goes uneasy.

The film plays out like most backstage films and lets the audience experience a life they always dreamed about while then reminding them why they should stick to their day job. Director Steven Soderbergh is a huge genre jumper when it comes to directing films, but I feel that makes him one of the strongest leaders in the industry today. His last film, this years Haywire was the worst piece of garbage I have ever seen; never have I hated a movie so much during viewing.  I was very worried that Soderbergh had lost his touch and was out of connect with his early brilliance as a director, Magic Mike has restored that faith. The way the club scenes were done simply made me smile and it just wasn’t because there were strippers everywhere, it was because the scenes were actually beautiful. It takes someone talented to show beauty within a strip club but honestly, Soderbergh does it with elegance.

The characters within Magic Mike are awesome and really add depth to the otherwise lacking storyline. It’s typical to have unique characters in backstage films but the film makes it feel exciting and new, most likely because of the subject matter. Channing Tatum’s character is half fun and crazy stripper, half sensitive “I want to be something in life” kind of guy. That honestly sounds really dumb on paper but Tatum’s performance is shockingly well and is definitely a breakout performance of this year. The rest of the cast, Matt Bomer, Cody Horn, Joe Manganiello, Olivia Munn, and of course, Matthew McConaughey are amazing together and all bring fun and an unusual amount of depth to the film. The sister played by Cody Horn is annoying as hell and has a terrible laugh, but her character and purpose in the film pulls off well in the end.

Overall, Magic Mike is a great “rise and fall of a star” movie. The story is thin and doesn’t offer a very deep plotline but is saved by its fun and charismatic characters. Soderbergh’s direction and use of filters brings across a cool, cocky, and fun atmosphere that leaves you wanting more. The homoerotic tendencies by all the strippers are possibly normal for the type of people, but I really feel Soderbergh chose to push that envelope more to please the gay audience. The films overly sexual characters are a joy to watch because they are as real as it gets, portraying the average American twenty-something. In the end, Magic Mike is Channing Tatum’s film and it proves he can act and is destined for more stardom, even though his bare ass distracts that a little. 

February 10, 2012

Haywire (Steven Soderbergh, 2012) 1/4

Steven Soderbergh is constantly jumping genres which is fine for most people but I feel you need to pick your work more carefully then. He did great things for the Oceans 11 trilogy and Out of Sight is an excellent thriller but Haywire fails on almost every level. The movie begins with Mallory, a contracted spy, running from the people who used to employ her. She steals a guys car and tells him her whole story while on the run from people who want her dead. The worst part of this movie is the acting, it’s just terrible. The cast if full of great actors including Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas and Michael Fassbender but all of them just feel out of place in the story. The worst acting is with the main girl, Gina Carano, a famed MMA fighter and the guy who she steals a car from. She talks like she’s asking questions the whole time and says little one liners that left the audience laughing when it wasn’t supposed to be funny. There’s a part where she’s trying to get away from the cops and she goes “crap, we got LEO’s” and the kid says “wait, wait, what’s that” she quickly responds with “Law Enforcement Officers” - queue everyones giggles. There were two sides to the character - the government and the contracted spys. When the camera was with the government there was this yellowish tone to everything. Then with the spys everything was grey and blue. I’m not exactly sure why Soderbergh felt these tones were needed but they didn’t do anything for the characters or the film. The worst technical aspect was the random shots of black and white. During a chase scene there would be random 30 seconds to 3 seconds of black and white. The color change made no sense at all and didn’t even look cool. The film would have been better if the story was at least interesting but I didn’t care about the characters at all and I honestly wanted the girl to just die. During the sometimes lengthy fight sequences the wonderful score by David Holmes was muted and all you heard was the groaning and yelling of the fighters. While there would be fast action sequences I felt like I was almost squinting at the screen because everything kept going out of focus and was difficult to look at. The whole film just made me frustrated and the main actress fighter wasn’t even good eye candy.