WEEKEND REELS
Magic Mike
Friday, July 06, 2012

Director: Steven Soderbergh; Cast: Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey

Steven Soderbergh makes movies about sexy subjects, then strips away the sexiness about them. He is fascinated by process, often to a clinical extent. Even the glitzy, star-studded Ocean’s 11, one of Soderbergh’s most pleasingly escapist films, takes its time laying out every detail of its ambitious Las Vegas casino heist. Now he’s directed Magic Mike, about the cheesy world of male stripping in the cheesy setting of Tampa, Fla. Yes, the dance numbers themselves exude masculine, muscular heat — how could they not with guys like Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer and Joe Manganiello strutting on stage in barely-there costumes? — but Soderbergh and writer Reid Carolin take us behind the scenes and linger over the mundane minutiae of the performers’ daily lives. They go thong shopping. They rehearse their routines. They lift weights backstage. And they count their dollar bills when their work is done. Even the after-hours hook-ups with ladies from the audience seem like one more obligatory step, like brushing your teeth before going to bed. It all seems glamorous and thrilling at first for Pettyfer’s character, Adam, who becomes known as The Kid. A neophyte in this neon-coloured world, he serves as our guide once the more established Mike (Tatum) recruits him to be a dancer at the Club Xquisite male revue. R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language and some drug use. 110 minutes. — AP


DVD reviews:  New releases that have hit the stores

A Thousand Words (2012) (PG-13)

Eddie Murphy plays Jack McCall, a fast-talking literary agent, who can close any deal, any time, any way. Until he meets the New Age guru Dr Sinja (Cliff Curtis), whom he tries to sign on for his own selfish perpose. But Jack’s life comes unglued after a magical Bodhi tree mysteriously appears in his backyard. With every word Jack speaks, a leaf falls from the tree and he realises that when the last leaf falls, both he and the tree are going to die. Words have never failed Jack McCall, but now he must put in a Herculean effort to stop talking and conjure up some new ways to communicate — or else, he’s toast.

  • Duration: 91 minutes
  • Genre: Comedy/ Drama
  • What’s good: The novel idea of reducing Hollywood’s best-known motor-mouths to mugging and charades
  • What’s bad: The movie is a little predictable 
  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Cliff Curtis, Kerry Washington
  • Rating: ***

Too Big to Fail (2011) 
(Unrated)

The movie delivers the first true behind-the-scenes, moment-by-moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami. From inside the corner office at Lehman Brothers to secret meetings in South Korea, and the corridors of Washington, the movie is the definitive story of the most powerful men and women in finance and politics grappling with success and failure, ego and greed, and, ultimately, the fate of the world’s economy.

  • Duration: 99 minutes
  • Genre: Drama
  • What’s good: The movie gives a blow-by-blow account of how the economic meltdown happened. A financial thriller of sorts
  • What’s bad: The movie does its best to avoid giving an insight into who is to blame
  • Cast: James Woods, John Heard, William Hurt
  • Rating: ****

 

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