Movie Reviews and listings July 5-11: Magic Mike and Ted
The Naked Truth
Beefcake abs! Tear-away trousers! Dry-humping for dollars! Welcome to the warm sleaze of the male stripping world as portrayed in Magic Mike. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Magic stars Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, Dear John) as Mike, the star dancer at a male strip joint in Tampa. Early on in the story, Mike meets 19-year-old Adam at his day job as a roofer and brings him into his risqué world of booze, parties, and hot women. Awkward at first, Adam has potential and soon joins the Cock Rocking revue, whose performers strut on stage before leaping amidst the tables to mock “service” the women in the audience as they shriek with embarrassed delight while stuffing bills into star-spangled G-strings.
Magic has a pleasantly thrown-together quality, an odd mix of utterly believable characterization and backstage sequences that are put at the service of a very old-fashioned morality tale. The acting is fine, with Tatum (who actually was a stripper before he started to get work in Hollywood) bringing the heat onstage while conducting himself offstage with a sly sense of humour and an aw-shucks charm. Plus, he has genuine chemistry with Adam’s older sister, Brooke (the unknown Cody Horn, whom the camera just loves). The movie’s biggest asset is Matthew McConaughey, who does great work as the smug ex-stripper who runs the club with seedy efficiency.
This movie did very well at the box office thanks to two very different constituencies: young women who want some gender-equality raunch without having to go to a Chippendales performance, and cinephiles who are interested in seeing a top director explore a
little-seen aspect of the American underbelly. M
Magic Mike ★★★
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Channing Tatum
R - 110 minutes , Continues at the Odeon, Uni 4, Westshore and SilverCity
Ruder than your average bear
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad!) is a satirist whose animated TV shows are hip and popular. Ted, his current foray into movies, is cheerfully rude and intermittently very funny; it also shows its roots as an idea meant for a much shorter running time. The fable-like beginning introduces us to John, a lonely young boy back in the ’80s who wishes that his new teddy bear could come to life and be his “best friend forever.” Thanks to some Christmas magic this happens, and walking and talking “Ted” creates a sensation. He becomes the equivalent of a child star, making it as far as Johnny Carson before drug busts and other bad behaviour provoke the inevitable fall from grace.
Cut to present day, and 35-year-old John (Mark Wahlberg) is a pot-fogged slacker who still spends much of his time hanging out with Ted — who is now a foul-mouthed degenerate who emits a constant stream of offensive comments . . . except when sucking on a hookah pipe. This situation doesn’t sit well with John’s girlfriend of five years, Lori (the smart and funny Mila Kunis), who desperately wants John to grow up — which basically means saying goodbye to that bad-mouthed bear.
Other than for a time-filling subplot involving a stalker who kidnaps Ted as a present for his creepy son, that’s about as developed as the movie gets. There’s a bit of sweet chemistry between John and Lori, but are we really expected to care about any of this? Terrible Ted does come up with some hilariously rude comments, but a lot of the time his spiel is more shocking than truly funny. In short, this crass little confection is a throwaway that offers nothing more than a night’s modestly amusing distraction. M
Directed by Seth MacFarlane
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis
R - 106 minutes
Continues at the Odeon, SilverCity & Westshore
If we’re talking strippers in Florida, then we’re also talking that classic cocktail Sex on the Beach. (And with some actual hot weather coming, even better!) Pour a 2/3 oz. of peach schnapps, and 1 1/3 oz. each of vodka, cranberry juice and orange juice into a cocktail shaker containing ice. Shake well, and then strain into an ice-filled highball glass.
Listings July 5-11
KATY PERRY: PART OF ME -(Odeon/SilverCity) This documentary chronicles the onstage and offstage life of the perky pop princess. Starts Thurs.
SAVAGES - Oliver Stone should be in brutally fine form with this hyper-violent tale involving a pair of smart, low-key SoCal pot dealers who fall afoul of nasty Mexican gangsters and turn murderous in order to get back their kidnapped girlfriend. Starts Fri.
★★ ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER -(Odeon/SilverCity/Westshore) In this departure from strict historic truth, the 16th President of the U.S. discovers that vampires are planning to take over the country and decides to kill them. All of them. This silly and heavy-handed gorefest is from the Russian director of Night Watch, himself a noted vampire specialist.
THE AMAZING SPIDER–MAN -(Capitol/Uni 4/SilverCity/Westshore) Little-known actor Andrew Garfield suits up as everyone's favourite webslinger in what's certain to be one of the summer's monster hits. Co-starring Emma Stone.
★★★ CHIMPANZEE -(Caprice) A three-year-old chimp loses his mom and gets adopted by the tribe's alpha male, in a gorgeously filmed Disney documentary that is pretty gosh-darned cute.
★★★ THE AVENGERS -(SilverCity) A mob of Marvel-ous superheroes comes together to help prevent a global apocalypse, in a decent but uninspired orgy of one-liners and special effects. The galaxy of greatness includes Iron Man (Robert Downey), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Captain America (Chris Evans).
★★★½ THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL -(Odeon/Uni 4) A diverse group of British seniors seek out an affordable retirement hotel in India, only to find it in shabby disarray. But despite the initial disappointment, India's exotic charms win them over. This heartfelt comedy-drama has a great cast that includes Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and Judi Dench.
★★★ BRAVE -(Capitol/SilverCity/Uni 4/Westshore) Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson provide the voices for Pixar's animated tale that is set in ancient Scotland and tells of a headstrong young princess who must rely on her courage to undo a beastly curse. Decent entertainment, albeit occasionally a bit plodding.
CHERNOYBL DIAIRES -(Caprice) Horror fans may enjoy this dark thriller about some "extreme tourists" who visit the abandoned city where the workers at Chernobyl lived. Wouldn't you know, though — those pesky tourists soon realize that they're not, uhm, alone!
★★ DARK SHADOWS -(Caprice) Tim Burton directs Johnny Depp in a tepid adaptation of the campy 1970s soap opera that featured a family of dysfunctional vampires.
★★ DR. SEUSS' THE LORAX- (Caprice) This is an over-stuffed, garishly coloured eco-parable that is preachy and only fitfully engaging. Featuring the voices of Danny DeVito, Zac Efron and Taylor Swift.
★★½ THE HUNGER GAMES -(Caprice) With Twilight fading fast, the latest teen sensation is this fantasy account of a future world where every year 24 young people are selected to fight to the death on live TV. Everyone else seems to love this movie, but other than for the great lead performance by JenniferLawrence I found this derivative and a bit cheesy.
LOLA VERSUS -(Capitol) Greta Gerwig (No Strings Attached) stars in a comedy about a woman, just dumped three weeks prior to getting married, who relies on her friends to help her come to terms with turning 30 as a single woman.
★★★ MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED -(Capitol/SilverCity/Uni 4) Those mouthy NYC zoo escapees are up to their usual colourful antics in a wittily entertaining animation romp.
★★★ MAGIC MIKE - (Capitol/SilverCity) Channing Tatum stars as a male stripper who takes a protegé under his wing, then eventually has to rethink his lifestyle. Directed by Steven Soderbergh. See review.
★★★½ PROMETHEUS - (Odeon/SilverCity/Westshore) Ridley Scott returns to his sci-fi roots with a creepy, visually stunning prequel to the classic, still-terrifying Alien. Starring Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace.
PEOPLE LIKE US -(Odeon) Chris Pine (Star Trek) stars in a drama about a man who is requested to deliver $150,000 of his deceased dad's estate to a sister he has never met.
MEN IN BLACK III -(SilverCity/Caprice) Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones reprise their roles as alien-bashing crime fighters in a third outing for this wacky sci-fi comedy series. And thanks to a time travel aspect, Josh Brolin has fun playing the younger version of Jones' character.
★★★½ MOONRISE KINGDOM -(Odeon) The ever-quirky Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Fantastic Mr. Fox) is in fine form as he tells a tale about two very young lovers who run away, thus sparking an unusual search. The great cast includes Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, and Frances McDormand.
★★★ THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS -(Caprice) The Aardman Studios crew (of Wallace and Gromit fame) set sail with this rollicking -- and extremely silly -- spoof of all things piratical. Featuring the vocal talents of Hugh Grant, Salma Hayak, and Jeremy Piven.
★★ ROCK OF AGES -(Caprice) Tom Cruise stars in a flabby and unfunny rock musical paying tribute to the over-the-top world of 1980s heavy metal music.
SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN -(SilverCity/Caprice) Supposedly Charlize Theron steals the show as the evil queen, in an exotic retelling of the classic fairy tale. With Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame.
★★★ TAKE THIS WALTZ -(Odeon) The latest from actress-turned-director Sarah Polley is a bittersweet portrait of a young marriage that is threatened when one of the partners is dangerously attracted to someone else. Starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen.
★★½ TED -(Odeon/SilverCity) Mark Wahlberg stars in a twisted -- and sometimes laboured -- comedy about a young man whose best friend is a foul-mouthed teddy bear that is a very bad influence on him. Written and directed by Seth MacFarlane, most famous for the TV satires Family Guy and American Dad! See review.
THAT'S MY BOY -(SilverCity/Westshore) The egregious Adam Sandler is back with a new low brow "comedy," this one featuring SNL's Andy Samberg as his wayward son.
DINOSAURS: GIANTS OF PATAGONIA -(11 am, 2 pm, 5 pm) Those "terrible lizards" come back to life in a feature that complements the fascinating dinosaur exhibit currently on at the RBCM.
★★★½ ROCKY MOUNTAIN EXPRESS -(noon, 3 pm, 7 pm) Here's a patriotic account of the many daunting challenges behind building the CPR railway: part history lesson, part glorious travelogue.
TORNADO ALLEY -(4 pm, 8 pm) Take an incredible trip into the violent heart of tornadoes via never-before-seen footage collected by a fearless (crazy?) storm chaser.
TO THE ARCTIC -(10 am, 1 pm, 6 pm, 9 pm)
MOVIE MONDAY - Screening William Kurelek's The Maze. Iconic prairie painter William Kurelek was both a populist and a troubled soul who often imbued his paintings with dark spiritual messages. His bout with mental illness and the striving of his art are explored in this doc, which coincides with a major Kurelek retrospective at the AGGV. 6:30pm MONDAY in the 1900-block Fort. By donation. 595FLIC. moviemonday.ca.
Cinecenta at UVic screens its films in the Student Union Building. Info: 721-8365. cinecenta.com.
BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS! -(Wed.-Thurs., July 4-5: 7:10, 9:00) When Dole used heavy-handed legal tactics to try to quash an unflattering documentary about harsh practices with farmworkers, the filmmaker struck back with a countersuit -- and this documentary record of Dole's efforts to muzzle free speech.
★★½ THE HUNGER GAMES -(Fri.-Sat., July 6-7: 7:00, 9:40) With Twilight fading fast, the latest teen sensation is this fantasy account of a future world where every year 24 young people are selected to fight to the death on live TV. Everyone else seems to love this movie, but other than for the great lead performance by JenniferLawrence I found this derivative and a bit cheesy.
SIGUR ROS: INNI -(Sun.-Mon., July 8-9: 7:30 only) The artful, engrossing music of Iceland's Sigur Ros is captured in concert by the gifted cinematographer who has worked with Arcade Fire. "One of the most engrossing concert films in recent memory." --The Globe and Mail.
THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY -(Tues., July 10: 7:00, 9:20) Cinecenta continues its own 15-hour odyssey with the segments nine and 10 of filmmaker and historian Mark Cousins' epic history of cinema artistry (which has a global moreso than a Hollywood perspective).
MY PERESTROIKA -(Wed.-Thurs., July 11-12: 7:10, 9:00) An American who spent eight years in Russia pulls off the neat trick of capturing both the Russian soul and all the complexities of what happened during and after the collapse of the Soviet Union.