FlixChatter Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

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When it comes to films based on a real life person, I tend to not be that interested in them but when a master filmmaker like Martin Scorsese decided to make one, I won’t miss it for the world.  As with most films based on real events, not everything you see on the screen are true but then this movie was based on a book written by a real life stockbroker Jordan Belfort, I have to believe that some if not all of the things happened on the screen were true. I mean I’ve worked at a financial institution a few years ago and heard stories of how the big wig executives partied and I can’t help but laugh when I saw this movie.

Just like some of Scorsese’s films, the main character Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) narrates the story throughout and even talked directly to the audience once in a while. It starts out with flashback of how he got started in wall street, he worked at some brokerage film in NYC, there he met his mentor Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) who taught him the trick of the trade. After the stock market crash in 1987, Belfort loss his job but later found work at a small brokerage firm with a bunch of sales guys who have no idea how sell stocks. With his experience working at a big firm, Belfort was able to sell stocks of basically non-existent companies to bunch of regular schmucks. Later Belfort decided he wanted to start his own firm and met his future business partner Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) at a local dinner. They rented a garage to set up as an office and recruited their friends to work for them. The film basically chronicle the rise and fall of Belfort and his gang and since it’s a 3 hours long, I won’t go into any plot details for this review.

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This is the fifth collaboration between DiCaprio and Scorsese and I think this one might be DiCaprio’s best performance ever. He commands the screen every time you see him and the things did in this movie, I’m not sure many actors can pull off. There’s a scene in which he was so drugged out of his mind and he had to crawl to get to his car was probably the most hilarious thing I’ve seen in a while and it’s kind of sad too because I’ve seen people behaved like that in real life. Jonah Hill was pretty good as the second lead, although there were a couple of times where I thought he really “acted” instead of playing the role, hope that made sense. Even though McConaughey only appeared in the movie for just a few minutes, he stole the scene and I kind of wish to see more of his character. Newcomer Aussie actress Margot Robbie did a decent job as Belfort’s trophy wife, I’ve never seen her in anything before this movie, but she might have a good career Hollywood since she’s also drop dead gorgeous. I also have to give a shout out to Rob Reiner who plays Belfort’s father, I haven’t seen him on the screen in a while and glad to see him working again in front of the camera.

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To me though the person who truly deserves the credit is Scorsese, I don’t think this film would have worked as well as it did had other director made it. Seems to be he’s back in his old form again after some so so films the last few years. Even though I loved The Departed, I just felt it wasn’t a “Scorsese Picture” since it’s remake. Here he incorporated all of the skills that have made him famous and respected in the industry, from the fast editing to great cinematography, I have no complaint about his direction. He was able to show how despicable these people were and he pulled no punches showing us their debauchery behaviors and how they cheat their way into “success.” Some might say it’s too much but that’s the point of the movie, these greedy people will do anything to get rich and didn’t care who they hurt as long as they get what they wanted. Of course this being a Scorsese film, there has to be scene where some guy gets the crap beat out of him and don’t worry, there’s a scene in this film where some unfortunate guy got the crap kicked out of him. I was expecting to see Joe Pesci show up as a cameo and play the guy who beats up this person. I don’t mean to sound exaggerated but I think this film might be on the same level as Goodfellas or Taxi Driver. Now I do think the film could’ve use some trimming, at 3 hours it’s a bit long and I thought some scenes could’ve been shorten. But I was so involved in the story, it didn’t feel like 3 hours to me.

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Of all the films I saw in 2013, this one’s probably my favorite. It’s great seeing a true Scorsese’s picture again and along with great performances, this one is highly recommended. Just a warning though, this film is for adults only, please don’t bring young kids to see it. If you get easily offended by foul language, the F-words were mentioned many times, you might want to stay away from it. Also, there were many scenes of sex acts and drug use throughout most of the film, again if you’re easily offended by these kind of scenes, you won’t enjoy the film.

I think if you’re a fan of either DiCaprio or Scorsese or both, you’ll enjoy this film. It’s a kind of tragic story of how greed can make people so evil and the last shot of the film was a proof that yes many of us will do anything to get rich and have a better life. That’s the American dream right?

four and a half stars out of five
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What do you think of The Wolf of Wall Street and Scorsese + DiCaprio collaboration?

The Weekend That Was… RIP Peter O’Toole & Interstellar teaser

How’s your weekend everyone? Was it an eventful one or busy with Christmas shopping? Well, the arctic air still hasn’t left us yet, it’s really getting pathetic that we got excited when temps go even 15 above zero! Today it’s almost 30˚ F and boy did it feel good! Here’s a recap of what I saw, as well as a few film-related events happening this weekend:

Well this weekend I got to see the new *rePOTO_CameronMackintoshimagined* version of The Phantom of the Opera, created by Cameron Mackintosh. It’s incredible that POTO is celebrating 25 years on Broadway this year and this new production — with a new set, choreography, lighting and scenic design — has premiered in the UK last year. This is the third time I saw POTO on stage and I was mesmerized once again. It’s really all about those gorgeous, haunting music and the younger cast definitely bring the story to life. I LOVE the stage production but it also makes me appreciate the 2004 film with Gerry Butler in the title role, which is decidedly faithful to the stage version. I appreciate both format but the nice thing about the film is that I can easily watch that over and over again on my Blu-ray 😀

As I saw three advanced screening during the weekThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (check out my thoughts on the movie), Saving Mr. Banks and Inside Llewyn Davis), so this weekend I opted for home cinema. Thanks to Kim and Fernando for recommending these two animated features.

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As a big fan of How to Train Your Dragon, I definitely enjoyed this short film immensely. The baby dragons are as adorable as ever, but once again, the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless the Night Fury is at the heart of it. I can’t wait for the follow-up to HTTYD coming next year!

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I actually have seen Hunchback of Notre Dame a long time ago but for some reason I didn’t remember much of it. It’s darker than the average Disney animated features, but the story demands it so it works well here. Of course it’s not without the conventional Disney ballads and goofy-but-endearing characters, but the story definitely has a good message of good vs. evil and a heartwarming tale about the triumph of the outcasts.


This weekend, we saw the passing of a true Hollywood legend, Peter O’Toole. Apparently he was being treated at London’s Wellington hospital after a long illness. He was 81.

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I had just seen his most iconic role in Lawrence of Arabia for the first time earlier this year. In fact, I got the Blu-ray version and both my husband and I was really blown away by it. It definitely lives up to the masterpiece status, both the film and Mr. O’Toole’s performance are hugely iconic. I have only seen Mr. O’Toole in The Lion in Winter, his cameo in One Night with the King, and his voice work in Ratatouille. I should try to see his comedic work in My Favorite Year (which my friend Kevin has reviewed here) and How To Steal A Million with Audrey Hepburn.

Farewell Mr. O’Toole, may you rest in peace.


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As 2013 draws to a close, soon comes a time of huge buzz and anticipation for 2014 movies. One of the big ones is Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi INTERSTELLAR. I just had to post the trailer here in case you haven’t seen it yet:

In the future, governments and economies across the globe have collapsed, food is scarce, NASA is no more, and the 20th Century is to blame. A mysterious rip in spacetime opens and it’s up to whatever is left of NASA to explore and offer up hope for mankind.

Ok so yes I’m a bit of a Nolan groupie but his trailers always get me salivating and frustrated that we have to wait a whole year for this!! The story is intriguing and mysterious, as every Nolan film is shrouded in secrecy. But the cast also got me excited. Matthew McConaughey is hotter than hot right now and I LOVE Jessica Chastain, plus the supporting cast looks great with Nolan regular Michael Caine, John Lithgow, David Oyelowo, Anne Hathaway and Casey Affleck!

Oh, I also just came across this brilliant fan-made, crossover video from episodes of BBC’s Dr. Who and Sherlock. It’s too awesome not to share:


Well, that’s the weekend recap folks, what did you watch this weekend?

Five for the Fifth: NOVEMBER 2013 Edition

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Hello folks, welcome to the second to last Five for the Fifth of 2013!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item, observation, trailer, actor/director spotlight, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. As you know, I have a penchant for the Scots, but it’s not just limited to men. Today’s birthday girl is Tilda Swinton, who still looks youthful at 52. The chameleon thespian is perhaps the most talented Scottish actress working today, and she came from a prestigious Scottish family. In fact, her family is one of the oldest in Scotland. Katherine Matilda Swinton is the daughter of Major-General Sir John Swinton, whose ancestral home has been within the family since the 9th century.

TildaSwintonBdayHere are a couple more interesting trivia you might not know about miss Swinton:

  • Gave birth to twins, a daughter named Honor Byrne and a son named Xavier Byrne, in November 1997. The father of her children, John Byrne, is a Scottish artist and writer.
  • Since 2004, she has been in a relationship with Sandro Kopp, a painter from New Zealand.
  • Spent two years in South Africa and Kenya as a voluntary worker in children’s schools, before studying at Cambridge. Attended West Heath Girls’ School, with Princess Diana as one of her classmates, and later Fettes College.

I still need to see more of her work (esp. We Need to Talk About Kevin, but so far my favorites would be her Oscar-winning performance in Michael Clayton, though she was fantastic playing larger-than-life characters like the White Queen in the Narnia films and the androgynous angel Gabriel in Constantine.

I can’t wait to see Only Lovers Left Alive, which I’ve mentioned in this post a while back. I mean the cast alone is a reason to see this, and I love the pairing of Tilda and rock-star vampire Tom Hiddleston! We finally got a trailer, check it out:


What’s YOUR fave role of Tilda Swinton, and are you looking forward to this film?


2.  A couple of films about racial equality and slavery have been all abuzz this year, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, 12 Years A Slave. But this one comes from a female perspective.

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BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mabatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.


I don’t know if this one would open anywhere near me but I’d be sure to rent it. I haven’t seen English actress Gugu Mabatha-Raw in anything yet though I have heard of her, and the rest of the cast looks great, esp. Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson. Matthew Goode also has a brief role as Belle’s father.

What do you think of this one folks?


3. I know a lot of people are hugely anticipating the upcoming Star Wars movie. I’m not really one of them, I mean I’m just blase about the whole thing, but depending on the cast, my interest level might vary.

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Well, now the rumor mill of Chiwetel Ejiofor‘s casting got started when a Times journalist Rhys Blakely met him on the lobby of Bad Robot production on his way to interview J.J. Abrams for his new book that’s got nothing to do with Star Wars. But of course, since casting has been underway for Episode VII, naturally Blakely couldn’t help inquiring about that to Abrams.

As quoted in SlashFilm, here’s what happened:

He looks at me, dead-eyed. “I can’t discuss casting,” he says. “But he’s a very talented gentleman.”

Not exactly a denial is it, and it’s not like Abrams has another HUGE film he’s working on and I doubt he’d cast the Oscar frontrunner for 12 Years A Slave for a TV project. I sure hope this wouldn’t be just a rumor. I know the casting rumor about Benedict Cumberbatch has been debunked but I still wouldn’t rule it out yet. Boy, how I’d LOVE to see the two of them together again in a movie!

What do you think about this casting rumor folks? Who’s on your wish list to be cast in this movie?


OscarSeason4. Timing is everything the say. It couldn’t be more true when it comes to a film’s release date in terms of its Oscar chance. I’m often baffled about how the whole ‘release date’ strategy work in Hollywood, though every cinephile knows the crucial role it plays for any film that wants to be considered for Best Picture. I guess that explains why the award-contenders often get released after Labor Day. Of course there are always exceptions in everything, but according to whowonOscars.com, more than 1 in 5 nominees is released in December and based on the past few years, winners tend to release around 240 days before the ceremony. Interesting stuff eh?

Well, you might’ve heard of the release date switcheroo for Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. It was supposed to open in November, but then there were reports that it’d get pushed back to next year, perhaps in line with Cannes Film Festival in May. Well, now it’s back in 2013 timetable, Christmas day to be exact, the same time as another Oscar contender American Hustle. Now, it’s George Clooney’s equally-star-studded film The Monuments’s Men that’s getting pushed to 2014. According to L.A. Times, the actor and director said that the special effects wouldn’t be completed in time for its December release. “If any of the effects looked cheesy, the whole movie would look cheesy,” he reasoned.

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Well, I should think that Leonardo DiCaprio is probably smiling ear to ear now that The Wolf of Wall Street is back on Oscar race. Though from watching the trailer, I think that it increases more chances that Matthew McConaughey might get double nomination, as he’s got three solid performances in MUD, The Dallas Buyer’s Club and the one with Leo. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets one nomination each in the lead and supporting category.

So what are your thoughts about the two films above and the whole Oscar + film release date strategy?


5. Now for the last film I always like the get in the spirit of movie recommendations (or warning) amongst movie fans. Now that we’ve only got two months to go in 2013, most likely you’ve got an idea at least a few films that might end up in your Best or Worst list. I know for me some of my Movie of the Month inductees like Gravity, 12 Years A Slave might end up on my Best list and Die Hard 5 and Gangster Squad would surely be in my WORST. Fortunately I haven’t seen too many stinkers as I purposely avoid them, ahah.

Well, now my last question to you is: Name at least two films you think would be in either BEST or WORST list, or both.


That’s it for the NOVEMBER 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these subjects.

August Movie Watching Recap & Movie of the Month

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Well, that was that, Summer is unofficially over. Yes I know the weather is still going to be pretty warm for most of us, even those in the Northern hemisphere, but once we enter the ‘ber’ month, you could say that Fall is in the air. To be honest with you, I’m ok with that. I LOVE Autumn. I love the cooler temps, the Fall fashion, the quieter movies, and of course Twin Cities Film Fest is coming soon! Check out the early look of the 2013 lineup if you haven’t already.

Well, since hits and comments are definitely down in the Summer, a lot of people are likely have missed a lot of my blog posts 😉 Here are some of my posts this past month:

New-to-me Films Watched:

DragonsKnightDragon Knight

Arbitrage

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TheButlerThe Butler

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Mud

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I never got around to reviewing Arbitrage, but I might still do that as a Rental Pick post. It’s a pretty good drama with Richard Gere in top form. Great performances from Susan Sarandon & Brit Marling as his wife & daughter. I was very impressed by MUD and Shadow Dancer. Two very different dramas but both featured strong performances and kind of a minimalistic-but-efficient script and direction. Both are quite emotionally-charged where the real special effects are the taut writing and top notch acting. I miss seeing Clive Owen on screen, the last film I saw him in was Gertrude & Gelhorne on the plane last December.

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Oh, I also watched a few episodes of Shark Week from Discovery Channel. I didn’t realize Netflix has them but we were actually looking for some Documentaries to watch but ended up watching a couple episodes of The Great White Invasion episodes. Fascinating stuff but pretty gory as well as they did re-enactments of people who got attacked in various parts of the world.


Rewatches:

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SupermanReturnsSuperman Returns

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I actually only got to about a third of Titanic. I was just bored one night and saw that it was on Netflix streaming, so I thought what the heck. It’s been over a decade since I saw it and boy the CGI looked so obvious on the long shots on top of the boat. Funny how I briefly had a crush on Leo when it came out, but now he just looked like a little boy next to the womanly Kate Winslet.

Not sure why I felt like watching Superman Returns last week but I stopped about 10 minutes before the ending with the ill-advised part with Supes’ kid. I still love the flying sequence and the plane rescue scenes though. Following the screening of Austenland, I felt the urge to watch Pride & Prejudice. I think I love Joe Wright’s version even more than the BBC version, and yes, I boldly say Matthew MacFadyen is my favorite Mr. Darcy as well 😉


Movie of the Month:

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I had been wanting to see MUD since last April at MSP Film Fest. I’ve actually got the ticket in hand but I had to bail due to a darn snow storm! In any case, this film was SO worth the wait. Shrewd script & direction from writer/director Jeff Nichols, paired with a fine, career-topping performance from Matthew McConaughey. Definitely lives up to the hype!


Well, that’s my monthly recap folks. What’s YOUR favorite film you saw in August?

Weekend Roundup: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and Magic Mike review

This sweltering heat must be doing the cinemas some good as people want to cool off in the air-conditioned movie theaters. Whilst the last two weekends were dominated by movies targeted for kids (Brave, Madagascar 3), this time adults packed theaters to see two R-rated movies: Ted and Magic Mike. The former starring Mark Wahlberg and a foul-mouthed Teddy bear as his BFF earned a whopping $54 mil, which is the highest debut ever for an original R-rated comedy (per Box Office Mojo). With a budget of only $50 mil (half of it probably went to Wahlberg), it’s obviously a very profitable debut for Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.

Here’s a review of a movie I saw last Friday night, and thanks to my colleague Susan M. for her review of one of her most-anticipated movie, Magic Mike.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

I’ve been curious about this movie from the first time I heard about the book of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith. The author himself is adapting his novel into the movie, which tells the *secret* history of one of America’s most famous presidents, supposedly based on Lincoln’s own diaries of his um, nightly activities.

The story spans 45 years of Lincoln’s life, starting with him as a young boy working at a plantation. It shows that even from a young age, Abe’s got a certain fondness for the axe as he tried to defend his friend Wil who’s being beaten by his master, Jack Barts. This incident leads to Barts to poison Abe’s mother which of course sparks the vengeful spirit in him to kill as many vampires as he could.

Now, how does an ordinary man do that? Well, fortunately for Abe, there’s Henry Sturgess to the rescue when he tried to kill Barts years later and discovers that he’s a vampire. Sturgess not only saves Abe’s life but offers to train him to accomplish his mission, that is to kill as many vampire as he could. We’ll learn of Sturgess’ motivation soon enough, which comes at the same time Abe learns that his best friend too, is a vampire.

The fight training scenes are actually pretty cool and the movie lives up to the name swiftly as the fast-learner Abe soon gets to put that silver-coated axe to good use. Those vampire chopping stuff are done in Timur Bekmambetov’s slo-mo style (as you might’ve seen in Wanted) and they’re very, very bloody. The vampires aren’t sexy or cute like in True Blood or Twilight, they are freakish looking with their long and pointy teeth, just as we imagined these bloodsuckers to be.

Newcomer Benjamin Walker is quite believable in the lead role. The lanky 6’3″ 30-year-old certainly looks the part but he’s also instantly likable which helps the audience to sympathize with his character and his mission. He’s got a nice chemistry with Dominic Cooper as Sturgess and also his best friend Wil (Anthony Mackie), but less so with his love interest Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). The romance isn’t convincing at all, but no matter, it’s not that kind of vampire movie. We see Timur’s movie for his spectacular fight choreography and on that note he delivers. Lincoln is portrayed as some sort of superhero battling a dozen of vampires in this Southern mansion and blood splatters and splashes everywhere as he masterfully wields his weapon of choice. As you know I’m not keen on horror or bloody sequences, but when done in such a stylized way, it sort of takes the edge off and it’s actually less scary.

Now, I’ve always thought the tone of the movie should’ve been more tongue-in-cheek just like what the title suggest, instead it’s more of a straight-laced adaptation and they tried to align the scenarios with actual historical events such as the Gettysburg address. Fortunately, it’s not completely devoid of whimsy and I think the movie overall is rather fun. Yes it’s silly and preposterous in more than one occasion but you’ve got to remind yourself that you are seeing a movie with a historical figure combined with ‘vampire hunter’ in the title, so logic-defying scenarios should be expected.

Still, there are scenes that are wildly ludicrous even for a historical fantasy, and the horse stampede scene immediately springs to mind. That scene involves a horse being thrown at Abe, yes you heard it right: A HORSE, in the midst of a huge stampede with dozens of horses charging forcefully and Barts actually throws the horse at him! Now, not only does Abe survives that, he proceeds to mount one of them (not sure if it’s that same one thrown at him or not as things are happening pretty fast) and rides the thing whilst wielding that ax at Barts in the process!! As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also able to jump from horse to horse to capture his nemesis… and wait ’til you see that sensational axe gun. Say what you will about this movie, but that scene alone to me is worth the price of admission!

And finally, the villain. Dashing Brit Rufus Sewell is no stranger for playing a baddie but surprisingly he’s never played a vampire before. A shame really as he’s quite good at it and his dramatic eyes seem almost otherworldly. He brings a certain sophistication and suave-ness to his role of Adam (which was written specifically for the movie). Now, you’ve seen vampires being bloodthirsty or romantic, but politically-inclined? Now that’s an idea. Adam is more of a politically-minded vampire… “It’s time we have a nation of our own,” he declares in that sexy, raspy voice of his. Rufus has this smirk on his face the entire time and he seems to be having the most fun in this movie. I wish he had more screen time here and that his character could’ve been a bit more developed, but still he’s always great to watch.

The always watchable Alan Tudyk also has a brief role as Stephen A. Douglas, the Democratic Party nominee for President in the 1860 election who lost out to Lincoln. He was also Lincoln’s romantic rival as he briefly dated Mary Todd.

Final Thoughts: I actually enjoyed this movie more that I thought. The cinematography by Caleb Deschanel looks beautiful and there are some really cool shots of Lincoln with his iconic hat and long coat. The action sequences of the slo-mo vampire chopping scenes did seem excessive though that it became tiresome. But the likable cast certainly helps and somehow the story managed to keep me engrossed from start to finish. I wouldn’t even mind renting this again when it’s out on Blu-ray.

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Magic Mike

If you’re going to see Magic Mike because you want to see a bunch of (mostly) naked men writhing around on a stage, well, you’ll get that. But as a warning, you’ll also get a somewhat uneven portrayal of a lifestyle filled with women, drugs, and desolation.

Let’s start with the good: Channing Tatum saves this movie from being horrible. He’s an excellent movie flirter and a bona fide movie star. Plus, he’s a great dancer (Step Up, anyone?). It’s hard to take your eyes off of him not just because he is ridiculously good looking, but because he makes you sympathize with his character, Mike, an “entrepreneur” who moonlights as a stripper. In Tatum’s limited range, he not only excels, he totally owns it; he knows what he is, he doesn’t try to be more, and he isn’t embarrassed by it.

Alex Pettyfer was also great in the role of Adam, an impulsive lost soul who is living with his sister, going from job to job until he meets Mike at a construction job (one of Mike’s entrepreneurial businesses that we only see or hear mention of once throughout the movie, hence the unevenness mentioned earlier). Mike takes Adam under his wing and soon, “the Kid” as he becomes known, is sucked into the world of Chippendales-style male stripping. But where Pettyfer excels is in portraying the dark side of the business: the lure of money, the drugs, the seedy women.

Then there’s the bad: Matthew McConaughey. He’s probably never been happier since he spent the majority of the movie in leather pants with his shirt off. He appeared so sweaty in almost every scene he was in, you could practically smell the body odor coming off him. And enough with the bongo playing and “all right, all right, all right.” He literally has no range. If you’ve seen one Matthew McConaughey movie, you’ve seen them all. His character, Dallas, is the owner of the club and a former stripper himself. He definitely plays a smarmy strip club owner to perfection, I’ll give him that.

Matt Bomer, as beautiful as he is, is rather unremarkable in the role, unfortunately. And don’t ask me about Joe Manganiello, who is the equivalent to Pamela Anderson, in my book. There is no presence. Sure, he’s fun to look at, but so what?

As for the script, there are several parts of it that don’t make any sense and could have used some serious editing, if not outright trimming completely. The female lead in the film, Cody Horn, who plays Alex Pettyfer’s sister, appears to have the same relationship with her brother as she does with her love interest Channing Tatum. Their opening scene together, at home, is so sexually charged, you feel gross the moment it’s revealed that they’re related. Horn’s character, Brooke, has a bizarre obsession with her brother throughout the film that made me uncomfortable. And her acting was stale and wooden.

It’s also ridiculous when Tatum’s character confronts Olivia Munn, his casual sex partner, and finds out she’s engaged. Her fiancé is sitting beside her. He graciously excuses himself when Tatum shows up at the restaurant. In what world would that actually go down??

That said, it’s not like Magic Mike didn’t have its moments. The depiction of the lifestyle seemed realistic enough. They addressed the drug culture involved in the profession, the desolation, the loneliness that comes from connecting only with people on a purely physical level – these stark realities were indeed portrayed rather honestly, although I’m not really sure if the message actually landed. And the dance scenes were hilarious. I especially loved the Fourth of July tribute when the guys took to the stage in camouflage, and the “It’s Raining Men” routine, complete with umbrellas and rain boots.

Overall, I really liked Magic Mike. But the problem I had with it was not necessarily with the film itself, but more the response to it. There are those who will argue that this is simply the female equivalent of when men hit up strip clubs. No way. When a man goes to see a woman take her clothes off, she’s inferior to his paying power. When a woman goes to see a man take his clothes off, is he inferior to her paying power, or is she still inferior to the power of what’s in his pants? It’s not like she’s leaning back in her chair, controlling the situation. None of those women in the theater or in the club are in control of anything. They are hysterical, horny, and subordinate. Nothing about that suggests assertion. I don’t have anything against a good time. But don’t sell it to me like this is some kind of reversal of misogyny and there’s empowerment to the exercise. You watch those faces and there is nothing empowering about how these women are behaving.

Besides, if this really is about flipping the exploitation over to the other side, how is it that there were multiple long shots of bare breasts and only one shadowed glimpse of a c*ck? This is a movie about male strippers and there’s not one head shot of a free swinging penis? Meanwhile Olivia Munn has her shirt off for an entire scene, and another blond woman, with an ample bosom, romps around a bed for a scene. Doesn’t seem very equal to me.

Final Thoughts: All this being said, I enjoyed Magic Mike for what it was – an entertaining summer movie with a super hot lead character.

– Review by Susan M.

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Have you seen either one of these movies? Do share your thoughts in the comments.