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Archive for June, 2012|Monthly archive page

MAGIC MIKE: WORTH YOUR CRUMPLED SINGLES?

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm

HERE’S MY REVIEW IN FILM JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL :

 

http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjournal/content_display/reviews/major-releases/e3i285d70ef1bfc606aea3404acecba161d

 

 

Film Review: Magic Mike

Shoulda been big fun, but a deadly combination of no script and a strange lack of sexiness renders this male-stripper tale an aimless, although very commercially calculated, bore.

June 27, 2012

-By David Noh

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For movie details, please click here.

In Tampa, Florida, Mike (Channing Tatum) makes money any way he can, trying to finance his dream of designing his own line of furniture: roofing, car detailing, stripping. That last-mentioned occupation he pursues at Club Xquisite, where he’s been the resident star for years with his killer bod and moves. When he meets a 19-year-old slacker, Adam (Alex Pettyfer), he takes the comely lad under his wing and shows him the ropes of male clothing removal, with the grudging assent of his indefatigably strutting, avaricious boss, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). Adam has a sister, Brooke (Cody Horn), who’s initially appalled by little bro’s new job, as well as by Mike, but soon repulsion turns into romantic convulsion. 

With the summer need for light entertainment and a loosening up of male onscreen nudity in commercial films spearheaded by Judd Apatow, Magic Mike very well might have been a delectable, equal-opportunity erotic entertainment, aimed at the ladies as well as a whole lotta gay men. Unfortunately, Steven Soderbergh has been sorely miscast as a director for a project that screamed out for the likes of an Almodóvar, or Baz Luhrmann at the very least. The entire thing shrieks of a weirdly retro quality—its basic lack of hipness (vide, that clueless club name, for example) makes it more fit for a slightly salacious TV movie of the week, c. 1983. (Remember Christopher Atkins and Lesley Ann Warren in A Night in Heaven, which, compared to this film, is a masterpiece of emotional/character observation?) For all the bared muscled torsos and butts, and pandering, “compensating” plethora of female nudity, the film is weirdly sexless, making Soderbergh seem very much like that voyeuristic but denatured James Spader character in his breakout Sex, Lies, and Videotape. There’s a character named “Big Dick Richie” (Joe Manganiello), but, apart from a highly suspect shot of a penis pump in active use, all such stuff has to be taken strictly on faith, in 2012. In an R-rated film. About male strippers.

Reid Carolin‘s script is very thin, heavily relying on the same old backstage clichés which have recurred in movies from 42nd Street to Burlesque, and giving super-short shrift to Adam’s development as a star dancer. (It’s the swiftest, most unconvincing rise since Janet Gaynor in the 1937 A Star is Born.) His arc is basically: Boy makes good, gets caught up in bad behavior (with drugs provided by a helpful, peripheral minority character), and o.d.’s, with a tiresomely moralistic ending about the wages of sin that one would have thought died out with Cecil B. DeMille.

The movie also has a major continuity glitch in Adam’s o.d. scene. There’s a shot of a girl he was partying with, and she obviously looks dead, but nothing at all is made of it. Much of the film seems rather lamely improvised anyway, especially in the way-over-the top McConaughey’s numerous embarrassing, “hot-blooded” rants about his métier. There’s a surfeit of aimless, winkingly romantic encounters between producer Tatum and the very tomboyish Horn, who, by the way, shares zero chemistry with this hunka-hunka.

The strip numbers themselves, ostensibly the very reason for this film’s existence, are cursorily, unimaginatively filmed to indifferent cover versions of pop songs, and often end abruptly, as if the skittish director were all too ready to move on to something not involving male pulchritude, like another dull dialogue scene. Besides Mike and Adam, the other dancers are not a very impressive lot, in this age when so much of the American male population practically lives at the gym.

The one iota of authenticity here is Tatum’s dancing. The actor did indeed perform thusly earlier in life, and he really sizzles onscreen, with an exhilarating athleticism that also manages to be smooth as a snake and ten times as sexy. “It’s Raining Men” has to be one of the top three cheesiest songs ever, but when you see Tatum writhing funkily to it, you think, “He’s got more soul than any white boy in film history, and that includes Elvis, Travolta, Gene Kelly, Cagney and Jolson.” 

BALLARD’S TIMELESS BALLADS, ETC.

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2012 at 4:24 am

Last Sunday night, June 17, Kay Ballard made her first NYC appearance in decades at Feinstein’s at Loew’s Regency, wowing a packed-to-the=rafters adoring Manhattan crowd that included Frank Langella, Polly Bergen, Jerry Stiller, Rex Reed, Phyllis Newman, Laura Kenyon and other lights. Among so many highlights which included killer-funny impersonations of Sophie Tucker and Mabel Mercer (singing Cole Porter’s DOWN IN THE DEPTHS), she also sang two songs she introduced which she claimed she never did live for differing reasons, LAZY AFTERNOON from THE GOLDEN APPLE (not appropriate in a club setting, she always thought) and Kander & Ebb’s MAYBE THIS TIME, which was written for her, not Liza Minnelli.

Here’s my interview with this imperishable diva:

http://gaycitynews.com/two-divas-italian-and-french/

PAUL WILLIAMS WROTE THE 1970S SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2012 at 4:13 am


Paul Williams and me at the Park Lane Hotel, NYC

READ MY INTERVIEW WITH THIS ENDURING TALENT AND STAR OF A NEW DOCUMENTARY hER:

http://gaycitynews.com/evergreen-songwriter/

Back in the day…

THE TOTAL 411 ON “MAGIC MIKE”

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2012 at 3:52 am

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Yes, I saw it and can say that it is a well-acted, fast-paced entertainment, marked by some quite wonderful and handsome limited-palette cinematography of Tampa, FL.

Yeah, yeah, like any of you cared about that stuff!

So I will file this SCR (Salacious Consumer Report) and tell y’all that there are male booties aplenty on display, particularly by Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and a very over-the-top, beyond-camp Matthew McConaughey (who might consider a swift retirement after this one). And  steel yourselves people, in Tatum’s very first scene he shows the swiftest blink of junk on his jaybird way to the john (soft R-rated homage to Michael Fassbender in SHAME?). There is also a probably bogus closeup of a peter pump in action, as well as one quite shockingly flabby posterior that wouldn’t get its owner-who-shall-be-nameless hired in a strip club anywhere outside of a gay retirement complex in 1978. Blame it on heterosexual director Steven Soderbergh who has managed to make a quite unsexy movie about sex. If any epic needed the lovingly knowing gay hand (not to mention male pulchritude-appreciative eye) of a Vincente Minnelli or George Cukor, this was it.

 

One character’s name is “Big Dick Richie,” but such is the pallid nature of things here that we must accept the accuracy of that apellation on sheer faith. Paging Judd Apatow, for fuck’s sake!

What cannot be denied, however, are the F-I-E-R-C-E dancing chops of Tatum, which are the highlight of this thinly conceived disappointment. Smooth as a snake and ten times as sexy, he uncannily possesses more funky soul than any white boy in film history, and that includes Elvis, Travolta, Gene Kelly, James Cagney and Al Jolson.

Although I am sorely tempted to tell you to just wait for it on Netflix and throw a viewing party, I know not one of you out there will listen to me, somehow.