Magic Mike XXL – Review

“Magic Mike XXL” is in many ways a pretty enjoyable movie. Channing Tatum, despite seeming to be physically imposing, moves in a manner that belies his size and makes him seem really personable–more so than I am accustomed to seeing him–and the whole cast seemed to be having a good time, which shows.

And for some that’s all they want from a movie, so it works on that level.

That being said, it’s almost surreal how unreal the movie feels. I’m accustomed to movies revolving around strippers (or any other field so pornography-adjacent) to have some sort of an edge, and not to feel like it’s suffering from a serious case of Disneyfication.

What I would have liked to have seen would have been somewhat evocative of Times Square before all the peepshows and porno theaters were gentrified out of existence; a portrayal of slightly damaged people, overcoming the odds.

But that’s not what we get here, mainly because one of the things Magic Mike XXL lacks is any sense of threat, of danger, which typically goes hand-in-hand with sexiness. Here it’s all about the tease, which is nothing if not frustrating (though it didn’t appear to bother the woman sitting next to me, who was REALLY into it).

In Mike’s world all the men are either strong, confident, witty, capable, agile, philosophical or really good singers (sometimes embodying all of those characteristics in one individual, if Ken (Matt Bomer) or Mike (Tatum) are any indication.

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Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension – Trailer

Let’s be honest.  The Paranormal Activity movies are pretty bad.  Sure, they vary where they sit on the suckometer, but what’s a given is the suckage. And i know that I maybe should be more grateful that horror movies are getting their due, but making really bad ones aren’t, in the long run, helping anyone because people are just going to stop paying to see them–or pirate them, which is worse in its way. I mean, I PAID to see Ouija, and felt a bit violated (though the sequel is being written by Mike Flanagan, who did the far better Oculus, so I might take a chance on it. The bastards) and for most people, unlike me apparently, it’s “trick me once, shame on me.  Trick me twice, same on you.”

Spring – Review

Spring movie poster

“Be careful who you love, because Spring is coming and it’s a monster.”

Some critics has described Spring as ‘Lovecraftian,’–which is what drew me to it in the first place–and while a very good movie, Lovecraftian it’s not.  For it to be so would imply that it was based on, or somehow similar or related to, the work of H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos.

And it’s not, not in the least.  Sure there are monsters, some even of the aquatic variety, and lots of water; but if that made a movie Lovecraftian, then Steven Spielberg’s Jaws could be as well (which it most definitely isn’t).

Because for a movie to be called so would mean that it not only involves monsters, but embody some of the underlying ideas of Lovecraft’s Mythos, which typically revolves around sinister forces aligned against humankind, whether on a larger or  smaller scale.

Now what Spring is is an awesomely taut, interesting love story.  It’s also best watched twice because you can see the care with which Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson craft their story.  There’s virtually no wasted frames in the entire movie, with everything you see either helping to contribute to a feeling of dread or sell the underlying premise.

Though it’s not perfect, with its weakest scene being the one where Louise (Nadia Pilker) looks into supernatural means to cure her…condition.  The problem isn’t the scene in and of itself, more so than if a person had lived as long as she had, she’d probably have tried it already (though in the movie’s defense she might have done so because she found herself growing closer to Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) and wasn’t thinking straight.

It’s no accident that that title of the movie is Spring, because the themes of death and rebirth run through the entire movie, most often in a very clever fashion.

The season of Spring has begun on iTunes, though be careful because while love may be eternal, you’re not.

Marvel Studios One-Ups DC Entertainment (Again) With Upcoming Infinity War

I admit, after learning that Marvel Studios isn’t coming to Comic-Con this year, that I was a mite concerned (though Marvel Television and Cartoons are attending) because that meant that DC Entertainment would dominate the convention with news and clips from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (still hate that title) and Suicide Squad.

Though based on some new news from Complex, they’ll need it because it’s rumored that the villains for the upcoming Avengers two-parter, Infinity War, will not only be Thanos, but the Magus!

And seeing that the Magus will possibly make an appearance, it goes without saying that his alter-ego, Adam Warlock, can’t be very far behind.

The Magus

It only a coincidence that I look vaguely like Shazam.

This is the Magus.  He’s an future version of Adam Warlock who’s working to ensure that he comes to be, which means driving Warlock to embrace the darker, more ruthless parts of his nature.

Warlock has been inextricably tied to the Infinity Gems (known as ‘Infinity Stones’ in the movies), so that the Magus (and Adam Warlock) are making an appearance makes perfect sense.

Another benefit is that the two movies are being helmed by the Russo brothers, which if Captain America: The Winter Soldier is any indicator, means that it will probably to be a bit darker, more serious tonally and less humorous than the Joss Whedon-helmed Avengers movies.

Heroes Reborn – The Extraordinary Among Us (Trailer)

I really liked this trailer for NBC’s upcoming Heroes Reborn, despite that fact that it felt very familiar (especially if you’ve seen Netflix’s Daredevil or Sense8).  That being said, the series that inspired it was really cutting edge at the time, though through a combination of a writers strike, bad timing and–in my opinion–bad writing pretty much doomed the series in its first incarnation.

But what’s past is past, and here’s to a more heroic future.

Harbinger Down – International Trailer

it’s taken filmmakers long enough to realize that ‘quality’ and ‘horror’ aren’t necessairly mutually exclusive terms, if movies like The Babadook and It Follows are any indication.

Though it goes without saying that we’ll continue to get drek like Ouija (good idea, remarkably uninspired movie) and Paranormal Activity, but that’s okay as long as the good stuff continues be green-lit as well.

And speaking of ‘good stuff,’ StudioADI has cut an international trailer for their upcoming love letter to H.P. Lovecraft and John Carpenter’s The Thing, Harbinger Down.

The significance being that if there’s an international trailer, it assumes that at the very least that the movie will be released in theaters overseas, though I get the feeling that it will be lucky to get a limited run in theaters on this side of the world (though It Follows was was originally going direct to video, before someone thought better of the idea and released it to theaters).Trailer

And who knows?  One successful adaptation of a Lovecraft-like movie could conceivably get studios to approve others.

Summer Box Office: Can Terminator: Genisys Take The Heat?

I fully admit that the success of Jurassic World caught me by surprise.  I didn’t necessarily think that it would fail, though if anyone had told me that it would be breaking records made by 2014’s The Avengers I would have laughed at such a ridiculous notion.

That being said, what’s in its way even more interesting is that Inside Out is performing strongly, despite the presence of Universal’s cinematic dinosaur feature.

Though this trend of everyone doing awesome despite the competition isn’t one that can continue, by which I mean that one of these tentpoles is going to flatline–big time.

Which leads to the question:  Which of the upcoming summer movies is going to bite it (and I don’t mean in a Jurassic World kind of way)?

And if I had to guess, I’d say Terminator: Genisys.  Reason being, the last movie in the series, Terminator: Salvation wasn’t well received by movie-goers.  And by “wasn’t well-received” I mean ‘box office failure,’ having earned just over $371 million on a $200 million budget.

Then there’s the trailer that gives away a MAJOR plot-point, which is never a good idea.

Now neither of those things is a deal breaker by any means, but the thing is, when you’re talking about a crowded field filled with potential blockbusters they can make all the difference in the world.

And I think the producers know it, which probably has a lot to do with them enlisting the services of the consiglieri of the Terminator franchise, James Cameron, to give the movie his seal of approval.

Now keep in mind that Cameron has nothing to do with Genisys, though he did direct Terminator and Terminator 2, the two best received movies in the series so you can look at it as either genius (if the movie succeeds, or desperation if it fails).

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