Magic Mike XXL
Film Review by Kam Williams
Tatum and Team Turn Up the Titillation in Sequel
What made the original Magic Mike so appealing was it's raw-edged, realistic feel that made you forgot you were even watching a movie. This relatively-superficial sequel tosses the notion of plausible character and plot development out the window in favor of a sensual take the money-and-run sequel focused squarely on titillation.
Yes, Channing Tatum has returned in the title role, but conspicuously absent are Matthew McConaughey, Olivia Munn and a couple of other actors critical to the success of the original. Also gone is the picture's legendary director, Oscar-winner Steven Soderbergh (for Traffic) who retired in 2013 out of frustration with the film industry.
XXL picks up three years after the ending of the first episode, conveniently ignoring the fact that Mike had specifically left stripping for a legit line of work in order to walk off into the proverbial sunset with a grateful girlfriend. At the point of departure, we find Mike single again and flourishing as a furniture designer. He is soon duped into attending what is supposed to be the wake of Dallas (McConaughey), his former boss at the notorious nightclub known as Xquisite.
Upon arriving, however, Mike learns that Dallas is alive and well and living in Macao. The deceitful death notice was just a ruse concocted by pals to pitch him on participating in a reunion of The Kings of Tampa. That brawny brotherhood of hunky dudes with whom he'd once shared the stage is now interested in taking their bawdy burlesque show on the road.
Already signed on are Tarzan (Kevin Nash), Big Dick (Joe Manganiello), Tito (Adam Rodriguez) and Ken (Matt Bomer), as well as rubbery eunuch Tobias (Gabriel Iglesias), who's been enlisted to serve as the chauffeur of their food truck-turned-tour bus. The plan is to drive from Florida to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to perform in a competition at the annual strippers convention.
It doesn't take much in the way of arm-twisting to bring Mike aboard, and the next thing you know the motley crew is cutting a swath across the South, making stops to strip at seedy dives along the way, a big exception being the upscale establishment run by Mike's ex, Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith), which caters to a predominantly black female clientele. Among the buff bods in her sepia stable are Andre (Donald Glover), Augustus (Michael Strahan) and Malik (Stephen “tWitch” Boss).
Magic Mike XXL was directed by Gregory Jacobs, best known for the made-for-TV Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra, which landed 11 Emmys in 2013. Too bad he apparently couldn't be bothered with crafting a credible story line for this disappointing, big screen production.
An unabashedly carnal indulgence solely interested in inducing gelatinous drools of saliva from the mouths of overstimulated females.
Fair (1 star)
Rated R for nudity, drug use, graphic sexuality and pervasive profanity
Running time: 115 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures
To see a trailer for Magic Mike XXL, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLoyU3xYwbs
Monday, June 29, 2015
Magic Mike XXL
Sunday, June 28, 2015
StB: Malcolm X.
Posted by Kam at 9:44 PM
Friday, June 26, 2015
Posted by Kam at 7:30 PM
Faith of Our Fathers
Film Review by Kam Williams
Faith-Based Family Film Finds Believer and Doubting Thomas Bonding En Route to Vietnam War Memorial in DC
GIs Steven George (Sean McGowan) and Edward Adams (Scott Whyte) became best friends while serving behind enemy lines in Vietnam, despite the fact that the former was a devout Christian while the latter was definitely a Doubting Thomas. Sadly, both the atheist and the believer perished in battle in 1969, with each leaving behind a child he never got to know.
Fast-forward a quarter-century and we discover that the apples didn't fall far from their patrilineal trees. Steven's offspring John (Kevin Downes) has been blessed with a strong faith like his late father, and Edward's son Wayne (David A.R. White) has somehow developed his own dad's disdain for organized religion.
This gulf in attitudes has ostensibly had a profound effect on the orphans' respective fortunes. For, John is stable and successful and on the brink of tying the knot with the love of his life, Cynthia (Candace Cameron Bure). By contrast, Wayne is an underachieving ne'er-do-well who has had more than his share of run-ins with the law.
Since John lives in California and Wayne in Mississippi, the two never met until the still-grieving groom-to-be informs his very patient fiancee that, before he walks down the aisle with her, he needs to repair the hole in his soul by learning all he can about his dearly-departed dad. That quest leads to Wayne, who just happens to have a stash of letters his father mailed home from the jungles of Southeast Asia.
The two soon hatch a plan to read the letters while making a pilgrimage to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC. What ensues is a very eventful road trip in which Christ and the devil do battle for the heathen's soul. The flashback-driven drama proceeds to alternate between the sons' spiritually-oriented sojourn and recreations of their dads similar discussions of the virtues of Christianity over the course of their fateful tour of duty overseas.
Thus unfolds Faith of Our Fathers, a faith-based modern parable directed and co-written by Corey Scott (Hidden Secrets). Fair warning: while the movie does feature wholesome family fare, it's occasional proselytizing (“Know that Jesus loves you and that you can trust Him.”) is distracting, but not so overpowering as to spoil the experience.
Look for Born Again Baldwin Brother Stephen in a scene-stealing performance as Sergeant Mansfield, the only character to appear both in the past and in present scenes. In 1969, we find him chastising Steven for preparing the men in his unit to die. But, he's singing a different tune 25 years later when he conveniently intervenes in a deus ex machina moment.
A latter-day variation on the Prodigal Son parable providing proof that God still works in mysterious ways.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for brief violence
Running time: 95 minutes
Distributor: Pure Flix Entertainment
To see a trailer for Faith of Our Fathers, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E49OumDl_yg
Posted by Kam at 11:00 AM
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Posted by Kam at 5:55 PM
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
by Kam Williams
For movies opening July 3, 2015
BIG BUDGET FILMS
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
Posted by Kam at 2:19 PM
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
It All Begins with 'I': The "New Rules" of Thinking and the Simple Secrets to Living a Rich, Joyous, and Fulfilled Life (BOOK REVIEW)
Posted by Kam at 1:51 PM