Reviews: Magic Mike & Brave

As I continue to put up my pictures, formally, I had to do some quick hit reviews of the movies that we’ve seen over the last two weekends.  I mentioned in a previous post that amazingly Larry & I have gone to see a movie every weekend so far this summer.  I never keep that promise.  But promise, so far, fulfilled!  Two weeks ago, Larry & I saw Brave along with Al, who we hadn’t seen for quite a while.  Last weekend….well, if you are my friend on Facebook, you know what movie we saw last weekend….drool….

First up:


(Pixar, 2012, Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman;  IMDB page link)

Expectations Going In:  It’s a Pixar movie!  The expectations are high whenever you go to a Pixar movie.  This is the studio that made Toy Story (1,2,3), Up, Wall-E, Ratatouille, Finding Nemo, the Incredibles…the list does go on (and does NOT include Cars 2). Yet I had read a few reviews before going in, which sometimes I try not to do, but it was Pixar, so I figured the reviews would be glowing.  I would be wrong.  One, which in hindsight I agree with, basically said the premise was intriguing for the first half but in the second half, Pixar basically engaged cruise control and got lazy.

Quick Plot Summary, Hobie-style:  Headstrong Scottish lass isn’t interested at all in being some stranger’s wife.  Decides to change her faaate (hat tip to Richard Lawson’s tweet for that spelling).   Serious eye-rolling commences for a good 20 minutes at a certain point.

What I Thought When Walking Out:  I was impressed by the animation and the 3D.  When I can actually see the 3D fairly well, I give props.  I have bad depth perception so I don’t get to always enjoy it.  The voice talent was great, the look of everything was wonderful.  But the end result was nothing special, especially when you consider it’s freakin’ Pixar.  The movie had no subtext, and the review I cited above was right:  the filmmakers got lazy.  The plot is fairly standard fairy tale stuff, and it’s great that Pixar made a movie with a female heroine as the front & center protagonist.  I just wish there had been more energy put into the story.  I was disappointed.

Thoughts After Talking With Others and Fridge Logic:  Fridge Logic is the term used when you have time to think about something while standing at the fridge and you suddenly have that insight or “ah ha!” or “what the…?” moment.  With Brave, Alan, Larry & I barbecued afterwards and chatted about the movie.  Both Larry & Alan liked it pretty well, and I can’t disagree with that.   It’s certainly not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination.  Yet when you rack & stack Pixar movies, and then if you get even more sinister and include Dreamworks’, Universal, and Sony Animation movies, this movie would be low.  The other studios have finally caught up in quality to Pixar.  Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, all those other Pixar movies above….way better than Brave.

Would I Recommend This?  That depends.  If you’re an adult…you’ll probably be able to wait for Blu-Ray.  If you’re a kid, especially a little girl, I think this movie would be great for that audience.

And now…..

Magic Mike

(Warner Bros, 2012, Starring: Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer; Directors: Steven Soderbergh;  IMDB page link)

Expectations Going In:  Hmmm….I’m a gay man…..and Channing Tatum, while perhaps generically hot to some, is RIDICULOUSLY hot to me.  I was disappointed when 21 Jump Street came and went and there were no gratuitous shots of him.  I can’t go see those Nicholas Sparks movies like Dear John as I just…can’t (I’m not that gay).  But he looked ridiculously hot in the trailers for that.  ANYWAY, it was finally time to see a Channing Tatum movie in which I KNOW he takes not only shirt, but pretty much all his clothes.   Also, Steven Soderbergh is the director, so I had hopes that it would actually be a good movie too.  And oh yeah, Joe Mangienello, Matt Bomer, and Alex Pettyfer (who is majorly douchey but can parade around nearly naked all he wants) take their clothes off.  There’s no way I’m not going to this movie.  I could watch it with no sound.

Quick Plot Summary, Hobie-Style:  A very hot guy (Magic Mike, duh) is trying to get along in the world, working at construction jobs, making custom furniture, and oh yeah, shakes his moneymaker at night.  He meets and introduces a guy to the world of male stripping.  It doesn’t end happily, although some people grow while others…don’t.

What I Thought When Walking Out:  Hmmmm….I don’t want to say that I was disappointed, as I was definitely entertained.  But I guess I wasn’t really ready for a serious movie to emerge from a male stripper movie.  And I think I had unreal expectations that the entire movie would completely take place in the strip club, Xquisite.  And that I’d get to see each guy’s hot HOT hot routine in full surround sound glory.  I realized even then that my expectations were too high and that if I wanted that…go to a gay strip club.  Oh wait, those really don’t exist.  feh.   The movie takes a somewhat dark and somber tone about halfway through when drugs and money enter the picture.  And people end up being more than what you initially thought.

It was all very well done though, and I grudgingly admitted that this was a better way to do a movie like this.  But seriously, they skimmed, SKIMMED through some of the scenes like Joe Mangienello as the world’s hottest firefighter doing a striptease; when Matt Bomer is the hottest surgeon and Navy Captain alive;  when Alex Pettyfer and Matt Bomer are the hottest cowboys ever; OUTRAGE! There was ample Channing Time though, and for that, I’m grateful. And if you like Matthew M, you’ll really like his number.

I don’t need a Fridge Logic section for this review, as really, I reasoned my way through this review right after the movie. It’s a very stylish movie with very hot men getting very undressed.  Yet it’s also a Boogie Nights for the male stripper set, and if you are ready for some well-done drama with your hot hot pecs and biceps, then you will be very pleased.  Obviously, there’s not too much to ruminate on except for the hope that a sequel is in the works….

Would I Recommend This?  Yeah, I would. Even straight guys will probably get a kick out of this (there is plenty of boobage on hand too).  It’s definitely not a gay movie – and I’m completely serious about that.  Yes, hot men take off most of their clothes, but there’s absolutely nothing gay implied by the action.  Maybe that’s why I was disappointed!  I figure that Chippendale’s is mostly staffed by gay guys anyway, but this is a movie, and it’s not meant to be Brokeback Mountain in Tampa.  It’s entertaining, sometimes funny, and has a serviceable plot about what people will do to make it in the world.  All I know….if I had a body like any of these guys, good luck keeping my shirt on!

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