At the risk of starting off way too in the weeds into Magic Mike lore, it was the reprise of Ginuwine’s “Pony” toward the end of Magic Mike’s Last Dance that cemented for me why this trilogy capper left me so underwhelmed. “Pony” became something of a theme song for the Magic Mike films, it being the signature song the titular male entertainer Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) dances too in the first film. It returns in this third installment, and it is certainly there solely as a fan nod. Thematically, the song holds a special meaning in Mike’s tumultuous journey through the exploitative and soul-crushing realities of late-stage capitalism, a meaning that is entirely lost in Last Dance.
In Magic Mike XXL, Mike performs a brief dance to the song when it comes on in his workshop – he begins the second film fighting for Continue reading Magic Mike’s Last Dance (2023) Movie Review →
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is, like its predecessor Kingsman: The Secret Service, a violence-obsessed take on the James Bond formula. In the same Bond vein, the plot revolves around a megalomaniac’s scheme to decimate the world population and the spies who follow the convoluted path to stop the evil plan in time.
The evil plan involves the chipper and sociopathic leader of a drug cartel (Julianne Moore) whose latest batch of drugs infects its users with Continue reading Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) Movie Review →
Steven Soderbergh marks his return to feature filmmaking after his reported retirement with Logan Lucky, a heist film in the same stylistic vein as his Oceans films. Instead of the lavish cityscape and bright lights of Las Vegas, however, in Logan Lucky we are treated with rural North Carolina. The high security casino: replaced by a low security NASCAR race track.
The lead figure in this heist is Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), who sees a crack in the system of pressure tubes that carry money from the race track to a nearby bank vault and decides to Continue reading Logan Lucky (2017) Movie Review →
In Hail Caesar!, the latest from the Coen Brothers, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is an actor during the Golden Age of Hollywood. He is introduced on-screen in a meta framing—a screening within a screening—portraying a Roman leader in a historical epic a la Spartacus. During filming of this movie, Whitlock is drugged and kidnapped.
Hail Caesar! is the Coen Brothers’ love letter to classical Hollywood cinema. The standard genres of the period are represented: Westerns, historical epics, Broadway musical adaptations, bourgeois romance, etc.
The structural issue of this love letter is that Continue reading Hail Caesar! (2016) Movie Review →