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The only thing gay about it is if you like it too much!

Of course I was going to see Magic Mike. Steven Soderbergh is interesting even when he shits the bed. Thankfully, Magic Mike is not that film. And yes, it’s a real-deal bona fide film. This isn’t Burlesque for dudes (and no I never saw that movie). It’s more like the Goodfellas of male stripper movies. Cuz there are so many of those. That may seem like high praise but I’m not trying to say that this is as seminal as Goodfellas, just that it’s closer to that in terms of style and tone than it is some cheesy story of discovered talent and subsequent rise and fall of the talented. The only thing cheesy about Magic Mike is the name. Yes you’ll see more chaps’ asses and assless chaps than you perhaps bargained for, but it is about male strippers after all.

And that’s the surface draw of the movie, which will make tons of money off the voyeurism of women tickled by the concept. And why not? The only thing bad about that is there’s no way as many men see this as should do. Because the real draw is everything in the package, including the fucking male strippers. It’s filled with great performances from great actors, even one or two surprises (two if you haven’t already seen 21 Jump Street). It’s artfully directed, the story is the center and not the stripping, and the naturalistic dialogue is refreshing and keeps the whole thing feeling real and grounded. Like I said, it’s a bona fide film. Just happens to be dealing with a subject that 90% of frightened, latently homophobic lads are going to struggle with reconciling themselves to. Which is too bad cuz they’re missing out.

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The chemistry between these two is a highlight of the film.

In Time is a movie that is so of the moment that it feels like it had to be on purpose though how Andrew Niccol (writer and director, also see the amazing Gattaca) could have predicted Occupy Wall Street is anyone’s guess. Maybe when he sat down to do the screenplay, he saw the writing on the wall. However it came to be, In Time has arrived just as an entire generation seems to have grown immensely tired of the abuses run rampant in America’s economic system. It is very much a movie for them, but also a loudspeaker for everybody who is sympathetic to the idea that our zero-sum capitalism is harmful. It nicely outlines some of the reasons why there are protest movements over the distribution of wealth and the subsequent balance of power in the United States and elsewhere. Because the film is populated entirely by young actors, a quirk provided by the premise, it also feels like a product of youth and as if it is speaking most directly to us. This combination is a powerful political cocktail and I hope that In Time catches on because it does have a lot to say to us, in this moment, now. Aside from all that, it’s an excellent movie that knows exactly how to walk the line between its lighter and heavier elements. Read the rest of this entry »

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