Tag Archives: Matt Bomer

Magic Mike XXL (2015)


I wasn’t as high on 2012’s Magic Mike as most people were, though thanks to director Steven Soderbergh the film turned out to be so much better than it should have been. I don’t think anyone expected a film about male strippers (supposedly a semi-autobiographical take on Channing Tatum’s real-life experiences) was going to be so dark and insightful.

The cash-grabbing sequel, Mike Mike XXL, is essentially what people thought the first film was going to be like. You can tell from the title alone that it’s much less serious and is more of a celebration of male stars stripping down and showing off their hard-earned abs. The message of Magic Mike is that the industry is not as glamorous and fun as it seems, while the message of Magic Mike XXL is, well, it actually is that glamorous and fun after all.

The premise for the sequel is simple. After leaving his stripping career behind and starting his own business, Mike (Tatum) is enticed into one last hurrah with his old gang — the Kings of Tampa — at a stripper convention in Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. The film brings back Joe Manganiello (whose role is expanded to make him the film’s No. 2 behind Tatum), Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez and adds wrestler Kevin Nash, though Matthew McConaughey is gone for good. Also gone is Tatum’s love interest from the first film, played by Cody Horn, replaced by new character Zoe (Amber Heard). Minor roles are filled by celebs such as Jada Pinkett Smith, Andie MacDowell (looking great at 57) and Elizabeth Banks.

Magic Mike XXL is basically a fun road trip movie that’s nowhere as layered or interesting as the original. There are funny and well-executed moments here and there — like solo dance sequences from Tatum and Manganiello — but on the whole the film cannot shake the sense that everyone’s just in it for the cash. There’s no real story, just a patchwork of events. The characters and conversations aren’t particularly compelling. The attempts at drama and female empowerment come across as forced and corny. It’s one of those sequels some people might pretend never existed so they can preserve the memories of the original.

Strictly speaking, Magic Mike XXL isn’t a bad movie. The actors are too good and the execution is too slick for it to fall into that category. And if you like watching hot men take their clothes off — though not full monty or anything like that — you might have a fun time. It’s one of those films that’s best experienced with a group of people, preferably after a few drinks. If you’re expecting anything more you’re likely to be disappointed.

2.5 stars out of 5

Movie Review: In Time (2011)

I am more accepting of average sci-fi movies than most, primarily because I believe having an intelligent, creative premise means you’re almost halfway there.

In Time, the new star-studded sci-fi action film written and directed by Andrew Niccol (best known for Gattaca and Lord of War), has what I think is a brilliant premise — at some time in the future, genetic engineering has enabled humans to stop ageing physically past the age of 25, and the phrase ‘time is money’ has become literal.  All currencies have been replaced by time, which can be earned, spent and gambled just like money.  Everybody has a clock on their forearm that counts down towards zero, and when it hits zero, you die.

Naturally, people want time, and they’re willing to do just about anything to get it.  However, like money, some people have more than they know what to do withy, while others are living day-to-day, not knowing where the next minute or second might come from.  Though not entirely unique (Logan’s Run, for instance, has a similar premise), I found that to be a very compelling idea brimming with potential.

And so I was excited about In Time.  Sure it had Justin Timberlake (the hero from the ghetto), but it also had Amanda Seyfried (the poor little rich girl), Cillian Murphy (the ‘Timekeeper’), Alex Pettyffer (that’s Mr I Am Number Four, as a time stealing thug), Olivia Wilde (I’ll keep her role as a surprise) and that guy from White Collar (Matt Bomer).  Call me optimistic, but I was hoping that it would be this year’s Inception.

Well, I was wrong.  While In Time was not the painfully horrible piece of crap some critics have labelled it to be, it was undoubtedly a frustrating waste of a promising premise.  There were so many interesting places they could have gone with this film, and instead they went down an utterly bizarre path, one that completely underutilised the concepts the premise afforded.

I could forgive all the half-assed sci-fi concepts and stuff that made little sense and had no explanation (like the time transfer mechanism and the whole point of the system), but what I couldn’t ignore was all the false hope that the film built up in the first third but failed to deliver.  And my goodness, the loose ends they just kicked to the curb (Timberlake’s dad, anyone?)!

Timberlake and Seyfried make a cute couple and there are some slick action sequences, but the further the film went along the more disappointed I became in the generic direction it was heading.  Just because there is an emphasis on action and romance doesn’t mean the film cannot also be intelligent and challenge audiences to use their brains a little.

Then again, I suppose if all you’re looking for is a forgettable action sci-fi romp with sexy stars, then In Time might be enough.

2.5 stars out of 5!