Tag Archives: Channing Tatum

Smallfoot

Shocking information of the day: Smallfoot is actually quite charming.

Also shocking:  I heard Milli Vanilli on the radio this morning. Unironic, unabashed Milli Vanilli from start to finish. Girl you know it’s true. I told Matt, of course, which obligated us to watch all their (3) videos and tumble down the rabbit hole of shoulder pads and dance moves. Which had us thinking about all our favourite cheesy 90s music, and that moment we discovered what sampling was (looking at you, Will Smith) and that embarrassing time in my life when I’d hear the opening beat and pray to Zeus that it was about to be Vanilla Ice and not that annoying song by Queen & Bowie. Can you imagine? Even being 6 doesn’t excuse that level of ignorance.

But back to the movie.

Migo is a BIGfoot, a happy-go-lucky guy, excited to be the next gong ringer in his bigfoot village above the clouds at the top of the mountain. They’re a rule-abiding, no-question-asking society until one day Migo (Channing Tatum) sees a plane crash (“flying thingie”) and a human (“smallfoot”) tumble out, and all the things he believed to be true were called into question. The Stonekeeper (Common) wears a robe that’s inscribed with all MV5BM2ZkM2MwYTQtYTNhNi00MWRjLThjMWItZDljNDg2ZjE5ZDFkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTc5OTMwOTQ@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,744_AL_the village laws, and the robe says Smallfoots don’t exist. For once in his life, Migo disobeys the stone laws and gets cast out of town for sticking to his guns. Only the village crackpots\conspiracy theorists believe him, but they turn out to have a beautiful leader, Meechee (Zendaya), so Migo is persuaded to jump either to his death or his edification on behalf of the Smallfoot Evidentiary Society, over the mountain and through the clouds. Down, down he goes. He falls so far he can’t sustain his scream; it falters so he can rest his voice.

Below, he finds the Smallfoot (James Corden) but would you believe that only gets him in a whole whack of trouble?

Smallfoot has some delightful animation. Dozens of Bigfoots mean millions of hairs to animate, but they add up to a metric fucktonne of cuteness. There are some pretty good songs too – the first two numbers are poppy and catchy, the numbers choreographed with maximum fun. They burst with happiness. And then a third song. The opening beat…sounds familiar. Wait, is this about to be Ice Ice Baby, or Under Pressure? You’re wrong either way. James Corden changes up the lyrics so that fans of both are equally appeased\disappointed. But even when the musical numbers dissipate, the action and the story hold up. Our no-nosed yeti friends are a lot of fun, even if they have to learn some hard lessons about truth and who exactly it protects.

Smallfoot makes us wait longer than usual for the requisite fart joke, and it has some beautiful messaging integral to its story. Common tells us “the only thing stronger than fear is curiosity.” Once that curiosity is unleashed, the Bigfoots learn to put a dicey past behind them and overcome their fear to take care of each other despite their differences. I had no expectations for the movie Smallfoot which perhaps made it even sweeter when it turned out to be cute and funny and nearly everything you’d want from a kids movie – plus or minus a few pooping yak jokes.

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The Vow

Oh The Vow. I see that you want to crawl up inside my vagina, manipulate my lady hormones, and convince me to buy movie tickets and packets of kleenex and ample ice cream, and quite possibly those handbags that the camera keeps inexplicably dwelling on. You’re a cheap ploy in romance clothing, but I’ve got your number.

The Vow thinks having two attractive leads is enough for you to believe in their love. He looks good, she looks good, what more could they want? The movie sets the bar low for itself but still  manages to tumble far, far beneath it.

Item #1: When she is sick, he leaves her a box of ‘get well’ goodies, containing, and I can hardly believe I’m about to write this: lingerie. Which is a subtle way of saying: I think you’re gross right now, but I look forward to fucking you again in the future when you’re useful to me again. He does not hand her this box, merely leaves her to discover it while he waits a plate-glass away. Not only is that unromantic, it’s completely misguided and for me, would be an automatic break-up. You know what’s romantic? Risking her germs to actually be present when she’s sick. Letting her know that you love her whether you currently find her fuckable or not. Loving her whether she’s currently well enough to blow you or not. Loving her enough to be in the same room as her in sickness and in health. THAT’S romantic. Or, you know, basic human decency.

Item #2: When he farts in the car, she rolls up the window. Okay, I’m gagging right MV5BMjI4NTQ4MDIxMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTAzNDUzNw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_now because yes, that’s played as romantic in this twisted little shit of a movie, when in fact that’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen on film, and I’ve seen Matthew McConaughey receive some poultry-related fellatio, so keep that in mind. Hot boxing farts is romantic? No. Holding it in until you’re in a bathroom is romantic. Sticking to turkey at Thanksgiving to avoid ham farts on the car ride home later (sorry for outing you, Sean) is romantic. Or, you know, basic human decency.

The Vow, because if you don’t already know it, it’s probably not apparent, is about a couple, Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum), who fall in love because every thing they do is just so damned romantic. Except for the car crash that nearly kills them, and leaves her without a memory. Or, at least, without a memory of him, their entire relationship just wiped out. The doctors seem to agree that this is a thing that can happen even though I suspect she’s just tired of his constant need to come up with new ways to plausibly be shirtless. But anyway. He’s still deeply in love with his wife, but his wife thinks he’s no better than a stranger. So she elects to go home with her parents instead since she doesn’t remember they’re estranged, and they’re pretty eager to pretend they’re not (Jessica Lange and Sam Neill are the sole touch of class to this movie and are completely, egregiously wasted – the movie would be vastly improved by writing out Tatum and McAdams completely and focusing on the talented, veteran actors instead. Alas.).

So: does he try to win her back, or does he do the kind thing and let her go? His friends are of two minds: a) she doesn’t remember all the stupid shit he’s done, like the car farts b) can he really get her to fall in love with him again? Paige has reverted to some juvenile or naive former version of herself and doesn’t seem willing to give him the time of day (in fact, has her eye on an old boyfriend, the smug Bradley Cooper type who is apparently played by Scott Speedman when production runs out of money). And stupid Leo’s ONE movie consists of an expensive box of chocolates that I don’t know how they afford because she’s an artist and he owns a recording studio which means they’re basically unemployed and broke AF, and a guessing game that even Forrest Gump would have found immature.

What happens in the movie doesn’t matter because it’s boring and predictable and full of shit. Even the real life people upon whom the story is based don’t like it because the film erases their Christianity, and Rachel McAdams says fuck. And I don’t like it because it preys upon the lonely, romantic saps who just want to believe in true love, and then feed them a barrel full of horse manure and label it truffles. Baloney.

However, I have enjoyed taunting Sean about whether or not he could win me over in the case of amnesia. I mean, what if I woke up with standards? Hopefully we’ll never know. And hopefully it doesn’t take head trauma for you to realize that flatulence should never be part of courtship. Hopefully we’re all living better lives than the doomed couple in this movie – this is the kind of “romantic” movie that causes single people to gloat and everyone else hang their heads real low.

 

Logan Lucky

Jay-Z announced his retirement from the rap game in 2003 with his Black Album. He was back three years later. Barbara Streisand retired from public performance in 2000 but has since toured the world not once but twice. Clint Eastwood declared his intention to retire from acting after 2008’s Gran Torino “You always want to quit while you are ahead” — then appeared in the forgettable 2012 movie Trouble With the Curve. Alec Baldwin wrote “Goodbye, public life” in New York Magazine but made three movies the following year. Shia LaBeouf infamous marked his 2014 retirement with his “I’m not famous anymore” campaign, then signed up for a movie role 3 weeks later. Cher embarked on a 3-year farewell tour, then signed up for Las Vegas residency as soon as it ended. Michael Jordan retired from basketball, played a little baseball, then went back to basketball. Point being: fools keep retiring, then unretiring. Director Steven Soderbergh belongs on the list, after telling everyone in 2013 that he’d lost his passion for film making, and that was it for him. Logan Lucky is the movie that brought him out of “retirement” – was it worth it?

loganluckybros.0Having directed Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve AND Thirteen (and producing the upcoming Eight), Soderbergh is no stranger to heist movies, but considers this one to be their “anti-glam” cousin. Logan Lucky’s characters are gritty, the setting low-rent, the heist a lot less slick – but not uninteresting.

The Logan family consists of brothers Jimmy (Channing Tatum) and Clyde (Adam Driver), and little sister Mellie (Riley Keough). They’re known locally for the Logan family curse; Clyde believes the bad luck sets in just as things start to pick up for them. He recently lost an arm just as his deployment was ending in Iraq. Jimmy, meanwhile, has just lost his job at the mines where he uncovered a bunch of tubes that blast cash money from a NASCAR speedway to an underground bank vault. You can practically see the light bulb go BING! above his head. Soon he’s plotting an elaborate sting that will reverse the family’s fortunes. The one little hitch in is plan is that the heist requires the expertise of Joe Bang, bomb maker (Daniel Craig). And it just so happens that Joe Bang’s in prison. Which means to pull of the heist, they first have to break Joe out of (and then back into) prison.

The caper’s afoot! Logan Lucky has a fun ensemble cast that keep things spicy. The film works because Soderbergh reaches for his familiar bag of tricks: a zippy pace, an almost zany plot. These characters are perhaps not the cleverest, they’re reaching above their pay grade. Half the fun is watching things go wonky. Instead of plot twists, Logan Lucky is peppered with…shall we call them mishaps? Small calamities that keep you groaning, and guessing. It’s almost farcical, and to that end, it’s well-cast. The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, and Daniel Craig is its shining, absurd beacon, stealing all the scenes he’s in and making you anticipate his next one when we’re following someone else.

Unfortunately, the movie really loses steam during its last act. Introducing Hilary Swank as the detective pursuing the case feels both rushed and drawn-out at the same time, somehow. Plus she’s kind of awful. But you know what? The film’s final 10 seconds save the whole damn thing, the cinematic equivalent of a smirk and a wink, and I fell for it.

Welcome back, Mr. Soderbergh.

 

Side Effects

Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) is trying very hard to be happy. Her husband (Channing Tatum) is newly released from prison and they can resume their lives together. But happiness isn’t coming easy: Emily is depressed, and suicidal. She begins seeing a new doctor side-effects-A032_C011_0101LT_rgb1(Jude Law) who prescribes an anti-depressant called Ablixa. Ablixa’s causing some strange side effects though. Worrisome side effects. Violent side effects.

Side Effects is a smart, well-crafted thriller by Steven Soderbergh. He’s heavily influenced by Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction and hits all the right marks for a taut, twisty little thing. He’s not big on making a statement about pharmaceuticals or psychiatry or mental illness, any of which might have been appropriate.

I forgot how much I liked this movie. It was supposedly Soderbergh’s last, 37B68FB400000578-3766104-image-a-41_1472601500752and it seemed one he could be proud to go out on. TV stuff notwithstanding. But now, at the ripe old age of 53, he’s “come out of retirement” to do Logan Lucky, the new Daniel Craig\Sebastian Stan\Channing Tatum\Katherine Heigl\Adam Driver\Hilary Swank Nascar-heist movie.

But back to Side Effects. The first half is about guilt and mental health: how they interact in a doctor’s office, and in a court of law. The second half is a little more Alfred Hitchcock than Adrian Lyne. Things come unglued. The second half is less successful than the first but a fun, b4b4cec15c78289caf1c4442df99b616engrossing watch. The anxiety is ratcheted up expertly, with Soderbergh always in control. Rooney Mara is a terrific actress and she coasts ably over any rough terrain. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jude Law keep up. Soderbergh stays at the top of his game as well – true, he circumnavigates truth and exploration in favour of entertainment, but it’s forgivable. It’s always forgivable when it’s this fun to watch.

Magic Mike XXL

(You don’t have to watch this video, you should just hit play and let this be the soundtrack for the post)

 

I saw the first Magic Mike accidentally-on purpose and barely lived to tell the tale. I’d never meant to see the movie. Not my thing, and aside from a mild curiosity about Mr. McConaughey’s involvement, I could have lived a happy life never having seen it. But then one (Canadian) Thanksgiving we were drivifirstng home from Boston having just watched the Patriots slaughter the Broncos and stayed the night in a hotel (motel? Holiday Inn?) with very limited options. We ordered a not very good pizza and settled in to watch a not very good movie.

I’m just not titillated by male strippers. I’m not often titillated by the male body, period. I enjoy my husband’s body a great deal and could drink him in all day long, but that’s different. It’s not fetishistic. I have never seen a man who looks good in a thong. Never. And last night in Magic Mike XXL I saw at least a dozen buff men dancing around in them, and nothing. Well, not true. Nothing would be an upgrade. I was turned off. It’s a turn-off. And when the thing that’s meant anigif_enhanced-32388-1423016284-12to be sexy ends up soliciting a laugh instead, you’ve pretty much killed the moment.

And there was A LOT of moment-killing in this movie. Because the truth is, I’m not really excited by male dancers either. I mean, I’m pretty sure that 98% of male dancers are gay, and about 99.9% of male strippers are gay, and somehow this movie assembles America’s only hetero male entertainers into one beefy troupe, sharing chest-waxingly, body oilingly super straight good times. Me? I prefer a man who can’t dance. Can’t, but will. A man who can dance will always arouse my suspicions.

And while we’re at it, I’m not really into the whole hard body phenomenon either. I get that I’m supposed to find it attractive, but I just don’t. That body makes me think this guy is going to take8a87cd389adfbcfd194055961de8b998 me to dinner, order a salad with dressing on the side, and then pick at it while he sniffs at my bleeding steak. And that he’ll spend three hours a day at the gym, leaving me to watch The Mindy Project alone. And that his eyes will seek out his own reflection instead of mine. And what use is a man who isn’t checking me out?

So yeah, Magic Mike isn’t exactly aimed at people like me. I think it’s marketed to housewives but appreciated by a certain 10% of men who shall remain nameless. But they’re definitely doing their best to draw a female audience; certainly the female fans in the movie are more robust than ever, covering a multitude of body shapes and colours and ages (and a sinfully wonderful though underused Andie McDowell), speaking directly to the audience it hopes to tap. And this sequel is a little lesmagicgifs self-conscious than the first. It doesn’t get in on the joke exactly, but it takes itself a little less seriously, or at least that’s how I’ve interpreted the lack of script or plot.

Sorry Channing Tatum and company (the boys who didn’t have speaking parts in the first film but who must step up to fill the holes left by Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer in the second), but you aren’t exactly known for your improv prowess. But we all know the scenes between dance numbers are just filler, and this isn’t really even trying to be a movie so much as a soft-core musical montage. But every time the music started up, I blushed and averted my eyes. Oh lord, I’d think, again? Yes, again. And again. And again. There’s more self-fondling, shirt-ripping, edible props, self-tanner, and earnest eyebrow plucking than you can shake a stick at. anigif_enhanced-9518-1423015935-4Tatum’s convinced that you think he’s handsome in his backwards cap, and it becomes ubiquitous. There are so many gyrations with penis stand-ins that I couldn’t make eye contact with anyone for hours after leaving the theatre. I’m not a prude, I just have a low tolerance for people embarrassing themselves. I’m not sure if I’ve just seen the gayest straight movie or the straightest gay one, and it doesn’t really matter. This is just not a sausage party I care to be invited to.

 

Cop Movies!

Sean

TMPThere’s nothing like cop week to get the dirty taste of dance movies out of your mouth! Thanks Wandering Through the Shelves for sponsoring yet another thoughtful Thursday theme, and for giving me the perfect excuse for subjecting my wife to all the explodey movies she normally turns her cute little nose up at.
badboys

Bad Boys: Mike & Marcus (Will Smith & Martin Lawrence) are two “loose cannon” cops, not to mention best friends, who spend so much time together they sound like an old married couple – the kind constantly threatening to get a divorce. But damn if they don’t pull together in times of trouble! Legend has it that this script was originally intended for Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey – now just imagine that movie for a minute, if you will.

heatHeat: Bank robbers start to feel “the heat” from cops when their latest robbery turns out to be a little sloppy. Lieutenant Al Pacino is on to them but Robert De Niro needs one last heist before he can retire (isn’t that always the way?). Then of course De Niro makes his fatal mistake – he goes against the golden rule ‘Never have anything in your life that you can’t walk out on in thirty seconds flat, if you spot the heat coming around the corner.’ Die-Hard-quotes-8

Die Hard: It’s Die Hard, what else do you have to say? It’s Christmas AND he’s off duty (plus he’s NYPD visiting LA), but John McClane (Bruce Willis) is still a bad-ass motherfucker who will single-handedly END YOU.

Jay

I watched a lot of cop movies this week and it turns out that a lot of my favourite jams just happen to have cops in them. Actually, if you look hard enough, probably there’s a cop or two in nearly every movie. There were cops in dance movie Billy Elliot, and cops in teen comedy Superbad, and more cops than you can shake a stick at in the black and white movies we watched a while back. They’re everywhere, even in outer space, but above all, they’re immediately below 🙂
Fargo Marge Gunderson is probably my favourite cop-hero of all time. She doesn’t do the ass-slide over the hoods of cars, she doesn’t use karate to subdue perps twice her size, and she doesn’t cause millions of dollars in damage as she careens her car wildly through populated city fargostreets. She’s just a quiet woman getting er done – you know, kind of like a real cop would do. Frances McDormand is crazy-talented, and I love watching her waddle through this movie with her quaint sense of humour, her helmet hair, the meals she shares with her husband. She doesn’t thump her chest or swing her dick around but she’s persistent and dogged and we enjoy watching her unravel this case – poor used car salesman Jerry (William H. Macy); he never really stood a chance against such a humbly formidable opponent.

The Departed This one is kind of on the other end of the spectrum, isn’t it? Two young cops join the force – one, Matt Damon, has a pristine record but works as a mole for mob boss Jack Nicholson. The other, Leonardo DiCaprio, comes from a rough background which helps him go deep under cover, infiltrating the gang, and feeding information back to the only two cops who thedepartedknow he’s actually a good guy – Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg. What ends up happening is that these two chase each other, relentlessly trying to uncover the mole while staying hidden themselves. It’s tense, degrading work, and losing means you pay with your life. Honestly, my favourite cop is probably the one played by Mark Wahlberg. He just goes so off the hook, unpredictable, balls to the wall, you have to admire it. The ending leads me to believe that he’s not clean. But is he a disgruntled ex-cop gone rogue or is he somebody’s rat? Either way, “If a gun is pointed at you, it doesn’t matter if you’re a cop or a criminal.”

21 Jump Street Aaaaaand switching gears again, one of my favourite cop buddy movies of recent years, and probably ever (although, for the record, I also super love Hot Fuzz, and if Matt hadn’t jumped on it, I’d have tried my best to beat Sean to it).  This movie is self-referential and 21jumpstreetmocks the very genre it masters, but it’s never a mere homage. It’s smarter than a spoof, much like Hot Fuzz I suppose, and isn’t afraid to pay respect to its roots, embracing them even, and making them part of the fun. There’s never a moment when the film stops winking at us, trading in the cop movie clichés for cops in bike shorts doing slow-speed chases through grass, having cases thrown out on sad technicalities (“You have the right to remain an attorney.” – “Well, you DO have the right to be an attorney if you want to.”), bullet-riddled tankers that somehow fail to explode. I didn’t like Channing Tatum before this, and I still only like him in this (and I believe that includes the sequel) but for some reason the chemistry between he and Jonah Hill just really works.

Matt

As long as I can rembmer, I wanted to be a cop. I used to play cops and robbers in the schoolyard- usually with people who didn’t even know they were playing. When I was about to 12 I had to rethink my career goals when I realized that my eyesight wasn’t nearly good enough and would never be able to drive a car or see who I’m shooting at but the dream was fun while it lasted. I didn’t know much about police work back then but I did watch a lot of cop movies. Thanks to Wandering Through the Shelves for giving me an excuse to revisit them this week.

In the Heat of the Night (1967)- In the Heat of the Night is nearly 50 years old but its oepning scenes couldn’t be timelier. There’s been a murder in Sparta, Mississippi and the police go out and arrest the first black man they see. Of course, the suspect turns out to be an off-duty Philadelphia homicide detective who they call Mr. Tibbs. If Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger’s characters ever managed to become buddies, this wouIn the Heat of the Nightld have been a contender for the best cop buddy movie of all time. Instead, What we get instead is much more interesting- a classic that manages to say a lot about race relations in the deep South in a time where you had to pretty careful what you said about race in the deep South. Best of all, it never forgets to deliver an engaging murder mystery

Hot FuzzHot Fuzz (2007)– According to TV ads, Hot Fuzz is “from the guys who have watched every action movie ever made”. Satire works best when a writer understands its subject so Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg were smart enough to take aim at a genre that they clearly knew well- and loved! Pegg plays a big city cop witha love of police work who is paired with a smalltown cop with a love of police movies (espeically Bad Boys 2). You can feel the love for buddy movies in almost every scene as Wright does his best to recreate the look and feel of a mainstream action movie and filling it with unexpected laugh-out loud moments throughout. To me, this is still pegg and Wrse7enight’s funniest movie.

Se7en (1995)– Between Sean and I, we have three picks from 1995 – a year that seems to have been a golden age for cop movies. Unlike most movies about serial killers, the cops (played of course by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt)- not the killings- are the focus. Freeman, days away from retirement, has lost faith in humanity long before John Doe’s first killing and Pitton his first week on the job, still believes he can make a difference. Over the course of one week and seven brutal killings, both men will have to examine their beliefs. Se7en also has the distinction of being the first film in director David Fincher’s twenty-year winning streak. The final “What’s in the box?” scene is so powerful that even Pitt’s overacting couldn’t derail it.

22 Jump Street

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are just so fun together.22_Jump_Street_3

There’s nothing ground-breaking going on here but the good news is, here’s a sequel that won’t make you hate the original. It brings back almost exactly what you loved about the first movie, capitalizing on the bromantic chemistry between the two leads, and not confusing the audience with fresh writing, original scenarios, or new jokes.

Tatum has a big, innocent smile that make stupid look good. Hill milks the socially awkward thing for all it’s worth, usually taking it a step beyond what most people would find reasonable or comfortable and pulling it off because no one flounders quite as endearingly as he does. These two are making interesting career choices but they know what’s bankable and this franchise certainly is.

Just as self-referential as the first was (the directors risk nothing, replicate everything), you still can’t help but fall for it all, needless as it may be. It’s zany and implausible but if you’re not laughing, something’s wrong with you.