Magic Mike (2012) Film Review


Mike (Channing Tatum) is a stripper who secretly dreams of having his own furniture business. Then he befriends an unemployed young man Adam (Alex Pettyfer) and tricks him onstage where he is pressured (by screaming woman and club MC Dallas, played by Matthew McConaughey) into removing his clothes. Then Adam is in despite his sister Brooke (Cody Horn) being unhappy with his choices.

Reverse the roles? This would be a horrifying tale of a woman being led astray by nasties. As it is, well, the male stripping industry is a lot different to the women’s, and this is just like a fun romp that a lot of people really love. I had been told it was a lot better than I’d expect it to be. This pretty much raised me up to the point where I thought it was… ok. The dancing is good (especially Channing Tatum – he has got some good moves), the bodies are very nice to look at, but there were a few things that I found a bit odd. Like, yes, Mike needed an extra guy on stage, but he seemed to readily to become friends with a nineteen-year-old boy who could barely communicate. And why did that hen’s party at the start consist of only two girls – that’s totally tragic! And how is it that all of the women in the audience were beautiful – even the older ones were gorgeous…. Or is that what Florida is like?


Jupiter Ascending (2015) Film Review


Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) works in the US with her Russian mother and aunt cleaning houses and dreaming of a better life. Then aliens come and take her away, most notably Caine (Channing Tatum) and Stinger (Sean Bean). Turns out, she’s royalty, there’s a whole nother world out there where people like Balem (Eddie Redmayne), his brother Titus (Douglas Booth) and sister, Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) rule, and they stay young by harvesting creatures from planets like Earth. And far too much happens, and she ends up (SPOILER ALERT)back home.

This film was so majorly bagged by critics that I think it was in the cinemas for about ten minutes. I got somewhat lost in the story – it seemed that every time Caine saved Jupiter, she turned around and walked away from him, only to discover she’d been betrayed (again!) and he had to save her (again!) and then she’d walk away… Yet I liked it. Channing Tatum is doing another kind of odd performance (after the strangeness that was Foxcatcher), and I felt like chemistry between the two was totally non-existent. But… I just liked it. It was fun, the bureaucracy scene was perfectly wonderful, Eddie Redmayne got to be totally insane in every way (wonderfully so). I felt Mila Kunis was underused – I reckon there is a lot more to her that pretty outfits (although they were amazing) and witty comebacks – although she is one funny lady.


22 Jump Street (2014) Film Review


Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are back. Not being sent into High School this time, but instead to College. And apart from that, everything’s the same. Or is it? No, not really. Then watch just under two hours of self-referential gags about sequels and themselves. And have a few laughs.

It’s not bad. About as good as the first, which was a lot better than I’d have thought it was going to be, but not amazing. It’s clearly a film that they had a lot of fun making, and that made it a lot of fun for me to watch, but I’m certainly not overly keen on seeing it again. But if you do watch it, stick around for the closing title sequence. It’s fun.


Foxcatcher (2014) Film Review


Broken men, oh so many broken men. Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) is an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler, following in the footsteps of his older brother and now coach, David (Mark Ruffalo). Then along comes John du Pont (Steve Carell) a very rich man trying to break free from his disapproving mother Jean du Pont (Vanessa Redgrave) whilst still living in her shadow. He has a passion for wrestling and convinces Mark to come and live and train at his facility. But there is darkness, so much understated but deep darkness and things are bound to end tragically.

It’s a slow movie that underplays key events to the point that if you were to be distracted, you could almost miss important moments. I still haven’t decided what my opinion is about it – certainly, it is a well constructed story, and the lack of soundtrack during most (if not all) of the film works beautifully. But I found the acting, certainly from the three main actors, really stilted and forced. It was almost as if each had several physical characteristics that they had been told to focus on and this drove their performances. Once I got used to this, it was okay, but it took a while.

Foxcatcher was nominated for Oscars for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Steve Carell), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Mark Ruffalo), Best Achievement in Directing (Bennett Miller), Best Writing, Original Screenplay (E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman) and Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling. It was also nominated for Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Steve Carell), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Mark Ruffalo) and BAFTAs for Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo) and Best Supporting Actor (Steve Carell).


White House Down (2013) Film Review


What happens when you get a father who is deeply patriotic and is put into a situation where he needs to make a choice to save either his daughter or the President? Well, if it’s an action film with Channing Tatum, it involves a dirty white singlet, a lot of shooting and explosions and ultimate victory for the good guys. (I don’t think that’s a spoiler, given it is a Hollywood blockbuster action film).

So, Cale (Channing Tatum) is a divorced ex-solider with a really awesome daughter, Emily (Joey King) who is obsessed with everything politics and related to The White House. He has applied for a position as part of the protection detail of President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) and takes Emily to the White House for the interview. However, his interviewer, Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who he went to school with, rejects him for the position, as he is unreliable and hotheaded. But then things go crazy; the White House is taken over by terrorists and no one knows who to trust. Cale is in a position to try to rescue Sawyer, but then he needs to get to his daughter, and things are getting crazy.

This is a good action flick with all the stuff you want and need, some decent twists, a top cast and even a few unexpected bits. You want fun action stuff? Get this.

She’s the Man (2006) Film Review

She's the Man

This is a pretty decent teen comedy, I reckon. There’s a girl, Viola (Amanda Bynes) who is great at soccer, only her school has lost some funding and the girl’s team has been cut. She has a brother, Sebastian (James Kirk) who is ditching his new school for a couple of weeks to go to London, so Viola does some nifty hair and make-up and pretends to be him to get onto the soccer pitch and prove that girls can play with boys. The problem is, she’s rooming with Duke (Channing Tatum), the hot star of the team and gets dragged into a whole big complex set of personal issues.

I really like the work of Amanda Bynes, and when I saw that she hadn’t made a film for a while, I went looking. She’s gone off the rails. Shame, I hope she comes back and makes some more flicks. There is also the always magnificent David Cross as the totally insane principal and Vinnie Jones as the scary coach. The one thing that I felt really let this film down was the sports. All of the trickiness of who is who and where and why and stuff was great (being based on Shakespeare, it’s got a pretty darned good basis), but I did not believe that Viola was a very good soccer player. I think if that had been what the film was about, I’d have been disappointed. As it is, the films about the relationships and being true to yourself. Like any good teen film.

21 Jump Street (2012) Film Review



Two young and hopeless cops get assigned to the Jump Street department that send cops undercover into schools. Trying to bust a drug ring, geeky Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and jock Kenko (Channing Tatum) find themselves getting in too deep and having to go to ridiculous lengths to get the job down.

I accidentally saw half of this (the second half) a while ago and thought it looked terrible. It doesn’t help that I grew up on the original television show with Johnny Depp and was suspicious that this film would ruin the integrity of the original. Even having recently watched the original and realised that what I thought was brilliant television was actually pretty average. And even with a brief cameo from Johnny and his mate Peter DeLuise, I couldn’t bear giving it another try.

How wrong I was! This is a really fun film. Stupid, ridiculous and unbelievable, but also totally aware of this. There were elements of this that reminded me of The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy – silly action, hilarious banter, just good old fun times.