More Than Just Stripping
Magic Mike - Warner Bros. - Blu-ray and DVD
Release Date: Jun 29, 2012
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Matthew McConaughey. Full cast + crew
Magic Mike is at its best when it's not trying to be anything other than story of a good guy (Channing Tatum), his new friend (Alex Pettyfer) and the male strip club he happens to work in. It's genuinely funny, Tatum is great and likeable throughout, the supporting cast holds their own, and all of the strip scenes make sense and aren't nearly as salacious as you might think considering all the buzz of bored housewives seeing the movie over and over in raucous theater screenings.
However, Magic Mike does reach a point where it's as though the movie goes, "Wait a second, I'm a Hollywood movie. I need to have some conflict!" and then things become a little less interesting once random drama is shoved into the story. Overall, though, it's a smart, enjoyable movie that's got more going for it than just a cast of hot, shirtless men.
Special Features: If you do think the movie isn't tawdry enough, there are three "full extended" dance sequences, plus a Dance Play Mode that strings all the dances together into a 19-minute long playlist.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is the kind of movie I'm surprised even exists. Sure, with 2012 around the corner the apocalypse is on everyone's mind, but even still, there's a more subdued, morose edge that runs through this movie than you'd expect. It looks like a standard rom-com starring Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley, but really it's a bittersweet, dark comedy peppered with death. It's good, just don't expect to walk away with the same smile you'd get from, say, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
It's strangely coincidental that the documentary The Ambassador hits today as well, as it shares a similar sort of downbeat humor as Seeking a Friend. On the one hand, it's a funny movie about a rich white guy doing unbelievable things in Africa. Once you think about the implications of it, though, it just becomes a funny, defeated kind of sad. Again, a good movie, just not an upper. And that trend continues with Take This Waltz, the latest from director Sarah Polley. So, if you're in the mood for a movie starring funny people that knows how to blend laughs with pain, you've got three to pick from this week.
On the genre front you've got the box office bomb Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter; the cult-favorite waiting to happen, The Devil's Carnival; and Wrong Turn 5, a sequel to a series that apparently will not die (though it certainly deserves to). Oh, and Madea's Witness Protection. Depending on your tastes, that might count as a horror movie, too.
And finally in the world of new releases we have Disney's Secret of the Wings, a straight-to-video movie that focuses on Tinker Bell and her friend Periwinkle. It's not exactly a new Disney Animation classic, but it should certainly appeal to the little ones in the house, particularly if they're into either 3D movies or fairies.
Even More Blade Runner
It seems like just yesterday that a new Blade Runner Blu-ray came out, but it's actually been nearly five years since the last major release for Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic. Oh how the time flies. For this new Blu-ray set, the 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition, Warner Bros. has put together a rather nice little package that includes all five different versions of the film from over the years (including The Final Cut), as well as a 72-page art book, all of the 10-plus hours of bonus materials from the 25th Anniversary release, and the Dangerous Days documentary that was not previously available on the last set. It also includes a collectible Spinner car replica, and a collectible motion lenticular card.
Now, most of the new material this time is entirely physical, so if you own the five-disc set that came out five years ago, you're not going to be getting a massive upgrade in content. However, if you don't own Blade Runner yet, this is now the definitive Blu-ray set to own. It's got a ton of features, the presentation is gorgeous, and the physical items are all high quality.
I, Robot Goes 3D
Alex Proyas' I, Robot is not a great movie. Will Smith seems oddly miscast as a homicide detective who is too cool for the future, the script is more than cheesy in spots, and the action choreography suffers from arguably the worst case of "Just do it like they do it in the Matrix" ever. However, even with all of those problems, it's a fun, light sci-fi romp about a robot uprising.
20th Century Fox did a tremendous job post-converting the entire film to 3D. You'd never once doubt that it wasn't a native 3D production, and has noticeably more consistent depth to it than some modern 3D movies I've seen on the Blu-ray 3D format. Is that enough to make any I, Robot haters suddenly love the movie? No, certainly not. But, if you've been a casual fan of the film all these years and you happen to own a 3D TV, this is certainly a worthy disc to add to your collection.