Category Archives: Musical

Magic Mike (2012)


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Magic Mike

Magic Mike

Set in the world of male strippers, Magic Mike is directed by Steven Soderbergh and stars Channing Tatum in a story inspired by his real life. The film follows Mike (Tatum) as he takes a young dancer called The Kid (Pettyfer) under his wing and schools him in the fine arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money. — (C) Warner Bros.

I figured I’d watch this one eventually, though I was in no hurry. Still, it got some great reviews so I assumed it would be worth the time. I was wrong.

There is not enough dancing to make this a fun, musical romp. Were it to focus more on the club & dance routines, I could at least appreciate it on that level. By trying to add some deeper, dramatic narrative, they set the bar higher . . .

. . . and fell far short.

This is not a convincing drama. It is not compelling love story. Perhaps if they had spent less time on the club & dance routines, they could have focused on telling a good story.

In far too many scenes the dialogue just d-r-a-g-s along, as if the actors are doing a lazy table-reading and keep losing their places on the page. There are some fine actors in this cast, yet they are so poorly used that McConaughey (who built his career on wooden, one-dimensional characters) actually gives the most convincing performance.

The major players in this drama repeatedly make bad decisions, making it very difficult to care what happens to them in the end. Even our “hero” is unlovable for any reason beyond his ripped body and accomplished dance moves.

We are supposed to care that Mike wants to make furniture out of junk, but we never see enough of that side of him to believe it – and the finished pieces they show are pretty blah. We are to feel for his plight trying to save money for, and get a loan toward, this dream – but we don’t know what he actually needs money for. More junk? We are to just accept that while he is alley catting around, he is somehow finding love with a chick that he repeatedly disappoints – and with whom he has zero in common.

Can’t really imagine recommending it to many folks, so based on the Word of Mouth Scale it get half a star.

Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 80%; Audience 63%

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Music & Lyrics (2007)


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Music & Lyrics

Music & Lyrics

Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) is a cynical and self-deprecating former pop idol (the hilarious opening video introduces his ’80s new wave band Pop!) who is now playing the nostalgia circuit, but has maintained enough dignity to turn down an appearance on a “Battle of the ’80s Has-Beens” TV reality show.

Sweet and saccharine, pedestrian and pedantic. Yet, Grant and Barrymore are quite charming enough to pull it off.

Only 3 stars because it is completely a chick-flick. I watched this one a while ago, and I don’t think D watched it with me. I am fairly certain he would have rolled his eyes a time or two. However, if you enjoy romantic comedy (or Hugh Grant in tight pants) you will be glad you rented this one.

I mean, who doesn’t want some love and romance, especially if it’s indulgent and totally unbelievable?
~ Toddy Burton, Austin Chronicle

I should mention that for a movie about music, the tunes are pretty lame.

Rotten Tomatoes: critics 64%; users 78%

Burn The Floor (1999)

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Burn the Floor

Burn The Floor

This is exactly the kind of thing I should love; dancing, music, big production. Unfortunately, the dancing is mediocre, the music is tired, the productions are pointless.

The choreography was about on par with what you would find in a high school production, particularly one where they are intent on keeping all the students on stage the whole time.

The costuming was trying way too hard to be ‘hip’ – as if they figured making it edgy would make it artistic.

I can’t give this anything on the WOM Scale; my friends that like dancing and classical music would be turned of by the edginess, my friends who like edgy would not be interested in the dancing and music…..

Rotten Tomatoes: Critics N/A; Audience 78%

Beyond The Sea (2004)

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Beyond The Sea

It gets half a lip for the times it made me laugh, even if it was unintentional

I was intrigued when I heard Kevin Spacey was making a movie about Bobby Darin – Spacey is a good actor, Darin is an interesting subject..ought to be good, right? WRONG!

Beyond The Sea is possibly the worst movie I have seen in the last 10 years. Possibly worse than a bunch of movies I haven’t seen. In fact, I think the only way to make this movie worse would have been to cast Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in it.

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De-Lovely (2004)

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I have been curious to see this movie since I heard it was in the works. Kevin Kline is always fun to watch, and Ashley Judd (as much of a dip as she may be) is ridiculously beautiful. The story of Cole Porter’s life is one that lends itself to movie making.

Unfortunately, the story has never been well told. This telling was a bit too “All That Jazz” in it’s presentation. I enjoyed the technique in that movie, don’t get me wrong, but it’s already been done – and much more effectively. I did enjoy Jonathan Pryce in the role of ‘host’, but he is no Ben Vereen (the host in All That Jazz).

I enjoyed De-Lovely, and I am glad I watched it, but it was not the movie it could have (or should have) been. The only two people in my life that I would recommend it to watched it with me, so on the Word of Mouth Scale it only rates one.

I think perhaps my disappointment may have been fueled by the songs, made over by contemporary artists. Singers who are not up to the task. Alanis Morrisette’s version of “Let’s Do It” is particularly painful. Sheryl Crow has nowhere near the vocal talent required for “Begin The Beguine”. Whether it was the performers or the arrangers, the wink and a smile that Porter wrote into his songs is sadly absent on most of the film tracks. The interpretations feature affectations that would not have been heard in that era.

Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 48%; Audience 61%