July 11, 2015

Tag Archives: channing tatum

“Magic Mike XXL” is one of the most purely entertaining films of the summer

There are few franchises with less likely of a crossover appeal than Magic Mike. The first one shocked many by engaging both critics and audiences alike, myself included. Today, the sequel Magic Mike XXL opens, and go figure, it’s a great film as well. Magic Mike took the idea of a story about male strippers and filtered it through the distinctive lens of filmmaker Steven Soderbergh, opting to make it as much or more about money and economic hardship/the quest for prosperity than about the dancing. Magic Mike XXL is almost the exact counterpoint to that, going for a party feel and celebrating the dancing/lifestyle in the process. It shouldn’t work, but Channing Tatum and company really make it soar.
Though very loose on plot, this one does pick up three years after Magic Mike ended. The title character Mike is now out of the game, but single again. His former co-workers get a reunion of sorts going with him and before long he’s on a road trip with Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tarzan (Kevin Nash), Tito (Adam Rodriguez), and Tobias (Gabriel Iglesias). They’re headed to a stripping convention in Myrtle Beach, dancing and partying along the way. Aside from Tatum in the title role, the cast also includes Amber Heard, Jada Pinkett Smith, Donald Glover, Andie MacDowell, Michael Strahan, and others. Soderbergh no longer directs, but he’s the DP and editor for longtime assistant Gregory Jacobs, who’s at the helm here. Producer and scribe Reid Carolin again provides the script, which is loose and fun in all the right ways.
While the stripping was kind of a bait and switch last time around, it’s very much at the forefront of things here, which should make Magic Mike XXL shallow, but instead just makes it sex positive and a somewhat surprisingly innocent good time. How does that work? Well, it celebrates female desire and pleasure, but keeps almost all the hanky panky off screen, so it’s your imagination that fills in the blank. It’s an unusually subtle choice for a sequel that’s otherwise all about being bigger in every way, shape, or form that it can be. Instead of being a dark and almost cautionary tale, this one is a road trip/party flick that’s about the bonds of friendship, doing what you love, and making that one last right count.
The thing that works best here, though pretty much […]

Channing Tatum returns to the stripper poles – MAGIC MIKE XXL

As he returns to the world of male striptease on-screen in the deliciously named Magic Mike XXL, Channing Tatum tells Vanity Fair contributing editor Rich Cohen not to count out an off screen return to the stripper pole, where his career began. ‘Well, we’re going to start a [Magic Mike] show in Vegas, and I’ll never say never,’ he says. In fact, it may be just a thin strip of fabric that stands in the way: ‘I wouldn’t mind going out there and doing it one more time. Or maybe twice. But, you know, every time I’ve put on a thong and am getting ready to walk onstage again, I’m like, ‘Why do I want to do this? ‘It’s very uncomfortable to be in a thong in front of a thousand people.’
In fact, this quandary was nearly a plot point in Magic Mike XXL: to thong or not to thong? ‘But my wife was like, ‘You cannot have a movie without these guys getting in thongs,’ Tatum says.
Cohen accompanies Tatum on a surreal hike through L.A.’s abandoned Griffith Park Zoo and crowns him ‘the biggest male star since Pitt or Clooney.’ Tatum is riding high off his performance in last year’s Foxcatcher as he prepares to star in films from Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers. But Tatum bristles when Cohen suggests he is among the last of the great movie idols, presenting a theory on the nature of modern movie stardom: ?The Brad Pitts, the Leos, the Downeys: Why aren’t there new versions of those guys? I think people just know too much about actors, about everything. Behind the scenes. It’s almost like the world is so with you all the time, people on the phones and blah blah blah, that to go into a movie theater for three hours and lose that time is harder and harder. People watch TV at home and they?re still on their phone, wired. They?re even wired to the actors. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. You feel connected. So that [actor] doesn’t feel as mythic anymore. I used to go see movies to watch people because I didn?t know anything about them. The only time I got access was in a movie. I wanted to go see the movie because I hadn’t seen my guy in a while.
Later, while absentmindedly sketching a clown on a picnic table with a crayon, Tatum divulges that he and […]

Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man”: Ten Films to look forward to in July

Folks, we’re about to enter the second half of the year. Yes, that’s the month of July, which is only days away. Later this week I’ll run down the best of the first half, but right now I wanted to highlight what you should make a point to see over the next month. I’ve seen most of the titles that I’m highlighting below, which just means that I can personally vouch for July easily being the best month for film so far in 2015. Take it from me…you won’t want to miss these flicks. Part Two of 2015 is going to be getting off to quite the start, I can assure you of that much.
Here now are the ten films to anticipate most over the course of July:
10. The Look of Silence – I saw this documentary last year at the New York Film Festival and I’m with all of my colleagues in finding it to be disturbing and powerful. Director Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow up to The Act of Killing is just as good and makes for an essential double feature in the making. Look for this to contend in the Best Documentary Feature and perhaps also in the Best Foreign Language Feature category as well.
9. Southpaw – I see this boxing drama in just a few short days and expect Jake Gyllenhaal to again leave an impact with his performance. The early word is that he’s a highlight, which is no surprise. The story appears a bit on the generic side, but if Gyllenhaal is as good as he can be, he’ll be in contention for another Academy Award nomination with this sports flick.
8. Paper Towns – At this point, anything that writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber decide to do has my attention. As such, their second John Green adaptation is no exception. Starring up and comer Nat Wolff, it appears like a charming high school set romantic mystery. Green’s work seems to want to make you cry as well, so we’ll see if that’s a side effect here or not.
7. Ant-Man – One of Marvel’s riskier bets, reviews so far have been mostly solid for this superhero flick. I see it next week and hope to have it more in line with Guardians of the Galaxy than some of the other outings from the studio that began characters, such as Thor. I like all of Marvel’s […]

Shailene Woodley and “The Fault in Our Stars” rule at the 2015 MTV Movie Awards

Last night, the 2015 MTV Movie Awards were held, with Amy Schumer given the hosting duties (hopefully in preparation for one day hosting the Oscars) and a wide variety of films up for honors. Frankly, it was a better group of nominees than usual for MTV. That being said, the winners more or less were who you expected them to be. Luckily though, the most successful film of the night was The Fault in Our Stars, which happens to be a phenomenal movie, in addition to being pretty MTV friendly. That’s a win/win situation for this particular awards show, if you ask me.
I usually don’t pay too much attention to this awards show, but over the past few years, they’ve been doing a better job with their nominations. A lineup for Movie of the Year (their Best Picture slate) this time around was American Sniper, Boyhood, The Fault in Our Stars, Gone Girl, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, Selma, and Whiplash. Give or take a title or so here, that would represent the sort of diverse lineup that some have suggested the Academy needs to strive for with Best Picture at the Oscars. They’ll never tilt that far towards the blockbuster/mainstream, but for a lesser body like the MTV Movie Awards, it’s a pretty respectable lineup.
In terms of their winners, they mostly came up with strong choices. The Fault in Our Stars took Movie of the Year, while Bradley Cooper won Best Male Performance for American Sniper and Shailene Woodley took Best Female Performance for her role in The Fault in Our Stars. Woodley was also given the Trailerblazer Award and shared Best Kiss with her costar from The Fault in Our Stars Ansel Elgort. Robert Downey, Jr. was given the Generation Award and Meryl Streep was awarded Best Villain for her work in Into the Woods. Those were the “prestige” winners of note, while you can also applaud Channing Tatum winning Best Comedic Performance for 22 Jump Street. It’s hard to not be at the very least satisfied with those picks.
On the flip side, this is still the MTV Movie Awards, so there were plenty of wins that were iffy at best, or just catered to teenagers. They’re not worth getting into, as you’ll see them below in the full list of victors, but they don’t dominate the lineup like they might have […]

2015 MTV Movie Award nominations are more respectable than usual

Yesterday, the MTV Movie Award nominations were announced for 2015. Normally, that’s not the sort of thing that I care even a little bit about, but lo and behold…the films and performances cited happen to be far more respectable than normal. The nominations were led by The Fault in Our Stars, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Neighbors, which each came away with 7 citations. There also happened to be multiple nominations scored for Boyhood, Gone Girl, Selma, and Whiplash, among others. This will never become any kind of noteworthy precursor, for sure (especially when it happens after the Oscars are already held), but hey…a step in the right direction is a step in the right direction.
Let me be perfectly clear, there are still plenty of terrible choices here, but the overall list is far better than you’d ever expect it to be. In fact, aside from an obvious bent towards some teen centric movies, this more or less resembles what a number of precursors with a mainstream tilt look like. It’s not inconceivable that in the next year or so these awards will gain a small measure of respect. Think closer to the People’s Choice Awards as opposed to even the Golden Globe Awards, but hey…it’s a start. Every awards show needs to start somewhere, right?
Sure, you could focus on the nominations for things like Annabelle, The Boy Next Door, Horrible Bosses 2, The Maze Runner, The Other Woman, The Purge: Anarchy, and The Wedding Ringer, but why do that? They also went for all of those aforementioned Oscar contenders, so that’s where the focus should be. This isn’t a nomination list to pay too much attention to, but a quick glance does give you a bit of confidence that the next generation of filmgoer isn’t solely concerned with YA franchise adaptions.
Here now is the full nominations list for the 2015 MTV Movie Awards:
Movie of the Year
American Sniper
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Guardians of the Galaxy
Gone Girl
The Fault In Our Stars
Boyhood
Whiplash
Selma”
Best Female Performance
Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Emma Stone – Birdman
Shailene Woodley – The Fault In Our Stars
Reese Witherspoon – Wild
Scarlett Johansson – Lucy
Best Male Performance
Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
Chris Pratt – Guardians of the Galaxy
Ansel Elgort – The Fault In Our Stars
Miles Teller – Whiplash
Channing Tatum – Foxcatcher
Best Scared-As-S**t Performance
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Annabelle Wallis – Annabelle
Jennifer Lopez – The Boy Next Door
Dylan O’Brien […]

21st annual Hollywood Vanity Fair cover by Annie Leibovitz

For the 21st annual Hollywood cover, Annie Leibovitz captured an intimate portrait of the year’s most celebrated actors. The iconic three-panel foldout features 10 actors who had noteworthy performances over the past year: Amy Adams (Big Eyes), Channing Tatum (Foxcatcher), Reese Witherspoon (Wild), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), David Oyelowo (Selma), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Sienna Miller (American Sniper), Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year), and Miles Teller (Whiplash).
The men wear bespoke white-tie, while the women channel Old Hollywood glamour in slinky gold and red. Taking advantage of Amy Adams’s years of dance training for the panel’s front panel, Leibovitz had Channing Tatum lift her up on his shoulder, which prompted Tatum to joke, “I’m wearing Amy Adams.”
“We made the picture in the same studio where we did the first Hollywood cover,” Leibovitz, who shot the first Hollywood Issue cover in 1995 and all but three times since, tells West Coast editor Krista Smith. “It looks fairly simple, but in fact it was difficult to shoot. We choreographed it over two days. Usually you shoot from fairly far away, but we wanted to get really close to the actors. We made an effort to create a feeling of intimacy. I pushed into them, shooting to the left and then the right, coming in as tight as I could. It was hair-raising, at least for me.”
Amy Adams recently earned her second Golden Globe for her performance as painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes.
Channing Tatum revealed his dramatic chops as Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz in Foxcatcher.
Reese Witherspoon received her second best-actress Oscar nomination for her spectacular performance in Wild. She served as a producer on that film, as well as on the Oscar-nominated Gone Girl.
Eddie Redmayne’s stunning portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything recently won him an Oscar nomination.
Benedict Cumberbatch cracks the enigma code—and earns an Oscar nomination doing it—as computer scientist Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.
Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo perfectly conjured Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma.
Sienna Miller marks a grand return to American cinema with her heartbreaking performance as Bradley Cooper’s wife in American Sniper.
Oscar Isaac gives a tour de force performance in A Most Violent Year.
Miles Teller stars in Whiplash, which won the Audience and Grand Jury Prizes at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.
The March issue of Vanity Fair will be available in New […]

A look at some potential first time Academy Award nominees this year

One of the most enjoyable things about the Oscars each and every single year is that a number of overdue veterans are finally cited with their first Academy Award nominations. These nods are sometimes for career best work and sometimes almost life achievement citations, but it’s very rare that the noms aren’t actually fully deserved. This year, there are no shortage of very deserving first timers who are only a matter of weeks away from hearing their name called out at long last. As such, I wanted to give you all a look at a number of them, mostly in the major categories, though not exclusively.
Here now are a dozen (well, technically more, as you’ll see in a moment) potential first time Oscar nominees for this year:
1. (Almost) The entire Best Actor field – With the exception of prior nominees Bradley Cooper, Ralph Fiennes, and Jake Gyllenhaal, every realistic contender for a Best Actor nomination (not to mention the win) would be a first time nominee. They mainly include Steve Carell, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton, David Oyelowo, and Eddie Redmayne, but also Ellar Coltrane, Oscar Isaac, Jack O’Connell, Timothy Spall, Channing Tatum, and Miles Teller as well. An embarrassment of riches here, so while perhaps the entire lineup in Best Actor will be first timers, more than a few will be snubbed as well.
2. J.K. Simmons – If there’s a slam dunk win to be found among the big eight Oscar categories, it’s first timer Simmons finally getting his due from the Academy. His role in Whiplash is perhaps the best he’s ever gotten, though it’s no surprise at all that he knocks it out of the park. You can put him down for his first nomination and first win in ink. It’s happening.
3. Felicity Jones – With The Theory of Everything poised to do very well on nomination morning, it seems exceedingly likely that Jones will receive her first citation from voters. At one point she was considered a potential winner too, and while that time has probably come and gone, she’s still almost certain to be nominated. From there, we’ll just have to see what happens. Snubbed a few years ago for her breakthrough performance in Like Crazy, I’m glad that Jones is getting in now.
4. Hoyte Van Hoytema – Even if Interstellar winds up snubbed in most of the big eight categories, if not all of them […]

“Foxcatcher”: What’s Up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: Bennett Miller
Written by: E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
Main Cast: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo Vanessa Redgrave, and Sienna Miller, among others…
Past Oscar relations: Futterman, Miller, and Ruffalo are previous Oscar nominees, while Redgrave is an Academy Award winner on top of her multiple citations
Today we have another brand new article in this ongoing series of mine concerning certain high profile 2014 releases hoping to compete for some sort of actual Oscar attention as a contender at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for here for us is one of the more honored contenders of the year already in Foxcatcher. It’s a festival favorite that’s hoping to become one of the top prestige works in the Best Picture race. Does it have a strong chance? Well, let me get into that a little bit right now…
This movie is a drama based on the infamous true story of Jon du Pont and brothers David and Mark Schultz. In short, du Pont is a disturbed millionaire who becomes interesting in coaching wrestling and recruits Mark to be his prized pupil. He eventually also hires well respected coach David to head up the team, though he quickly feels inferior to him, much like Mark has as well. Tension rises until the real life tragedy occurs. It’s a powerful film, to say the least. Bennett Miller directs, while Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller, and Anthony Michael Hall head up the cast. E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman co-wrote the screenplay, and now the film begins its official run this weekend, hoping to attract solid Oscar attention.
What this film has going in its favor is the top notch performances by Carell, Ruffalo, and Tatum, as well as the direction from Miller. They’re all at the top of their game, doing tightly wound and uncomfortable yet unforgettable work. There’s an undercurrent of humor here as well that really gives it an added bit of darkness. It’s uncompromising, but in the best way possible. Miller won Best Director when the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, so the pedigree is already there. If Oscar voters are as taken as the jury at Cannes was, Best Picture, Best Director (for Miller), Best Actor (for Carell and/or Tatum), Best Supporting Actor (for Ruffalo), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Original […]

Re-ranking the contenders in Best Actor

As I mentioned last week and the week prior to that, with the festival season well underway and a good portion of the major contenders for the Academy Awards having screened or about to screen, now seems like as good a time as any to take a look at the big eight categories and see what’s what in an updated and more expanded fashion. I did this with the major categories a couple of months back, but that was when almost everything was still speculation. We have some facts to go on now, so while much of this is still just an educated guess, I’m not completely relying on overt hunches this time around. It’s more of an even mix, depending on the film/director/performer in question, of course. Today I’m turning my attention once again to the Best Actor field, which won’t necessarily match up with Best Picture in any major way, but perhaps won’t be too far off either. Read on to see what I mean…
One special note about Best Actor this year is that it’s as deep as I’ve ever seen it to be at this point in the season. Each of the ten men that I have cited as the ones with the best chance at a nomination could presumably even wind up winning, and I’d go so far as to say that extends to the next few as well. When have we been basically in October previously and had a dozen viable contenders to win an Oscar? Besides that, you can go nearly 20 deep in terms of who could legitimately wind up getting nominated. It’s going to be a bloodbath when we whittle this down to the ultimate lineup…
Here are the ten gentlemen that I have in play for Best Actor currently, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point and time:
1. Michael Keaton (Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – You really can’t write a better narrative for a comeback performance than this one. Not only is Keaton a former typecast superhero turned critical darling in this film, his character is an actor trying to emerge from the shadow of the hero that he played. It’s the perfect storm not just to get him nominated, which almost surely will happen now, but the right combination of things to result in a win. Right now, he makes the most sense for this […]

Felicity Jones: Oscar newbies hoping for a first citation this year

Much like I took a look yesterday at veterans in contention for Oscar love the year, today I’m going to be turning my attention to the newbies who hope to receive some awards love. As I mentioned in the last piece, this is leading up to me doing a re-ranking of the contenders in all of the major categories beginning next week, but right now it’s just going to be a preview of which rookies to the Oscar season are gearing up to hopefully make their big debuts on the awards circuit. Some are even in a position to win Academy Awards.
First up is Best Actor. In this race, the highest profile would be first time nominee would be either Steve Carell for Foxcatcher or Michael Keaton for Birdman. They’ve been frontrunners to many for basically this entire season. A tiny level down are more recent additions to the first timer’s party in Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game and Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything. Other contenders here with a strong chance include Oscar Isaac for A Most Violent Year, Jack O’Connell for Unbroken, David Oyelowo for Selma, Timothy Spall for Mr. Turner, and Channing Tatum for Foxcatcher. Rounding out the list, we have the likes of Gael Garcia Bernal for Rosewater, Ellar Coltrane for Boyhood, John Cusack for Love and Mercy, Richard Gere for Time Out of Mind, Bill Hader for The Skeleton Twins, and Miles Teller for Whiplash. Much like with the veterans, it’s going to be rough seeing how many worthy contenders don’t crack the lineup. This category is absolutely stacked.
Over in Best Actress, there are two major first timers right at the top of the list. They are Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything and Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl. They both represent major threats in this category, with Scarlett Johansson for Under the Skin and Shailene Woodley for The Fault in Our Stars one level down. Also hovering around this category are Rosemarie DeWitt for Men Women & Children, Anne Dorval for Mommy, Mia Wasikowska for Tracks, and Kristen Wiig for The Skeleton Twins. The majority of the women in the ultimate Best Actress lineup this year will be vets, but the winner could very well turn out to be a first time nominee.
With the Best Supporting Actor contenders, the field is potentially being led by a first timer, with J.K. Simmons […]

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