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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Terminator Genisys and Magic Mike XXL

Dearest Blog, thanks to yesterday's holiday that wasn't really, I got out to the cinema a day early this weekend. On the docket: Terminator Genisys and Magic Mike XXL.

Spoiler level here will be mild for Terminator, nothing you haven't seen in the trailers, and just slightly higher for Magic Mike, because there are a couple specifics I want to discuss (but nothing that should ruin it for anyone).

First on my agenda was Terminator Genisys.

Future John Connor sends Future Kyle Reese back in time to save Past Sarah Conner from a Terminator that has been dispatched to...erm...terminate 'er.

In case it's been awhile since anyone revisited the originals, Terminator Genisys helpfully kicks off with a little tutorial to bring everyone up to speed. I recall little more than "I'll be back!," but it still felt like a waste of time, and most of what they explained became evident over the course of the movie anyway. From that inauspicious beginning, Terminator Genisys actually turns into a pretty decent movie. The action is terrific, and, even though some of the sequences go on a bit, I never got tired of it.

Nothing convinced me 3D would be anything other than a waste of good money, but the effects are pretty sweet nonetheless, and an epic score compliments the huge action perfectly. Conveniently, time travel in this universe of hardbodies requires the traveler to be completely naked, and strategic placement of objects to cover the naughty bits for the movie's PG13 audience is hilarious.

Other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is Arnold Schwarzenegger and doesn't really need to be anything else, the cast is kind of ho-hum. Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney have about as much chemistry as a mismatched pair of socks, but luckily, nobody is distractingly bad.

Terminator Genisys runs 126 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense sequences of sci-fi violence and gunplay throughout, partial nudity, and brief strong language."

It might be a worthy successor to the original Terminator movies...or it might not...I don't remember.

Either way, it was much better than I expected. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Terminator Genisys gets six.
Next up was another sequel, Magic Mike XXL.

"Magic Mike" and his merry men hit the road for one last hurrah at a stripper convention.
Dear reader(s), I'ma be straight with you: Magic Mike XXL might be the worst movie I've ever seen, and I've seen that benchmark of cinematic terribleness, The Room. That's not to say I didn't enjoy some of it, and that's not to say some of it isn't laugh-out-loud funny (sometimes even on purpose), but it is a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad movie.

If you weren't expecting anything more than two hours of good-looking guys taking off their clothes, the first Magic Mike was a pleasant surprise (or maybe a disappointment, if two hours of good-looking guys taking off their clothes was all you wanted). It took a shot at telling a story and made a fair job of it. Magic Mike XXL maybe should have stuck with two hours of good-looking guys taking off their clothes, because, whatever else it hoped to be, it fails in spectacular fashion.
Let's start with a few pluses, shall we?

 It goes without saying there are some fine-looking folks in various stages of undress in MMXXL. Whatever your taste, you'll likely see a lot of someone who appeals to you. What's funny is pretty darn funny, and some of what isn't meant to be funny is pretty darn funny, too. If you're wondering whether the movie's worth the price of admission despite all its flaws, let me just say it's hit upon the best and noblest use of Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" ever. The acting is terrible, but, in fairness to the actors, effectively delivering the most awful dialogue ever written is probably impossible.

The usually reliable Matt Bomer couldn't be less believable in his hippie routine, and whenever he said "chakra" I wanted to punch his perfect face. (Sorry, Matt. I still love you.) Channing Tatum is vacant and uninspiring when delivering what should be the movie's key emotional punches. Joe Manganiello, one of the worst actors I've ever seen, weirdly delivers the movie's best performance, hamming it up as the only one who apparently understood that ridiculous was the only way to go here. The lovely and talented Amber Heard is also solid (but wasted) in the cliche role of a free spirit who has "lost her smile." If you've come for the dancing (clothed or unclothed) don't expect too much. I love dance movies, even terrible ones, so I was disappointed by how few routines made the final cut. There are some inexcusably stupid scenarios, too. I'm supposed to buy that a roomful of horny women waving dollar bills will be okay with a stripper-cum-singer performing a little number before dropping trou?

Shut up and peel, you!

Or that stripper will happily spend a night off entertaining a roomful of undersexed old hags in exchange for a twin-bed and make-your-own breakfast? Next time I run into my dentist at Target, I'm gonna ask him to take a look at this tooth that's been bothering me. I assume he won't mind if I tell him I'll pay for whatever he just picked up in housewares.

Worst of all, Magic Mike XXL is founded on the premise that these noble gentlemen do what they do to boost the self-esteem of poor, pathetic females who just aren't getting what they need at home. I have no problem with adults engaging in adult pursuits (including humping up on pretty, naked people), but that idea is a half-step shy of 50 Shades on the "Hooray for Dysfunction" scale, and I found it flat-out gross.

Magic Mike XXL clocks in at 115 minutes and is rated R for "strong sexual content, pervasive language, some nudity, and drug use."

It has its moments, but falls shy of the original, and I was bored for much of it. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Magic Mike XXL gets three.

Until next time...happy birthday, USA!


  1. Very entertaining movie. They finally devised an interesting new plot and storyline. It kept my interest the whole time. Great action that was not too over the least not for the whole movie, unlike many action movies that are non-stop ridiculous explosions and action. Basically this is the movie that should have followed T2.


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