Nick’s Picks – July 22, 2015

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MAGIC MIKE XXL

I saw the appeal to both men and women (mostly women) of the 2012 Magic Mike which was directed by Steven Soderbergh. Fast forward three years and we get Magic Mike XXL with Soderbergh as executive producer and also edited and shot some of it under a pseudonym with Gregory Jacobs at the helm as director (better known for Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen).

The original Kings of Tampa are back except for Dallas (McConaughey) who stole the spotlight in the first film. We pick up 3 years later where Mike (Tatum) left the troupe and is running his own furniture design business, got the girl and asked her to marry him. On the surface life turned out the way he said he wanted. Mike receives news that Dallas is gone, so he shows up in funeral attire to attend the funeral and instead finds a pool party with the whole gang partying and planning to go to the stripper’s convention for one last blowout performance and adventure on the road.

Everything thinks that Mike realized him dreams but they want him because Dallas is in Europe doing his thing. Reluctantly Mike agrees to go and here the film takes you on an exciting, sensuous, pulse pounding and grinding ride. As a buddy film this film embraces the love and comraderies among friends bonded over a taboo skill and talent. There’s laughter, excitement, challenges and frivolity along the way and it keeps you glued to the screen. All of these men have a special talent with unrealized dreams that play a major role in their last blowout performance. Following them on their road trip to Myrtle Beach for the convention will have you in stiches. The surprises that await you as you get to go behind the curtain to witness what really goes on with these strippers, plus a guest celebrity appearance that will have you gasping for air (in a good way.

Jada Pinkett Smith (Rome), a blast from Mike’s past who knew Mike before he left her to work with Dallas, is a joy to watch on screen and as the substitute emcee for The Kings of Tampa final performance at the convention. As Rome, Smith bring a certain “je ne sai quais.”

Magic Mike XXL is just what the title suggests…an XXL sexy romp filled with a lot of grinding, dancing, half naked men that are having the time of their lives. Oh… and the screaming women making it rain on these hard sweaty bodies. Nonetheless, this is a better story than the original and you’ll be happy you came… to see it, that is. Phrasing!

Starring: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Elizabeth Banks, Jada Pinkett Smith
Director: Gregory Jacobs
Company: Warner Brothers
Now Showing: In Theatres
MPAA Rating: R (strong language, some nudity and drug use, sexual content)
Grade: A-

 

FREE DVD GIVEAWAY

The Jokesters GIVEAWAYWe are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of The Jokesters, it is really easy! All you have to do is send me an email at HoustonMovieGuy@gmail.com. The subject line of the email should read DVD GIVEAWAY. In the body of the email, be sure to put your name, full mailing address and which DVD or Blu-ray you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing.
Best of luck!

THE JOKESTERS – Cinedigm

The Prankmasters are an internet sensation a la Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass crew, who decide to take it to the extreme for their series finale. When the leader of the group, Ethan, announces that he is getting married and leaving the group and the pranks behind, the rest of the members decide to pull off one final stunt that turns into a Cabin in the Woods nightmare on their friend s honeymoon. What happens next is a descent into terror.

SEEDS OF YESTERDAY – Lionsgate

The final chapter in author V.C. Andrews’ saga about the incestuous Dollanganger family. Dark secrets are revealed as the clan’s two adult sons, Bart and Jory, struggle to cope with troubled relationships and misfortune that will haunt them forever.

COMMITTED – First Run Features

When Joline (Heather Graham) discovers that her husband (Luke Wilson) has abruptly left her in an effort to “find himself,” she drops everything and heads out in search of her stray spouse. After finally tracking him down in the west Texas desert, Joline proves that she’ll do anything to win him back. Also featuring Casey Affleck and Goran Visnjic—all roads lead to love, laughter and loyalty in this critically-acclaimed comedy treat!

ANCIENT ALIENS: Season Seven – Lionsgate

Ancient Aliens digs deeper into what role aliens may have played in shaping our world. Explore whether lost islands and mysterious,Eden-like paradises were actually earthly homes for aliens, and find out why the Greeks, Macedonians, and other ancients believed the worlds mountains to be sacred homes to all-powerful gods. Experience American history via rock carvings from an 8,000 BC man-made cave filled with ancient objects and mummies.

KUNG FU KILLER – WellGo USA

A vicious killer stalks the streets of Hong Kong, methodically executing top martial arts competitors. Xia (Donnie Yen), a convicted killer and kung fu expert, offers to help police find the killer and put him behind bars in return for his own freedom. The killer eludes them again and again, taunting the cops – and Xia, his new target – to discover his next moves. Xia refuses to play his lethal game…until the killer threatens the woman he loves most.

THE SAGEBRUSH SEA – PBS

One of the most overlooked ecosystems in the America West is a massive sea of sagebrush that stretches across 11 states. This spartan landscape supports more than 170 species of birds and mammals. Among those that have adapted to survive here are the Greater Sage-Grouse. Today, they must contend with wells and pipelines tapping the resources buried deep below. The sagebrush and the grouse carry on, but they re losing ground.

THE ROAD TO FAME – PBS

A unique coming-of-age story with Chinese characteristics, The Road to Fame chronicles the staging of the American musical Fame China’s first official collaboration with Broadway by the senior class of the Central Academy of Drama. Raised in one-child families, these ambitious youngsters aspire to become tomorrow’s megastars as they are about to graduate from their prestigious institution.

SET FIRE TO THE STARS – Strand Releasing

Based on true events, Elijah Wood stars as John Malcolm Brinnin, the New York academic who brought Dylan Thomas to America. Actor/co-writer Celyn Jones plays the volatile celebrity poet – tormented by anonymity, alcohol and the abyss – who scandalized the Manhattan literati of the Fifties and challenged Brinnin’s hero worship of his work. In the face of the Welsh poet’s wilder excesses in the Big Apple – angel, beast and madman – John has no choice but to hijack Dylan to a private retreat to get him ready for America. The days and nights that follow will change his life forever. Part literary biopic and – shot in cut-glass black-and-white – part love-letter to the American B-movies of the Forties and Fifties, Andy Goddard’s debut feature is both a character driven chamber piece and a cautionary tale about the fly trap of meeting your heroes.

LETS LEARN: Kindness – Nickelodeon

Let’s Learn: Kindness sets out to teach some of life’s biggest lessons including good manners and forgiveness. This delightful DVD features six super-polite episodes of Nickelodeon’s popular franchises Wallykazam!, Bubble Guppies, Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, Blue’s Clues and Ni Hao, Kai-lan as the characters learn the values of friendship, manners, teamwork and more! With over 140 minutes of social-skills fun plus a bonus educational worksheet for on-the-go learning, Let’s Learn: Kindness is a must-have for every growing and loving child.

72% – Cinedigm

Baby mamas, single mothers, deadbeat dads, absent fathers: these polarizing terms are commonplace in today’s African-American community. Nearly 72% of black children are born out of wedlock, and most are being raised by single mothers. Why is it that black men continue to neglect their parental responsibilities? Through the perspective of various experts, 72% looks into the reasoning behind the rise of single mothers in the African-American community. The film investigates the effects that colonization and slavery have had on the black family unit, which was once solid and intact. Today’s media is inundated with stories of black single mothers, child support cases, and so-called “welfare queens.” The African-American community at large has clapped back at criticism from Don Lemon, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News reporter Ben Carson, and even Black leaders like Bill Cosby and President Barack Obama. 72% provides a raw and analytical view of the media’s portrayal of this phenomenon in regards to African-American households. Single black mothers chime in to tell their stories from their vantage point. Cameras follow one single mother of three as she changes hats from full-time employee to full-time caretaker in order to provide and care for her children on her own. 72% leaves no rock left unturned as it seeks to expose
this issue from all perspectives and compel viewers to reconstruct the African American family from the ground up.

I, MADMAN – Scream Factory!

Gothic nightmares collide with gritty realism in this stylish horror thriller that pulls you in and makes you pay attention! After a spine-tingling paperback catches the imagination of bookstore clerk Virginia, she seeks out the author’s second book, I, Madman. But once she opens the cover, its eerie tale of obsessive love comes to life, catapulting a disfigured, scalpel-wielding killer from the world of fiction onto the streets of Hollywood with one demented goal: to win Virginia’s love, one murder at a time!

LOVE UNTO DEATH/LIFE IS A BED OF ROSES: Double Feature – Cohen Media

Love Unto Death: Resnais meditation on the power of love and death. Simon and Elisabeth are deeply in love, but the sudden death and miraculous revival of Simon throws their entire life into turmoil. Life Is A Bed Of Roses: In this lighthearted celebration of the power of imagination, Alain Resnais pays tribute to three influential French filmmakers Georges Melies, Marcel L Herbier and Eric Rohmer.

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS – Paramount

What We Do In The Shadows chronicles the adventures of four vampire roommates trying to get by in a modern world that’s not always hospitable to the undead. Clement and Waititi, creators of the HBO hit series “Flight of the Conchords,” co-wrote, co-directed, and co-star in this hilarious send-up in which an endearingly unhip quartet of friends reveal to us or, rather, to the documentary crew that’s filming them, the details of their daily-make that nightly-routine. Ranging in age from 183 to 8,000, and in appearance from adorably youthful to Nosferatu-crusty, they squabble over household chores, struggle to keep up with the latest trends in technology and fashion, antagonize the local werewolves, cruise clubs for lovely ladies, and deal with the rigors of living on a very, very strict diet.

THE KILLERS – Criterion

Ernest Hemingway’s simple but gripping short tale “The Killers” is a model of economical storytelling. Two directors adapted it into unforgettably virile features: Robert Siodmak, in a 1946 film that helped define the noir style and launch the acting careers of Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner; and Don Siegel, in a brutal 1964 version, starring Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, and John Cassavetes, that was intended for television but deemed too violent for home audiences and released theatrically instead. The first is poetic and shadowy, the second direct and harsh as daylight, but both get at the heart of Hemingway’s existential classic.

UNCERTAIN TERMS – Breaking Glass Pictures

Uncertain Terms tells the story of a 30 year old man who need an escape from Brooklyn and his troubled marriage. He leaves for the countryside to stay with his Aunt Carla at her bucolic home for pregnant teenagers. Tensions run high when Robbie develops a friendship with Nina, who is mature beyond her age and dealing with her own relationship troubles. Robbie soon finds himself caught in a love triangle between Nina and her delinquent boyfriend.

I AM FEMEN – First Run Features

They are known around the world as the topless female activists who fight corrupt and patriarchal political systems. Their weapon of choice is their bodies – which they place front and center in protests around the streets of Kiev, where the group began, and all across Europe. Oksana Shachko is FEMEN’s creative backbone. As a teenager, her fascination with religious painting led her to consider entering a convent, but in the end she used her many talents to create FEMEN and devoted herself to a life of activism. With I am FEMEN, director Alain Margot paints a portrait of the bewitching and many-faceted Oksana, while also revealing the stories of the brave young women around her who put their bodies on the front line in the fight for justice and equality.

All film synopsis’ used with permission.

Posted under: Home Entertainment