Tag Archives: Magic Mike XXL

Failed Critics Podcast: X-Men: Apocalypse

x-men apocalypse

Welcome to this week’s episode of the Failed Critics Podcast, with your hosts … erm … Stan? Stuart? Stephen? Steve, Steve Norman, that’s the fella, and Owen Hopkins– I mean, Hughes. They’re joined by Andrew Brooker to review, look at, discuss, scratch their heads and generally mull over the latest Fox-driven superhero movie, X-Men: Apocalypse.

Before all of that, the trio run through the latest film news to cross their paths; namely the trailers for Ghostbusters (and why it might be OK to not like it), Star Trek Beyond, The Purge: Election Year and Independence Day: Resurgence. There’s also room for a discussion about Nicolas Winding Refn’s plans to remake Witchfinder General, as well as an astonished glance towards the impressive cast list of Thor: Ragnarok, boasting the likes of Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban and Jeff Goldblum.

As ever, the ongoing, never ending quiz battle between Owen and Steve rages on, this week pitting the latter against Brooker as they try to work out which X-Men names are real and which Owen has simply made up. In What We’ve Been Watching: Steve revisits a the first and the most recent of the X-Men movies prior to his trip to see Apocalypse; Brooker MC’s over Magic Mike XXL; and Owen gushes over cult zombie classic The Return of the Living Dead.

Join us again next week for a special movie-star triple bill episode.

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US Box Office Report: 24/07/15 – 26/07/15

Pixels has insufficient quarters, Southpaw goes down in the fifth, Paper Towns exposes the flimsy construction of the John Green empire, nobody wanted to see what The Vatican Tapes didn’t want us to see, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Folks, you did it.  You kept Pixels from the number 1 slot.  And you kept it from making any decent amount of money, as it closed the weekend in second place with just $24 million.  You did it, gang!  You really did it!  You proved that you are over Adam Sandler.  His scurrying away to the darkest bowels of Netflix with the rest of Happy Madison is like when the exploited villagers of a cynical, money-grubbing dicksh*t finally rise up against him and drive him out of town with pitchforks and torches!  You did it, folks!  Admittedly, it was a close call, since Ant-Man is currently only sitting pretty at the top by $750,000, but you did it anyway!  And that’s what counts!

In fact, it was a rather miserable and underwhelming week all around, to be honest.  Antoine Fuqua’s boxing drama Southpaw, for example, was released this weekend.  Remember how excited we all were for that movie?  When we saw Jake Gyllenhaal all scary-jacked up, and how amazing Rocky was, and how this was going to be this big awards season contender that one time and that finally Jake Gyllenhaal would have to be recognised in all Best Actor races after being bewilderingly shut out last year?  You know, until that trailer came out and… yeah, there’s a reason this one was dumped mid-Summer.  Audiences agreed, and so the film opened in fifth place with $16.5 million.  On the bright side, I got to make a Snatch reference in the headline, so this whole thing wasn’t a total waste!

Meanwhile, the John Green Empire took a critical hit in its formative stages thanks to Paper Towns.  Compared to the runaway smash success of The Fault In Our Stars from last year – of a $48 million first place kind – Paper Towns struggled to reach $12.5 million and sixth place.  Is this because teenagers are fickle as f*ck?  Is it because everyone had places to be this weekend?  Or is it just because a subpar adaptation of an author’s inferior-to-his-much-better-work novel wasn’t going to make any money anyway?  It’s probably the last one.  After all, people weren’t exactly tripping over themselves to race to the box office to see that 2013 adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s The Host, were they?  Just goes to show that not every novel by an author is worth adapting just because one of them was good and/or popular.  If somebody could pass that message along for me to the people who keep pumping out insufferable Nicholas Sparks movies, that’d be just swell.

In The Land Of Really Stretching The Term Limited Releases, Mark Neveldine – of Neveldine/Taylor of Crank 2: High Voltage more commonly known as THE GREATEST ACTION MOVIE RELEASED THIS CENTURY – decided that he was going to try and be the Shawn Michaels to Bryan Taylor’s Marty Jannetty and split off to direct the found-footage exorcism flick The Vatican Tapes.  As karma for this act of betrayal/insolence, the film sat on the shelf for a good year and a bit before finally getting dumped in 427 theatres, trashed by critics, and managing a pathetic $850,000 for a sub-$2,000 per-screen average.  Hopefully now he and Taylor – whom I was just reminded was supposed to direct and release a Twisted Metal movie this year, which caused me to laugh for a solid minute – will recognise that they are stronger together and go back to making movies as a cohesive unit!  Daddy needs Crank 3D, dammit.

Also, the best performing film of the weekend was Woody Allen’s Irrational Man, which added 21 screens (for a total of 28), and took home $261,000 for a $9,321 per-screen average.  Once again, you all do know that you don’t have to give him money for everything he does, right?


ant man

A winner is you with this Full List.

Box Office Results: Friday 24th July 2015 – Sunday 26th July 2015

1] Ant-Man

$24,765,000 / $106,075,000

Again, this is currently real tight, so things may switch when the actuals come in, but everything’s great for now!  Also, allow me to highlight this well-argued piece by Umberto Gonzalez about how he was offended by the character of Luis in Ant-Man.  I personally don’t agree with the piece – as I mention in my review, I feel that the film’s commitment to ensuring that everyone gets enough development to be a character keeps characters like Luis from being just a racist stereotype – and most of the article’s (mostly Latino) commenters don’t seem to agree either, but it’s well-written and I have huge respect for him bringing the issue forward.  Even when it seems like we’re being too sensitive, it’s still important to call out these things and have these discussions.

2] Pixels

$24,000,000 / NEW

Seeing this on Tuesday for an Unlimited Screening and a review will be along the following day, so I’m restraining any sick burns or easy jokes until then.  Hell, I’m even going to flush them out of my mind completely!  With films like Pixels, I worry that we all take a little too much pleasure in dumping on easy targets, that we get a little carried away and just devolve into strings of (often admittedly) hilarious insults because we can be united in attacking a common low-effort target.  That’s why I try really hard to avoid doing that in my reviews of such films – my Paul Blart and Entourage reviews do have the occasional funny lines, but mostly stick to explaining the legitimate genuine faults those movies have instead of going for comedy gold.

What I’m saying is that I like the middle-part of Moviebob’s Pixels review, where he breaks down in detail why the film sucks, but that review blew up for all of the wrong reasons and that makes me sad and/or mad.

3] Minions

$22,100,000 / $261,620,000

Look, you all like to insult the Minions and claim that their kind and their movies are abominations and the downfall of civilisation.  OK, whatever.  But, have the Minions ever made an allegedly videogame-themed theme song for their movie by Waka Flocka Flame (featuring two people from Good Charlotte who I am not 100% convinced aren’t just clones of one another), where the lyrics barely reference videogames, barely rhyme, and are performed on a beat that sounds like Maroon 5 covering a Panic! At The Disco cover of a 2015 Fall Out Boy song?  I rest my case.

4] Trainwreck

$17,300,000 / $61,545,000

I hate to bring the mood down, but let’s all just take a moment to mourn those killed at The Grand 16 Theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana this past weekend.  I could use this space to get incredibly angry – at the lax gun control laws, to the fact that the media keeps painting the cause of the shooting as a mystery despite the fact that it took place during a feminist film by a feminist movie star and that the victims were women who were shot by a man with a history of abusive behaviour towards female members of his family – but I’m honestly just kinda numb to all of this by this point.  It’s clear that nothing’s going to change – not gun control laws, and certainly not the toxic sexism that has been ingrained into our society – and I just can’t muster up any emotions about this anymore.  Like, seriously, what is it going to take to get something to change?

OK, sorry for springing that on you folks in what is supposed to be a fun and silly space.  Back to our regularly scheduled programme.

5] Southpaw

$16,500,000 / NEW

Saw this Friday and a review will be along tomorrow – it got held up by the length of time it took for me to write about Inside Out – but I will tell you that this one was incredibly disappointing.  A film that actively steers itself away from anything remotely interesting or new in favour of yet another tale about male masculinity and fatherly redemption, but this time with extra excess melodrama.  It’s fine for what it is, but I’m tired of seeing films like Southpaw.  Tell me something new!

Also, I do kinda have to agree with my friend Matt: making a non-Rocky-related boxing movie over an MMA movie in 2015 is pure wankery.

6] Paper Towns

$12,500,000 / NEW

So, question: who, what, where, why, and how Cara Delevingne?  Seriously, I go to bed one night, and then wake up the next morning to find people incapable of not talking about her and that she’s appearing in the something like 7 films over the next 12 months.  What gives?  I mean no disrespect for her or anything, she might be a fine actress and a perfectly upstanding human being, I’m just naturally cautious about anybody who blows up overnight and is in everything.  Last time this happened, we got The Walking Embodiment of Beige, commonly known as Jai Courtney.  Just saying.

7] Inside Out

$7,356,000 / $320,335,000

Here is my attempt to offer up a straight review, where I only talk about the film and why it’s brilliant and I love it on its own merits.  That took 8 hours to write.  Here is my in-depth, personal, and spoiler-y piece on why Inside Out is so emotionally attached to me in ways that I really can’t separate it from.  That took about 3 hours to write.  Writing, everybody!

8] Jurassic World

$6,900,000 / $623,803,000

Ladies, gentlemen, and others… your third highest grossing film domestically AND worldwide of all-time.  I’ll leave the thinkpieces to you folks, I really don’t care either way about this.

9] Mr. Holmes

$2,849,000 / $6,432,000

Hey!  This actually broke into the chart!  Yay and stuff!

10] Terminator: Game Gear

$2,400,000 / $85,666,000

On the one hand: YIPPEE!  This piece of dog sh*t is bidding us adieu!  We might be spared a sequel after all!  On the other hand: dammit!  I had all of these videogame console name substitutions lined up for usage, and now they’re all going to go to waste!  What good is a once-slightly-clever gag escalation if I don’t get to run it into the ground?!  Life is the worst!

This is a situation with no clear-cut answer, so I’m just going to embed the unquestionably godawful Pixels theme song below and call it for the week.

Dropped Out: Magic Mike XXL, The Gallows, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Ted 2

Callum Petch won’t be around.  He now mainly writes for his own website (callumpetch.com).  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 17/07/15 – 19/07/15

Ant-Man shrinks the standard Marvel opening, Trainwreck is anything but a, Mr. Holmes effortlessly cracks The Mystery of How To Get Into the Top 10, these puns are awful even by my standards, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

So, here’s the deal.  I am really frickin’ tired.  Not gonna lie.  I’ve been really busy these last few days working on something big, and I’m just plain not sleeping well, so Sunday night is currently not the time where my brain is most engaged.  Right now, all I really want to do is lie down in bed and alternate between Phineas & Ferb and Parks & Rec episodes until my brain just collapses into Sleepsville.  However, my “job” involves providing fresh Box Office Reports for your fine self to read first thing on a Monday morning, and if there is one thing that I am committed to it is my “job”!  I spent just over 30 straight weeks pumping out giant DreamWorks Animation essays after all!  So, let’s just try and get through this together, eh?

Keeping those doom-saying think pieces that pretty much every Box Office commenter and Internet writer has had prepped for the last three years in storage just a little while longer, Ant-Man is your new box office number 1, with $58 million in ticket sales!  Of course, those think pieces could still be trotted out if everyone wanted to, as that $58 million opening is the second-worst in Marvel Cinematic Universe history (only besting The Incredible Hulk’s $55 million), but it’s only one film and a number 1 opening is still a number 1 opening however you slice it.  Besides, I don’t think we need to be encouraging these things.  I honestly don’t know which will be worse at this point: the incredibly smug “I told you so” attitude that every single card-carrying member of Film Twitter and Film Internet will sport when these films do start failing, or the whiney defensive attitude that will come from the part of the Internet that keeps painting Marvel as some kind of victim being bullied by Film Snobs.  It’s like Aliens vs. Predator only somehow even worse than that.

In much happier news, Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck was a huge success, coming in third with $30.2 million!  No, that wasn’t sarcasm.  See, Trainwreck is Apatow’s second-biggest opening weekend as a director, just behind Knocked Up’s $30.6 million, and the film itself is an R-rated female-focused comedy starring an untested talent in the world of film and being released against the newest instalment in the Marvel juggernaut.  This is genuinely a roaring success!  Woo-hoo!  Go Amy Schumer!  Between this, Spy, and Pitch Perfect 2, this has been quite the year for female-fronted comedies.  Now, if we could get some movies fronted by non-white female comediennes, that would be just peachy…

In “really stretching the definition of ‘limited’ release” news, Bill Condon’s excellent Mr. Holmes – a film that just missed out on my Top 5 of 2015 So Far list – crossed the pond to 363 theatres this past weekend, and managed to crack the Top 10 with $2.48 million in tickets and a respectable $6,800 per screen average.  Almost matching it on 100 less screens, and perhaps another sign that Indian cinema is about to finally break somewhat big in America, was Bajrangi Bhaijaan which took $2.42 million for eleventh place and a per-screen average of $9,400.  These two may even switch places when the actuals come in, but, as you all know, I only work from these final estimates cos I have sh*t to do, thank you kindly.

Meanwhile, in actual limited release news, Woody Allen’s latest “older man falls for much, much, much younger woman” tale, this one going by the name Irrational Man, made $188,000 from 5 screens of die-hard Woody Allen fanatics with nothing better going on in their lives.  Everybody does know that they don’t have to help him film everything he comes up with, right?


This Full List is brought to you by the warm dulcet tones of Ringo Starr.  Because Thomas the Tank Engine is featured in Ant-you know what never mind.

Box Office Results: Friday 17th July 2015 – Sunday 19th July 2015

1] Ant-Man

$58,040,000 / NEW

Saw this on Friday and the review should hopefully be up soon – it’s not yet because I didn’t finish writing it until Saturday afternoon, because my brain currently hates me, and Owen was off enjoying The First-Ever Failed Critics Meet-Up so couldn’t get to posting.  Short version: I really dug this one.  It has problems, but I really, really dug it!  There’s a second article that’s going up later this week that may make it seem like I hate this movie, but I do actually really like it.  That’s the thing about criticism, taking issue with a certain aspect doesn’t mean that the rest of the film can’t win you over!  It’s almost like opinions are these multi-faceted and nuanced things or something.

2] Minions

$50,200,000 / $216,692,000

Steeper-than-expected 56% drop, which looks really bad compared to the second-week drops of the first (42%) and second (47%) Despicable Mes.  But, of course, neither of those opened to $115 million domestic and this $50 million second weekend is about in line with those films’ low $30 million and low $40 million weekends.  Yeah, this is doing more than OK, although that unfortunately means that Illumination now have a green-light to run this franchise into the ground.  I mean, they were probably going to anyway, but now they have an excuse to.

3] Trainwreck

$30,200,000 / NEW

Absolutely cannot wait for this.  Really, truly, cannot wait for this.  I think that Amy Schumer is one of the most important voices in comedy right now and I am dying to see what she can with two hours and the romantic comedy template.  News from America indicating that this is way more traditional and less subversive than I was hoping it would be has tempered my expectations and excitement but only slightly.  Seriously: bring this baby on already!

4] Inside Out

$11,660,000 / $306,363,000

When we next meet, folks, I will have seen Inside Out.  I would like to thank Owen for cordoning off review privileges for this on this site for myself and myself alone.  It’s like he understands that I live to be the sole person reviewing all of the animated films.  He gets me, he really does.

5] Jurassic World

$11,400,000 / $611,174,000

I… I really got nothing for this one anymore, folks.  Enjoy this song from Phineas & Ferb, instead.

6] Terminator: 2600

$5,400,000 / $80,640,000

I’m just going to bury my head in my hands and hope against hope that this one just goes away, if that’s alright with everyone else.  Emilia Clarke deserves better, dammit!

7] Magic Mike XXL

$4,500,000 / $58,636,000

I hope this becomes a Cult Movie Night fixture.  You know the ones: those special screenings full of die-hard fans who know the film front-to-back, love and appreciate every last second of it, get its progressive sexual politics completely, and are completely comfortable in their love for this movie.  They’ll all meet up once every few months and make a night out of seeing this film, the cinema will provide each attendee with a roll of (convincingly) fake dollar bills to rain down upon the screen at the appropriate times, and everyone will just have the most fun and best time together shrieking in pure glee.

I hope this happens, at any rate, cos that’s a film screening experience I want to have!

8] The Gallows

$4,005,000 / $18,007,000

THIS JUST IN: Shitty Horror Movie That Nobody Liked Plummets In Its Second Weekend.  More at 11.

9] Ted 2

$2,700,000 / $77,457,000

So, Ted 2I was promised some Rachael MacFarlane in your movie.  I went to see your movie and I noticed no Rachael MacFarlane.  I feel very much betrayed by this, and you can expect a very strongly worded letter expressing my disappointment to be along in the post shortly!

10] Mr. Holmes

$2,489,000 / NEW

I wanted to write a review of this after I saw it, but I never got around to it due to this whole “being back at home and feeling miserable” lark causing me to have trouble putting words to paper.  In any case, I highly recommend it, especially if you’re sick of Sherlock Holmes adaptations cos it’s not really one.  It’s more a mediation on death, aging, memory, regret, and selfishness that ties back into Sherlock Holmes in specific ways but is mostly a movie that just happens to feature Sherlock Holmes.  I loved this one and cannot recommend it enough to you!

Just don’t be one of those berks who marks it down because “the mystery wasn’t that difficult or compelling” otherwise you and I will be having words.

Dropped Out: Self/Less, Baahubali: The Beginning, Max

Callum Petch is not sleeping, cold wind blowing.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

The Best of 2015 Thus Far

As we’re now well and truly past the half-way mark for the year, it seems like as good a time as any for a few of the Failed Critics contributors to bundle together and reveal which films they’ve enjoyed the most so far. Come December, we’ll still be running the annual Failed Critics Awards, giving you the opportunity to cast your vote for your favourite films of 2015.

In the meantime, let’s have a quick run through of what some of our writers and podcasters have chosen as their five favourite films of the year. Will the biggest film of the year so far, Jurassic World, be featured? Will United Passions somehow infect this article too? Will anyone pick anything other than Mad Max?? Find out below…


by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)

1] Mad Max: Fury Road

mad maxFighting the urge to fill my word limit with just paragraphs of me repeating the words “Perfect”, “Awesome” and “The most fun I’ve had this year with clothes on”, I’ll try and be a little more cohesive in my description. It had been thirty years since the last film in the iconic Mad Max franchise, to bring a fourth entry to a series after that long is a massive undertaking at the best of times. But when its original star is as iconic as the film’s that made him famous, replacing him as well would be a recipe for disaster in any other filmmakers hands. Thankfully for all of us, the series’ creator made a triumphant return and gave us one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen. A breathtaking, visceral two hours (on three occasions) in the cinema left me shellshocked and shaking with excitement and almost unable to write my review when I got home I was so pumped. Oh, and there’s a dude on a truck made of drums and speakers playing heavy metal on a flame throwing guitar! No more needs to be said!

2] Ex Machina

3] Whiplash

4] Still Alice

5] It Follows

WORST: Avengers: Age of Ultron – Years of subtle hype and weeks of actual hype in the buildup to this, the biggest Marvel movie yet. What we got was a more than two hour long wet fart of a film that left me blindingly disappointed with a really bad taste in my mouth.


by Paul Field (@pafster)

1] Wild Tales

wild talesDark, twisted and utterly enthralling anthology from Argentina. All of the stories are great, no fillers here as is often the case with anthology films. I love a revenge film, and to have 6 served up in one sitting is a real treat. Hard to pick my favourite… the parking ticket is brilliant, the plane passengers unsettling and hilarious, the overtaking motorist caper that escalates out of all control…..but I think the Wedding. Pissing off the bride on her wedding day is an absolute no no, and here, she conveys her displeasure in spectacular fashion. As a first feature from Damián Szifron, this is outstanding and will take some toppling come the end of the year.

2] Hyena

3] Creep

4] We Are Still Here

5] Buzzard

WORST: Lost River Ryan Gosling believing his own hype, delivers the most pretentious load of cobblers ever committed to film. Utter, utter toilet.. and yes, I’ve seen United Passions, Accidental Love and the new Danny Dyer film this year too. Its worse than all three of those, on repeat, for eternity.


by Owen Hughes (@ohughes86)

1] Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

birdmanReleased in the UK on 1 January 2015, I still don’t think I’ve seen a funnier, more entertaining film in the cinema all year. Michael Keaton is absolutely phenomenal as the flailing former superhero movie star attempting to reinvent himself as a stage actor and producer. His manic behaviour, coupled with director Iñárritu’s frenetic, constantly adapting story shot as if the whole production was just one long take; I just loved every minute of it. However, I was hesitant to put it as number one on my list, given a couple people I’ve recommended it to have hated it! But ultimately, despite seeing it only two days into the year, nothing else has managed to better it yet for me.

2] Mad Max: Fury Road

3] Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

4] Cobain: Montage of Heck

5] John Wick

WORST: United Passions – Technically not even released in the UK this year, and unlike Jupiter Ascending (cinema) and The Man With The Iron Fists 2 (VOD), I didn’t even watch this legally. But if there’s a more abhorrent, reprehensible piece of offensive propagandist garbage with as high a budget and released globally within the next decade, I’ll be surprised.


By Matt Lambourne (@LamboMat)

1] Mad Max: Fury Road

mad max 4I’m still thinking about this movie, weeks after seeing it. The action, the character, the dialogue, the music and most importantly, the SCALE. It’s over the top in every sense and works for me on every level. I can’t wait to get hold of the home release and enjoy it without the hindrance of 3D. Absolutely superb movie!

2] American Sniper

3] Furious 7

4] Jurassic World

5] Terminator Genisys

WORST: Fifty Shades of Grey Bloated, tacky, overly polished and un-sexy. I didn’t get an erection and I didn’t get a shag that night.

by Steve Norman (@StevePN86)

1] The Theory of Everything

theory of everythingThe Stephen Hawking biopic earned lead man Eddie Redmayne an Oscar and deservedly so. His portrayal of a genius of a man going through various stages of a terrible, life changing illness was extremely believable. The film also put over a side of Hawking you don’t often see, the friend, parent and husband, not the man who invented time. Or something.

2] Ex Machina

3] Kingsman: The Secret Service

4] Selma

5] Furious 7

WORST: United Passions Garbage of the highest order. I found Tim Roth less deplorable playing a racist in Selma than I did playing Sepp Blatter in this tripe. It’s offensive that it was even made.


by Callum Petch (@CallumPetch)

1] Mad Max: Fury Road

mad max fury roadFury Road is the kind of film whose existence is a reminder that this Movies thing might be alright after all, a beacon of hope that we can all look to in dark times and remind ourselves that we can, in fact, have it so much better.  From its uncomplicated story, to its unique world and set design, to its outstanding special effects, to its jaw-dropping practical stunts, to its brilliantly subtle Tom Hardy performance, to its mesmerising Charlize Theron performance, to its openly and furiously feminist and matriarchal heart, every last frame of this utter masterpiece is what I have heard perfection is supposed to be like.  It is everything that modern Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking isn’t, a purposeful pushback against everything wrong with those films right now that, in a just world, will have everyone following its example in the years to come.  Both times that I saw this movie, my veins pulsed with pure adrenaline from frame one and the feeling did not stop until long after I left the screen in tears of pure joy at that perfect final shot.  I foresee nothing else coming anywhere close to it for the rest of this year, mainly cos I have no idea what’ll happen to me if there is a better film than Fury Road to come.

2] Magic Mike XXL

3] The Voices

4] Shaun The Sheep Movie

5] Spy

WORST: Entourage  I said everything I needed to say about this reprehensible piece of abysmal shite here and here.  I’m not going to repeat myself.

US Box Office Report: 10/07/15 – 12/07/15

The Minions are their own boss, The Gallows has made back its budget 100x over, people were selfish and didn’t see Self/Less, it’s not been a good week to be a limited release, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

It was only a matter of time.  They started off innocuously in 2010’s Despicable Me, cute little comic relief characters whom we all collectively agreed were the best part of that otherwise mediocre movie.  Then the merchandising flood started and we happily accepted it because they were adorable.  Then their involvement in the films increased exponentially with Despicable Me 2 and we cheered because Despicable Me 2 was a great film, so what’s the problem?  Then those irritating Facebook memes started – useless, insincere attitude stock phrase bullsh*t that pasted random Minions onto their rubbish and called it a day – and we shook our heads in dismay but did nothing.  And then it happened.  Universal drowned us in marketing for the Minions spin-off movie, and you couldn’t avoid them.  Everywhere you turned.  Merchandise, posters, adverts, Amazon packaging.  Nowhere was safe, nowhere was free.  The takeover had occurred, we had to submit to our new Minion overlords for they had won.  They had conquered.

Therefore, Minions opened to $115 million this past weekend, making it the second-biggest opening weekend for any animated feature ever.  May God have mercy on us all.

Meanwhile, like it or not, The Gallows is actually a roaring success.  Oh sure, a fifth place opening of $10 million may not seem like a success, but that’s ignoring the fact that the film allegedly only cost $100,000 to make.  Such is the beauty of Blumhouse Productions, a production company that can get a horror movie made so cheaply that it is almost literally impossible for them to make a film that bombs.  It’s kinda like how Uwe Boll used to be able to write off half of the budgets for his various “movies” through complicated tax breaks except, y’know, Jason Blum has actually produced a good film or two in between his crap.  Plus, he quite literally has three more films coming out in the next two months, so it’s not like this mediocre performance is going to slow him down or anything.

Elsewhere, Tarsem Singh tried to bring back intellectual sci-fi with Self/Less, a film about whether it’s morally justifiable to force Ryan Reynolds to do bad things that he doesn’t want to do, as opposed to those bad things he chose to do like Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past.  Unfortunately, this is Tarsem Singh we’re talking about here, and so the director of Mirror, Mirror proceeded to apparently make a terrible movie that squanders all of its potential.  Consequently, since reviews are make or break for these kind of films, the film has tanked with barely $5 million for eighth place.  Dammit, people!  You can’t stop the Reynoldssaince!  No matter how hard you try, it won’t be stopped!

Having a similarly bad weekend was pretty much every limited release that came out this week.  Doing the best of the lot was Do I Sound Gay?, a documentary examining the stereotype of the gay voice that brought in a decent $11,000 from its one screen.  Next up there was Boulevard, an apparently underwhelming drama that we will all see anyway because it’s Robin Williams’ final role, with $7,000 from one screen.  “Globe-trotting” comedy Meet Me In Montenegro, and I don’t need to see or hear any second of that movie after seeing the phrase “globe-trotting” used non-ironically when describing a film’s genre in 2015, did poorest with $6,000 from 10 screens for a dismal per-screen average of you work it out.  All of these movies were out-performed by a re-issue of the 1992 Mel Gibson romance flick Forever Young, which took $70,000 from 14 screens for a $5,000 per-screen average.  Not one part of that last sentence makes any sense to me.


minions

This Full List, like seemingly everything else on the planet right now, is brought to you by the Minions.  Give into the yellow pill-shaped fellas.  Resistance is futile.

Box Office Results: Friday 10th July 2015 – Sunday 12th July 2015

1] Minions

$115,200,000 / NEW

Watched this again with a friend I hadn’t seen in years this past weekend because we got to the cinema too late to catch the first showing of Ted 2 and way too early for the next screening of Amy so had to see something, and also I am why you people are suffering so.  And guess what?  I still liked it!  So all of you Minion haters out there can go suck something that doesn’t make this insult homophobic!

Also, Fun Fact: the animated movie with the biggest opening weekend of all-time is still Shrek The Third with $121 million because you are all far worse than I am.

2] Jurassic World

$18,100,000 / $590,638,000

This will cross $600 million domestic next weekend which is quite literally insane.  It is now the third highest grossing film of all-time worldwide (or it will be, since Box Office Mojo isn’t immediately up-to-date on foreign totals anymore so there may or may not be a delay), which is also insane.  The backlash is insane, the extreme love is insane, the film itself is insane.  It’s all just one big melting pot of insanity.

3] Inside Out

$17,108,000 / $283,638,000

Turns out that this did, in fact, beat Jurassic World when the actuals came in for the three-day weekend last week.  Therefore, it is no longer the only Pixar film to not hit number 1 on the charts!  Yay!  After all, if this apparently amazing film couldn’t hit number 1 but Cars 2 could, then what does that say about us as a collective society?

4] Terminator: 3DS XL

$13,700,000 / $68,718,000

WOO HOO!  It’s failing!  It’s failing!  Uh huh!  Yeah!  Alright!  And even with foreign grosses factored in, it’s still only made $225 million against a $155 million budget!  Ah, life is good, folks.  Life is good.

(*suddenly remembers that the film has yet to open in China*)

Oh, hell, no.  If the Terminator: Vita sequel moves ahead but the Mad Max: Fury Road one doesn’t, sh*t is going to get royally f*cked up, I am warning you right now.

5] The Gallows

$10,015,000 / NEW

Have you seen the initial trailer for this?  In case you haven’t, it’s embedded below, but Cliff Notes are that it’s literally just a girl sobbing for 80 seconds before being Jump Scare Killed.  Does that rub anyone else the wrong way?  I don’t mean in the way that horror is supposed to make you uneasy, I mean in the sense that it seems more than a little exploitative and fetishizing of a woman in distress?  I guess I can give it points for being honest, but still.  You know.  Yeah.

6] Magic Mike XXL

$9,640,000 / $48,359,000

Allow me to use this space to pay my respects to The Dissolve, real quick.  A beacon of pure light and excellence in an Internet film space that seems to be in a race to the bottom, it was the film site that managed to be intellectual without coming off as snobby, diverse without looking down on mainstream film, clever and witty without coming off as snarky, proof that it was possible to write about films without having to be a closed-off academic cretin or a click-bait listicle doofus.  The only real upside to this incredibly sad news is that at least the site is still up for the time being, so you can still read fine articles like Tasha Robinson’s look at how Magic Mike XXL treats female pleasure.

R.I.P. you beautiful angel.  We apparently don’t deserve you, and that just isn’t goddamn fair.

7] Ted 2

$5,600,000 / $71,619,000

Saw this this past weekend and a review will be along in short order.  Man, I wish Seth MacFarlane would write actual jokes again.

8] Self/Less

$5,379,000 / NEW

Bummed to hear that this apparently sucks, although I will in theory get to find out for myself this week, but at least I get to inform you that The Voices is now available to buy on DVD and Blu-Ray!  Seriously, go buy that damn movie.

9] Baahubali: The Beginning

$3,575,000 / NEW

I didn’t mention this in my limited release roundup for two reasons.  The first is that 236 screens is really stretching the definition of “limited” for my liking.  The second is that it broke on through to the top 10 so I can talk about it here instead.  Plus, if I mentioned that this film managed an utterly ridiculous $15,148 per-screen average in the limited release section, then that would have discredited my headline, and I really cannot be arsed to go back and change it now.  It’s late, I’m tired, let’s just push on through.

10] Max

$3,420,000 / $33,705,000

I… I really got nothing for this.  This movie’s premise just makes me too sad.  God knows how I’ll make it through the actual movie, I might singlehandedly put a whole load of Kleenex executives’ kids through college.

Dropped Out: Spy, San Andreas, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Dope

Callum Petch, bring it close to my lips, yeah.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Fayled Crytycs Podcast: Termynator Genysys & Magyc Myke XXL

TerminatorGenisysCome with us yf you want to lyve in a world where there are only 25 letters of the alphabet.

Or stay in your regular 26-letter alphabet world if you like? You can still come with us through another 90 minutes of Failed Critics Podcast film chatter. On this episode, the usual voices of Steve Norman and Owen Hughes are joined by the returning Callum Petch to review new releases Terminator Genisys and Magic Mike XXL.

Also on this episode, the team take a look over the past week’s film news, including the Film4 FrightFest programme announcement and Inside Out smashing a box office record previously held by Avatar! Sticking with the James Cameron theme, Owen reviews his 1989 deep-water sci-fi The Abyss in our What We’ve Been Watching section; Steve reveals his thoughts on spy-comedy Kingsman: The Secret Service and why Danny Dyer would still make a good James Bond; and continuing along his path to see more cult 80’s classics, Callum watches the recently restored Furious, as well as voluntarily torturing himself with the abhorrent FIFA-backed drama United Passions.

Join us again next week as we’ll be chatting with Jack, Chris and Phil from the Wikishuffle podcast! And probably reviewing Ted 2..? We’ll see.

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US Box Office Report: 03/07/15 – 05/07/15

Terminator: Genisys’ order to “Come with [it] if [we] want to live” is studiously ignored, Magic Mike XXL only ends up in a light shower of dollars, they tried to make people watch Amy and people said “Yes, yes, yes”, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Ah, 4th of July weekend!  The five-day stretch where everybody, in their great patriotic American duty, travels down to the cinemas to watch the latest wares that Hollywood has to peddle!  Past years have seen films like Despicable Me 2, The Amazing Spider-Man, various Transformers movies, a Twilight instalment, and (obviously) Independence Day launch in this lucrative and prestigious slot in order to help fuel that great American past-time: ignoring your families and friends by sitting down and shutting up for two and a bit hours!  And, sure, last year was kind of a major disappointment, but those movies weren’t going to set any box offices on fire, anyway.  This year had two supposedly highly anticipated sequels to beloved franchises, plus the continuing success of two of the strongest box office holdovers to come along in an age!  Everything was going to be peaches and cream, right?

Well, not exactly.  If you’re a holdover, this weekend was pretty great for you, at least.  In the three-day statistics (which are the only numbers that matter in this house), Jurassic World grabbed a hold of that number one slot for the fourth straight week in a row with just under $30.9 million, whilst Inside Out just cannot seal the deal with $30.1 million for second place.  Of course, with numbers that close, things could switch when actuals come in, and Inside Out apparently won the five-day weekend quite handily if we looked at things like that, so this isn’t exactly information that is going to send Pixar executives in existential crises about whether their time is really up or not.  After all, it’s neck-and-neck with Jurassic World and has been for three straight weeks.  That’s like if I lasted 12 rounds against Brock Lesnar.  Sure, I didn’t win, but I got some good hits in as he was treating my body like a Stretch Armstrong!

Good News, folks!  Terminator: Mega Drive is a failure!  For an expensive blockbuster with a beloved franchise attached to it and the intention of starting a brand new trilogy from it (like every single blockbuster ever nowadays), it did appallingly!  Over the five-day weekend, the film could only manage $44 million, whilst the three-day weekend cut that down to just $28 million!  To make matters even better, it was crushed by Jurassic World, another expensive blockbuster with a beloved franchise attached to it, in proof positive that people will skip your film if it as utter miserable shit as Terminator: CD is!  Also in Good News: in the land of limited releases, Amy, the Amy Winehouse documentary directed by Asif Kapida (the man responsible for 2011’s excellent Senna), got off to a fantastic start with $220,000 from 6 screens for a $37,000 per screen average.

Bad News, folks!  Magic Mike XXL has crashed and burned!  Perhaps forever cautioning Hollywood studios from making movies solely for the female or homosexual gaze, XXL could only scrape together $26 million from the five-day weekend, and $11 million from the three-day weekend.  Who knows why this happened?  Maybe everybody saw the trailer to this one, remembered the trailer to the first Magic Mike and went, “Oh, no!  I’m not falling for that again!”  Maybe certain prospective audience members didn’t have anyone to go with and felt too ashamed to go alone?  Maybe everybody who saw it the first time was in too much pleasure to risk going back for seconds, or incapable of communicating to their friends just how brilliant the film is?  Or maybe, just maybe, it could have something to do with the fact that THE MOVIE OPENED ON A WEDNESDAY, YOU BLITHERING IMBECILES!  Why would you do that?!  Do you hate making money?  Do you?


terminator genisys

Much like Judgement Day and Jai Courtney’s inexplicable leading man career, this Full List cannot be stopped.  It can only be delayed for a short period.

Box Office Results: Friday 3rd July 2015 – Sunday 5th July 2015

1] Jurassic World

$30,900,000 / $558,137,000

Good lord, this might actually reach $2 billion.  It’ll at least get close enough that it’ll cross that threshold when its inevitable re-release comes along in a few years’ time, and maybe even dethrone Avatar at that point, too.  This is mind-blowing to me.  In fact, everything about everything that isn’t to do with the film itself is mind-blowing to me: the rampant mega-success with the public, the extreme vitriol with which it’s been received by everybody I know and follow on Twitter, with many all but claiming its success to be an indicator of the death of cinema with the general public.  I don’t get that, but nor do I get the earth-shattering success it’s been having.  I stand by my review but… it’s a fun dinosaur movie that’s honestly kinda terrible.  It’s not brilliant and it’s not an abomination.  Can somebody please fill me in on how both sides got to their respective stations?  I’m confused, and I don’t like not understanding people, it’s one of the many reasons why I’m so miserable all the time.

2] Inside Out

$30,105,000 / $246,160,000

Have I ever mentioned that I love Amy Poehler?  Because I do, and I think that she’s amazing, and that this train of praise and adoration that she’s currently on is more than deserved.  Seriously, she’s wonderful and I admire the ever-loving heck out of her.

3] Terminator: 32x

$28,700,000 / $44,156,000 / NEW

I hate this movie.  I hate this movie with a burning passion.  I hate its simultaneously needlessly complex and nowhere-near-as-clever-and-complex-as-it-thinks-it-is plot.  I hate its dreadful special effects.  I hate how I was not once scared or intimidated by a skinless Terminator.  I hate its insipid exposition-heavy and grade-school level dialogue.  I hate how dreadful absolutely everybody is in this movie despite many people showing that they are far better actors and actresses elsewhere.  I hate the fact that it restages so many moments from the first two Terminator films and expects easy nostalgia points for doing so under the untrue guise of “subversion”.  I hate its utterly pathetic excuse of a Sarah Connor.  I hate its awful action scenes.  I hate how it won’t even reach for being obviously and extravagantly bad, instead just settling for mediocrity and expecting everyone to not get angered enough to take it to task for that.  I hate the fact that it was fucking right about doing that and that everyone is letting this one pass with a shrug of their shoulders instead of the righteous fury it deserves.  I hate it I hate it I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate it!

I don’t hate Terminator: Jaguar as much as I hate Entourage, but I hate it more than Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, and the fact that 2015 Film is trying so very hard to keep Paul Blart from the Top 5 of my Bottom Films of 2015 list is a genuine thing that we should be concerned about.

4] Magic Mike XXL

$11,600,000 / $26,656,000 / NEW

In complete contrast to Terminator: Dreamcast, I adore Magic Mike XXL, as my super peppy review helpfully demonstrates.  It is a thing of wondrous majestic beauty, especially in the way that it is super progressive in all of these brilliantly quiet ways whilst still being nearly two hours of blatant wonderful fan-service.  I really cannot stop thinking about this movie, and I’m probably going to see it again next week.  I might even see if Lucy’s up for coming again, although I get the feeling that that first time was enough for her.  You seriously should have heard her when Backstreet Boys started on the soundtrack, it was magnificent and I was feeling exactly the same as her!

5] Ted 2

$11,000,000 / $58,334,000

Well, in four days’ time, I guess I’ll find out if my fondness for Seth MacFarlane has to once again be affixed with a giant specific asterisk and hidden from sight unless directly brought up.  At least we still have American Dad! and his excellent voice acting.  Those can’t ever be taken away from me.

6] Max

$6,610,000 / $25,349,000

Oh.  I guess the fact that this is apparently rubbish has cut those seemingly long legs short after all.  Or maybe we all saw Marley & Me and are now automatically sceptical about any film with a dog because we don’t want to cry when something bad happens to it.  Either works.

7] Spy

$5,500,000 / $97,846,000

Ex-Disney CEO and Professional Tit Michael Eisner stated his belief, at the Aspen Ideas Festival (which is a real thing and I can’t believe that either) on Thursday, that “the hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman.”  Prefacing the following with an acknowledgement that “I am going to get in trouble, I know this goes online”, which should be as clear an indicator as humanly possible to stop talking, he believes that “usually, unbelievably beautiful women… are not funny.”

I don’t think I need to add anything more to that.  Although I will say that I bet that Eisner’s wife is just thrilled to know that her husband finds her either ugly or a humourless shrill.

8] San Andreas

$3,030,000 / $147,373,000

How many of you spent your 4th of July watching Independence Day?  Come on, don’t be shy!  It’s good to remind yourself of how much dumb, slightly guilty fun that movie is before the sequel comes along and is inevitably terrible!

9] Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

$1,320,000 / $4,004,000

God, this is like my own personal version of the monster from It Follows.  It’s coming, it can’t be stopped, there is no way of getting away from it, and it will get me.  Urgh.  I just want to get this over with, already, please.  Films that are clearly going to be terrible but that I have to see anyway are the worst.

As for It Follows, it is pencilled in for October 31st.  I’ll explain more closer to the time.

10] Dope

$1,098,000 / $14,104,000

You people disgust me.

Dropped Out: Insidious Chapter 3, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Callum Petch knows when to go out and when to stay in.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Magic Mike XXL

Never before has the tagline “You’re Welcome” been so appropriate and so accurate.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

xxlMagic Mike XXL is in the business of giving the people exactly what they want.  It knows that the people turned up to Magic Mike to see really, really ridiculously good-looking men strip for their enjoyment for 100-odd minutes, and occasionally some plot would intrude on the sidelines to give everyone a breather – in other words: they turned up to see the film that they were sold.  Instead, audiences were treated to a rather serious dramedy about those affected by the recession and who only use male stripping as a way to make ends meet, whilst the stripping segments were shot and treated like Soderbergh was resentful of even having to include them as they got in the way of his serious dramedy that he would really like for you to pay attention to, dammit!  This isn’t a problem, because the film is great and it’s Soderbergh so of course it’s great, but it’s not what the people initially wanted.

XXL is nothing but giving people what they want.  It may start off seeming like we’re going to get more of the first Magic Mike, with a pensive shot of Mike staring off at the ocean looking miserable, but that is quickly revealed to be a misdirection, a reverse of the first film.  Instead, XXL is pretty much 115 minutes of really, really ridiculously good-looking men gyrating in pretty much every last possible direction there is to gyrate in whilst the women on-screen lose their minds, broken up by sequences of these Best Bros For Life hanging out, ribbing on each other, and only sort-of-seriously contemplating their various futures.  XXL is here to please, to (what some could see as) an almost cynical degree.

Not that I much care, because Donald Glover just walked down the stairs with a fashionable trilby, a dinner jacket with no shirt on underneath, and is now serenading this young woman with an improvised half-rap-half-crooned song because she needs a man to remind her of just how special she is and Donald Glover is precisely the man to do that job… and then he strips off his clothes and starts gyrating in her direction whilst the other ladies rain dollar bills from upon high.  Look, Magic Mike XXL is exactly what it says it’s going to be, no bullshit, and I LOVE it for that.  I sat down to see impossibly good-looking men, and also Kevin Nash but if that’s your kind of thing then you’ll receive no judgement from me, strip and dance for my enjoyment for nearly two hours, and I got the very best possible version of that!

There’s a part of me that wants to sit here and compare it to the first Magic Mike, as most everybody else will, but it really resists that.  By its very nature as blatant fan-service, XXL is blazing a very different trail to that of the original film.  That one was very bittersweet, very cynical, it has moments of joy and fun, but it’s wrapped up in these constant reminders that our protagonists are sad or angry people and that Mike doesn’t want to be a male stripper all his life.  Couple that with almost all of the stripping sequences being cut short or shot at a distance, and you get a film that acts more as a cautionary tale about the “male entertainer” business than a celebration of it.

XXL is the exact opposite of that.  There are scenes of our cast – which, for the record, consists of Mike (Channing Tatum), Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez), and Tarzan (Kevin Nash), and Mike has joined the rest of the guys for one last ride up to Myrtle Beach for the 2015 Male Stripper Convention – wondering aloud about what they’re going to do when this is all over, but these are fleeting at most.  Everyone is instead here to enjoy the ride, to go out in style, because everybody loves what they do and tomorrow will come with what may.  It therefore feels more celebratory, more accepting of the male stripping business, instead of lumping it in as something that everyone is quietly ashamed of doing and therefore making it appear like a lesser life-choice.

Or, to better explain, it’s best encapsulated by a monologue delivered by Andre (the character that Donald Glover plays and, incidentally, I did not know that I needed Donald Glover abs in my life until this film showed me them) about two-thirds into the film.  He relates to Ken how he first got into the industry in order to get more money, in the hopes that the cash would help him fund and further his rap career, thinking that he would hate the gig and resent himself for sinking so low.  But over time, he found the work rewarding, enjoyable, motivating, empowering.  He gets to meet loads of girls every night and he gets to make them feel better, make them feel alright for five wonderful minutes, and he loves the feeling that comes from that.  And if his EP took off tomorrow, he’d try and find a way to keep it going on the side because he enjoys stripping that much.  The film agrees with him, too: these men are providing a service, their job isn’t beneath them because there’s nothing wrong with it to begin with.

And though these guys do it for the thrill of the crowd and the adoration of women across the country, they’re not lecherous creeps or disrespectful arses.  They respect women, enough to keep interactions professional when working and to respect if a woman is not interested in them when not working.  They may ask each other if they got laid the previous night – or, as they actually say in the film, “Did you bangy?” – but nobody is seriously insulted if they don’t, and when Richie expresses a desire to find the one – for, you see, his nickname is not an exaggeration and that fact intimidates pretty much every woman he tries to have sex with – the rest of the guys are nothing but supportive of him for it.  They tease each other, with Ken’s insistence that he is a “Grade 3 Reiki healer” being a constant target for mockery, but they never cross over into bullying and it all comes from a loving place.

If Entourage is a walking encapsulation of everything wrong with “bro-culture” and the entire concept of “bros”, Magic Mike XXL is a sharp rebuttal against the idea that “bro-culture” is just that.  These are legitimately charming and likeable men who are still dudes and bros, but are self-aware enough to not be misogynistic bullies.  Their bonds are strong and genuine, since the film gives everyone more than enough time and moments to interact with one another and display that legitimate affection.  For an example of that respectfulness, Mike spends a fair bit of the movie bonding with a girl called Zoe (Amber Heard).  He clearly wants to sleep with her, but she resists the idea and the two instead become teasing friends throughout the rest of the movie, through things like her mocking him for preferring cookies over cake – “Cookie people can’t be trusted” she quite rightly notes – or him giving her the lap dance to end all lap dances at the film’s end.  Does it matter that she feels superfluous to the plot, like she was meant to have some significance at some point but that got drafted out?  No, no it does not because she still feels well-drawn and is a really likeable screen presence.

Besides, this is a movie about giving the people what they want.  That’s why there are quite literally zero stakes, because that runs the risk of dampening the mood.  It’s a fun, happy-times hang-out movie when it’s not walking right up to the line of softcore pornography.  Speaking of: god, every single one of this film’s stripping segments are amazing!  This is a film that takes great pleasure in getting its cast members to debase themselves for the enjoyment of straight women, gay men, and bisexual folks everywhere, the camera providing excellent views of every gyration, every twerk, every slide, every bicep, ab, heavenly blue eyes that you can just get lost in.  Joe Mangianello gets high on MDMA and proceeds to turn a gas station store into a non-stop playground of sexual innuendo that barely gets away from being straight up sex, Channing Tatum says his name whilst twirling out of the room because that is the dreamiest fucking thing I have ever seen in my entire life, Matt Bomer imitates Justin Timberlake imitating Michael Jackson for 5 wonderful minutes, and the film ends with 20 straight minutes of male stripping before going directly to the credits because that’s what we all came here to see and why pretend otherwise?

And the film anchors this with both a cast of wonderful, charming, and charismatic men who are willing and eager to allow themselves to be taken apart and looked at as lust-after-able and loveable man meat, and a nearly show-stealing Jada Pinkett Smith.  I want to really stress this: in the movie equivalent of the viewer being the cheese slap-bang in the middle of a delicious beefcake sandwich for 115 glorious minutes, Jada Pinkett Smith is the one who almost steals the entire film out from under everybody.  She plays Roma, an MC at a stripper club for women of colour that Mike used to dance at.  She exudes confidence, she calls her enraptured audience members “queens” and treats them as such, she sends some of her most beautiful black men after plus-sized women because she knows that they are just as deserving of this treatment as everyone else is, she can reign the bros in but she’s not humourless, she’s bisexual but the film does not make a big deal out of it, she grabs ahold of that microphone and introduces each and every man with the exact kind of showmanship required, and she oozes so much charm that I was practically seconds away from shouting back at the screen, “Yes, you wonderful and amazing woman!  Thank you for these gifts from above!”

Look… I could sit here and lie to you all that I love this film for its forward-thinking attitudes towards the business of stripping, for its naturalistic but incredibly funny dialogue, for its unwavering commitment to shooting its male cast and the entire film in the female and homosexual gaze for once in this miserable patriarchal industry.  I could sit here and lie about how the film’s lack of any real message or theme hurts it, how a runtime just shy of two hours makes the whole experience drag, and how its insistence on giving women what it thinks they want is just as condescending and insulting as it is desperately trying to not be.  But I can’t do any of those things.  Because they’re lies, and I can’t lie to you in a review, doing so defeats the entire concept of the form.

No, I love this film because Joe Mangianello’s super suggestive gas station number is set to “I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys and myself and my friend Lucy both collectively – along with the 8 people that were in our audience during out 11:30 on a Friday morning screening, oh how I wish I had gotten to see this film at night with a full crowd – lost our shit once the song started up.  I love this film because Matt Bomer has the voice of an angel, the body of a Michelangelo sculpture, and eyes that make any human being Bomer-sexual through even just the tiniest of exposures, and this film utilises them for all that they’re worth.  I love this movie because Channing Tatum can do things with his hips that make my hips do things of an entirely different nature.

And I do not feel ashamed about any of this.  I know that I, as a film critic, am supposed to demand more from the cinema that is put in front of us for our consumption, for more than surface-level enjoyment and eye candy, and that loving this movie for those surface-level reasons risks making me a hypocrite, one of those “stop pandering, unless you’re pandering to me” kinda guys.  But, well, isn’t this more?  A mainstream Hollywood movie made within the studio system that treats women respectfully, is embracing and loving of the stripping profession, and takes great pleasure in objectifying the everloving fuck out of some gorgeous guys for the sole and purposeful entertainment of straight women, gay men, and bisexuals the world over?  Can we get any more than this?  Doesn’t that make Magic Mike XXL something special?

I don’t know.  All I know is that I enjoyed every last second of this wonderful, glorious, beautiful thing, that I needed a cold shower afterwards, and that, barring a second half that somehow just shits out solid gold week in week out, this will be on my Top 10 Films of 2015 come the end of December, and it will be very, very high.  And it will be because really, really ridiculously good-looking men spent roughly 115 minutes gyrating for my personal enjoyment.

Callum Petch needs a roughneck brother that can satisfy him.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!