Friday, July 27, 2012

Politics Vs. Art

It's official: the much anticipated Gangster Squad has been postponed until 2013 due to the fact that it depicts a shooting eerily similar to the Aurora shootings.

Personally, I'm completely torn about how I feel about this. On one hand, I want to commend their tastefulness. The shooting in Aurora was a horrific tragedy. Everyone can agree with that. On the other hand, part of me wonders if this is an appropriate response. A great response to the shooting would be what Christian Bale did--he went around visit victims of the shooting, on his own, without the press. Of course, "without press" means basically nothing in this day and age when it's impossible for an actor to cover his mouth while coughing without it being a PR move. That said, the sentiment was there, and it was a touching move on his part.

But then there's that nagging left side of my brain. The part that can't abide censorship, even under the right circumstances. The part that doesn't like to see art tamed and neutered. The part that believes we shouldn't jump to stigmatize the violence in a movie like that right away--if art is good at anything, it's good at therapy.

I'm sure Warner Bros. knew what they were doing when put this movie on pause. I'm sure every knew what they were doing when they decided to chop out that bit of the script and started to go into reshoots to fill in the gap with something a little more political correct. And, again, I praise them for their tact and respect for everyone affected by the shootings. But there's just a part of me that's uncomfortable with the way they're handling this tragedy. Maybe I'm just a bitter leftist who doesn't like the fact that, while the victims and heroes are (rightly) being showcased in the media, no one is talking about the societal repercussions of glorified villains and a lack of gun control. Windows of discussion that, maybe, a movie like this might have opened up. If you need to chalk it up to that, so be it. But I need some voices to quell that nagging dissent in the back of my head, because I really do want to give three cheers to the decision makers behind this shift in Gangster Squad, and right now I'm at two cheers and a golf clap.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"How Pregnant Did You Get That Girl's Mouth?"

This is just going to have to be one of those movies I enjoyed much more than I wanted to. Really, I figured it'd be worth the ticket price for the cat-calling alone. After all, how many movies really bring out the fat construction worker in drunk and happy women? But once we got passed Channing Tatum's ass and a couple dance numbers, something truly weird started to happen. I began--ye gods--to actually enjoy myself! And it wasn't because I'm a bad lesbian. It's because it's actually a damn solid movie. 

Let's look at the facts. Channing Tatum, before his claim to fame on screen, used to strip for money. So he wanted to make a down-to-earth movie about the industry of male stripping. And then the plot bunny fell into the lap of Steven Soderbergh. Done. Let's face it, Soderbergh knows how to do bromances. And that was, essentially, the heart of this movie. A great bromance between Master Stripper Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) and his padawan stripper Adam (Alex Pettyfer). And then there's the tug-and-pull of drugs, sex, and partying way too hard. All the elements are there. The actors are all fantastic (and can do crazy things with their hips). The stripper clan, consisting of Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, and Kevin Nash were all fantastic. But three main characters really held their own--Channing Tatum was a great, charismatic Magic Mike, Alex Pettyfer actually proved to me that he could act, and Cody Horn pulled off a very organic, believable over-protective sister. And, of course, props have to be given to Matthew McConaughey. That man had a bad habit of rubbing me the wrong way but when he lets go and stops taking himself so seriously...he can pull it off. 

I should stop there. I should. But I feel a feminist rant coming on. Nothing wrong with Magic Mike itself--in fact, they did a great job with their female characters. They had a good mix of all kinds of women--bimbos, drug addicts, but also strong, solid-on-their-feet women. Yeah, it was nice to see the female character telling her man to "shut up and look pretty." A little change of pace for Hollywood. My bone to pick has nothing to do with this movie...rather, with these types of movies. Movies about male sexuality. My problem is they're always so fucking good. We've got 8 1/2, Boogie Nights, Shame and now Magic Mike. Really good, solid movies that explore psychological issues and lots of bromance. So what have women got? Burlesque? If this is the best we can do, shoot me now. 

This is my long way of saying: good movie, check it out. And if you don't check it out, look for the soundtrack. Damn catchy tunes.