Steven Soderbergh

Channing Tatum in Magic Mike

Here is a lesson in Internet translation – don’t run stories through Google Translate in German to French to English, otherwise, you just might end up staring at a line that reads “We want it necessarily But Steven Soderbergh is retiring so we are currently looking for a director, it was already the ideas that…Gregory Jacobs (Anm.d .’s note: regular assistant director Steven Soderbergh, director of “Wind Chill”) takes on the director or Reid Carolin and I take over the government, but we are still not safe there” and wondering just what the hell “the government” of Magic Mike 2 is. Amusing adventures in failed bilinguality (trilingulaity? trylinguality?) aside, a German site called Filmstarts (via French site Allocine, via The Playlist) reports that Channing Tatum could possibly direct the sequel to Magic Mike. Via Google Translate, Tatum is quoted as saying something along the lines of “We really want, but Steven Soderbergh really want to retire. We will undoubtedly make the Broadway version first…Gregory Jacobs can make the film, or we can make it, Reid Carolin and me. But we do not know.” Which means that they want Soderbergh to direct it, everyone is still clinging to this weird “retirement” thing, and either Tatum or Reid Carolin (Tatum’s producing partner and screenwriter on the first film) could step in to direct the film. Maybe. This is, of course, all in another language and could be completely misconstrued. My eyes are still crossed and I’m trying to read German.

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Magic Mike

Over the last couple weeks since its release, Magic Mike has become so successful that you had to imagine somebody somewhere was already thinking about a sequel. This movie was basically the largest dollar bill stuffed into the largest g-string ever, so to think that everyone involved wasn’t going to shake it a second time to try and double their money would be naive. And, sure enough, during a recent Twitter Q&A with “Glamour” magazine, Magic Mike star and oiled up hunk of beef Channing Tatum put it all out there. When asked about a possible sequel, his response was a resounding, “Yes, yes and yes! We’re working on the concept now. We want to flip the script and make it bigger.” Of course, this simple confirmation that the idea is being bandied about doesn’t really give us any of the particulars of what a Magic Mike sequel would look like. The first was directed by Steven Soderbergh, and felt very much like a Steven Soderbergh film. In addition to all of the flashy stripping scenes that seem to have caught everyone’s attention, there was also a solid story about people at the heart of things, and the whole point of the narrative seemed to be Mike trying to get to a place where he could grow beyond being a Goodtime Charley.

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Magic Mike

It feels more and more like we’re on the cusp of a cultural change in the types of movies that studios make. Or, at least, there are more signs that studios should be paying attention to. This week’s edition of Movies Aren’t Just For Teenage Boys comes in the form of a record-breaking R-rated feat. As the LA Times points out, Ted and Magic Mike (which sounds like a morning radio show duo) have become the first R-rated movies to open on the same weekend with more than $21m a piece. And they made a lot more than that. Ted scored $54.1m, and Magic Mike came in second with $39.2m. Seth MacFarlane‘s directorial debut featuring a totally ethical teddy bear had a near even split with 56% of its audience being men, but women dominated Magic Mike with 73%. So here it is, studios. Proof that adults go to movies, that they enjoy strippers, and that women buy tickets too. Maybe these aren’t the high-minded examples that everyone would have hoped for, but they display a challenge to the new-found wisdom that toys and comic book properties are the only way to make money with moving pictures.

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Reel Sex

Ladies and open-minded gentlemen, this is the weekend for which we have been waiting ever so patiently. Years of watching our fellow sisters remove clothing and undulate for the good of “story” has finally paid off, and we will have our day in the sun. Our fearless prince, director Steven Soderbergh, has reached into the depths of his vast (yet dwindling) bag-o-tricks and presented us with a simple masterpiece that has been on the tip of wagging tongues for months. Magic Mike is the product of a genius, and while it isn’t a perfect film, Soderbergh’s dedication to objectifying his male cast is reassuring and welcomed. It is about time ladies get a fluff movie that isn’t about shopping, shoes, or relationships, but instead two hours of glorious female gaze. These men are hotter than this Texas drought I’m currently suffering through, and I appreciated every moment I had with them. But what makes Magic Mike something of dreams is the film’s playful self-awareness that it is, in fact, meant to be a sort of man droolfest. Soderbergh knows what he’s doing, and instead of alienating his audience he embraces them, offers up a beer, and presents six sexy, shirtless men on a platter for the world to see. I’m sure a discussable plot is in there somewhere (and I will leave that to our film review), but I am more interested in reflecting on a handful recent films that paved the way for this glorious moment of shirtless wonderment.

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Film has certainly explored the female side of the world of stripping, but rarely has the glittered curtain been pulled back on the male side of this risqué form of entertainment. Director Steven Soderbergh paints this picture with his signature style and does so in a way that shows us the highs and lows of living a cash-only lifestyle, the sort that can seem like one big party, but one that leaves you questioning your future when the sun comes up, the high from the night before wears off, and you realize you have nothing more than a stack of ones to show for your “day at the office.” Magic Mike focuses on Mike (Channing Tatum), a man with a plan who is a natural hustler, bouncing from odd job to odd job, saving his cash, and working on his plan to start his own custom furniture business. Mike is a charmer, not just with the ladies, but with anyone he meets thanks to an unflappable, positive outlook on life as he good-humoredly chuckles in the face of even the most outlandish of situations he finds himself in. But Mike is not some good-looking blockhead, he knows where his strengths lie and has parlayed that into a successful run at a male revue, Xquisite, where he is “second in command” to the club’s owner, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey.) Mike is constantly watching the bottom line and while he is certainly having a good time, he considers it all a temporary stop […]

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Though we’ve been talking about Steven Soderbergh‘s Magic Mike for nearly a year now, the passage of time has in no way lessened the inherent weirdness of Soderbergh directing a movie about male strippers that’s loosely based on the real life experiences of one of his many very attractive male stars. The marketing has not helped make Magic Mike seem even less bizarre – it’s almost unfathomable that a film that will see Matt Bomer playing at being a Ken Doll during an all-male revue will make it to the big screen for mass consumption. Again and again, I’ve stared wide-eyed at Magic Mike marketing materials and asked myself, is this really an actual movie? It is. It really is. While it’s still hard to say if Magic Mike will end up being the unexpected hit of the summer, there are a few things we do know (that we can glean just from some newly released pictures alone): That Matthew McConaughey will, at one point, drink from a gold goblet on the beach. That Alex Pettyfer and Channing Tatum will go shopping for Speedos together. That the costume department didn’t both buying any shirts whatsoever for McConaughey. That it will be rife with crotch shots. And, at some point, McConaughey is going to play us a song. Thank you to everyone involved with this movie for making this movie. Check out the new photos (and a few old) after the break.

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Prometheus

One month down in the summer movie season. We got a decent opener, certainly not a grand start. Joss Whedon‘s box-office juggernaut and Wes Anderson‘s lovely Moonrise Kingdom aside, we faced disappointments. The Dictator was hit and miss. Battleship was more bloated than big. Although it was better than its harsher critics suggested, Dark Shadows didn’t exactly win over any of Depp and Burton’s naysayers. Now, with June, we’ve got an even more promising month; 30 days packed with Abraham Lincoln killing vampires, a rock musical, and a talking bear movie. All the required ingredients for a proper moviegoing month. This is such a busy month the honorable mentions are more honorable than usual, even Adam Shankman‘s Rock of Ages, that movie being marketed as a celebrity karaoke party. Even though The Loved Ones is apparently a must-see movie, 99.9% of you will not be able to see it this month, hence why it’s not on the list. But what is?

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Over Under - Large

Though Steven Soderbergh has had a lengthy career full of acclaimed projects, he’s perhaps best known for his remake of Ocean’s 11, a successful compiling of some of the biggest names in Hollywood for a good, old-fashioned heist movie that was so successful it spawned two sequels. Despite the fact that he was better known for artier fare when Ocean’s Eleven was released, audiences responded well to this fairly simple robbery tale, and the slight modern spin that Soderbergh put on the film’s largely vintage aesthetic got pretty universal praise. If there are any filmmakers working today who have a heftier resume of acclaimed works than Steven Soderbergh, then they’re definitely named Joel and Ethan Coen. The Coen brothers have been making artsy, weird movies ever since the mid-80s, and though it’s taken them a while to achieve any real financial success, they’ve always enjoyed an ever-increasing amount of critical acclaim. That is, until they ventured into the romantic comedy and heist genres in 2003 and 2004 with Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers. These two films are widely regarded as the Coens’ worst work, and their only movies worst skipping. This feeling is erroneous, however, because The Ladykillers in particular is very Coens and very fun, and the world was wrong for vilifying them for making a simple heist movie with a throwback feel. I mean, nobody minded when Soderbergh did it.

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When the first trailer for Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming male stripper drama, Magic Mike, came out, it painted Channing Tatum’s titular character as a dreamer whose side job was at odds with his aspirations for becoming an artist and finding true love. It seemed like the movie was a fun excuse to have a bunch of ripped dudes take their shirts off in order to sell tickets to the boy-crazy segment of the film-going population, sure, but it also looked like a story that had heart and the potential to connect with audiences on a deeper level. This new international trailer is a little bit different. Its focus is on Alex Pettyfer’s character making his debut in the world of male stripping, and it doesn’t make even momentary mention of anyone’s post-stripping goals. Basically, it makes Magic Mike look like a movie where, for a couple of hours, girls will be shrieking and guys will be wiggling. I guess abs translate much easier than dreams to a multilingual audience.

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This is not exactly what I expected from the first trailer for Steven Soderbergh‘s next film, Magic Mike, the hot dude-starring film about male strippers that old Sods apparently feels pretty passionate about. Despite a generally interesting and talented cast (Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, and Wendi McLendon-Covey, amongst many others) and the promise of unwrapping some true-life stripper tales (Tatum himself once worked as one), Magic Mike looks like…a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy? Record scratch. Long billed as a film about the dirty/funny insides of male stripping through the lens of a new stripper (presumably Pettyfer) learning the ropes from a more experienced co-worker (Tatum), this first trailer focuses solely on Tatum, his burgeoning romance with Pettyfer’s sister (Cody Horn), and his overwhelming desire to get out of the stripping game so that he can make his own furniture – all set to the dulcet sounds of a Rihanna jam. What?

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Gina Carano in Haywire

When you think of the typical action hero, the image that immediately leaps to mind is undoubtedly that of a bloody, bandana-clad dude with a massive gun, or a rouge tough guy cop, or perhaps a macho kung-fu master. In other words…males. While action is a genre long dominated by men, there have been a few notable (read: 100% ass-kicking) action heroines that have left their own indelible mark: Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. To that list, we must now certainly add Gina Carano, star of Steven Soderbergh’s recent action thriller Haywire. Gina however had the advantage of being a certified badass long before throwing her first punch on screen. She is a longtime student of Muay Thai, a former champion MMA fighter, and was in fact involved in some of the first sanctioned female fights in MMA history. With knockout after knockout Carano, an undeniable knockout herself, proved that beauty and strength were far from mutually exclusive. Her work in Haywire, coupled with her successful MMA career, inspired the head honchos at ActionFest to create a new award for which she will be the first recipient. The Chick Norris Best Female Action Star Award, playfully adapted from the name of fest founder (and action legend in his own right) Chuck Norris, celebrates the contribution women have made and continue to make to action cinema. We got a chance to talk to Gina about the award, about Haywire, and, oddly, […]

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Anyone who follows the Criterion Collection will note that just about every month of releases is exciting for collectors of classic and important cinema. But some months are just a little bit more special than others. This coming June is going to be even more special. With titles from Alfred Hitchcock, Toshiro Mifune, Charlie Chaplin, Steven Soderbergh (on Spalding Gray) and Danny Boyle, Criterion may have on their hands one of the most exciting months of releases in years. You might as well start saving now. Seriously, just check out the line-up after the jump.

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The Limey

You know, I know, we all know Steven Soderbergh doesn’t do anything by the book. Say what you will about his film making prowess, he’s always looking at a different way of getting a shot, laying out a scene, or structuring an entire feature film. Why should it be any less abnormal when Soderbergh lays down a commentary track. Such is the case with this commentary for The Limey. Knowing full well before actually hearing it that this commentary track is little more than director Soderbergh and screenwriter Lem Dobbs going at each other about film making as a whole and how this collaboration worked out, I’m not expecting cute anecdotes from the set or a play-by-play of the events transpiring on screen. How cute can Terence Stamp really be anyway? Instead, what is expected is a 90-minute barrage of verbal jousting and back-and-forth between a director and an apparently malcontent screenwriter. Sounds like a right robin time, innit?

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Yesterday I promised that if we just waited patiently, the remaining questions about Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming movie Side Effects would soon be answered, and a whole new set of questions would probably arise. Oh, how true that was. Before we get into all that, let’s do a brief rundown of the reporting that’s been done on this movie so far. First it was reported that a “psychopharmacology thriller” that Soderbergh was working on called Bitter Pill was getting its funding through a partnership between Annapurna Pictures and Open Road Films, but that the movie would be called Side Effects going forward. Then came news that Annapurna had pulled their funding, possibly based on concerns they had with Blake Lively being cast in the starring role. It was also theorized that the production was looking at a short list of new actresses to take Lively’s place and save the film some face. Finally, the casting rumors looked to be true, because it was announced that Rooney Mara had been chosen to take Lively’s place as the lead. We were then left only with the question of who would come on board to take Annapurna’s place as this movie’s sugar daddy.

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Here we are, once again, talking about Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming thriller about depression and medication, Side Effects. The last time we left our players in this ongoing drama Annapurna Pictures had pulled their funding from the film, reportedly over a kerfuffle about casting. You see, rumor had it that there was some uneasy feelings about Blake Lively playing the lead role in this film, that of a depressed woman who battles addiction and is in the middle of a love triangle involving both her husband and her doctor. Further rumors indicated that there were a whole short-list of actresses that Soderbergh and his people were looking at to replace Lively, and hopefully restore faith in the project. Well, it looks like at least most of those rumors were true. Deadline Bedford is reporting that Lively has been shuffled off the film and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star Rooney Mara will now be taking her place as the lead. Seeing as Mara just turned a lot of heads playing a dark, troubled woman and Lively hasn’t ever turned too many heads doing anything, this is probably good news for the movie overall.

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Reel Sex

People were up in arms Tuesday after the announcement of nominees for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. So many seem to forget that every year they are disappointed with the nominees and every year there is some film or performer who was left off or included on the prestigious list. I may have spent the final weeks of 2011 lamenting my utter ennui with last year’s films, but I never in a million years expected some of the Oscar outcomes. No Supporting Actor nomination for Albert Brooks, whose performance in Drive unnerved audiences to the core? Or the blatant disregard for solid documentary filmmaking in The Interrupters, Buck, or Project Nim, three entries into filmmaking that will forever impact the way we view the world around us? No, the Academy seemed to forget the impressive and daring offerings in favor of an adorable dog in a silent film. What is this, 1920? Last I checked The Jazz Singer pushed us into the land of the talkies. I could spend all day gnawing my tongue over which films shouldn’t have been included in this year’s awards recognition, but just like arguing the virtues and evils of the MPAA, our time is better used talking about some of the sexy pieces of work that the Academy felt were too provocative to include (for reasons I have completely made up in my mind. Hey, they have their prerogative, I have mine.). Going along with the Academy’s new voodoo math rules of deciding the […]

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Following Steven Soderbergh’s career has been a winding road full of ups and downs as of late. First he was going to make The Man From U.N.C.L.E., then there was a long period of juggling actors on that film as he tried to nail down a cast, then that movie got cancelled completely. There has been talk of retirement, talk of pushing off retirement to do more things, and generally just a lot of confusion. Things seemed to have reached a moment of stability a week ago, though, when it was announced that he was going forward with his next film, a thriller called Side Effects, and that it had funding stemming from a partnership between Annapurna Pictures and Open Road Films. That’s all up in the air now though, and apparently it comes down to the all too familiar casting woes. Variety is now reporting that Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures has pulled out of the deal, leaving Soderbergh and Open Road to find additional funding on their own. Variety gave no reason as to why the deal fell through, but The Playlist is claiming to have sources close to the situation that say Ellison and her people don’t like the casting of Blake Lively in the lead role. She apparently is set to play a drug addict in the middle of a love triangle between her husband (Channing Tatum) and her doctor (Jude Law).

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The absolute worst thing you could say about Steven Soderbergh’s latest film is that its lead, Gina Carano, is consistently out-acted by Channing Tatum. On its surface and for obvious reasons that’s a pretty damning statement. But when viewed as a whole performer instead of just an actress you quickly realize that Carano has a very particular set of other skills. Skills she has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make her a nightmare for people like Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor and other male stars with recognizably pretty faces. A nightmare for them, but entertaining as hell for the rest of us.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in his favorite Jedi robe, grabs his lightsaber and heads out to see the latest George Lucas movie…and boy does he look stupid. After realizing that Red Tails has nothing to do with the color of creatures’ backsides in the Tattooine cantina, he then dresses in his favorite “Team Jacob” tee shirt to see the latest vampire/werewolf movie. Again, he looks ridiculous. Finally, he sulks into a movie theater showing the new Steven Soderbergh film, falls in love with new action star Gina Carano and is happy.

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Aural Fixation - Large

Audiences have been eagerly awaiting the release of soon-to-be retired (or so was once widely claimed) Steven Soderbergh’s latest film, Haywire, after advanced screenings confirmed what the trailer suggested – a literally kick-ass time at the movies. Starring a Hollywood unknown, Gina Carano is known more for her mixed martial arts skills and those skills are put to the test on the big screen as she goes up against a powerful boys club comprised of the likes of Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Fassbender. Playing a black ops solider betrayed by her company, Carano is forced to not only figure out why she was double crossed, but do so while trying to keep herself from being killed in the process (and leaving an impressive body count of her own in her wake.) Soderbergh turned to composer David Holmes to create the musical landscape for a film that is not only action-packed, but also dramatic, thrilling, emotional, even funny at times and overall – fun. But what made this film such a fun time at the movies? Many factors of course (the story, the actors, the direction), but the element that seemed to keep this idea of playfulness running throughout was provided by the score, and almost subconsciously so. Holmes is no stranger to scoring a film that flips the script every other scene and forces the audience to not only try and keep up with the action, but unravel the truth behind the story as well. He […]

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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