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Weekend Preview: Movies To Catch June 29-July 5

Sara Itkis |
June 28, 2012 | 10:29 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

First on the list this weekend is "Magic Mike," directed by Steven Soderbergh ("Ocean's Eleven"), and starring Channing Tatum ("21 Jump Street," "Dear John"). Also included in the cast are Alex Pettyfer ("Beastly," "I Am Number Four"), Matthew McConaughey ("Tropic Thunder," "How To Lose A  Guy in 10 Days"), and Olivia Munn.

Tatum stars as a male stripper called Mike ("The name is Mike. Magic Mike.") While juggling his job and efforts to develop a relationship, Mike acts as a mentor for a younger stripper, showing him the ropes––namely, how to have a good time and bring in the dough while at it. With Soderbergh as its director, "Magic Mike" calls attention to itself as more than just shallow eye-candy. Judging by preliminary reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and the Chicago Sun-Times, the film has a dark side, if not an overly intimidating one, and has somewhat more substance than the trailer may perhaps indicate. However, I still wouldn't expect all that much from the deep-and-meaningful department. If anything would attract one to the "Magic Mike," it would be the promise of impressively choreographed dance numbers, some sweet, albeit hackneyed, romance, and Channing Tatum's abs.

(Fun fact: Tatum himself worked as a dancer before he made it in Hollywood.)



"Ted:" There is little I can say about this film. What can you say about a movie that focuses on a man-child and his bromance with his walking, talking, R-rated teddy bear? Up sides: Seth MacFarlane––the guy we have to thank for "Family Guy"––directs, co-writes, and voices Ted's character. Mark Wahlberg ("The Fighter," "The Departed," "Italian Job"), Mila Kunis ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "Black Swan"), and Joel McHale ("Community") star. It will be funny. Crude, but funny. Down sides: I have a hunch it will be just another one of those comedies with an overly simple plot in which you can feel your IQ dropping as you munch on popcorn. That said, it will doubtless provide laughs for a fun night out with friends. 



That should cover the Box Office biggies for the weekend. On the flip side of things, we'll be seeing a few independent, limited releases that look quite promising. First on the list is "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Written and directed by Benh Zeitlin, and starring Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry––all feature film first-timers––it tells of a six-year-old girl named Hushpuppy (Wallis), and her father, Wink (Henry), who live together in a small community at the edge of modern civilization. When Wink's health weakens and environmental changes endanger their home and cause the return of a dangerous prehistoric species, Hushpuppy must learn how to survive in a constantly changing world. "Beasts of the Southern Wild" strives to create a universe in which harsh reality and magical wonderment are intertwined. It also promises to showcase breathtaking performances by Henry and especially young Wallis. If nothing else, the trailer certainly looks beautiful:



That brings us to "Take This Waltz." Which means Michelle Williams ("My Week with Marilyn," "Shutter Island") and Seth Rogen ("Pineapple Express," "Knocked Up") playing a married couple. What could possibly go wrong in this delightful pairing? Apparently, quite a lot. The film, bearing the same title as the poetic song by Leonard Cohen that is featured in the soundtrack, is about the fragmentation of said marriage when Williams's character falls in love with an artist (Luke Kirby) who lives on their street.

Written and directed by Sarah Polley, an actress-turned-director, "Take This Waltz" threatens to simply be "Blue Valentine" (2010) all over again, with a similar indie texture and Williams playing essentially the same character. Personally, I adored "Blue Valentine," and wouldn't mind if this was the case. Even if I did, nothing would stop me from going to see Seth Rogen in his first non-comedic role––especially after his performance in "50/50" last year. 



Okay, here's the best for last: This film is not coming out over the weekend, but on July 3rd, in time for the Independence Day movie rush. It is a reboot/remake of a trilogy that is under a decade old. It stars Andrew Garfield ("Social Network," "Never Let Me Go) and Emma Stone ("The Help," "Easy A"), and is directed by "(500) Days of Summer"'s Marc Webb. (Get it? Webb? Get it?) Yes, "The Amazing Spiderman" is finally here. Sadly, few people share in my enthusiasm, and the film is faced with much skepticism. The original trilogy with Tobey Maguire is generally well-liked, and is still quite fresh in our minds. In addition, the story seems to be the same exact origin story as we saw in "Spider-Man" (2002), with few plot changes. All the same, with the cast and director that this reboot has, the positive reviews coming in from Europe, and the slick visuals that the trailer promises, I choose to place my trust in "The Amazing Spiderman." Besides, I certainly wouldn't say no to another superhero flick.


Reach Staff Reporter Sara here.



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