New to DVD: 'Magic Mike' and 'Seeking A Friend for the End of the World'
Adam Rodriguez, left, Kevin Nash, Channing Tatum and Matt Bomer tell a revealing tale in "Magic Mike."
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3 stars = Good
Part "Working Girl," part "42nd Street," director Steven Soderbergh's "Magic Mike" is a wonderfully low-fat treat.
Based on star Channing Tatum's real-life experiences as an exotic dancer, his eponymous character is working his way toward making enough money to start a handmade furniture business, one lap dance at a time.
Mike is the main attraction at Tampa's Club Xquisite, where the owner, Dallas -- played with smarmy, good ol' boy glee by Matthew McConaughey -- has plans of his own. Dallas wants to move the club, and his "Kings of Tampa" with it to Miami, but Mike is skeptical.
Enter attractive but immature punk Adam (Alex Pettyfer), who's a natural on stage. Mike takes Adam under his wing and introduces him to the brotherhood of the thong.
Despite some heavy undertones involving drug use and Mike's growing sense of unease, the cast of the six impossibly buff and polished Xquisite troupe had a good time on stage. Which means the audience does as well.
"Magic Mike" unabashedly earns its R rating, ramping up the nudity and raunchiness while somehow making in-your-face crotch-grabbing seem more fun than sexually threatening.
Extras include deleted dance scenes, backstage featurette and the moves of Magic Mike.
3 stars = Good
"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World," by first-time director Lorene Scafaria, is sad, smart, sweet, bittersweet, romantic, fatalistic and funny all at the same time or in waves.
Steve Carell and Keira Knightley appear in this apocalyptic dramedy set as a 70-mile-wide asteroid speeds toward Earth. Mr. Carell is Dodge, a cautious insurance salesman whose wife bolts, leaving him to face dying alone. Until, that is, he meets neighbor Penny (Ms. Knightley), who just broke up with her boyfriend and realizes she will never see her family in England again.
Dodge and Penny try to track down old friends and make peace with the past. They encounter people who have given in to despair, turned to religion or riots, prepared for this event or simply partied like it's the last supper.
Ms. Scafaria knows how to write conversation, not just lines sandwiched between action pieces or road-trip stops. And "Seeking a Friend" raises the sort of questions you could ask at a last supper or your next one.
"Seeking a Friend" has an excellent and eclectic soundtrack based partly on Penny's love of vinyl records and inspired by the director's own fondness for Lou Reed, onetime Byrds songwriter turned solo artist Gene Clark, the Beach Boys ("Pet Sounds" gets a shoutout) and the Beatles.
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-- Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers
First Published October 25, 2012 12:00 am