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Steven Soderbergh
Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Olivia Munn, Alex Pettyfer, James Martin Kelly, Cody Horn, Reid Carolin
Writing Credits:
Reid Carolin

Work all day. Work it all night.

Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh unveils the story of Mike (Channing Tatum), an entrepreneur with many talents and loads of charm. Mike spends his days pursuing the American Dream, from roofing houses and detailing cars to designing furniture at his Tampa beach condo. But at night.he's just magic. The hot headliner in an all-male revue, Magic Mike has been rocking the stage at Club Xquisite for years with his original style and over-the-top dance moves.

Box Office:
$7 million.
Opening Weekend
$39.127 million on 2930 screens.
Domestic Gross
$113.709 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
Latin Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 110 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 10/23/2012

• “Backstage on Magic Mike” Featurette
• Dance Play Mode
• Deleted Scenes: Extended Dance Scenes
• Preview
• DVD Copy


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Magic Mike [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 22, 2012)

Nearly 25 years into his directorial career, Steven Soderbergh continues to confound expectations with his cinematic choices. Today’s example: 2012’s Magic Mike, a drama about the world of male strippers.

Set in Tampa, we meet Mike (Channing Tatum), a true jack-of-all-trades. He runs his own mobile detailing business, creates unique furniture to sell, works construction – and spends nights at a local club as exotic dancer “Magic Mike”. At a building site, he meets Adam (Alex Pettyfer), an unmotivated slacker content to sleep on his sister Brooke’s (Cody Horn) couch and work odd jobs.

On a night out, Adan bumps into Mike and finds out about the latter’s evening job. Confronted with the prospect of easy money and endless tail, Alex agrees to join the gang as their newest stripper. We follow their growing friendship and the way their lives evolve as Adam embraces the nightlife and Mike starts to think he needs something more from his existence.

I ended up at a theatrical screening of Magic over the summer, which was completely due to the Soderbergh Factor. I respect the director enough that I’ll give his work a look even when I don’t find myself particularly interested in the subject matter.

Maybe that needs to stop. Actually, Soderbergh’s last two films pre-Magic - 2011’s Contagion and early 2012’s Haywire - looked intriguing regardless of Soderbergh’s involvement; his presence simply added a touch of prestige. Unfortunately, neither movie did much for me.

Though it comes with the topic that appeals least to me, Magic probably works the best of these three flicks, though that’s semi-faint praise, as I don’t think highly of the picture. It’s not a bad flick, but it consistently seems ordinary and unremarkable.

The main problem comes with the lackluster narrative and simplistic characters. Magic is based loosely on Tatum’s own experiences, but we don’t get a great sense of honesty or verisimilitude here. Instead, we find a predictable tale of a guy who needs to grow up and take charge of his life; there’s nothing here we’ve not seen 1000 times already.

Soderbergh does bring more style to the film than others would, but he doesn’t do enough to elevate the pedestrian material. Essentially Magic often feels like a series of stripper scenes with a movie built around them.

That was clearly the flick’s selling point – it didn’t attract throngs of women because they cared about character development – but the nightclub sequences make the film drag. They’re pretty non-essential, as they do little to nothing to advance the characters or situations. I think we could’ve lived with a taste of them but not as much as we get; the stripping shots fill nearly 20 minutes of screen time.

I suppose one could make similar claims about the dance scenes in Saturday Night Fever. However, I think they do tell us something about the characters, and some shots help with the story as well. For instance, we need to see the “climactic” dance contest to understand why Tony felt it was rigged; without visuals to support the tale, his actions wouldn’t have made much sense.

Nothing similar occurs in Magic. In this film, the stripping scenes feel like they’re there for basic titillation, and I suspect that’s the case; like I said, the movie made lots of money due to its appeal as a “Girls Night Out”.

But that doesn’t mean they work in cinematic terms, and the meandering narrative doesn’t help. Though it mostly focuses on Mike, the film branches off to Adam’s story enough that it loses its way. Indeed, after a while, you start to think Adam will be the main character, but as the film goes, he becomes less and less essential to the point where he’s little more than a plot device.

And a jerky one at that. While we might expect Magic to give us some growth/improvement in Adam via the standard “coming of age” story, instead the opposite occurs. He goes down the nightlife rabbit hole and never gains redemption; by the film’s end, we dislike Adam and view him as wholly irresponsible and selfish. Perhaps this happens to make Mike more endearing as a contrast, but it still seems like a bad choice.

As for the actors, they’re generally fine, though I prefer Tatum in comedy. He’s great in light fare but less impressive when placed in dramatic territory. Perhaps that’s why Magic works best in its first act when it gives us a perkier take on its subject/characters; once the movie goes darker, it falters.

Ultimately, Magic Mike never goes off the rails enough to qualify as a bad film, but it doesn’t come together in a way that makes it satisfying. With a meandering story, dull characters and a general lack of focus, it’s not an especially entertaining ride.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Magic Mike appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. While the image was generally solid, it wasn’t as dynamic as I’d expect.

Sharpness was the main minor issue. Most of the movie showed positive clarity and delineation, but wide shots tended to be a bit soft. These instances weren’t a big distraction, though, and the flick delivered generally good definition. I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and the movie lacked edge haloes. Shot digitally, the presentation also showed no source defects.

Like many Soderbergh flicks, Magic went with a heavily stylized palette. Clubs tended to be purple-tinted, but exteriors went with a yellow/green feel and shots at Brooke’s place opted for an amber hue. These choices could be distracting and self-conscious, but I can’t fault the transfer; it replicated Soderbergh’s palette well. Blacks were reasonably dark, and shadows showed nice delineation. This was a consistently positive image; it just didn’t dazzle.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it was also good but not great. Almost always represented by the elements in nightclubs, the music used the speakers well, and the effects fleshed out the environment in a positive manner. Material tended toward the environmental side of the street, but scenes in clubs, on the beach and at a construction site offered involvement. These featured the back speakers in a satisfying way and added pep to the package.

Audio quality was always fine. Music sounded warm and full, while effects were clear and accurate. When necessary, the track featured tight low-end response. Speech sounded natural and distinctive. Given the movie’s character focus, this wasn’t a killer track, but it did enough for a “B”.

Despite the movie’s financial success, the Blu-ray skimps on extras. Backstage on Magic Mike runs six minutes, 56 seconds and includes notes from actor/writer/producer Reid Carolin, actor/producer Channing Tatum, choreographer Alison Faulk, costume designer Christopher Peterson, production designer Howard Cummings, and actors Matthew McConaughey, Adam Rodriguez, Alex Pettyfer, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Cody Horn, and Olivia Munn. “Backstage” covers the project’s roots and development, dancing and choreographer, cast and performances, costumes, and a few other areas. “Backstage” is brief and superficial, but it adds a smattering of interesting observations.

Horny ladies rejoice! Dance Play Mode allows viewers to skip all the boring character and narrative elements, as it collects all the stripper scenes into one 18-minute, 39-second package. If that excites you, have fun!

Finally, we get a series of Extended Dance Scenes. These fill a total of eight minutes, 48 seconds and show exactly what we expect: longer versions of three strip sequences. I suspect the movie’s biggest fan base – aka, the aforementioned horny ladies – will enjoy this compilation, but the scenes add nothing to the film’s story.

The disc opens with an ad for Cloud Atlas. No trailer for Magic Mike appears here.

A second platter provides a DVD Copy of Magic Mike. It includes the “Backstage” featurette but none of the other extras.

Sold as a “Girls Night Out” romp, Magic Mike might satisfying ladies who want to watch beefcake under the pretense of a “serious movie”. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well as a story; with flat characters and an uninvolving plot, it’s a mediocre flick. The Blu-ray comes with generally good picture and audio but lacks substantial supplements. This becomes a competent release for an average movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6363 Stars Number of Votes: 11
2 3:
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