[Magic Mike XXL] is a blast, an animated shot of bare-chested adrenaline that’s easy to drink and even more satisfying to savor, the sequel stripping inhibitions to the point they vanish leaving only pleasure behind.
But in the pursuit of setting up a new world, as well as planting the seeds for future sequels, the filmmakers fail to construct a self-contained story worthy of an audience’s attentions let alone their emotional investment. It’s a robotic descent into Hollywood financed, corporate-driven stupidity, diluting a once powerful franchise to a place it had yet to travel to until now: irrelevance.
[Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers] has plenty of lo-fi charm, and while its central exploitive elements aren’t anywhere near as questionable as the first film’s it still has enough blatantly in-your-face material to satisfy even the most demanding of genre fans for the majority (but not all) of its brief 80 minute running time.
“With kids, what’s the first language they speak? Well, that’s emotion…Even if they don’t understand the specifics of what is being talked about, if they see a character is upset or fearful or happy, they respond to that.”
The film falls off a gigantic cliff during its final act, melodramatically and clumsily throwing down an obnoxious and unnecessary flashback that undercuts all of the beautiful work Winslet, Schoenaerts and Rickman had delivered up to that point.
The Australian import The Little Death is a suburban sex comedy that’s too tame to make much of an impact yet also just icky enough at times to border on repugnance…[It’s] prone to introducing a clever gag only to beat it into the ground until it’s no longer of value, oftentimes forgetting less is more especially as it pertains to eliciting laughter from the audience.
What’s interesting is that, as crazy as that destination might be, as thought-provoking as elements might become, it’s the stuff that happens long before the denouement that gives this Sundance and Seattle International Film Festival favorite its memorable staying power.
It’s too fractured, too skit-oriented, too amused with itself to worry about telling a cohesive story where three-dimensional characters are developed and genuine emotions are crafted. It takes almost a full half an hour before the actual main plot kicks in, even longer for it to reach the preordained conclusion, in-between a frenetic hodgepodge of attempts at coal-black satirical comedy filled with my more misses than hits.
I don’t care what the haters say, I love Wolfen…It’s filled with exquisite moments that get my pulse racing and bring a smile to my face. Warner Archive’s Blu-ray presentation is sensational, and even with no special features to speak of this is a disc fans should have been racing to get their hands on the moment it went on sale.