Simpleton Luck of the Logans

 DATELINE:   Hunh?

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What have we got he-yah? When you go with a Channing Tatum movie, you never know what’s inside the movie box of chocolates. Logan Lucky is pot luck and a spin of the wheel of fortune.

In this film, paunchy Channing looks like he put on 30 pounds from eating boxes of chocolates. It might be a fat suit, but on him it is a shock.

A rather extraordinary cast dumbs down their typecast Hollywood looks. We’ve seen these actors playing sharper and more sophisticated roles than the denizens of Hooterville in the Hills.

It’s all in fun, though we aren’t quite sure if hayseeds will be offended by the sincerity of the actors.

Channing Tatum and Adam Driver play a couple of down-on-their luck dumb and dumber brothers who are disabled veterans and abused and neglected good ol’boys. One limps and one has a prosthetic hand.

Yes, it’s a comedy.

This is the story of genuine brothers who don’t need a bromance to seal the real deal.

You have to like them, even when Boss Hogg Daniel Craig shows up with a Southern drawl and platinum hair to tell them they are simpletons. They plan to break him out of the Big House to help them blow up a safe. For James Bond this is a grit of hominy.

It’s part of Tatum and Driver’s charm that they will use their abused lives to disabuse a race course speedway payroll. Hillary Swank is an investigating FBI agent.

Well, of course, we are in the deepest darkest land of speedway race-cars and going ‘round the bend means a life of watching cars careen around a track several hundred laps.

These hillbillies make nice folks like the Clampitts seem like rocket scientists. When the brothers seek a computer expert, he boasts he knows “all the Twitters” with a twang.

The plot holes are in the heads of the characters. It’s a caper movie with a twist of moonshine.

How could you resist this trifle truffle?

 

 

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The Eagle: Too Gay or Not Gay Enough?

DATELINE: Blue Man Group?

blue man group Whose Slave Is it?

Back in 2011, Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell commenced a series of roles in which they seemed to be walking on the wild side of homoeroticism. In one of their early incarnations, they went gladiator school for us.

The Eagle has over 400 Amazon Prime reviews—and only two picked up on the bromance tell-tale marks.

Like the Mechanic with Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent and probably Top Gun with Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, the Eagle is about two men in an intense bromance—with all the bedroom scenes on the cutting room floor. You may gnash your teeth, or breath a sigh of relief.

You are left with a Roman Empire story about a handsome soldier and his slave-boy. Uncle Donald Sutherland knowingly buys the lad for his nephew Marcus. Later, Esca (Jamie Bell) reveals he has taken an oath of honor never to leave Marcus (Tatum). It’s about as close to nuptials as you lay it on in Ancient Rome.

The two go on a spiritual journey to recover the Roman Eagle lost by Tatum’s father in a battle in northern England where the Briton savages reign beyond gay Hadrian’s wall.

When they arrive, we have a switcheroo: in the land of beautiful men covered in blue dye, Bell is the master and Channing the slave. How their bromantic fortunes bounce.

The savage blue Britons also dance magnificently, the best we have seen English men dance since, well, Billy Elliot.

A few critics disbelieved Tatum and Bell were lovers in the script, as there were not enough smoldering looks to convince them that something was afoot. Since there are no closets in Rome or Britain of the age, we are unsure whether they were hiding there.

With intense battle scenes and violence, we have here a seminal bromance movie that will warm the cockles of your heart. It’s also the best Roman slave movie since Spartacus.

Dinner with Gronk

DATELINE: Yum-Yum, Eat’em UP

 

Rob Gronkowski has started to rev up his personality for the forthcoming football season. They begin stretching and yoga this week at the Patriots camp, and it has Gronk excited, according to a new interview.

You have to pick up your Gronk pieces of resistance now because once his game face comes on, there will be little humor.

As astute interviewer asked him to name the three people in the world with whom he’d like to have dinner.

The answer deserves a bit of deconstruction. He named Channing Tatum, The Rock Dwight Johnson, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governator.

He did not hesitate with this group, which means he likely was not joking. What on earth would they talk about over banana daiquiris?

There are common denominators. First and foremost, we are talking about people in movies. The Rock moved from sports to traditional action star—and Arnold was once a body beautiful who became a sci-fi staple. Channing is a danseur comedian par excellence as we saw in Magic Mike.

Have we here a glimpse of the post-football career of Gronk? Is it possible he will appear in the next Magic Mike, as the next Terminator, and as a hirsute version of Dwight Johnson?

Already a sharp performer, Gronk calls himself “one-take” Gronk for his ability to hit his marks before the camera.

Yes, he would pick these brains about the next direction for a most interesting personality. Like Rock, Channing, and Arnold, Gronk will join those known by only one name. There can be no one else like him.

Harrowing Foxcatcher

DATELINE: Combustible Chemistry

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Bennett Miller continues his string of true stories told in compelling fashion. If you thought he could not repeat Capote or Moneyball, you would be wrong. Foxcatcher is a no-holds barred tale of no holes bared.

This time he tackles the murder committed by one of the wealthiest men in America, John E. DuPont, of his Olympic wrestling coach Dave Schultz.

Odd and more than peculiar, the billionaire dabbled in sports, thinking of himself as a leader of men and role model for athletes.

Steve Carrell, done up in prosthetics like he is Johnny Depp, plays the Eagle—a big nosed jock sniffer who befriends a dumb jock played by Channing Tatum.

If you think looking at Channing’s body in tight wrestling garb is fun, you’d be on Team Foxcatcher. The movie is fraught with scenes that end just as something overt seems to happen. Indeed, the homosexually charged relationship between DuPont and Mark Schultz is eyebrow raising. Something is definitely between the lines, or after the cuts.

The two have ultimately a falling out (read: lovers’ quarrel) when DuPont calls him an ape and never thinks twice about apologizing.

Eventually, the foxtrot turns into sour grapes. DuPont seemingly blames Schultz’s older brother for alienation of affection. The performances here are all first-rate, including a surprise by Vanessa Redgrave as the ancient matriarch DuPont.

If you enjoy character drama that requires your active participation in connecting the dots, Bennett Miller always aims to satisfy, though you will have to draw your own conclusion about the intense scorn displayed by Tatum’s wrestler.

Boston Sports All-Chippendale Magic Mike Team

 DATELINE: MAGIC MIKE AWARD

In Boston we have been blessed with a plethora of endowed musclemen and pro athletes who will strip down to skivvies for our delectation, or even for their own delectation. It beats the Speedo Santa race in Boston by a mile.

So, it seems only fitting that we start the first annual Magic Mike Chippendale Athlete (MMCA of Boston) award. This award honors Channing Tatum who disrobes every chance he has.

This may end up being a rival to the annual Garbo Award to the Boston athlete/personality who most fulfills the mercurial temperament of the legendary actress. Of course, the award has been won every year by Rajon Rondo since its inception.

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Now that Jacoby Ellsbury has gone to the Big Apple to follow in the footsteps of Garbo, it may be that Rondo will have no competition for next year’s Garbo.

He does have competition for the Magic Mike Chippendale Award. Rondo will have a hard time putting muscle on his fellow nominees.

 

MIKE NAPOLI:  Upon winning the World Series, Napoli toured every bar in Boston, losing only his shirt in the process. He surprised everyone by showing not an ounce of flab on his beefy torso.

 
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BRAD MARCHAND: Complaining that he was the first Boston champion to strip down in public, Marchand continues to show the form of a Chippendale, with only his dog tags to tell us vital information. Brad

 

RAJON RONDO:  As the only Boston Celtic to consistently practice shirtless to show off his large double RR tattoo on his back, Rondo will even play cornhole shirtless to intimidate other players.rondoprometheus

 

JULIAN EDELMAN: A self-aggrandizer, Julian has tweeted his shirtless look on Twitter, and seems to be most hirsute of all the nominees.JULIAN

 

ROB GRONKOWSKI:  Almost in the Hall of Fame of shirtless dancers, there isn’t a bar from Boston to Las Vegas where Gronk hasn’t shown off abs out of fantasy land.

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Voting is brisk, especially in the cold weather of Boston, but as soon as the stripdown is complete, we will announce this year’s top down winner.

Patriotic Gore, or Another Winning Season for the Pats

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DATELINE: UGLY WINNERS & UGLIER STEPSISTERS

New England Patriot purists have complained that the season has been filled with ugly wins. These people have obviously not seen a Boston Celtics game this season.

These insider fans seem to have forgotten that ugly wins trump ugly losses every day of the week.  You are what your record says you are—according to Bill Parcells.

In that case, this is a playoff bound, Super Bowl contending team, but the truth is a tad more unvarnished. The Patriots are like a rare ancient coin someone has washed with baking soda to make it shiny.

The Patriots are the worst team with the best record. They are the best of a bad lot.  They are the big boy in a litter of runts. In a world where the last shall be first, the Patriots go to the head of the line.

The Patriots resemble a Channing Tatum movie wherein he does not show his naked tailbone with the steel buns. You could be relieved or feel cheated.

The Patriots are like Justin Bieber trying to sound like Elvis Presley—or worse, Elvis trying to be the Biebs.

Alas, the Patriots are like an Xmas gift delivered by the new Amazon drone: you wish you had ordered a bomb-sniffing dog.

Being a fan of Bill Belichick is sort of like befriending Red Reddington. You know he has put Stevan Ridley on The Blacklist for next season.

Watching Stevan Ridley on the sidelines is like a flashback to viewing the classic football movie The Program and its cure for fumblitis.

The Patriots defensive line looks like a bunch of Chippendale dancers at the Ole School of Bullfighting. And, you keep wondering where the bull is until you hear the media experts.

White House Downside

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP!

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When we finally had a chance to see our preferred movie about terrorists blowing up the White House, we gave smug self-congratulations. Yes, this extravaganza was far more of a crowd-pleaser, and we generally don’t care for that sort of thing.

We vote for White House Down over Olympus Has Fallen Arches.

Both movies featured a special agent that is destined to be best buddy and savior to the POTUS. In this version Channing Tatum is a Capitol Hill mall cop who protects the Speaker of the House, but yearns to join the Secret Service. He just happens to come to the White House for an interview the day terrorists try to take the President hostage.

Fortunately Channing’s old girlfriend is a high-ranker in the Service and knows important people. These include the obligatory villain, dangerous James Woods as the turncoat head of the Secret Service. In some ways this movie reminded us of Seven Days in May, but with more shooting, explosions and a more unbelievable president.  It was more like Seven Hours in a Pressure Cooker Bomb.

No, wait a minute. In this movie Jamie Foxx plays the POTUS as if he were Barack Obama on ‘nice’ steroids.  Foxx has a difficult role in walking the walk of comic relief and action hero. Frederic March and Henry Fonda never could have pulled it off.

Tatum seems a little too young to have an 11-year old daughter, but even Chevy Chase finally gave in to movie fatherhood. We hope Channing does not morph into Fred MacMurray for the rest of his career.

The film pivots on coincidence and downright ludicrous notions that an army of terrorists can infest the White House like termites—without anyone noticing. If car chases through the Rose Garden and bombs bursting in air give you goosebumps, you have found your movie of the week.

 This movie’s first 30 minutes passed in the blink of an eye, as opposed to the turtle-like pace of Olympus Has Fallen. Channing’s movie daughter is like Alice chasing a black rabbit.

Even though priceless artifacts are destroyed with casual aplomb in the White House, and the Capitol Dome is spun like a dreidel, this film seems to engage on a human level too.

We learned some amusing trivia about the White House and enjoyed looking at Channing Tatum who exudes charm and smarmy swagger in every performance. However, he did not bare his buttocks for this movie. You can’t have everything.

 


Channing Tatum Looks in the Red Sox Mirror

 DATELINE: HUMOR!

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Separated at birth or brothers of the same mother?

 

For weeks now we have been confounded by Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway.  He plays sparingly for the Boston team, but his ubiquitous handsome looks just seemed overly familiar.

Our regular radar for connections had gone Haywire. We felt as if we were on a journey in Britannia to recover The Eagle and facing the race of blue men with Jamie Bell as our best slave boy.

The White House may be down and out, but the Red Sox are in first place and first in the hearts of Red Sox Nation.

Though she may be the man, Lavarnway is not the Son of No One.

We decided to make a 21 Jump Street of faith to resolve our Dilemma. It was time to Step Up and make our decision.

Lavarnway had the distinct look of a man who would suffer the Side Effects of being a second-string catcher.

We have not seen how well Ryan Lavarnway dances—with or without his clothes. Yet, we had a magical moment when Ryan tossed off his helmet and looked for all-the-world like he was about to bump to a version of “It’s Raining Men.”

Yes, it was true. There was an uncanny resemblance to the sexiest man alive (if People Magazine is to be believed).

Ryan Lavarnway, now playing for the Cubs, looks just like Channing Tatum.

For a time this made the Red Sox look like movie central, as we cannot help but see Jeremy Renner whenever we look at Jake Peavy.

If they want a battery of movie stars to play pitcher and catcher in the remake of The Broken Hearts Club with Renner and Tatum lookalikes, they could hire Peavy and Lavarnway and no one would be the wiser.

 

You can read MOVIE MASHUP for more movie insights, or you can read RED SOX 2012: BOBBY VALENTINE’S SEASON IN HELL and have fairly much the same experience. Both books are available on Amazon.com.

Would Hitchcock Have Side Effects from this Movie?

 DATELINE: MOVIES in the Stream

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Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum:  the new Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant?

When we took a look at one of the few suspense character dramas of recent years, it was a crime meller that would have appealed to the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.

Side Effects gives us a mysterious tale of prescription drugs as the MacGuffin. Hitch was no stranger to odd women like Marnie that might have ulterior motives.

This modern version had Rooney Mara as a disturbed woman, Jude Law as her latest psychiatrist, Channing Tatum as her ex-con husband, and Catherine Zeta-Jones as the mysterious ex-psychiatrist returning to the picture.

In the old days, these roles would have respectively gone to Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Richard Todd, and Marlene Dietrich. It’s possible Hitch could have cast Jane Wyman, Joseph Cotten, Farley Granger, and Joan Fontaine in the same roles. It would have worked for him.

The tale unfolds with the usual themes Hitch would have approved. An apparently nice girl with a heavy foot on the gas pedal seems intent on crashing her car while her ne’er do well husband talks big about making money. The kindly doctor may be done in with his good intentions. The previous psychiatrist (Zeta-Jones) seems overly helpful.

Our personal suspicions were raised in the opening minutes when Rooney Mara’s depressed heroine is a limp dishrag while her hot husband Channing Tatum boinks her on his first night out of prison. That is enough to raise every red flag on the horizon.

Director Stephen Soderbergh once again manages to whet our appetites without wetting himself in self-parody.

Call us cynical and suspicious of mind, but we didn’t trust anyone in this movie.

If you like tart movie reviews, read MOVIE MASHUP, now available on Amazon.com in ebook and softcover.