MAGIC MIKE XXL || Magic Mike hits the road in this sequel to the male stripper revue hit, “Magic Mike”. Matthew McConaughey is left behind this time, but the stripping cast remains the same, with Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, and Adam Rodriguez all returning. New cast members include Amber Heard and Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias. Tatum’s character, Mike, returns from retirement for one last show with his guys as they head to Myrtle Beach, picking up skills along the way. What’s really lacking here is Steven Soderbergh’s directorial touch.
STUNG || B-level monster movies return to the big screen with “Stung,” set during a gala when a swarm of ever-growing wasps appear and terrorize the party. The tiniest bit more sophisticated than “Sharknado,” this horror film at least has production quality on its side. But that’s not saying much, as it still feels derivative and uninspired.
TERMINATOR: GENISYS || The biggest get for “Terminator: Genisys” is the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has seriously tied these films together from the very start and credit has to be given to him for returning each and every time. This time, we’re in the future with John and Kyle, at the head of the battle between humans and machines. Kyle is sent back in time, just like he’s supposed to, but absolutely everything is different… except for Schwarzenegger. The rest of the cast is top notch as well, with Emilia Clarke filling the role of Sarah Connor perfectly, Jason Clarke bringing a new John Connor to life, and Jai Courtney proving to be an acceptable Kyle Reese. If only the marketing hadn’t given away the film’s biggest twist.
AMY || Truth be told, I never really paid attention to Amy Winehouse when she was still alive and making music, but the trailer for the documentary titled “Amy” tells me that it’s like missing a friend you never knew you had. The reviews for “Amy” have been quite extraordinary and many are even talking early Oscar picks. But to take a look behind the curtain of what makes these celebrities flawed and what leads them down the dark paths that they take is truly a gift in film-making and for that I will have to check it out.
ANTBOY: REVENGE OF THE RED FURY || I avoid the first one and I’ll be avoiding the second one. Delving a kids version of the superhero franchise, there is no darkness and all fluff. Not to say that’s truly a bad thing, but for the adult crowd, this touches on nothing. I will say this, however, the visual effects, even just from the trailer, are very well done and they do deliver at least a visual interest to the piece. So for what it lacks in adult appeal, it might make up for in CGI.
CARTEL LAND || On both sides of the Mexican border, there are vigilante groups taking it upon themselves to take down the drug cartels. Rising above the law, armed with weapons, and putting their own lives on the line, they follow their leaders into a battle that most do not know of and one in which they feel that the system has failed. The unprecedented look at these groups is the huge selling point in this film and as far as documentaries go, this one, at least for me, is a must-see.
CLOSER TO GOD || The cloning debate has been quiet for quite sometime now, so the topic in and of itself feels a little dated, as does the film “Closer To God,” which showcases a fictional world where the first cloning takes place. With an onslaught of media coverage and protesters, the cloning doctor brings home the clone baby to raise as his own apparently (how that works I don’t know). And of course… let the terror begin. Except it’s not very scary.
FAITH OF OUR FATHERS || In the years that I’ve been watching trailers, I don’t think there has ever been a more heavy-handed trailer than the one for “Faith Of Our Fathers,” a Christian film from the creators of “God’s Not Dead” about fathers active in the Vietnam War and their sons that they leave behind. These sons grow up and through their fathers words, find meaning in God just the same. But boy does this trailer not let you forget that it is faith based, angling it at one and only one particular group.
I-LIVED || Phones are taking over our lives, we already know that. But “I-Lived” takes it a step further and shows us an app that can give you everything you want, like a hot girlfriend and a good job. What happens when you get rid of the app though? Everything goes away… and worse. If you didn’t see the allusion to the title meaning “devil” backwards, maybe the horns behind the head of the man in the trailer will be a better indicator. If this film embraces its dark and “Not Rated” nature, I could possibly get on board, but it doesn’t deliver enough for me to be excited about it.
IN STEREO || Oh the old “let’s have sex without attachments” shtick. “In Stereo” boldly dares to go where every romantic comedy has dared to go before. Just this time it’s with Beau Garrett and Micah Hauptman. Now obviously romantic comedy is a constantly retreaded territory, but normally there’s some exciting new cast or some other, new plot device that makes it better. But “In Stereo” exists only to give these mostly unknown actors much needed screen-time and nothing else.
A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON || I might be ignorant and that’s fine, but the names Les Blank and Leon Russell do not mean anything to me. However, this documentary was shot by Blank in 1972 following the musician Russell and is just now being released to the public. It also feature a younger George Jones and Willie Nelson, to who I am aware of.