This sequel has two left feet
MAGIC MIKE’S LAST DANCE I
Magic Mike’s Last Dance, a mostly flat, flavorless cocktail of a sequel that tries to replicate the fizz of the 2012 original by stirring together elements of a getting-her-groove-back love story with musicvideo-style production numbers, lessons in female empowerment delivered with all the subtlety of a TED Talk, and the kind of let’s-put-on-a-show energy that went out of style in 1940, has — despite those flaws — its moments. One moment, anyway.
Early in the film, the title character, stripper turned furniture designer Mike Lane (Channing Tatum), reduced to pouring drinks at a charity fundraiser in Miami, is invited to perform a lap dance for Maxandra “Max” Mendoza (Salma Hayek Pinault), a wealthy woman who is going through an ugly divorce and needs some cheering up. Mike doesn’t dance anymore, he tells her, cheekily quoting a price of $60,000. To which Max counteroffers $6,000 — and Mike accepts.
What follows could be called, euphemistically, dirty dancing: It looks like it required the services of an intimacy coordinator more than a choreographer. It’s fun, a little bit funny, and hot. And for a minute it feels like this third installment — again directed by Stephen Soderbergh, returning to the franchise after handing over the keys to Magic Mike XXL to his first assistant director Gregory Jacobs in 2015 — might be a return to form.
No such luck. The only connection to the earlier films is a brief Zoom call Mike has with his Florida stripper pals Ken (Matt Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez), Tarzan (Kevin Nash), and Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello) — all uncredited. If Last Dance stirs any old memories, they’re likely to be of Tatum in the 2006 dance-off romance Step Up.
If you thought XXL was disappointingly market-driven — and we did — brace yourself against the back of your chair for this finale, which bumps and grinds and thrusts itself at you like, well, a fake police officer at a bachelorette party. The pandering symptoms of sequelitis are full-blown here. Oh, and it’s also completely bonkers.
One thing leads to another — just because returning screenwriter Reid Carolin says so — and Mike’s performance for Max ends with the two of them in bed, after an apparent act of off-camera coitus. (It’s seems odd to cut away from sensuality when Mike’s dance itself is essentially a pantomime of copulation.) Max is so satisfied that she offers Mike $60,000 on the spot to fly with her to London to direct a dance version of the stuffy drawing-room stage romance currently in production at her estranged husband’s theater, which Max now controls. Mike accepts (even with Max’s stipulation that there will be no more sex), and the rest is — well, a rather tedious affair, to be honest.
Tatum has laid-back charm in spades, but he works so strenuously to be likable, supportive, nurturing, deferential in this role — and let’s not forget, an object of sexual desire, flipping the dynamic of the male gaze 180 degrees — that he’s practically overheating.
Mike knows nothing about theater or traditional stagecraft, but that doesn’t stop him, in a movie that is tied to plausibility with the flimsiness of a G-string, from re-envisioning the play as a vaudeville version of a Chippendales act, complete with a steamy pas de deux, carried out in artificial stage rain, with the ballerina Kylie Shea. And when a municipal bureaucrat (Vicki Pepperdine) threatens to shut down the show because the stage is three-quarters of an inch too high, Mike is able to get her to change her mind with nothing more than a flesh-mob dance by his all-male revue, staged on a city bus.
Look, none of the Magic Mike films are documentaries. But something about this one suggests that Soderbergh and Carolin know just how full of hooey and problematic sexual politics its story of an eroticized yet sexless relationship between a middle-aged man-child and an older woman is. Even the screenplay seems to contain efforts to inoculate itself against criticism, with the film’s narration — courtesy of Max’s teenage daughter (a fine Jemelia George) — referring to how dance need not obey the laws of reason or logic but only liberty. Got it.
Then there’s this rhyming couplet/rap from Mike’s stage play, which features female audience members being — there’s no other way to describe it — dryhumped by shirtless young men: “The sexiest act of submission / is to ask for permission.”
Magic Mike’s Last Dance is so commodified, I almost expected to find T-shirts printed with that slogan available in the lobby.
Comedy/drama, rated R, 112 minutes, Violet Crown, 1.5 chiles
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA
Superhero partners Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) return to continue their adventures as Ant-man and the Wasp. Together with Hope’s parents, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and Scott’s daughter, Cassie (Kathryn Newton), the family finds themselves exploring the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures, and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond the limits of what they thought possible. “All in all ... Quantumania nicely hits the mark: it’s goofy, but goofy to just the right degree.” (Independent UK ) Action/ adventure, rated PG-13, 125 minutes, Regal Santa Fe Place 6, Regal Stadium 14, Violet Crown
OF AN AGE
During the summer of 1999, an 18-year-old amateur ballroom dancer has an unexpected and intense 24-hour romance with a friend’s older brother. “The film delicately embraces grand sentiments without ever being sentimental. And throughout the journey, we can’t help but be enthralled.” (San Francisco Chronicle) Romance/drama/lgbtq+, rated R, 99 minutes, Violet Crown
OSCAR NOMINATED SHORTS
This special theatrical release showcases the 2023 Oscar Nominated Short Films in live action, animated, and documentary categories. The Academy Awards ceremony takes place on March 12. Screen live action (not rated, 110 minutes) and documentary (not rated, 165 minutes) films at Center for Contemporary Arts Cinema and Violet Crown; screen animated films (not rated, 95 minutes) at Violet Crown
SPECIAL SCREENINGS CAPRA CU TREI IEZI (THE GOAT AND HER THREE KIDS)
Secluded from the world in 19th-century rural Romania, a widow and mother of three must defend what’s left of her family, at all costs, from an old family friend turned foe. Based on one of the best-known Romanian folk tales (“The Goat and Her Three Kids” by Ion Creanga), this film aims to unveil the true nature of the famed bedtime story and to treat the audience to a different perspective, one that offers a glimpse of what the tragedy looks like beyond the happy songs and affable characters. Presented in Romanian with English subtitles. Director Victor Canache and producer Luana Georgita will participate in a Q&A following the film. Screens Saturday, Feb. 18. Horror/thriller, not rated, 83 minutes, Violet Crown
ON GOLDEN POND (1981)
Trailer youtu.be/whi7v5qkjwq Cantankerous retiree Norman Thayer (Henry Fonda) and his conciliatory wife, Ethel (Katharine Hepburn), spend summers at their New England vacation home on the shores of idyllic Golden Pond. This year, their adult daughter, Chelsea (Jane Fonda), visits with her new fiancée (Dabney Coleman) and his teenage son, Billy, on their way to Europe. After leaving Billy behind to bond with Norman, Chelsea returns, attempting to repair the long-strained relationship with her aging father before it’s too late. Screens Wednesday, Feb. 22. Producer Paul Lazarus will introduce and discuss the making of the film, taking questions from the audience prior to the screening. Drama, rated PG, 109 minutes, Violet Crown
OUTRIDERS: LEGACY OF THE BLACK COWBOY FILM SERIES
Black Rodeo (1972)
Trailer youtu.be/sgpkefcrfuq Thomasine & Bushrod (1974) Trailer youtu.be/cdaggeicuh8
Harwood Museum and Taos Center for the Arts presents a cinematic exploration of the Black cowboy inspired by the exhibition Outriders Legacy of the Black Cowboy, which is currently on view at the Harwood. From documentaries to vintage Westerns and major studio releases, this diverse line-up of films features fictional and true stories of Black resistance, joy, and life on the range. Thomasine & Bushrod screens Friday, Feb. 17; Black Rodeo screens Sunday, Feb. 19. Thomasine & Bushrod, rated PG, 95 minutes, Taos Center for the Arts; Black Rodeo, rated G, 97 minutes, Harwood Museum
CONTINUING 80 FOR BRADY
A serviceable mash-up of sitcom and sports flick, 80 for Brady should please fans of Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, Sally Field, and/or Tom Brady. The movie is almost entirely fiction, but its central characters were inspired by a group of Bostonarea women of a certain age who faithfully followed the New England Patriots and were Brady superfans. They plan a trip to Houston for the epochal 2017 Super Bowl, encountering predictable roadblocks along the way, but the trip plays as a series of triumphs. 80 for Brady suggests a simple moral: Golden girls just wanna have fun. (Mark Jenkins/the Washington Post) Comedy/drama, rated PG-13, 98 minutes, Regal Santa Fe Place 6, Regal Stadium 14, Violet Crown
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER
This sequel catches up with a decade after he’s decided to retire from service with the Marines and take up residence on Pandora (the planet he was sent to colonize), become a member
of the native Na’vi tribe, and marry Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). When an ancient threat resurfaces, Jake must fight a difficult war against the humans. The Way of Water is frequently clunky and ham-handed in its storytelling, and the words spoken by its characters aren’t particularly memorable. But there’s no denying the power of images that can only be described as transporting — literally and figuratively. With Kate Winslet and Sigourney Weaver. (Ann Hornaday/the Washington Post) Oscar nominee, sci-fi/action, rated PG-13, 192 minutes, Regal Stadium 14
KNOCK AT THE CABIN
M. Night Shyamalan may have made the politest — and the most provocative — home-invasion horror movie you’ll ever see. Four strangers show up uninvited at a rustic getaway in the Pennsylvania woods, spouting biblical pronouncements about Armageddon and toting scary-looking homemade weapons as they barge in on and terrorize a family. The world is about to end — by tsunami, disease, storm, and a blizzard of aviation accidents — unless the residents of the cabin, for reasons that are never explained because they are, quite frankly, cuckoo — sacrifice one of themselves. Based on the book The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay (whose disturbing plot has been softened slightly by Shyamalan and co-writers Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman), Knock is satisfyingly atmospheric and tense. It’s also moderately bloody, but the intruders clean up after themselves. (Michael O’sullivan/the Washington Post) Mystery/horror, rated R, 100 minutes, Regal Santa Fe Place 6, Regal Stadium 14, Violet Crown
A veteran civil servant (Bill Nighy) receives a medical diagnosis that inspires him to move to the south coast and cram some fun into his remaining days. He meets a sunny young female colleague who seems to have the pep that had previously escaped him. “Nighy’s finest move is the way he turns Williams’ face with the smallest of smiles or flicker of understanding in the eyes. You can see his character both remembering who he was as a child and becoming a whole new person as he stumbles towards death.” (Jennifer Levin/for The New Mexican) Oscar nominee, drama, rated PG-13, 102 minutes, CCAC
MAGIC MIKE’S LAST DANCE
Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) takes to the stage once again when a business deal that went bust leaves him broke and bartending in Florida. Hoping for one last hurrah, Mike heads to London with a wealthy socialite (Salma Hayak Pinault) who lures him with an offer he can’t refuse — and an agenda all her own. With everything on the line, he soon finds himself trying to whip a hot new roster of talented dancers into shape. “Tatum has laid-back charm in spades, but he works so strenuously to be likable, supportive, nurturing, deferential in this role — and let’s not forget, an object of sexual desire, flipping the dynamic of the male gaze 180 degrees — that he’s practically overheating.” (Michael O’sullivan/the Washington Post) Comedy/drama, rated R, 112 minutes, Regal Stadium 14, Violet Crown. Review Page 31
A MAN CALLED OTTO
As the title character in A Man Called Otto, Tom Hanks plays a cantankerous widower with an affinity for home repair. When it comes to this tear-jerker’s own makeover — it’s based on Hannes Holm’s 2016 Swedish film A Man Called Ove, inspired by Fredrik Backman’s 2012 novel — some sanded-off edges threaten to throw the project out of whack. But in the end, they don’t quite compromise a sturdy foundation. When a lively young family moves in next door, the grumpy Otto meets his match in a quick-witted, pregnant woman named Marisol, leading to an unlikely friendship that turns his world upside down. Even if A Man Called Otto loses some of its soul in translation, Hanks’ innate warmth adds heart to this affecting depiction of longing for the past and finding purpose in the present. (Thomas Floyd/the Washington Post) Drama/comedy, rated PG-13, 126 minutes, Violet Crown
Detective Phillip Marlowe (Liam Neeson) becomes embroiled in an investigation with a wealthy family in Bay City, California, after a beautiful blonde (Diane Kruger) hires him to find her former lover. Opens Tuesday, Feb. 14. Suspense, rated R, 110 minutes, Regal Stadium 14
M3GAN is a marvel of artificial intelligence, a lifelike doll that’s programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. Designed by Gemma (Allison Williams), a brilliant roboticist, M3GAN can listen, watch, and learn as it plays the role of friend and teacher, playmate and protector. When Gemma becomes the unexpected caretaker of her 8-year-old niece, she decides to give the girl a M3GAN prototype, a decision that leads to unimaginable consequences. Horror/suspense, rated PG-13, 102 minutes, Regal Stadium 14
Pilot Brodie Torrance (Gerard Butler) saves passengers from a lightning strike by making a risky landing on a war-torn island — only to find that surviving the landing was just the beginning. When dangerous rebels take most of the passengers hostage, the only person Torrance can count on for help is Louis Gaspare, an accused murderer who was being transported by the FBI. ”Plane is a shot of adrenaline and fast-paced, brain-free fun. What more could you ask for in the middle of January?” (Michael O’sullivan/the Washington Post) Action/thriller, rated R, 107 minutes, Regal Stadium 14
PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH
The latest installment in the adventures of the swashbuckling ginger cat kicks off with a swooping, flying, visually fun opening battle, and Puss (Antonio Banderas) learns that he has just run through his eighth of nine lives. The imminent loss of quasi-immortality sends Puss into a funk. Eliminating all risk is the only thing Puss can think of to do, so he eats and sleeps and not much else — until learning of a magical star that can reset his nine lives if he wishes on it. He reunites with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek Pinault) from the last film and sets off. The bar isn’t terribly high here, but Puss and company clear it comfortably, landing — but of course — on their feet. (Kristen Page-kirby/ The Washington Post) Oscar nominee, comedy/animation, rated PG, 100 minutes, Regal Santa Fe Place 6, Regal Stadium 14, Violet Crown
TITANIC (25TH ANNIVERSARY) — 3D
James Cameron’s Titanic is an epic, action-packed romance set against the ill-fated maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic; the pride and joy of the White Star Line and, at the time, the largest moving object ever built. She was the most luxurious liner of her era — the “ship of dreams” — which ultimately carried over 1,500 people to their death in the ice cold waters of the North Atlantic in the early hours of April 15, 1912. “How is Titanic in 3D? The answer is pretty damn dazzling.” (Rolling Stone) Drama, rated PG-13, 196 minutes, Regal Stadium 14, Violet Crown
TURN EVERY PAGE
A documentary about the remarkable 50-year relationship between two literary legends, writer Robert Caro and his longtime editor, Robert Gottlieb. Now 86, Caro is working to complete the final volume of his masterwork, The Years of Lyndon Johnson; Gottlieb, 90, waits to edit it. The task of finishing their life’s work looms before them. “Although the documentary ultimately lacks focus, the subjects of Turn Every Page are so interesting that it would be a pleasure to go on listening to them long after the credits roll.” (Jennifer Levin/for The New Mexican) Documentary, rated PG, 112 minutes, CCAC
In 2010, the women of an isolated religious community grapple with reconciling a brutal reality with their faith. With Jessie Buckley, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Ben Whishaw, and Frances Mcdormand. Directed by Sarah Polley. “A movie that deliberately hovers between drama and parable, the materially concrete and the spiritually abstract, and whose stark austerity sometimes gives way to bursts of salty wit and cathartic laughter.” (Los Angeles Times) Oscar nominee, drama, rated PG-13, 104 minutes, Violet Crown
Center for Contemporary Arts Cinema (1050 Old Pecos Trail, 505-982-1338, ext.105, santafe.org), Jean Cocteau Cinema (418 Montezuma Ave., 505-466-5528, jean cocteaucinema.com), No Name Cinema (2013 Pinion St., nonamecinema.org), Regal Santa Fe Place 6 (4250 Cerrillos Road, 505-424-6109, showtimes.com/ movie-theaters/regal-santa-fe-13482), Regal Stadium 14 (3474 Zafarano, 844-462-7342, showtimes.com/movie-theaters/regalsanta-fe-stadium-14-7442), and Violet Crown (106 Alcaldesa St., 505-216-5678, santafe.violetcrown.com)
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