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Steven Soderbergh leaves me more and more flabbergasted with every film he makes. It was strange and cool enough to play the “one for them, one for me” game with the Hollywood establishment, with interesting experimental work resulting that showed a craft not often witnessed in arthouse cinema (Girlfriend Experience may be one of my favourites, but also Solaris). What is more astounding is that in the last couple of years he gets away with arthouse-style blockbuster films that really have not existed before. Michael Clayton, Contagion, Haywire… these defy categorization and refuse to bend their knees to either the expectations of an elitist artsy audience that wants to see “Bubbles” or “Sex, Lies…” all over until the world ends, or give his Oceans Whatever crowd the pleasure of brain-dead star-studded blockbusters. These later films have entertainment value, they are indeed often star-studded, and then they kick you in the face with realism and darkness. I like that, it merges my needs, if you will, and makes me need to see less movies, as Soderbergh gives me a buy-one-get-one-free ticket into modern movie making. Magic Mike is a logical continuation of this, with nice show values (especially if you are into male secondary sex organs, or into Olivia Munn, and who isn’t!?), but it refuses to become Full Monty even though it has so many chances to do so. Instead, it deconstructs a world of perceived glamour, and it also happens to deconstruct and then reconstruct Matthew McGonnagall… sorry, did it again…. that guy who played Killer Joe and nothing decent before that, and who suddenly this year emerged as a real actor, despite his outrageously ridiculous hair. Channing Tatum also impressed me with his somber, mature performance – I cannot recall that I ever saw him doing something sensible on screen (maybe Haywire, but I cannot remember that one very well), seems that the Soderbergh ambition of these years is also to find actors who do not know yet that they have good acting in them.

Very good film, all in all, with just the right balance of stop and go. And a reminder that we all have to step up our workout efforts …

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