Movie Review – Magic Mike

Magic Mike (2012)
Written by Reid Carolin
Directed by Steven Soderbergh

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Adam is a college dropout living on his sister, Brooke’s couch. After a day of work on a roofing crew that ends with Adam fired he meets Mike, a jack of all trades making money through construction, furniture design and, as Adam quickly learns, stripping. Mike is the star of Xquisite, a strip club featuring male performers. The owner, Dallas has plans to expand to a larger venue in Miami, and the success of his club in Tampa appears to be an omen of good luck. Adam takes to this lifestyle quickly despite the reservations of Brooke. Mike assures her this is a good thing while experiencing impediments in his journey to improve his life. As his days in Tampa dwindle, Mike begins to question the path he thought was clear of troubles.

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Movie Review – The Ides of March

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The Ides of March (2011)
Written by George Clooney, Beau Willimon, and Grant Heslov
Directed by George Clooney

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The Democratic presidential primary has reached Ohio with sights on North Carolina afterward. Governor Mike Morris is neck in neck with his rival Ted Pullman, senator from Arkansas. Stephen Meyers is the junior campaign manager working to help Morris pull ahead and secure the win. He is invited to an informal meeting with the opponent’s campaign manager, Tom Duffy. Meyers weighs what to do, thinking about informing Morris’ senior campaign manager, then deciding against it and going in secret. At the same time, Meyers starts up with a relationship with Molly, an intern with the campaign. Through his involvement with Molly, he learns about a secret that his candidate has been keeping. Meyers is faced with the struggle of pushing forward for a candidate he believes will bring the change that is needed or adhering to his principles and bringing light to these secrets.

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PopCult Watches: Flowers Season 1, Episode 6

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Flowers Season 1, Episode 6 (2016)
Written & Directed by Will Sharpe

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There is no fade to black happy ending moment with depression. You keep carrying on, hoping things get better, but with no guarantees. Shun’s story about discovering The Grubbs Family books reflects the one thing that can bolster a person suffering in seemingly unending depression: This is how the world can be, and there are others who feel like you, you are not alone. All we can do in the end is be there for each other, making sure that even someone a million miles away knows you are there for them and you feel the way do as well.

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Comic Book Review – Uncanny Avengers Volumes 1 & 2

Uncanny Avengers Volume 1: The Red Shadow (2014)
Uncanny Avengers Volume 2: The Apocalypse Twins (2014)
Written by Rick Remender (with Gerry Duggan)
Art by John Cassaday, Olivier Coipel, Daniel Acuna, and Adam Kubert

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In the devastating wake of Cyclops’ insurrection, the public perception of mutantkind has plummeted. To remedy this a joint group bringing together the Avengers and the X-Men has been formed. This Unity Squad is composed of Captain America, Wolverine, Rogue, Thor, Scarlet Witch, and led by Havok. They are thrown right into the fire when The Red Skull rears his head, having spliced the newly deceased Charles Xavier’s brain tissue with his own. Possessing the mental abilities of Xavier, Red Skull can force the population to descend into violence and brutality to further his supremacist agenda. However, the Skull is only one danger, with something even worse looming on the horizon. The Skull’s actions ripple into the future bringing the arrival of the Apocalypse Twins and the potential end of Earth.

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PopCult Watches: Flowers Season 1, Episode 5

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Flowers Season 1, Episode 5 (2016)
Written & Directed by Will Sharpe

Flowers

Sadness is a painful emotion to express the full experience of to others. Each of our encounters with deep sadness and depression is profoundly personal that it inhibits us from letting others know. These emotions seem to exist outside known language which is what leads to people sound intelligible or merely sobbing, their only avenue of release. Series creator Will Sharpe understands the immutable incoherence of sadness and manages to express his understandings on this state of being with honest humor. In this penultimate episode, characters either reach an explosive pinnacle or find themselves strangled by their condition and unable to speak. Sharpe has stated that Flowers is “comedy with mental illness,” a description that at first may sound merely witty but after you view the series is the very core of everything that happens.

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Movie Review – Teen Titans Go! to the Movies

Teen Titans Go! to the Movies (2018)
Written by Michael Jelenic & Aaron Horvath
Directed by Aaron Horvath & Peter Rida Michail

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The Teen Titans can’t get any respect from the superhero community. While Batman is on his fiftieth movie while everyone else, including the Challengers of the Unknown, are getting their own films. Robin realizes the team needs their archenemy which they quickly find in the form of Deathstroke. They seemingly foil Deathstroke who remains in the shadows with plans to get his revenge. Meanwhile, the Titans embark on series of hilarious vignettes (traveling through time and preventing heroes’ origins, participating in a motivational music video, and more). A rift grows between Robin and his teammates as his movie aspirations begin to push his comrades away.

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Movie Review – Whiplash

Whiplash (2014)
Written & Directed by Damien Chazelle

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Andrew Neiman has one goal in his life, to become one of the great jazz drummers. He’s a first year at the Shaffer Music Conservatory playing in one of many campus bands. He’s chosen by Terence Fletcher to join the prestigious Studio Band. Neiman quickly finds that Fletcher demands near unrealistic levels of perfection from his performers. There are verbal assaults which eventually lead to physical ones. Neiman starts sleeping in a practice room where he sets up his drum kit and pushes himself to go faster, have more control until his hands bleed. However, the tension keeps building, and Fletcher attempts to manipulate and twist events around Neiman that it is driving the young to the brink of a mental breakdown.

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