Posts Tagged ‘MAGIC MIKE’

TIFF: Riley Keough delivers a tough-as-nails performance in American Honey

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-3-56-45-pmBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

In American Honey, a road trip movie now playing at the Toronto International Film Festival before it heads to a national release later this year, Riley Keough plays a Fagin-like character, tough-as-nails with a glare that could peel the paint off the walls.

She is Krystal, the leader of a travelling band of door-to-door magazine sellers who picks up new recruits along the way with one simple job interview question: “Do you got anyone who’s going to miss you?”

It is a bravura performance in a movie that, once and for all, proves she’s not just Elvis Presley’s granddaughter; she can really act.

Making the free-form drama with British director Andrea Arnold and a cast of mostly newcomers was an unconventional occurrence for the Girlfriend Experience star.

“I didn’t know what the (bleep) anybody else was doing,” she says.

“I wasn’t on set for anything except for my own stuff. Nobody knew what the movie was about until we watched it. I literally had no idea.”

Keough, who has appeared in Magic Mike, Mad Max: Fury Road and will soon be seen in the Netflix film The Discovery and Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky, says the lack of traditional structure did “all the right things” for her performance.

“It makes you able to do anything,” she says.

“You don’t want to get into the habit of only doing things that are structured and safe. Hit your mark and look that way.

“You have nothing, so you actually have to do something. You’re not going off a whole script and character arc and knowing all these blah, blah, blah things. You’re just existing as this person. You are forced to exist as this person. You don’t get a chance to think about anything at all.”

Hitting marks and finding the light “is just (bleeping) annoying,” she says. “Excuse my French. This was a nice break from it.”

Set in a world where regular folks still open the door for rattily dressed kids selling magazines, it’s a story about families lost and families found, about poverty, disenfranchised youth and finding freedom on the road.

“I think Krystal had been doing this for a long time so that’s all she knew,” Keough says of her tough-talking character.

“This world does exist. I think she grew up ‘on crew’ and she knows the most. We ran into another mag crew. In the movie you see us shaking hands with another mag crew.”

At well over two-and-a-half hours American Honey has an emphasis on naturalism and all that entails: the mundane and the pulse racing in equal measure.

It’s not a traditional road flick. Here, the destination isn’t as important as the journey.

Life on the road taught Keough a thing or two. “I learned not to drink too much,” she says.

“I really think I learned it. Legitimately.”

She laughs, perhaps remembering some long nights while making this movie, then adds in a more serious tone, “I learned a lot of really profound things but I don’t know how comfortable I am talking about them.”


magic-mikeHere’s the answer to the first question most people have asked me about “Magic Mike”: Yes, Channing Tatum appears naked but not nekkid. In movie terms naked means posterior shots, nekkid is when he turns around. Channing is now too big a star to turn around, but rest assured, within a minute of appearing on screen he leaves little to the imagination.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, “Magic Mike” is a loosely biographical account of Tatum’s time spent dancing for money in a Tampa strip club. He plays the title character, a thirty-year-old entrepreneur and stripper with one foot on the stage and one in the business world. When he recruits the hot-headed Adam (Alex Pettyfer) to dance at the club he gets drawn deeper into the dark side of the art of selling sex.

Let me first say “Magic Mike” is abtastic.

There haven’t been this many finely sculpted stomach muscles in one place since the Dr. Ho infomercials of the late 1990s. The genetic blessings of stars Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer and Adam Rodriguez as Chippendales stereotypes like cowboys, firemen and construction workers, mixed with the little details–how Mike smoothes out the sweaty, rumpled bills that get shoved down his G-string and then presses them under a large book–and moves that redefines dirty dancing, paint an effective portrait of the dancers who liberate the sexual passions of the giddy girls in their audiences.

That part the story gets right. When the movie is showing some skin it works, it’s when it gets to the stuff underneath–the heart and soul–that it falters. Up until the final half-hour it’s all about, as Mike says, “women, money and good times,” but the inevitable turn toward the dark side isn’t nearly as interesting as everything that came before it. “Boogie Nights” did it first and did it better.

By the time “Magic Mike” reaches its redemptive moment, with the classic rock anthem of rebirth “Feels Like the First Time,” blaring in the soundtrack, the movie feels like something we’ve seen before.

But for those who stopped reading after the words “Channing Tatum” and “naked” “Magic Mike” offers the pleasures of an endearingly charming performance from the titular character, an unhinged one from McConaughey and lots of buff, hairless men doing things that would make your grandmother blush.