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Movie Review: Magic Mike

Mike Finkelstein is the newest stripper at his local Jewish strip club, “Big Noses N’ All”. He never had a lesson in his life, so he decided to go to the movies for inspiration. Sadly, no one did any dances to “Hava Nagila”. Here is his review for “Magic Mike”.

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Mike Finkelstein is the newest stripper at his local Jewish strip club, “Big Noses N’ All”.  He never had a lesson in his life, so he decided to go to the movies for inspiration.  Sadly, no one did any dances to “Hava Nagila”.  Here is his review for “Magic Mike”.

PLOT: Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) can do anything.  He can build you furniture, build your house, and talk to the ladies.  And oh yeah…most importantly, he could strip.  So when a young man named Adam (Alex Pettyfer) stumbles into Mike’s domain, Mike takes him under his wing and teaches him all about a world filled with women, money, and a hell of a good time.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW:  Let’s be honest…How many jokes did you come up with when you heard that Channing Tatum was making an autobiographical movie about his stripper days?  (I know I had a couple in there.)  I don’t think anyone really thought something of substance was going to come out of that initial description.  But then Steven Soderbergh and Matthew McConaughey got involved.  And then we saw the first trailer, as well as the rest of the cast.  And the hype built and built and built, and suddenly, MAGIC MIKE hit movie screens with a vengeance, and yeah…it’s actually a pretty damn good time.

MAGIC MIKE follows the titular Mike, a man of many talents and identities, including furniture building, construction, and being a stripper at a downtown Florida club.  When he meets Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a young man with no real direction, he takes him under his wing in the world of stripping and together, the two quickly become the club’s lead attraction.  Soon, however, the temptations of women, money and drugs start to knock at Adam’s door, and it’s up to Mike to try and get him back on track, even if it’s at the cost of his own dreams and a budding relationship with Adam’s protective older sister, Brooke (Cody Horn).

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We’ll get to all that drama in just a bit…

Let me answer this question right off the bat: despite the comparisons it has already gathered, MAGIC MIKE is no SHOWGIRLS (thank goodness).  Yes, there are many, many thong-clad behinds, but no full frontal nudity (unless you count one very amusing shot having to do with a certain pump…), and to be honest, we really don’t need it.  We start off with McConaughey’s Dallas lecturing all the ladies in his Club Xquisite with what they can and can’t touch on the dancing boys.  It’s the audience’s first glimpse at what we have coming…a perfectly fit tease given the subject matter…and for the next hour, it’s nothing but fun and games.

From that tease, we jump into Mike’s life, which is just as enticing.  The man does construction in the sun on glorious houses, picks up women for his show in the clubs of Tampa, dances for easy money, parties and gets laid.  Add onto that the nice depth of Mike wanting to do something more with his furniture business, and we also enjoy a pleasant touch of humanity for the character.

Speaking of Mike, I am coming to respect Channing Tatum more and more with every film he is in.  Yes, we could all make jokes about MAGIC MIKE and the actor’s stripper past, but the fact that Tatum took this idea from scratch and made it into what it’s become is more than impressive.  He is becoming a better actor with every new entry, and here, he is completely in his element, ready to show off a hell of a lot of charm, and some ridiculous dance moves that every single man in the audience will be jealous of.

The rest of the guys also seem to be having an absolute blast together, no one greater than Matthew McConaughey as the badass leader.  McConaughey is known for taking his shirt off, and this time around, I don’t think there’s more than two minutes total where he actually has his shirt on!  (And don’t worry, ladies, he may be the leader of the pack, but you have your moment of payoff later in the show.)  While the rest of the group, including “White Collar” star Matt Bomer, “True Blood’s” Joe Manganiello, and “CSI Miami” star Adam Rodriguez, don’t really have much to do besides be backup and look pretty, there is a real solidarity amongst them that makes us feel like they’ve been together for years.

The real issues with the movie, however, come in the second half.  Around the midpoint, we are introduced to a number of different conflicts, including a growing drug addiction, a sleazy employer, and bad guys wanting payment.   All of these are introduced beautifully and subtly by Soderbergh, but in the end, none get the attention they deserve to come to a solid resolution.  I’m not sure if Soderbergh wanted to keep the fates of all these men ambiguous, or he was just afraid of diving too deep into dark territory, but I was disappointed with that lack of closure.  One scene in particular was especially discouraging, if only because it could have been a game changer for the film, and instead ended up being nothing but a throw away (and the only time I questioned Tatum’s acting choices).

MAGIC MIKE is not trying to be Shakespeare by any means.  What it is trying to be is a hell of a fun time for people wanting to see a movie on a Friday night.  And on that level, it succeeded in spades.  Gay men and women will love it because of the boys, and straight men will love it because they’ll want to be the boys.  Yes, when the drama piles on, the story somewhat cracks under the pressure, but what can we really expect from an entry that will be put in a category that includes SHOWGIRLS, STRIPTEASE and any Pamela Anderson movie?  Usually, the answer is not much.  This time around, the answer is a good time, and yeah…probably a hell of a lot of boyfriends being forced to sign up for lap dance classes…

GRADE: B

Mike’s LIKES:

1) GROUP DYNAMIC: These guys are having an absolute blast together, and it’s completely obvious to all of us watching.   We have a good time because they’re having a good time.

2) DANCING: Some of the dance moves that these five come up with are, by far, some of the best moves put to film.  Every guy, especially Tatum, can move with a fire under their ass, and you will either be praying (if a guy) that you could dance like that, or (if a girl) you had a guy who could dance like that.

3) CHANNING TATUM: With every movie Tatum does, I become a bigger fan.  He is getting better and better as an actor, and here, he is right in his element when it comes to both the character and the dancing.

4) SPIN MOVE: I won’t give any more description, but I will say that when Tatum did this move, I was absolutely shocked that it wasn’t sped up at all.  Damn…

Mike’s DISLIKES:

1) TRYING FOR TOO MUCH: When you’re watching a movie that seems to be going so well, it almost hurts to point out such a huge issue.  I understand where Tatum was trying to go with all these wonderful plot conflicts (and all of them are introduced very well, I might add…), but in the end, so much drama causes the resolutions to suffer, and we are left with certain conclusions that are less than satisfactory.

2) CODY HORN: While she was perfectly fine at some moments, Horn seemed to be the only sore thumb in the group.  Granted, there is one scene where she is absolutely amazing emotionally, but then there are others where nothing seems to be coming out.  Inconsistent, but great when the magic is turned on.

EXTRA FACTS:

1) Channing Tatum originally wanted Nicolas Winding Refn to direct the film, but Refn had major scheduling conflicts with with ONLY GOD FORGIVES.

2) Two of Tatum’s former stripper buddies told certain media outlets that they felt Tatum stole their story for his own personal gain.  To this day, Tatum has largely denied this, saying that any specific storyline or moves he used in the film were all works of fiction.

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VIDEO:Rolled Ice Cream, Cheetos Bagels And Grasshoppers Are Just Some Of The Unusual Things Brian Balthazar Has Eaten On ‘The Wendy Williams Show’

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You’ve seen pop culture expert, Brian Balthazar, appear on The Wendy Williams Show quite a bit over the last few years. He even co-hosted the show on three separate occasions. It wasn’t until his last visit where he and Jason Biggs chowed down on a KFC Cheetos Chicken Sandwich that it hit me: Being on the daytime talk show makes Brian Balthazar hungry!

The proof is in the pudding…pun definitely intended. Carla Hall made sure to bring some snacks for Brian when they cohosted together.

Sure, Wendy is known for telling us to “grab a snack and come on back”…

But you’d have to be absolutely famished to want to eat fish sliders at 10am.

He’s gotten so hungry he resorted to eating GRASSHOPPER TACOS on the show!

Could it be that Brian isn’t actually hungry though? Could he just be a brave soul willing to be the taste tester so we don’t have to? Could my theory be flawed?!

I suddenly feel like maybe we owe Brian a big thanks…

Either way, it’s fun to watch! Click below to take a look at a compilation of all the fun stuff Brian Balthazar has eaten on The Wendy Williams Show!

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Get The Look! A Buyer’s Guide To Brian Balthazar’s Philadelphia Home Redesign

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As the world was forced to spend more time at home, Brian Balthazar found himself in a position where he had sold a house before the lockdown and had to find a new one.

“We sold our home with all the furniture in it, so not only did we find ourselves struggling to find a new place, once we found one we didn’t have any furniture to put in it.”

And so, Brian and partner Dennis got resourceful, turning to refurbishing and buying store floor models. They were inspired to make bold, fun choices in color and style when they started shopping around for wallpaper.

Below is the segment as it appeared on the Today Show, and further down, a rundown of where you can find the pieces or ones with a similar look!

THE DINING ROOM

Let’s start with the Dining Room!

Move the slider dividing the image to see all of the before or all of the after!

Brian saysThe dining room was the first space we wanted to do. I haven’t had a true dining room since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted a big table for dinner parties! There were no tables within the price range we wanted, so we found a floor model at one of our favorite go-to stores, Arhaus. We easily saved 75 percent on this table by getting the one that they weren’t going to carry anymore. The chairs are from Wayfair.  On each side of the fireplace (not seen in the photo, but visible in the Today Show video) are two black tall lanterns flanking the fireplace. I got them at Target. I can’t currently find them on their app, but similar versions pop up every year. Get thee to Homegoods! Homegoods and Homesense (same parent company) are my go-to spots for home accessories for virtually every room in the house. You never know what you’re going to find, which is part of the fun.

But let’s focus on the real WOW element to this room – the wallpaper! This pattern is called Bellewood, by RebelWalls.   As you will soon see, I’m sort of obsessed with their patterns. To me, this room is magical with the added whimsy of this forest pattern. (They also have a more muted version with grays and even one with blues.) I also love that by hanging the paper from the chair rail up, you almost get the feeling that you’re standing on a balcony overlooking the forest. I surrounded the whole room with this paper, which I love, but you could easily add the same magical feeling by just doing one feature wall. Their website shows how it can translate to a bedroom or office. You might be intimidated by hanging wallpaper but don’t be! This pattern has so much going on that it really looks perfect when it goes up!

ON TO THE GUEST BEDROOM!

GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM BEFORE
GUEST BEDROOM BEFORE
THE GUEST BEDROOM

Brian says: The guest bedroom is on the top floor of the house, so it’s got roof lines on two sides that make it a tricky space to navigate if you’re not careful. The planning of this space alone resulted in a few bonked heads. On the upside, the wall where the bed goes is tall, so it was an obvious place to create some visual pop. Again, the wallpaper takes the spotlight.  Called “Nude Roses,” also by RebelWalls, I love this design. Floral wallpaper was ‘big’ in popularity back in the 1920s when this house was built, but the patterns at that time were smaller, repeated more often, and were often really bold in color. This interpretation is so fun to me! Gone are the small roses in favor of oversized blooms, and the bold colors are more subdued pink and gray hues, with touches of dark green and creamy whites.

While roses can inherently feel feminine, the plaid bedding (30 dollars for a queen set from Target) are a surprising complement that keeps everything from feeling a little stereotypical. The side tables are mismatched – partly because we didn’t want to go too “matchy=matchy” – but also to save some money – the one on the left side (hard to catch here) was from West Elm. Normally $199, we got it for half off as the floor model. The one on the right we found in the trash. It was perfectly fine, clearly someone had just gotten tired of it! Nothing some disinfectant can’t fix. That gave us some extra money to spend – To reduce the softeness we went with industrial lamps and edison bulbs. The lamps  are called “Ginyard,” from Wayfair. The headboard was on sale at Arhaus. The dark gray takes balances out the pink hues well. The pillows are from Target and Homegoods.

For the 360 degree view of this room, watch the Instagram reel below!  You’ll see the dresser, on sale for $599 from Arhaus, a lamp from Homegoods, and mobiles from Amazon which we fashioned into a ‘piece of art’ that keeps you from hitting your head on the angled wall opposite the bed. Watch the video to check it out!

 

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THE GAME ROOM

BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT BEFORE
BASEMENT BEFORE
BASEMENT / GAME ROOM

Brian says: The idea for the basement game room was to create a space that feels like a lounge you might find if you went out with friends. When you go into this basement it definitely feels like you’ve gone someplace unique! Believe it or not, I found out the Today Show had invited me to to record my house tour just a few days in advance, and so we turned around this spot in just THREE days! There was literally no pool table at the time, (although it had already been scheduled to come on Friday, the wallpaper came on Saturday, (as well as the floor tiles!) and by Sunday we were covered in paint and glue and drinking wine to celebrate it’s completion! I recorded the final video that Monday.

Some people might not think to take a bright basement and make it dark, but that was our first instinct. Clubs are dark and moody, and we wanted this to feel like that. We painted the walls Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore, which is a very dark gray that seems to take on different hues based on where you paint it and the light that shines on it. We painted the ceiling black. This was Thursday night! Then Friday the pool table came. The floor tiles (“Tweed Indeed” in black by Flor) hadn’t arrived until the next day, so when they did arrive I meticulously trimmed four tiles to fit around the pool table legs so it looks like they were there the whole time. I had ordered the pool table online weeks before from PoolTables.com and by sheer coincidence it was scheduled to arrive in time for me to shoot the redesign. This was the second time I have ordered a pool table from them (which was initially scary because you’re not even seeing it beforehand!) but it always arrives in perfect condition to your specific selections. I love that the felt jet black and keeps things dark and moody. In the time that has passed since this photo was taken, I’ve added more of the carpet tiles to make the carpeted floor area darker and bigger.

But once again, the wall mural steals the show in a marvelous way! This mural is called “A Priori” from Rebelwalls, and is inspired by The Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power, a famous fresco by Italian artist Pietro da Cortona. Fitting, because this house is Italian in style on the outside. You can’t see it from this photo but the wallpaper runs up part of the ceiling as well. It truly gives the room a wow factor when you enter it. The lamps are from Homegoods, (we’ve since added some industrial floor lamps for extra mood lighting) and the piano was something we brought with us. The bar tables are from Amazon ($72 each) and the stools we brought with us – they were discards from someone who didn’t like their original bright colors and thought they were dated! We covered them ourselves with gray plaid fabric and they’re better than they were new!

 

So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the rooms and find something you like!

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The Pentagon Has Released Official UFO Videos Because 2020 Is The Absolute Worst

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Aren’t swarms of locusts supposed to be the next installment of this plague?!

Can we finally declare 2020 as the worst year ever? In January there were fears of a third World War. In February the coronavirus began its rapid spread. In March the world essentially shut down due to social distancing and quarantining. And now in April…with only two days left in the month…we have official government footage of unidentified flying objects. I’m sorry but Milton Bradley’s game of “Life” never prepared me for any of this!

The Pentagon has confirmed the authenticity of three videos that have been circulating the web but didn’t really answer what is visible in them. In the videos, now declassified by the Department of Defense, navy pilots capture “unidentified aerial phenomena” aka unidentified flying objects aka UFOs! Pentagon officials were sure to state that the videos do not show “any sensitive capabilities or systems,” meaning we probably won’t be seeing any little green men any time soon.

The first video dates back to November 2004 and the other two from January 2015. Of the Pentagon’s confirmation of authenticity, Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said the videos were released “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

So great. We now know that these strange videos are real but what exactly are we looking at? Well, the Department of Defense says it has no concrete answer as to what might be floating around the skies and has classified the phenomena as “unidentified.” And…just like that I suddenly feel less defended.

Social media is having a field day with this revelation of course. The #AliensAreReal has been trending high on Twitter since the news broke. One user referenced Independence Day and said the aliens are “getting ready for July 4th.” Of the bad timing, another wrote “Et tu aliens?” And finally one user couldn’t help avoid sarcasm and wrote”Where’s the space force when you need it?”

Well 2020, you have worked your awful black magic once again. What’s next, cat videos get banned from the internet?! You’ve taken everything else from us!

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