Reviews: ‘Magic Mike’ sequel, ‘Consecration’ highlight mediocre pre-Valentine’s Day weekend at the movies

Channing Tatum and Salma Hayek in Magic Mike’s Last Dance (Warner Bros.)

It’s the weekend before Valentine’s Day, and for those sweethearts who are headed to the movie theater as part of their celebration, there is somewhat slim pickings.

The best movies in theaters this weekend have been out for weeks or even more than a month if you count director James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

Perhaps Cameron’ best film “Titanic” is back in theaters for a 3D engagement to celebrate its 25th anniversary, if you haven’t seen the movie too many times already.

M. Knight Shyamalan’s “Knock at the Cabin” is a mediocre thriller that features a better-than-expected performance by Dave Bautista.

“Plane” is a surprisingly fun action flick that will remind you of the type of adventure films that did solid business in the mid-1980s.

“A Man Called Otto” is a dark around the edges redemption story, starring Tom Hanks that is touching, but still kind of a downer.

The weekend’s two new movies are “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” and the super-natural horror flick “Consecration,” neither of which look all that exciting to me.

Magic Mike’s Last Dance

Salma Hayek and Channing Tatum in Magic Mike’s Last Dance (Warner Bros.)

Channing Tatum is back for his third go-around as retired erotic dancer Mike Lane in “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” which co-stars Salma Hayek Pinault as socialite/businesswoman Maxandra Mendoza, who promises to take the Florida boy away from his all too familiar bar-tending job to experience life in London.

There’s just one catch. She expects for him to dance to her tune and produce a show on her stage to earn his keep in this Steven Soderbergh picture that was originally conceived as an HBO Max television show.

The film is getting mixed reviews. It’s evidently not as funny as the two previous films in the series, but it does offer some laughs, and great grinding along with a bit of introspection.

The most interesting aspect of the movie for me is that Soderbergh directed it as he did the original film in the series. His movies are always well shot and usually more interesting because of it.

Of the two new movies in theaters, “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” looks like the best bet unless you just love horror.
(R) 1 hr. 55 min.


Consecration (AGC Studios)

At first glance, “Consecration” appears to be another ripoff of the 1973 horror classic “The Exorcist,” which incidentally is being re-made with an expected release date of Oct. 13, but it’s not, despite walking over similar ground.

In the psychological thriller, Jena Malone plays Grace, an atheist American, who visits a convent in Scotland after the murder of her brother who served as a priest there.

As Grace seeks to uncover what exactly happened, she has ghostly dreams or visions that horrify her but make her only more determined to get to the bottom of her brother’s suicide. The nuns at the convent are closed off and unhelpful, but Investigator Harris (Thoren Ferguson) and Father Romeo (Danny Huston) do offer some assistance.

However, the more she investigates the worse her visions become until she uncovers a grim truth from her past that sets up the film’s bloody conclusion. Reviews describe the film as disturbing yet repetitive. Malone and Huston are credited for strong performances.

(R) 1 hr. 30 min.

New in Local Theaters – Feb. 10, 2023

Magic Mike’s Last Dance (R) 1 hr. 55 min. (trailer)(AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle, Malco Towne)

Consecration (R) 1 hr. 30 min. (trailer)(Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle)

The Outwaters (R) 1 hr. 50 min. (trailer)(Malco Razorback)

Titanic 3D (PG-13) 3 hr. 16 min. (trailer)(AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Towne)

‘Titanic’ makes waves in theaters once again, but this time in 3D

Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, and Frances Fisher in Titanic (Paramount Pictures)

(Warning: Spoilers)

The best film in local theaters this week is 25 years old.

The 3D release of director James Cameron’s “Titanic” is in theaters just in time for Valentine’s week. The romantic historical drama will play for at least the next week – perhaps longer — until the next Marvel movie “Ant-man and the Wasp: The Quantumania” pushes it and basically every other release aside on Feb. 17.

The historicity of the film, which ranks third on the all-time movie money making list behind Cameron’s “Avatar,” and Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame,” is suspect in some areas, and critics still question whether there was enough room on that floating piece of wreckage for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack as well as Kate Winslet’s Rose, but the movie is indeed an all-time classic that is as entertaining on an adventure level as it is heart-tugging as a romance.

It’s a movie all film lovers should see at some point. The special effects that were ground-breaking upon the movie’s release in 1997 mostly hold up, and even if you do like to nitpick, the romance between Jack and Rose is so engrossing you’ll forgive or overlook most any technical missteps.

DiCaprio and Winslet’s romance pulls at the heart strings as the uppity Rose falls for the roguish, ne’er-do-well Jack. Anyone who has sat through an eighth- or 11th-grade history course knows the plight of the Titanic, the unsinkable ship that ironically hit an iceberg and sunk. The looming threat that everyone in the film believes impossible but we in the audience know is a fact brings a touch of melancholy to each and every scene.

It seems knowing the outcome of a film would make its conclusion anticlimactic, but Cameron’s uses our knowledge to set up tension and then make many of us cry as the doomed ship and its passengers face mortality.

We know the conclusion’s not going to go well for many of the characters Cameron introduces, but he makes that work in his favor rather than against it.

I’m one that feels the movie would work better just as a film about young Jack and Rose and their ill-fated love-affair on the doomed ocean liner, but others think the modern prologue and epilogue are what allows the film to stand out among other tellings of the Titanic tragedy. I wouldn’t argue the point vehemently, but it is fun to consider.

The film is a technical masterpiece by Cameron and his crew. The cinematography by Russell Carpenter is immaculate and grand. The film’s rich colors early on the voyage standout against the chilling, blueish hues following the tragedy.

While I don’t necessarily love “Titanic,” it is a great film, and a do wish Cameron had spent more of the last quarter century making movies like it rather than spending so much time on his two “Avatar” films.

Not that the “Avatar” films aren’t entertaining and impactful, but Cameron is one of the few directors who has the clout to make literally any type of film he wants.

Though I have nothing against science fiction or fantasy, I believe I would have appreciated something more human from Cameron even more.