Movie Review: “Pan”

Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara
Joe Wright

You’d be hard pressed to find another movie released this year as unnecessary as “Pan.” Origin stories are a thing at the moment, even though they are the last refuge of the scoundrel, a telltale sign of creative bankruptcy. Interestingly, this retelling of Peter Pan is from Joe Wright, who’s delivered some good (“Hanna”) to great (“Atonement”) work of late. How did he get caught in the origin story trap? It’s unclear, but his “Pan,” despite its needlessness, is surprisingly entertaining, with a couple of moments that owe a debt of gratitude to “Moulin Rouge.” This is a good thing, in case you weren’t sure.

A newborn Peter (Levi Miller) is left at the front door of a UK orphanage by his mother (Amanda Seyfreid). Twelve years later, World War II has erupted, and Peter is still at the orphanage, hopeful that his mother will return for him, largely because the nuns who run the orphanage are awful and corrupt. One night, Peter and nearly everyone in the orphanage are kidnapped by flying pirates (you read that right) and brought to Neverland to live with Captain Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman), where they’re told that they are finally free, but really they’re just a different kind of slave, and spend their days digging for a rare element with special powers. Peter finds a piece, but is ultimately forced to walk the in-air plank after someone steals the gem and accuses him of a crime that he didn’t commit. Incredibly, Peter begins to fly just before hitting the ground, and Blackbeard fears that Peter is the boy that an old legend says will be his undoing. Miner James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) takes Peter under his wing (with conditions), and the two manage to escape Blackheard’s clutches, only to discover that they have a whole new battle ahead of them, while Blackbeard’s crew is hot on their trail.

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A Short History of Slot Machines


There might be more kinds of games in a casino than ever before, but there’s still nothing quite like a slot machine. The sounds. The bright lights. The jackpots! Today’s slots are definitely more exciting than they have ever been, but the thrill of the slot machine is something that players have been enjoying now for more than 100 years.

It all started in San Francisco in 1895. A car mechanic named Charles Fey built a simple machine comprised of three reels with five symbols – the first true slot machine. He called his invention the Liberty Bell.

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Sticky Little Secrets About Your Car


How much do you know about the assembly of modern vehicles?

Considering you likely spent your formative years tinkering under the bonnet of a beat up Vauxhall Nova, installing superfluous K&N air filters and attempting to tack on an exhaust with an outlet bigger than your head, you probably reckon you know a lot …

… but forget everything you thought you knew.

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How to Encourage Young Teenagers to Exercise

athletic woman

It seems as though every generation is accused of being less active than the one before. That may or may not be true but the fact is, the current generation of younger teens really is less active than any generation that went before – ever! With so many texting and messaging their way through life, about the only part of their bodies that get exercise are their fingers, eyes and occasionally their brains. Yes, it’s meant in a light-hearted manner but the sad reality is, it’s all too true. If you are looking to encourage young teenagers to exercise there are ways to go about it without setting yourself up for a major rebellion.

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Blu Tuesday: Magic Mike XXL, Dracula and More

Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on Facebook and Twitter with your friends.

“Magic Mike XXL”

WHAT: Three years after leaving the stripper life to pursue his dream of starting his own business, “Magic” Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) reunites with the remaining Kings of Tampa – Ken (Matt Bomer), Big Dick Ritchie (Joe Manganiello), Tito (Adam Rodriguez) and Tarzan (Kevin Nash) – for a road trip to the annual stripper convention in Myrtle Beach for one final performance.

WHY: One of the biggest complaints about “Magic Mike” was that it was a lot more serious than people were expecting for a film about male strippers, and “Magic Mike XXL” addresses those criticisms head-on by delivering a more upbeat and whimsical bro-fest that plays like a racier version of “Entourage.” Channing Tatum is still the star, but supporting players like Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello are given larger roles, while new addition Jada Pinkett Smith nearly steals the whole movie. It’s everything the first film should have been and more, making up for its loose narrative structure by unabashedly pandering to the audience with show-stopping dance numbers that are so theatrical it could be turned into a traveling stage show. Though the movie is slightly ridiculous and lacking any real substance, it’s also incredibly entertaining, with rarely a dull moment despite the almost two-hour runtime. You have to respect a film that does exactly what it sets out to achieve (in this case, slow-jam beefcake cheesiness) and doesn’t apologize for it, because “Magic Mike XXL” embraces that attitude full tilt and never looks back.

EXTRAS: There’s a pair of featurettes on the film’s choreography and location shooting in Georgia, as well as an extended version of Stephen Boss’ dance sequence.


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