The genesis of Magic Mike came from conversations between Tatum and Soderbergh while filming Haywire. Tatum let slip that for about two years he was a male stripper while he struggled to become an actor. Soderbergh thought it would make for a good movie so he enlisted the help of screenwriter Reid Carolin and the three men began formulating a story around an all-male dance revue.
Hitler’s Final Solution was not a separate campaign of mass murder, parallel to the fighting on the battlefronts. Instead, the Nazi assault on the Jews was characteristic of the depraved nature of the entire war. Daring commando raids and tank attacks were the stuff of movie newsreels. The “real” war was prosecuted with civilian-targeted aerial bombardments, starvation as a weapon, orgies of rape and torture and other government-sanctioned acts of mass homicide.
Dark Horse is Todd Solondz’ most accessible movie since his masterpiece Happiness, but that doesn’t mean that the Welcome to the Dollhouse creator is mainstreaming. No, Dark Horse retains the writer-director’s penchant for New York/New Jersey family dynamics, isolation, severely dark humor, painfully uncomfortable awkwardness, and keen insight into human beings.
At first glance it seems absolutely obvious what is going on here: to whit, some pretty repulsive misogyny. The potion with Catrina has to take to keep her looking beautiful has a lot in common with the centuries-old anxiety around cosmetics, a handy stand-in for the ideas that women are liars, that they spend their time trying to trap men and that there is something inherently repulsive about women’s bodies.
This is not your typical Disney princess rendition of romance. In fact, it has no essential connection to losing one’s heart to a prince. Adventure is Merida’s first love, and above all she longs for the freedom to determine her own fate. Her high spirits make her the apple of her father’s eye, but also bring her into constant clashes with her mother, whose sole aim is to cultivate some courtly bearing in the fiery young lass.