Mary Ann Bernard knows how to give the audience what they want. After a quick establishing shot, the editor of Magic Mike XXL cuts to a close-up of star Channing Tatum’s dreamy face for the first ten seconds of the movie. The crowd I attended the movie with (made up of about 95% women) started cheering and clapping as soon as he appeared, sitting quietly in repose staring at a beach at sunrise. Mary Ann Bernard is actually the pseudonym for filmmaker Steven Soderbergh. In addition to editing, he also handled cinematography under his alias Peter Andrews. For this sequel to his 2012 exploration of the male exotic dancing world, he handed over directing duties to his long-time assistant director Gregory Jacobs. Together, the two made a movie – with the help of screenwriter Reid Carolin – that really surprised me.
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