Posts Tagged ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

Whilst watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them I rapidly came to the conclusion that Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Kowalski (Dan Fogler) are more interesting than the main characters.  This got me thinking of the supporting characters that have enhanced movies this year:queenie-alison-sudol-and-kowalski-dan-fogler

Rocky: Let’s start with the strangest, Rocky as a supporting character in a Rocky movie! Creed is a Rocky movie, but it’s also its own beast and Michael B. Jordan is excellent as Adonis Johnson/Creed and was unlucky not to receive an Oscar nomination, but Sylvester Stallone was fantastic as Rocky and truly was a supporting character.sylvester-stallone-creed

Ringer: The 5th Wave was a poor film with little to recommend it but Maika Monroe was brilliant as ever playing the most fun character in the movie.ringer-the-5th-wave-maika-monroe

Sheriff Chris Mannix: Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is a truly ensemble movie and it is hard to call any of the characters supporting, however, in a dialogue heavy movie one of the less well known actors stands out: Walton Goggins. Anyone who has seen Justified won’t be surprised.sheriff-chris-mannix-walton-goggins

Penelope Lannier: Like many people the first I heard of Dakota Johnson was Fifty Shades of Grey, like many people I thought she was the only good thing about the film.  In A Bigger Splash not only does she stand out, but she does it against some seriously amazing actors: Tilda Swinton, Marianne Lane, Ralph Fiennes.penelope-lannier-a-bigger-splash-dakota-johnson

Howard: 10 Cloverfield Lane: is a seriously leftfield sequel.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead is fantastic in the lead but the film would have fallen apart without the brilliant John Goodman.howard-10-cloverfield-lane-john-goodman

Isabelle: In Louder Than Bombs, Isabelle Huppert is never less than sensational and has therefore set the bar pretty high for herself.  playing a dead character, we only see her in flashbacks, but she is the focus of the film and it wouldn’t work unless she is good.  The film is mesmerising and she is monumental.isabelle-huppert-louder-than-bombs

Tanya Vanderpoel: Margot Robbie‘s best moment in Whisky Tango Foxtrot is in the trailer.  To add to this she is supporting the brilliant Tina Fey in the first movie role worthy of her talents in years.  To be honest the offhand delivery of her line in the trailer is enough to give her a place on this list, but she also provides great support in to Fey’s lead.tanya-vanderpoel-margot-robbie-whisky-tango-foxtrot

St Clair Bayfield and Cosmé McMoon: If Meryl Streep gets within a mile of a movie she picks up an Oscar nomination, it is therefore hard to stand out in her presence, however, in Florence Foster Jenkins two performances stand out; Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg.st-clair-bayfield-and-cosme-mcmoon

Jane Clayton: The Legend of Tarzan: is a good old-fashioned action adventure film that was unfairly derided on release.  Alexander Skarsgård is good as John Clayton / Tarzan, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson do a really good job playing Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson.  However, I would happily have watched a movie about Jane played by Margot Robbie in one of three standout performances this year.jane-clayton-the-legend-of-tarzan-margot-robbie

Jillian Holtzmann: Ghostbusters is a week film.  Its problems have nothing to do with the casting or the gender of the stars and has everything to do with flabby direction and a week unfunny script.  To give an actress as talented as Kristen Wiig such a poor part is a crime .  There is one good thing about the film and this comes from the one actor I had never heard of; Kate McKinnon.jillian-holtzmann-ghostbusters-kate-mckinnon

Jake: Star played by Sasha Lane is the star (pun intended) of American Honey but the standout performance comes from the supporting cast as Shia LaBeouf finally fulfils the promise of the talented young actor we saw in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and glimpsed in Nymphomaniac: and The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman.american-honey-shia-labeouf

Miss Peregrine: Eva Green was the only good thing about Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, although she plays the eponymous role, she is a supporting character in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but a memorable supporting character.MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

Bobby Andes and Ray Marcus: Amy Adams is the focus of Nocturnal Animals, it will be a crime if she doesn’t pickup her sixth and seventh Oscar nominations for this and Arrival, but there are other standout performances that really make the film tick: Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.michael-shannon-aaron-taylor-johnson-nocturnal-animals


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January was an impossible act to follow but there were still a few good films.  This is what I saw: 

Inherent Vice: the incoherent plot is both the best and the worst thing about Paul Thomas Anderson’s detective thriller.   It looks good and has a great dream like tone but ultimately it left me cold.INHERENT VICE

Trash: Written by Richard Curtis and directed by Stephen Daldry.  showing a more gritty side of Rio concentrating on the backstreets and favelas.  Often darkly funny but ultimately uplifting and rewarding.Trash

Jupiter Ascending:  The thinly written and poorly conceived characters are a waste of Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum.  Ultimately rubbish but enough fun to get away with it.jupiter ascending

Selma: It is criminal that it has been more than more than 50 years since Martin Luther King’s most famous speech.  On the other hand it is fitting that the film is so good.  David Oyelowo is sensational in the lead role.Selma David Oyelowo

Focus: Will Smith and Margot Robbie are likable leads in this con man comedy drama, but the plot is flimsy and the twists signposted.  Fun but forgettable._87C7066.dng

Fifty Shades of Grey:  Groundbreaking erotic thriller about a BDSM relationship, sadly NO! It is a dull and vanilla love story with laughable dialogue, to put it another way Pretty Woman with less edge.fifty shades of grey

Blackhat: Michael Mann is back with a cybercrime thriller.  A solid and enjoyable film let down by a disjointed final act.  A good film but not amongst Mann’s best.blackhat

Project Almanac: Teenage time travel movie that isn’t afraid to refer better films of the genre.  Let down by clichéd characters and a plot that offers nothing new.ProjectAlmanac

The movie of the month is:selma-movie-poster (1)

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I have never used the expression meh in my life until now, but can’t think of any other way to describe Fifty Shades of Grey.fifty shades of grey poster

I once heard a story about Sleeping Beauty Castle at Euro Disney/Disneyland Paris.  When the plans were revealed  it was stated that this is Europe where we have real castles, and that they would have to make it a lot bigger.  I have no idea if it is true but like the story. I thought of this as I watched Fifty Shades of Grey, it is all a matter of context.  What is the point of the film? As an erotic drama it is a little vanilla in a world that includes Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (2013).  As an explicit story it may contain a lot of female nudity and a few sex scenes but nothing like Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013).  But at its heart it is neither of these things, it is a romance, and not one that fairs well against Richard Linklater’s before trilogy.  So what is it? All I could think while I watched it was Twilight (2008) for people who grew up watching Pretty Woman (1990).  I thought this before learning the source novel by E.L. James started life as Twilight fan fiction.  With this context it made so much sense.  It isn’t a window into the world of BDSM, but we don’t need a window on the world.  It may have worked in this way a few years ago but today anyone with an internet connection can find real BDSM.fifty shades of grey dakota johnson

In the same way that The Fast and the Furious (2001) hits all the major beats of Point Break (1991), Fifty Shades of Grey follows most of the main plot points of both Pretty Woman and Twilight.  Unfortunately as a fan of neither Pretty Woman nor Twilight, I find them both more interesting that Fifty Shades of Grey.  If you think Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) bites her lip a lot wait until you meet Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson).  I watched the film in a packed cinema, there were a few individuals and a few couples but around 80% of the audience was made up of groups of women.  It is interesting as woman flock to see the film dissenters describe it as degrading to woman.  It could and possible will be debated to for years if the themes of the film are degrading to women, what is clearly degrading to woman (and men) is to give them under-written, undeveloped characters.  This is a great shame as Jamie Dornan is very good as he is in the TV show The Fall, but as with The Fall he is overshadowed by his female co star, Gillian Anderson and Dakota Johnson.  Johnson, daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith and granddaughter of Tippi Hedren is very good and commands the film in the way that Dornan should.  But as with her mother and grandmother who weren’t always cast in the best films I hope she finds a few great roles like they did in films like Something Wild (1986), The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964).fifty shades of grey Jamie Dornan

Since the release of the film there have been reports of E.L. James vetoing Sam Taylor-Johnson’s amendments to the dialogue.  This is a great shame as the dialogue is totally terrible and often cringe worthy.  But Taylor-Johnson has crafted an attractive film and does manage the odd moment of fun; the “business meeting” where the terms of the “contract” are discussed is truly and intentionally (I think) hilarious. Reports that Taylor-Johnson won’t be directing the sequels.  And this takes me back to the start, Fifty Shades of Meh.  For all its moments of drama, comedy and titillation, the film is just a little dull and that is unforgivable for any film.

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