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Twilight for Adults – Fifty Shades of Grey

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Fifty Shades of Grey has to be one of if not, the most hotly anticipated films of 2015. With a Valentines weekend release date, whether the film was bad or not, their campaign and release date alone would have made enough money to go ahead and redeem themselves with a sequel/trilogy. Without having read the book and going by hearsay on how dirty and explicit the book is but also terribly executed through bad writing, one could only expect the film to be just as bad resulting in just a dirty old porno on the big screen. With this in mind, a lot of those who thought that have come out disappointed, but those looking beyond that point of dirt and explicitly, you’ll actually find a really good film.
Based on a Twilight fan fiction, Fifty Shades of Grey introduces you to Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), a literature student, who conveniently happens to be a virgin, who’s life is changed when she meets billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) who essentially has a dirty little secret.
Bella and Edward’s Twilight stench is written all over Christian and Ana. It’s very familiar, sometimes a little too familiar but this is mostly at the beginning of the film where they meet and can’t keep their eyes off of each other. But even certain scenarios that happen are too similar to Twilight such as her friend José who seems like the Jacob Black kind of character, Ana being saved by Christian from getting hit by a car, and the plain fact that he can’t help but to be around Ana, quite like how Edward couldn’t stay away from Bella. Given the circumstances, Edward’s reasons seemed a bit more legit than Christian’s but you just have to deal with it. Christian is very straight forward like Edward, he doesn’t really say much and has the same sort of painful facial expression. He’s also adopted. Ana is the vulnerable girl who is in love but is very inquisitive and wants to be with this man of mystery. So essentially this whole story is a more grown up version of Twilight.

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After getting all of that out of the way and really stripping the film down, Johnson’s Ana is a very a strong female lead. Entertainment wise, she has a repertoire of great one liners and comebacks which will make you giggle in agreement. Ana does display some control, even though she becomes his “submissive”. Her projections of vulnerability and solid resistance is very compelling and done so well. She doesn’t give in too easily nor straight away and builds her own compromises with Christians requests. He may be the “Dominant” but it’s to her terms. You really get to see this through one of the best scenes in the film where she has a “meeting” with Mr Grey to discuss the contract to their relationship and to object to certain activities. The on screen chemistry is just simply perfect there. She’s also the character for the audience, seeing Christian and the whole romance/relationship through her eyes, ultimately probing about his past and why he is the way he is. We want to know as much as she does. She also demonstrates how powerful the word “no” can be.

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Dornan’s Christian as mentioned before is very inexpressive, quite cold and very straight forward, but given the circumstances, it’s acceptable. It’s when he begins to open up to Ana in ways he specifically explains in the beginning that he doesn’t engage in, his character starts to break in and this is done in a very subtle way, giving the film a bit of a balance. The awkward attempt of calling Ana “baby” is definitely one of Dornan’s high points and it’s Ana’s inquisitive nature and ability to rebel is what attracts Christian, not just her submission. What really gets to you is his eyes. That’s the main point of contact, communication and wonder, through Dornan’s eyes.

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Easing into the film’s main point of focus, the sexual boundaries of pain and pleasure, it’s actually not as bad and explicit as expected. It takes about a good 30 – 40 minutes into the film before anything actually happens and it’s not a lot either. It’s done in a very tasteful and erotic way building the intensity without the need for a bunch of full frontals and weird pornographic angles and moans. Although the shots mostly focus on Johnson, Dornan’s dominance was dominant enough to keep the audience engaged with his actions rather than the camera straying down south. These principles also applied to the infamous Red Room of Pain.
To top it all off, the costume designs worked so well for each character especially Christian Grey and we’re graced with a really seductive yet awesome soundtrack featuring The Rolling Stones, Ellie Goulding, Beyoncé, Awolnation, Annie Lennox, Danny Elfman and much more. It’s such a pleasing soundtrack to listen to and really suits the film.
All in all, it was better than expected, cleaner than expected and more enjoyable than expected. Slick, tasteful, witty and seductive, Twi-hards eat your heart out.

Star Ratings 3

 

 

 

The Oscar 2015 Nominations Are In!

 

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This year’s Oscar nominations were announced earlier today by the Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, actor Chris Pine and directors JJ Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron in a 2 part broadcast for the first time ever, revealing the nominations in all 24 categories. Leading the noms are Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel which both have 9 nods whilst the Brits have been nominated in the major categories.

The Hollywood ceremony will be held on Sunday 22nd February. Here are your nominees…

 

Best Picture:

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

 

Best Actor:

Steve Carell,  Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton, Birdman

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

 

Best Actress:

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon, Wild

 

Best Supporting Actor:

Robert Duvall, The Judge

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

Edward Norton, Birdman

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

JK Simmons, Whiplash

 

Best Supporting Actress:

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Laura Dern, Wild

Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game

Emma Stone, Birdman

Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

 

Best Cinematography:

Birdman

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ida

Mr Turner

Unbroken

 

Best Director:

Alejandro G Inarritu, Birdman

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

 

Best Adapted Screenplay:

American Sniper

The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

 

Best Original Screenplay:

Birdman

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Nightcrawler

 

Best Animated Feature Film:

Big Hero 6

The Boxtrolls

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Song of the Sea

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

 

For the full lineup of nominations click here

The Nominations Are In! BAFTA 2015

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This morning we were graced with the all exciting BAFTA nominations announced by our very own Stephen Fry and a set of “Grand Canyon dimples” provided by Sam Claflin. This year’s noms in the main categories are so tight and solid, they’re currently racking my brain like an unsolved Rubik’s Cube. Leading the race, surprisingly is Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel with 11 nominations (currently standing at number 16 in my Top 20 best films of 2014 list) with the almighty Birdman and The Theory of Everything right behind with 10 nods, leaving The Imitation Game floating the boat at 9 nominations. Here is the list for the EE British Academy Film Awards 2015…

 

 

Leading Actress:
Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Leading Actor:
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitations Game
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Ralph Fiennes, Grand Budapest Hotel

Supporting Actor:
Edward Norton
Ethan Hawke
J.K. Simmons
Mark Ruffalo
Steve Carell

Supporting Actress:
Emma Stone
Imelda Staunton
Keira Knightley
Rene Russo
Patricia Arquette

British Film:
’71
The Imitation Game
Paddington
Pride
The Theory of Everything
Under the Skin

Best Film:
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Animated Film:
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
The Lego Movie

Director:
Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Richard Linklater
Wes Anderson
James Marsh
Damien Chazelle

Original Screenplay:
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler
Whiplash

Adapted Screenplay:
American Sniper
Gone Girl
The Theory of Everything
Paddington
The Imitation Game

For the full lineup of nominations click here

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The Evil Within – Impressions (PS3)

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Forget about scares that will make you jump because The Evil Within is a combination of all the fears and dreadful sights that you always pray you’ll never have to experience. This isn’t Resident Evil, and it’s not for the light hearted.

The story follows Detective Sebastian Castellanos, a detective called in to investigate a collection of terrible murders at a local mental hospital. From this the game take a quite calm approach gearing you up for what’s installed in this horrific peice of gaming. In terms of the story, it lacks quite a lot, especially with the main protagonist being quite boring, emotionless and more stiff than a plank of wood, however the environment and disgraceful enemies you have to endure makes up a lot for the negatives. Castellanos isn’t the character you have fun playing with as you do with say Leon Kennedy or Chris Redfield, but the creators have really made The Evil Within into a proper survival horror game.

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The story does go into a good direction but it does take a little while to do so. In terms of managing Castellanos, you barely get any ammo, your health is dreadful, your stamina is no where to be seen, your melee attack is like a punch in the wind so you barely have much to help you survive, but there’s always a way to get around surviving and that’s what makes this game so much fun. Yes it gets annoying at times because we’re so used to having the luxuries of a full clip of ammo in our guns however, it makes you appreciate stealthing and just running for your life when the opportunity arises. Being patient and cautious are two of the best traits you need to have in this game to help you survive.
Visually, the game gives this chilling and scary effect with the lighting, the shadows, the environment and even the fact that it’s filmed in widescreen with a grainy effect, picking out all of the gorey bloodshed that you encounter. The only issue that was found was the way the environment would essentially have to “load” sometimes. It will look all blurry and thencome into focus to pick out the detail. For a game that’s on the next gen consoles, this shouldn’t really be happening.
In all, it’s a great game and definitley takes the horror genre in gaming to the next level. A few hiccups here and there and a bunch of gracefully disgusting enemies and bosses to defeat that will make you feel un-easy at times. The loading times and auto-save spots also gets a little frustrating sometimes. Hopefully this is just a taster of what’s in-store for the next Resident Evil game.

 

 

 

Star Ratings 3

 

 

 

*NOTE – Visit my Twitter page @GreendotEmo for the competition tweet (ENDS: 20.12.14)

Not So Scared – Where’s the Horror Gone?

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This year has had a great deal of horror flicks with Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones popping up in January instead of their usual October run, to The Conjuring’s prequel spin off Annabelle. Unfortunately it seems that Horror just isn’t that scary any more. It’s either really predictable, filled with very naive characters or just isn’t as violent as they used to be. To be brutally honest, ever since The Saw franchise ended, there hasn’t really been anything out there that tickled my fancy, until I saw The Conjuring. The Conjuring was one hell of a film that really did get the hairs to stand up on the back of my neck. When is comes to horror flicks, James Wan certainly knows what he was doing. The characters had great chemistry on screen, the frights were frightful and it really gets you thinking hard about that kind of scary exorcism acts happening in reality.

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Another franchise I do get quite excited about year after year is the Paranormal Activity franchise. Now, it can be said that they haven’t been very consistent in terms of, well lets just say Paranormal Activity 4 and leave it at that. But story wise, they are very consistent and that’s what is definitely their strong point. Starting out as a low budget flick it definitely has come far enough to be rewarded with a spin off which has actually become my favourite in the franchise. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones takes the story into a slightly different yet new direction that really works. If anything, it has the best characters and their chemistry on screen and off screen is a delight. Bearing that in mind, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones has my vote of being the best horror flick this year.

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Halloween is the time of the year that brings out all of the horror film competitors. This year we had the Conjuring spin-off Annabelle, Ouija, The Babadook and Horns. Unfortunately, none of them had lived up to the hype. Annabelle (creepy raggedy Ann doll directed by John R. Leonetti) had to be the most disappointing of them all. All the apparent good parts were already in the trailer, the framing of the scenes made it obvious of what was about to happen, the characters were very naive and unintelligent, it was just very predictable and boring. As a spin-off from The Conjuring, which was absolutely brilliant, it’s a shame Annabelle was just not very good at all. In fact, it was an insult to The Conjuring. Thankfully, James Wan will be back for The Conjuring 2 (I think they should just leave anything to do with The Conjuring to James Wan).

Ouija
Ouija, directed by Stiles White, was another film where all the apparent good bits were already broadcast in the trailer. The idea of having a film about the Ouija board game with a group of friends awakening an evil entity sounded like a fantastic idea, however the way it was executed was just plain boring unfortunately. The characters were lifeless, on a personal level I just found it very hard to connect with them and give them my sympathy. The story had nothing to make you jump out of your seat and anything that had a chance of making you feel uneasy was already in the trailer. At the point of watching Annabelle, I really did think that nothing could be worse, but Ouija took the crown.

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The Babadook was actually one of the horror flicks I wasn’t going to see around Halloween because the trailer and concept just didn’t grab my attention, however I did end up finding myself wedged in the screening for it and surprisingly it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. The concept still sucked in my opinion (a creepy book’s character coming to life to haunt them) but the characters and their on screen chemistry was fantastic, and the story grew stronger and slightly darker as it went deeper into the film. Australian horror films are usually quite weird but they work and this was another to add to that collection. It wasn’t predictable, but it still didn’t get my blood boiling however, it was quite funny. Whether this was director Jennifer Kent’s intention or not, it worked. The Babadook got my vote for entertainment value.

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Finally, Horns, directed by Alexandre Aja, starring the good old Daniel Radcliffe who has seemingly grown into an established actor, shrugging off the Harry Potter persona with ease. Putting on a very well done American accent, the film had great characters, a great cast, a very solid whodunnit murder mystery plot. It’s a very weird film in the sense that the main character essentially is a demon/devil. The film really reminded me of Jennifer’s Body where the concept sounds really great and the majority of the film is well done, but then there’s that little itch that makes you go “WTF?”. Obviously Horns was way better than Jennifer’s Body. This was a 50/50 movie for me.
What’s going on with the horror genre? Where’s all the gore? Where’s all the scenes that will shoot my stomach into my throat and make me feel nauseous? The thrill is dead and we need it back immediately!