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.
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.
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.
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.
As the curtain closes on 2014 and we enter a new, exciting year of film, it’s about time I got going with a ‘Top 20 Films of 2014’ list. I honestly wanted to just keep it nice and simple with a top 10, however, after looking back at what my eyes had devoured over the past 365 days, I felt the need to give credit to those that not only impressed me, but what I really enjoyed. Whether it was due to the fact that a franchise had just begun or was coming to a close, or the grand old superhero summer flicks that dominated the box office sales, my top 20 consists of the big blockbusters, a few rom-coms (which definitly deserved a spot seeing as the best rom-coms came from the late 90’s/early 2000’s) and a few flicks which impressed me due to the fact that I had no clue what I was in for. Here’s my top 20…
19. A Walk Among The Tombstones
18. Begin Again
16. The Grand Budapest Hotel
15. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
14. X-Men: Days of Future Past
13. About Last Night
12. That Awkward Moment
11. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Drum roll please for the Top 10!…
7. Jersey Boys
6. The Fault in Our Stars
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
4. The Guest
3. Guardians of The Galaxy
2. Gone Girl
1. The Imitation Game
Comment below and tell us what’s your Top 10 Films of 2014 and what are your most anticipated films of 2015.
Happy New Year and may the odds be ever in your favour 😛
300 was quite the hit back in 2006, giving Gerard Butler that stamp in Hollywood (which also came with the phrase “This is Sparta” and the undying question of how much of the abs was actually his and how much was CGI). Directed by Zack Snyder, who is one of those directors who you’ll either really love or without a doubt avoid, it’s also one of those films you’ll either really like or really dislike. Some actually dubbed it as a very camp onscreen portrayal of Frank Miller’s graphic novel. Setting aside the negative comments, it actually was really good. It had a strong enough story to build on and the action was really entertaining. Who wouldn’t like to see 300 Spartans taking on thousands of Persians with just a sword and shield slicing and dicing the crap out of them? There’s just so much testosterone floating about, even in the women! Queen Gorgo really served as a Queen, a very strong female role model holding the same amount of power as her hubby, King Leonidas essentially.
300: Rise of an Empire begins where it left off in 300, but then goes back to 300 acting as a prequel, then a side dish, then slightly a sequel. It’s the three elements in one, a strong feature for the film. Going back a little, we get to see how Xerxes becomes the smooth, gold-looking mortal-turned-God, with the help of Artemisia, a woman scorned. This leads on to the Greek general, Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) leading his army to take care of the invasion of the Persian navy, led by Xerxes and Artemisia (all of this happening on the sea of course).
Rise of an Empire in terms of blood, action and power is really an exaggerated version of 300. This is a good thing though as it gives more action and more blood, well bucket loads of blood, and a lot more decapitation. It’s rated a 15, but could easily have been an 18 (it’s surfing on the boarders). It has to be said that Eva Green as Artemisia stole the show. Her character was incredible. Good timing for international Women’s “weekend” too. It’s so awesome when you get these strong female characters in film that know how to handle themselves and doesn’t become the damsel in distress. Even what should have been steamy seductive sex scene, ended up looking like a fight. She ruled without a doubt, if anything she had more balls than the rest of them. She is everything a warrior should be and even though she used a bow and arrow a few times (there seems to be quite the obsessions that women only know how to use a bow and arrow) she handled the sword/swords with the intention to kill with a capital ‘K’. Not to mention Queen Gorgo played by Lena Heady, (I’m having a hard time not seeing a resemblance to Keira Knightley) who swings into action as yet another woman scorned.
Whether you’re a fan of Zack Snyder’s work or not, it can’t be ignored that his fight sequences, capturing slow motion and the vision he has when filming is incredible. It’s different and unique, and really feels like the graphic novel is on the screen. CGI plays a huge part, but it really does work. Sometimes when watching a film, the excessive use of CGI can get a little annoying, however with Snyder, this isn’t the case. He has his own style of filming so you know when it’s a Zack Snyder film. His work has really caught my attention recently. The 3D was outstanding and just made the film even better. After watching 300 in 2D, it was without a doubt a fact that this was going to look awesome in 3D. It gave a good feel to the environment and the distances between characters. The way the environment handles the 3D makes you want to put your hand through the screen. There’s also a scene where Xerxes played by Rodrigo Santoro is standing before everyone on a different level and in the shot you see the back of him and all these people in front, but the 3D gives the scene that depth to show the distance between Xerxes and Persians. It’s really amazing. So forget about stuff flying towards you, this is how 3D should be (with the occasional spear flying through someone’s chest that we see from behind so it would come towards the screen). This is one film that’s really worth going to see in 3D.
The whispers of this being on the same wavelength as 300 are merely a myth. By the abs of the Greek Gods, it is far better than 300 without the lovely scented whiff of Butler and Fassbender.
4 out of 5 stars
Without going too extreme and taking the franchise to new heights that wouldn’t fall into place correctly with its predecessor, The Bourne Legacy does fill the gap and gives us something to look forward to… a fifth Bourne.
New “action hero kid on the block”, Jeremy Renner digs deep to play Aaron Cross, a soon-to-be rogue agent from another secret programme just like Bourne’s Treadstone, named Outcome. With the potential to be even more deadly than Jason Bourne himself, we are introduced to a very rugged version, training out in Alaska. Beard or no beard, with his in-control mannerism, manly stance and macho charisma, Renner is still instantly turning heads.
Starting where The Bourne Ultimatum started-ish, The Bourne Legacy runs along with Ultimatum, where the Guardian Journalist gets killed and Bourne is still on the loose. Because of Bourne’s interference, this causes the government to clamp down, and the programme must eliminate their own people. So basically Jason Bourne had put them all in a right pickle of a situation. What makes a change is that unlike Bourne, who didn’t know who he was; Cross knows exactly who is and what he does. Where does this leave Cross? After intelligently escaping his near death experience, Cross is forced to go on the run, dragging along Outcome scientist Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz). Unfortunately for her, she was only involved with the programme for “the science” however; Cross needs her to stay alive because of the special drugs that enhances him physically and intelligently, aka makes him smarter, quicker and stronger, so after a brutal massacre, she is his only hope. Quite like the other Bourne films, the action takes you to different parts of the world. This time it’s Manila in the Philippines.
Without it being too easy, Edward Norton plays Byer, the man chosen to eliminate Cross with the help from Turso, played by Stacy Keach. Joan Allan and Albert Finney cameo themselves, reprising the roles of CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy and the mastermind of Treadstone Dr Albert Hirsch.
Though it was quite a talkative script with a lot of references to its scientific foundation, the action sequences were very enjoyable with the intensity and sophistication still present, giving it that Bourne glamour. It gets you out of your seat at times. The reaction of the audience in the cinema as they were happening says it all. High speed, close encountered fight sequences, and a quite lengthy chase near the end really took the film to its climax and topped it off. Renner is undoubtedly not a newbie on the motorbike, or with a bow and arrow in The Avengers… is there something he can’t do well?
What helped the film along and not make it sink dramatically like the Titanic was the fact that the Bourne Team was still there, the only ones really not present were Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon. Fight co-ordinator Jeff Imada still brought the same style of fighting (martial arts based on Filipino discipline Kali) to the screen that basically doesn’t mess around. Its aim is to the take the person out quickly, and not for a coffee.
Being directed this time by Tony Gilroy, it wasn’t Chinese to him as he had scripted all four films, and you know what? He did a pretty good job, better than expected.
As they are playing two different characters, from two different programmes, it’s quite hard to compare both Renner and Damon, though some have already and pin pointed Damon as the better man. However Renner has shown he is now our modern day action hero and should certainly try to get some more roles in this category. It’s quite like Damon himself.
What needs to happen next to take the Bourne series to the next level is to bring Matt Damon/Jason Bourne back for the next instalment to have a Bourne/Cross collaboration (Renner has already said that he has signed up for future Bourne films)… It’s a must! This would fit in perfectly with the story. That would probably be the ultimate Bourne.
The Rise of The Planet of The Apes was a shocking blockbuster hit last summer. With the reputation Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes (2001) left on the world of cinema and the historical run of the originals, the prequel was predicted to be somewhat of a flop in certain areas, however it proved us all so very wrong. Turns out, it was an awesome concept and can go down as one of the successful prequels, with a sweet cliffhanger which left the franchise very open for expected sequels.
So we now know how the Apes became so intelligent, including the abilty to speak a word or two, but yet it didn’t explain exactly how they took over the planet. Without spoiling it for those who may not have seen it yet, it can be said that the ending of The Rise of the Planet of The Apes surely had a sequel written all over it. With this in mind, the green light has been lit. Yes, it has been confirmed that there will be a sequel. Aiming for a late 2013/2014 release, we can take a wild guess as to where the plot will be going.
It has not been confirmed whether or not Director Rupert Wyatt will be sticking around for the sequel but he has expressed his interest in returning for a double wammy. Andy Serkis on the other hand has put pen to paper but filming will obviously be around his schedule for The Hobbit. That Sméagol fella is just too demanding!
From the moment the credits started rolling, I had been looking forward to this… thank goodness I won’t have to wait too long. Apes are go!