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.
When it comes to action packed thrillers with a super serious tone, if Denzel Washington isn’t involved, it’s usually a Liam Neeson film, but this time around Washington is back as a revitalised Creasy from Man on Fire in the violent, entertaining yet sturdy thriller, The Equalizer.
Going down the route of a typical US crime convention with the Russians yet again cast as the villain’s, Washington plays the character of Robert McCall who comes across as this mysterious man who apparently leads a normal life working in the American equivalent to B&Q or Homebase until his weird OCD-ish behaviours are displayed during his nightly trips to the café and the notion that he only owns one plate, one cup and one set of cutlery. It’s such a plain, independent life he leads. As a man of mystery, he totally understands and takes pride in the word “justice”, and that’s exactly what he demonstrates. Chloe Grace Moretz plays a young hooker/wannabe singer who is caught up with this very violent group of Russian Gangsters who are running their own escort company. Quite like Man on Fire, Washington becomes the guardian angel/father figure/modern-day superhero and takes a huge step into the situation to try to get Teri (Moretz) out of it.
Teaming up again with Antoine Fuqua after their Oscar-winning spell on Training Day, as per usual, Washington takes on this role just as seriously as his past Oscar-winning performances and is able to keep the cinema screens packed on his own without packing the film with a bunch of action stars and super well-known names. Washington knows how to hold his spot on the big screen and shouldn’t feel threatened by all the newcomers trying their hand at serious acting.
When onscreen together, Teri and McCall have great chemistry between them, quite like a lost father trying to rekindle his relationship with his daughter. Keeping that in mind, they don’t have many scenes together but when they do, it’s nice and refreshing and makes you feel like you want to help her out and try to get into the deep and dark mind of McCall.
The main highlight of the film has to be the intelligent ways Washington is able to use everyday hardware in the store as brutal weapons, for example the way he uses a nail gun and a drill is pure genius that will get you giggling yet thinking about how painful it would actually be. Also for the fact that McCall jokes around with his younger colleagues about being one of the Pips who worked with Gladys Knight back in the day and even gives us a little preview of his old school dance moves (Washington still has it at 59 going on 60).
All around, The Equalizer is the proper example that old school actors still have a firm place in Hollywood and Washington is leading the pack. It’s very entertaining, very brutal and the moral of the story is to never underestimate your father when he knows his way around the hardware store.
After the clever 7 second Insta-trailer posted only a few days ago, Marvel and 20th Century Fox has now released what looks to be the best X-Men film ever made, the trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past. The word Epic can’t even describe how awesome and mind blowing it looks. May 2014 couldn’t come any quicker. The main plot is basically, Professor Charles Xavier has asked Wolverine to go back into the past to change things and to prevent a war happening. Watch the trailer below and be prepared for epic-ness…