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Movie Review: “Fifty Shades Freed” Brings the Franchise to Sizzling End

It’s been a fun 3 years, but we finally close the book on the provocative “Fifty Shades” franchise.

When we last saw Anna (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) in “Fifty Shades Darker” they were rekindling their romance. Anna started a new job at a publishing company where her creep of a boss, Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), came on to her. While Anna dealt with him, Christian dealt with some troubling ladies from his past. Eventually, the two over came those obstacles and the film ended with the couple getting engaged.

Now we are at the beginning of the end. “Fifty Shades Freed” opens with a montage of Christian and Anna’s wedding followed by what looks like a dream honeymoon in Europe. However, the newlywed’s aren’t in bliss for too long once they find out Jack Hyde is back and pissed at the couple for “ruining his career”. This puts a damper on married life all together, as Christian continues his controlling ways and has Anna continuously followed by his security.

Besides this bigger plot, there is a lot of other stuff going on. This is the negative part of turning a book into a movie, you can never fit everything in. And even with cutting things from the third book, they jammed a lot into only and hour and 45 minutes (the shortest of the 3 films). In a nutshell, Christian and Anna buy a house, another couple gets engaged, Anna gets a job promotion, there are spur of the moment trips, a pregnancy, and of course, lots of sporadic sex.

Oh, and if for some reason you thought the previous films lacked in sex scenes, this one makes up for it and then-some. It seems married life has only made them hotter! They are making love any chance they can, in the car, with ice cream, red room of pain, etc. Though Dornan’s acting is weak, especially in comparison to Johnson’s spot on performance, their sexual chemistry continues to heat up the screen. In a tantalizing scene where Anna is forced to use her safe word, I nearly shouted “Red” myself.

Unfortunately, out of the three films, I had the most problems with “Fifty Shades Freed”. It was by far the most rushed installment and slightly anticlimactic. The film makes you feel like it is building up to a showdown between Jack and Christian, but instead glances over their shocking history and squashes any conflict in a mere 60 seconds.

That being said, “Fifty Shades Freed” is still just as fun as the first two movies and it’s a great “Girls Night Out” flick. And once again, we are treated to an incredible soundtrack that distracts us from whatever nonsense is happening on screen.

“Fifty Shades Freed” has its flaws and by no means is it a “good movie”, but it is a solid end to a ridiculous romance. The story stays true to the books and ultimately, Christian and Anna are given the happy ending all us fans so desperately wanted to see.

Rating: 3/5

“Fifty Shades Freed” hits theaters February 9.

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Movie Review: “The Fate of the Furious” Surprisingly Entertains

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For many of you, it’s no surprise that the 8th installment of the Fast and Furious franchise is actually a fun watch. However, since I haven’t enjoyed these films since the first one, “Fate of the Furious” was oddly refreshing.

In comparison to “Furious 7”, this sequel has a more focused plot, better humor, and more jaw-dropping special effects.

“The Fate of the Furious” reunites the films’ core crew of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, and later additions Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. And even though Paul Walker is no longer with us, he is still recognized and even honored in this movie.

Without giving too much away, “The Fate of the Furious” continues with the theme of the family. This time with an expansion of family. This is very clear after the first sequence in which Dom (Diesel) beats a random guy in a car race and a street full of kids begin to surround them and cheer him on. In the midst of the praises, Letty (Rodriguez) notices a couple with a baby and then turns to Dom, asking him if he’s thought about having kids. Next, is a scene with Hobbs (Johnson) and his daughter, and so on…We see what the film is trying to relay here.

One day while Dom is walking on his way home, he runs into cyber-terrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron) who blackmails him into her latest mission, forcing him to turn on his crew. His team and the entire audience is bewildered by his betrayal, which leads to one ridiculous car crash after another as they hunt down Dom from places like New York to Berlin.

Like every Fast and Furious film there are flaws. As predicted, there are numerous unrealistic car chases. It’s mind-boggling how everyone can just jump out of an insanely fast car with no more than a scratch. And of course, there’s also the painfully cheesy one-liners which have lessened this time around, more so due to the fact that Vin Diesel has been given less dialogue.  Wise choice on the screenwriter’s part since Diesel is the weakest actor of the bunch and shines much more when he’s just looking tough or angry, or basically not speaking at all.

On the other hand, Diesel’s costar’s Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are much better performers and steal the show with their love/hate banter. And as silly as Theron’s hair may look, it doesn’t take away from her role as a truly heartless and conniving villain.

So, yes, as expected there is plenty to laugh and roll your eyes at in this film. But there is also a lot to be in awe of, mainly the incredibly entertaining action sequences and the few twists and turns that go along with it.

“The Fate of the Furious” has its speed bumps, but stays on a fun track.

Rating: 3/5

“The Fate of the Furious” opens in theaters April 14.

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Movie Review: “Get Out” is an Excellent Mix of Horror and Comedy

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Every once in a while a horror flick comes along that not only scares, but also includes plenty of laughs along the way. In the past few years, films like “The Visit” and “The Guest” have provided this full package. And now at the start of 2017, comedian Jordan Peele (“Key and Peele”) has captured this rarity again, and presented us with the gift of his directorial debut, “Get Out”.

Based on the film’s trailer alone, audiences knew we were in for some race-savvy satire that would lead to a number of awkward scenes. But, these moments of comic relief are so subtle and well executed that they blend perfectly with the eerie tension, while still keeping you engrossed in the suspense of the movie.

“Get Out” follows Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), an African American photographer who’s planning to meet his Caucasian girlfriend’s parents for the first time. They are set to head upstate to her family’s secluded home, and of course, Chris expresses his concern by asking if they know he is black? Rose (Allison Williams) laughs it off and assures Chris that her parents are totally cool. To give him comfort, she lets him know that her dad would have voted for Obama a third term. Oh good, now we all feel so much better… Chris’ best friend (Lil Rel Howery) even warns him not go, but he does not listen.

On the drive to her parents’ house they hit a deer, foreshadowing an unpleasant visit ahead of them. And it’s here that we get our first act of racism with a cop who insists on seeing Chris’ ID after the accident, even though Rose was driving. Luckily, Rose diffuses the situation in a pretty knight in shining armor way.

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Finally, they arrive to her parents’ home, and both are welcomed with open arms. Rose’s mom Missy (Catherine Keener) and her dad Dean (Bradley Whitford) appear to be nice. Dean comes across a bit foolish at times with a few ignorant remarks when trying to “bond” with Chris, but other than that the parents seem harmless. However, their two African American servants, Georgina (Betty Gabriel) and Walter (Marcus Henderson) behave in a very odd manner with forced smiles and unusual emotional breakouts.

Things just continue to get stranger. Missy offers to hypnotize Chris so that he can quit smoking. Rose’s brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) makes it blatantly clear that he does not care for his sister’s new boyfriend. Then there’s a disturbing party in which Chris is hounded by the many white people in attendance. Soon enough, everything begins to unwind.

Jordan Peele’s script is sharp, witty, and an effective horror. There are subtle Hitchcock-like notes in his story telling. Peele’s cast only furthers his film with their well-rounded performances. Keener and Whitford do an incredible job maintaining their creepy, Stepford Wives composure. Major kudos to Lil Rel Howery for being the character that hilariously speaks on behalf of everyone in the audience.

“Get Out” is a refreshing horror-comedy that will keep you on edge till the very end!

Rating: 4/5

“Get Out” opens in theaters February 24th.

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