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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/Interview: “If I Stay”- An Adolescent Romantic Tear-Jerker

It’s no surprise that big studio production companies are quickly grabbing hold of the rights to as many young adult novels as they can.  The fan base is already there.  Give them a “best-seller” and a good looking lead, and you may just have the next Twilight or The Fault in Our Stars.

Tweens are thirsting for romance that they can live vicariously through, and Chloe Grace Moretz’s latest drama will quench every young girl’s desire.

If I Stay is an adaptation of Gayle Forman’s 2009 best-seller.  The film centers on Mia Hall (Moretz), a straight-lace, gifted cellist who lives in Oregon with her ultra-hip parents, Kat (Mireille Enos) and Denny (Joshua Leonard), and her little brother, Teddy (Jakob Davies).  One day while Mia is practicing in school, Adam (Jamie Blackley), an up-and-coming rock star, passes by and it’s love at first listen.  Be warned now, if you’re in theater with any teenage girls, Adam will cause swooning and sighing.  The two go through a jagged relationship, proving that classical and rock doesn’t make for a smooth mix.

Priorities shift for Mia when she is invited to audition for Julliard but, her music and Adam become the least of her worries after a horrific car accident has caused her to fall into a coma. Anxious to know the fate of the rest of her family, Mia has an out of body experience. Her spirit roams the hospital halls and she eavesdrops on her loved ones as they try to cope and pray for her to make it through surgery.  As her future begins to be uncertain, Mia is faced with a choice.  She must decide if the life she’s waking up to is one worth living.

Call me a cheesy romantic, but I enjoyed this film.  I am fully aware the one liners, “I see you,” and “why me?” will have plenty of people rolling their eyes.  But there are certain qualities in a teenybopper romance that can always salvage the movie.  The key element is your lead.  Chloe Grace Moretz is a thriving young talent, and since I first saw her in 500 Days of Summer, she has only flourished in her career.  Whether it’s a success like Kick-Ass or a flop like Carrie, Moretz masterfully performs in all of her projects.

Of course, what’s love without believability?  Moretz and Blackley’s chemistry is hardly that of comparison to Hazel and Gus (The Fault in Our Stars), but it translates well here.  Mia and Adam’s relationship isn’t forced, we get to watch them grow as a couple and care for their story, a missing quality from many recent love stories.

There is more to If I Stay than just the romance.  The film also touches on how some people in your life don’t necessarily need to be blood related to be your family.  If I Stay may pull at your heartstrings and shed some tears, but think of this film as more of a “doesn’t-hurt-to-see” versus a “must-see.”

Rating: 3/5

“If I Stay” Interview with Chloe Grace Moretz & Gayle Forman

chloe and gayle

Interview: “Divergent” Stars Miles Teller & Jai Courtney talk Heart Throb Status and More!

It’s the most anticipated film of the year.  Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now) and Theo James (Underworld: Awakening) is sure to have as much success as The Hunger Games and Twilight trilogies.

The first installment of the saga is set in a futuristic Chicago where people are divided into five distinct factions based on their personalities.  Tris (Woodley) discovers that she is Divergent, meaning she does not fit into any of the factions; and soon discovers that in order to stay alive she must hide in a faction.  The only problem is she chooses the most physically challenging one, Dauntless meaning “the brave.”  As she struggles and fights through most of the film to prove herself to her new faction, she encounters many obstacles.  This includes the hard-headed, tough leader Eric (Jai Courtney) and a non-stop competitive bully, Peter (Miles Teller).   While training for Dauntless, Tris uncovers a horrifying plot forming in her seemingly perfect society.

The film held a special premiere in Dallas a couple weeks back.  The “bad boys” themselves, Miles Teller and Jai Courtney, walked the red carpet and took pictures with many extremely enthusiastic Divergent fans.  The next morning I got a chance to sit down with the two stars at Dallas’ Ritz Carlton Hotel to discuss the movie, the fans, and their fears.  Now don’t be fooled by the characters they play.  Their kindness and dry sense of humor made for one hilarious interview.

Miles Teller and Jai Courtney: “Divergent” Video Interview

I have to give you guys props for last night on the red carpet.  You handled your fans really well.  I mean right when you (pointing to Miles) walked in, I saw you take a picture with a girl and she just grabbed your face and kissed you on the cheek.

Miles: “Yeah, yeah…”

Jai: “He’s use to that though; that happens all the time.”

Miles: “Yeah that’s, uh, you know, that’s a part of the business when you’re a heart throb (Jai laughs)… No.  This one girl was like can I touch your hair?  And I was like, yeah, sure.  And she was like “oh God!” (Pulls hair and shakes head aggressively)  Alright, so now I know if somebody asks “can I touch your hair?”  I’m going to say “no.”  So, like, you learn as you go.  It’s hard in the moment though.  It’s like; you (points to Jai) kissed a girl last night.  You kissed a girl on the cheek, you told me.”

Jai: “I was kissing girls all over the place.  It’s a free country.”

Miles: “Yeah, it’s a free country (laughs).”

                                                                                                                                             

Clearly your fans are very bold.  What’s the boldest thing so far on this tour that a fan has done to you guys?

Miles: “Well this is our first stop on the tour…”

Jai: “Yeah that was it.  You saw all of it.  But it’s only going to get bolder from here.”

Miles: “…but teenage girls, they can be aggressive.  I see One Direction videos, they’re…I mean no I don’t, (whispers) love them, Harry Style’s is my fav.” (Jai laughs)

                                                                                                                                             

Well you two play some not so nice characters in this movie. But I’d say the biggest “jerk moment” from both of y’all is probably when Eric had Peter beat up Tris.

Jai: “Woah!”

Miles: “Well that’s a little; I mean it’s not really revealed like that.”

Jai: “I mean, it’s part of the training.  I didn’t have Peter beat up Tris.”

Miles: “Yeah.”

I mean you basically set it up.

Miles: “Oh my God, obviously she’s on Tris’ side were not going to win this argument.”

Jai: “You’ve misinterpreted things grossly.”

Miles: “I mean we’re just trying to survive Dauntless; is all we’re trying to do.”

Jai: “It’s a training exercise.  She’s going to face tougher guys than Peter out there in the real world.”

Miles: “Yeah, I mean not tougher, but (Miles takes at a tough man sniff) taller.”

Jai: “Yeah, taller.”

                                                                                                                                     

So obviously that scene wasn’t hard for you guys to shoot at all then?

Jai: Morally?  No (Shakes head).

Miles: “Well I mean Shai, at first; they did it with Shailene’s stunt double.  And they said look three guys grab her.  And they told the stunt double to; you know, kick and do all that.  And she beat the crap out of these three dudes.  So I was nervous to get in there.  But then they said, yo, choke Shailene out.  And I was, like, get in here.  Come to daddy.  So, you know, just a little bit of that.”

                                                                                                                                         

The funny thing is that there are some fans that want Peter and Tris together, even though he’s so horrible to her.

Miles: “I know right?”

And I think that stems from a girl wanting a bad boy still.  Why do you guys think girls want the bad guy, even when they’re so horrible to them?

Miles: “I mean we’re more exciting.  You know, like, nice is very cliché.  You want a nice guy to go to the donut shop.  If you want a bad boy, you better be able to role with the punches.  (Jai laughs) We’re sexy.  We look good in leather.

Jai: “Right?” (Looks to me)

Miles: “You tell me.  What are you into?  Do you like a bad boy?”

I think I like a… well there is an excitement to them, but I prefer a gentleman, and you can be a bad boy as long as you’re a gentleman.

Jai: “You can be a bad boy and a gentleman.”

Miles: “Right, well I think that girls think that they can make a bad guy change.  I think for girls that’s the challenge.  But most of the time, they don’t change.  But I’d love for Peter and Tris to hook up.”

I think I’d like to see that.

Jai: “Yeah I’d watch that.”

Miles: “Yeah, right?”

                                                                                                                                                  

We get to see a lot of the characters greatest fears in this movie, and like Four said, “Everybody is afraid of something.”  So what is something that you guys are afraid of?

Jai: “I’m not much into arachnidan.”

Miles: “What is, is that a spider?

Jai: “Yeah, Not into spiders.”

Miles: “Spiders or snakes, what would freak you out more?  Cause there’s two different movies about them?”

Jai: “See snakes don’t freak me out.  I don’t want to get bitten by one, but like I would hold one.”

Miles: “You would hold one?  You’re cool with that?  What about sharks, great white sharks?”

Jai: “Grew up wrestling them dude.”

You (To Jai) are a bad boy.

Jai: “You know it.” (Miles laughs)

Miles: I don’t like cats, I’m not afraid of them…

Jai: “Cats suck!  I’m with you on that.”

Miles: “…I’m allergic to them.  I feel like a cat is, like, plotting to kill me.”

Jai: “We’re going to lose fans here.”

Miles: “Were going to lose our cat audience here.  That’s fine; we got our dog audience…Oh, losing my youth!  I’m afraid, I mean, I’m not afraid of getting old.”

Jai: “You’re getting old man.”

Miles: “Dude, you’re like 32 years-old man.”

Jai: “We’re the same age brother.”

Miles: “No we’re not!”

Jai: “Yes, we are (Laughs).”

Miles: “There’s no way this (Points to himself) is the same age, man.  Look at you.”

Jai: “He can’t come to grips with that.”

 

To set the record straight, both Miles and Jai are 27 years-old.

 

Divergent hits theaters March 21.

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com

TV Movie Review: ‘Flowers in the Attic’ Is A Cringeworthy Remake You Can’t Stop Watching

If you’re like me, the previews for the upcoming Lifetime filmFlowers in the Attic, was the first time you that have heard about the controversial story that shocked millions in 1979.  After some extensive research, I was prepared for the uncomfortable and disturbing tale of incest.  What I wasn’t prepared for was how entertained I would be by such an extreme premise.

Known as “the book you were forbidden to read,” V.C. Andrews’s hot-button novel is being made into film once again, this time on the little screen.  Previously adapted in 1987 on the big-screen, the film received backlash from critics and fans that were unhappy with the many changes from the novel.  The most obvious change was the removal of the inappropriate romance between the brother and sister characters, Christopher and Cathy.  But don’t worry, Lifetime’s version made sure to not make that same mistake twice.

When and if you watch the television premiere of Flowers in the Attic on January 18th, you will get plenty of sibling romantic tension that will make it impossible for you to avert your eyes.  The movie focuses on Cathy (Kiernan Shipka) and Christopher (Mason Dye) Dollanganger, a brother and sister who along with their younger twin siblings are locked away in the attic for over two years by their self-centered mother (Heather Graham) and psychotic religious grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) after their father’s unexpected death…And no, I don’t know why Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn agreed to playing this role. Yes, she did an amazing job nonetheless.

Besides Burstyn’s terrifying portrayal of such a cold-hearted grandmother, the other performances were pretty mediocre.  Graham was like a character straight out of The Stepford Wives, showing no true emotion throughout the entire film.  She really was an “ornament” like her character said, just there to look pretty.  And Shipka and Dye spark interest in the second half of the film, due to their blossoming romance that you shamefully root for.

Flowers in the Attic is like that car accident that you want to drive pass quickly to avoid traffic, but your curiosity of the gruesome details makes you want to observe every second of it.  Whatever way you look at it, Lifetime’s take on the dysfunctional Dollanganger family will draw plenty of attention to audiences, good and bad.

Premieres on Lifetime Saturday, January 18.

Flowers in the Attic Official Lifetime Trailer

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com