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Movie Review: “Fifty Shades Darker” – A Foolish Tale Laced with Sex and Thrills

Ana and Christian are back in an even hotter and more ridiculous film!

Let’s get one thing out of the way before I begin. Yes, E.L. James’ Fifty Shades book series is unrealistic and incredibly cheesy. And Fifty Shades Darker encourages even more eye-rolls with its Lifetime style drama. However, this time around the film has added enough excitement and sex to where you can let go of reality, and just have fun with this Made-for-TV quality movie.

When we last left off on Fifty Shades of Grey, Ana (Dakota Johnson) had broken up with Christian (Jamie Dornan) after discovering how much pleasure he got from giving her so much pain. She realized she couldn’t be in a submissive relationship with him.
 
As we pick up with Fifty Shades Darker, some time has gone by and Ana seems to have moved on with her life, working for a handsome, yet questionable boss (Eric Johnson) at a publishing company. But it’s at her friend Jose’s (Victor Rasuk) photography exhibit that we find out Christian has been lost without her. Christian wants Ana back and is willing to have a relationship with no rules, no punishments, and no secrets. Essentially giving Ana the “vanilla” relationship she always wanted. Of course, this now “normal” boyfriend/girlfriend status isn’t going to progress smoothly by any means.
 
The two sexual love birds, who literally are going at it during any spare moment, must deal with an inappropriate boss, a former submissive girlfriend (Bella Heathcote), and “Mrs. Robinson” (Kim Basinger) – the woman who turned Christian into the sex hungry dominatrix. All three of these new characters create thrilling turmoil and more intrigue, as opposed to the previous film’s lackluster conflict of “will they or wont they” stay together.
 
Though some may find all the different struggles going on in the film messy or idiotic, I found them extremely entertaining. I mean Christian and Ana go through so many near death experiences that you almost can’t blame them for wanting to continuously have sex. It could be their last time! And as Ana says in the film, “We haven’t had enough time.”
 
Speaking of sex! Fifty Shades Darker turns up the heat with plenty of steamy sexual sequences that will have audiences either immensely uncomfortable, or anxiously awaiting their own bedrooms. Director, James Foley, allows for more provocative sex scenes by introducing a few new toys and intensifying the couple’s “love making”. The scenes are tastefully filmed and still limits the nudity to topless and butt shots. And might I add, Jamie Dornan looks better than ever! The man is ripped and the film clearly wants to show off the efforts from his intensive work outs.
 
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan have grown as actors since their last performance as these characters. They are what truly makes this film watchable. They succeed in delivering every cringe-worthy line with such conviction, that you might not notice the stupidity of what actually was said.
 

As much as I can ridicule Fifty Shades Darker, there’s no denying the moments of satisfaction. Though, this is still very much a film for fans of the book, the intended audience should sit back, throw away your thinking caps and enjoy the hell out of this electric and tantalizing romance.

Rating: 3/5

Fifty Shades Darker opens in theaters on February 10.

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Review: “Fifty Shades of Grey” is an Arousing Adaptation that May Only Pleasure the Readers

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson star in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey

Bondage, Flogging, and Spanking, these are a few of Christian Grey’s favorite things.  But when Anastasia Steele comes into his life, his particular routine in sexual activities begins to fluctuate.

Those who have read Fifty Shades of Grey have anxiously been waiting to see Christian and Ana’s story come to life on the big screen.  Though readers anticipate the film, they also worry about how the “movie version” of their beloved tale will stay true to the book.  In this case, fans are concerned with the casting, the chemistry, and just how graphic the sex scenes are going to be.  E. L. James’ best-selling novel did an incredible job at describing a hot, titillating romance, which originated from a Twilight fan fiction series.  Well you can be rest assured that the film exudes enough heat to warm up your entire theater.

Both Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, who play Christian and Ana, have great chemistry.  Their instant attraction to each other is believable, and the relationship never feels forced.  These two characters meet all thanks to fate.  When her best friend, Kate (Eloise Mumford), gets the flu, Ana fills in for her journalism assignment interviewing Christian Grey, a 27-year old billionaire who is going be the guest speaker at their college graduation.  After an unforgettable and intense interview, Christian makes a few surprise appearances in Ana’s daily life, making their attraction grow stronger.  Christian quickly puts a halt to their “situation” and tells Ana to stay away from him, as he is no good for her.  That break lasts about all of two seconds.  Ana gets drunk and calls Christian to tell him off.  He comes and saves her from the drunken state she’s in.  The next morning the two share a passionate kiss in an elevator.

You ain’t seen nothing yet!

Ana should be relishing in that fact that she has just found her dream man.  Christian is handsome, charming, and rich.  The only problem is, this young billionaire has got a dark past and can only be in a dominant/submissive relationship.  So while Ana hopes to have the normal dinner and movie dates, all Christian can think about is whipping her in his “playroom.”

As for the sex scenes, director Sam Taylor-Johnson plays it safe.  They are tastefully done in an effective way that shows us just how sexy and twisted Christian is.  Nudity is limited to topless and butt shots.  Sorry ladies, don’t expect to see Christian full frontal.

Unfortunately since Dornan’s role is meant to be controlling and lack emotion, he comes off stiff.  It is Johnson who shines and gives a break out performance as Anastasia Steele, giving an at times irritating character humor and likability.

Here’s the thing.  As a fan of the book, I was enthralled by this film.  They cut out all the bad parts of the book and focused on the emotional struggle of the couple’s relationship. However, I find some of my fellow critics to be warranted in their negative reviews.  The plot of the story is thin and a tad redundant.  Ultimately, we’re watching a girl date a guy that she’s hoping will change for her.  It is an interesting character study, especially on the troubled Christian Grey, who can’t seem to let anyone in.  That just may not be enough for the regular movie-goer.

If you go into Fifty Shades of Grey with an open mind and have fun with the story, then there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the movie.  Given that there is an added kink to this romance, that aspect of the film is something different to look forward to.   And for the fellas who are being forced to watch, I’m sure you will be rewarded with plenty of enjoyment after the film is over.

RATING: 3/5

Fifty Shades of Grey opens in theaters tonight at 8pm.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” Official Trailer HD

 

Movie Review: “Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs” Might be the Most Disturbing Lifetime Film Yet

Parents I seriously advise you to make sure the kiddos are in bed before watching this one.

Get ready to see Tony Goldwyn (Scandal) like you’ve never seen him before.  Goldwyn stars as Warren Jeffs, the infamous Polygamist cult leader who spent more than a year on the FBI’s “10 Most Wanted List” for his unlawful flight on charges related to his arrangement of illegal marriages involving underage girls.

After his father (Martin Landau) passes away leaving behind 56 wives, Warren (Goldwyn) takes on his leadership role as the prophet for Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Basically, the community follows “God’s Law” and believes that women must be obedient wives.  The prophet is the only one who can speak to God and relays the message to the citizens.   A man can have numerous wives and the women have no say in the matter, because apparently God chooses who they are given away to.  If this doesn’t sound gross enough, Jeffs was arranging marriages to girls as young as 12 years-old!

The film itself is grotesque and continuously uncomfortable. Lifetime allows the audience to see some in-depth sex scenes that I wish I hadn’t.  The words spoken to these young girls by Jeffs while having intercourse will haunt me for years to come.  However, the story of Warren Jeffs was conveyed so well that it is worth the watch.

Besides a few small characters, all the leads did a fantastic job in the film.  Goldwyn morphs into his sickening character and Joey King (Fargo) continues her streak as a star on the rise.  This girl is incredible in any role she plays.

I can handle most Lifetime dramas, but Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs was tough to sit through.

Rating: 3/5

Premiering Saturday, June 28, at 8pm ET/PT.  Immediately following the movie’s world premiere, Lifetime will air the hour-long documentary Beyond the Headlines: Warren Jeffs, at 10pm ET/PT.

Movie Review: “It Felt Like Love” Feels Uncomfortably Real

Rating: 4/5

Oh, young love.  It is amazing how strongly you can feel for the first guy you fall for.  However, this film isn’t a sappier and dramatic copy of Endless Love.  Instead, It Felt Like Love is a realistic portrayal of a young teen desperate to experience the same sexual activities as her best friend, as she forcefully pursues an unreciprocated relationship with a guy who will “sleep with anyone.”

In Eliza Hittman’s debut feature, we follow Lila (Gina Piersanti), a fourteen year old, spending a hot summer in a blue-collar Brooklyn neighborhood away from the city.  Often tagging along with her best friend Chiara (Giovanna Salimeni) and her boyfriend, Lila is the awkward and quiet third wheel.  But as she is riding in the back seat of her friend’s love life, she is taking detailed mental notes of what she feels she should be experiencing with a guy as well.  Cue the first semi attractive boy that acknowledges her!  Yup, meet Sammy, the “bad boy” with a reputation to sleep around.  Seems like the perfect guy for Lila to fixate on for the rest of summer.  Completely delusional in her endless attempt to pursue Sammy, Lila puts herself at risk in multiple situations.

As a girl who has never been in love, I painfully related to this film; to an extent of course.  Seeing your friends “in love” and doing what couples do can have a strong impact on you.  It makes you want what they have, feel what they feel, and experience what they are experiencing.  In your teens, this mostly stems from wanting to be at the same level as your friends.  Now, I was nowhere near as foolish or extreme as Lila, but the desperation that Hittman wrote in her character is something that almost all girls can understand.  We have all had that crush (guys have them too) we liked so much that we begin to imagine what a relationship would be like with that person, specifically thinking of certain scenarios with them.  Usually, we all keep these delusional thoughts to ourselves.   However, Lila decides the best tactic is to make those fantasies a reality, even if she has to force the hangouts and manipulate the truth.   And I have to give props to Lila, because this girl can lie.  She lies really well!  I couldn’t say half of the lies she told with a straight face.

The fresh cast led by Gina Piersanti is naturally effortless in their roles playing genuine teens dealing with sex, urges, and curiosity.  Characters like these have a tendency to be overacted.  It was nice to see Hittman’s powerful script didn’t get ruined by heavily dramatic performances.  And though you will probably be yelling at Piersanti’s character, she does a fantastic job as Lila, ranging from the harmless school girl crush to becoming the borderline Swimfan.  The uncomfortable squirming from Lila’s naïve actions will all be worth it after seeing this film.

Honestly, I expected something completely different going into this movie based on what I saw in the trailer.  What I got was much better.  I can’t say that this premise will be everyone’s cup of tea.  It Felt Like Love is a beautifully shot and twisted, coming of age story focusing on the pressures of sexual relationships for young teens.  Though the film has a simple plot, there are many layers to each character.  Watching the layers brilliantly unfold is what makes this movie hypnotizing.  I only wish the film was longer.

It Felt Like Love opens in Los Angeles on March 28.

“It Felt Like Love” Official Trailer HD

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com