FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
Stars: Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson
Plot: A young woman falls for a billionaire businessman with specific sexual desires
Clint Says: Don't even bother
Let me preface this review by saying that my review is not based at all on the morality of the film's content. I try to review films in the most honest and objective way that I can. Whether you feel a movie meets or does not meet your own moral standards is your decision, not mine.
For those that don't know, the books were originally TWILIGHT fanfiction* written by E.L. James and posted online. Once it started to become popular, she changed the main characters' names from Edward and Bella to Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. The names may have been changed, but the fact remains that this is straight up theft of Stephenie Meyer's characters and world. If you do have to see this horrible movie, just think TWILIGHT as you watch it, you'll be shocked by all of the similarities. (Set in small town Washington, a near love triangle between Anastasia (Bella), Christian (Edward), and Jose (who looks a lot like Jacob), Christian gets together with his family and they talk baseball, etc.).
That said, this is easily one of the worst films I have ever seen. It is full of painful dialogue, lackluster acting and minimal plot. This movie would be boring if it was only an hour long, but unfortunately it clocks in at over two hours. Oh, the agony.
The character development is superficial at best. Really all we get to know is that Grey is an abusive jerk in just about every area of his life and Anastasia is barely more than prey. The rest of the cast doesn't even matter.
I saw an early screening of this film in a theater full of rabid fans of the book. Needless to say, they were all primed and ready to go before the movie began. There was a buzz and and electricity in the audience that I've only experienced at a few screenings. With almost all screenings of good/great movies the crowd typically applauds and cheers at the end and then I will hear accolades for the movie from the masses as we all walk out together. With this movie, the audience groaned at the incredibly lame ending and then proceeded to walk out in near silence.
That tells you more than my review ever could.
If you'd like to see my video review of this movie, you can click here.
*Stories written by fans of popular books using the same character and world set up by the author. Much of the time fanfiction includes an element of sexuality not seen in the original work.
Stars: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Ewan McGregor
Plot: A smoke-and-mirrors art dealer helps the British Government to find a stolen painting, but he may have plans of his own
Clint Says: Rent this DVD as soon as you can
MORTDECAI is a quirky film that is an acquired taste, but if you like quirky films (think THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL) you will love this movie. It is stupidly funny, the story is interesting and the cast is incredible.
It took me about 10 minutes to get the right feel and mindset for the film, but once I did I spent the next 90 minutes laughing like a maniac and nearly choking on my popcorn.
Johnny Depp is a master of understated physical comedy and is simply a joy to watch. The rest of the cast orbits around him in a beautifully choreographed way allowing each of them to shine, but also let the story be bigger than all of them.
MORDECAI is a gem.
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Wei Tang
Plot: A convicted computer genius is released on the condition of helping the government catch a cyber terrorist.
Clint Says: Rent it if you've got nothing better to do
For a high-stakes, high-tech thriller, this film is really slow. I was expecting so much more from a plot that includes cyber-terrorism, nuclear reactors and Thor.
It's an okay film, but the slow pace, the shaky camera, and the several eye-rolling why-on-earth-would-they-do-this-instead-of-that moments make for a really long two-plus hours in the theater.
I sat next to a teenage computer whiz kid for this screening and afterwards he told me he thought it was okay. He thought it was laughable (as did I) that the main character is a world-class hacker, but he only types about 30 words a minute. When your prime audience thinks the movie is "okay" your film is in trouble.
I will say one very positive thing though. There is a scene that was so shockingly unexpected that the entire audience gasped as one. I haven't experienced anything like that in an action flick for a long time. (That said, it's an eye-rolling, convenient reason why they are put in the situation for said amazing scene).
Save your DVD-buying money on this one, there's a lot better on the way.
Stars: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart
Plot: A language professor at Columbia University finds out she has Alzheimer's Disease and must learn to cope with the aftermath.
Clint Says: Rent this DVD as soon as possible
Julianne Moore gives the performance of her career is this heartbreaking film. She perfectly captures the essence of someone losing the mind that she has spent her entire life cultivating. And while not based on a true story, this movie has the feel of what thousands of families must go through every year when one of their loved ones is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.
This is not an easy movie to watch, nor will it leave you anytime soon after you see it. So make sure you are mentally prepared before seeing it. However, if you do see it you will be treated to an Oscar-winning performance by Julianne Moore.