Tag Archives: Dakota Johnson

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) Movie Review

In Lake Tahoe, 1969, four guests arrive at the El Royale, a motel that sits at the borderline between Nevada and California. A painted line divides the parking lot and the motel interior in half. “You can choose to stay in the great state of California,” desk clerk Miles (Lewis Pullman) explains, with a practiced sweep of his arm. “Or you can choose to stay in the great state of Nevada.”

Miles seems to be the sole employee in the establishment. He does the housekeeping. He tends the bar. He doles out the keys. And he watches who management tells him to watch.

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The El Royale hasn’t seen much business since the place lost its gambling license the year prior, according to the all-talk vacuum cleaner salesman Laramie Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm) waiting for service at the counter. But on this particular night Continue reading Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) Movie Review

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Fifty Shades Freed (2018) Movie Review

Congratulations, everyone. We are now officially living in a post-Fifty Shades world. It’s over. We made it.

Listen, the Fifty Shades trilogy has received its guff. We all know what the critical consensus is on these films. Why bother with yet another review of yet another film of this trilogy? Because, at the risk of losing any credibility I may have accrued as a critic, Fifty Shades Freed is the best of the trilogy.

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Does that make it a good film? No. Is it a film with a better message than the other Fifty Shades movies? Not at all. But it has Continue reading Fifty Shades Freed (2018) Movie Review

Fifty Shades Darker (2017) Movie Review

Let me get the positives of Fifty Shades Darker out of the way so we can start making jokes. 1) Star lighting showcases our “steamy” talent quite adequately. 2) As with its predecessor, the production design is well-conceived. 3) Academy Award-winner Kim Basinger appears, and should be in a better movie than this.

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BDSM is still viewed in this film as a Continue reading Fifty Shades Darker (2017) Movie Review

Black Mass (2015) Movie Review

 

Scott Cooper’s Black Mass¬†is the story of crime lord James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) told from the eyes of his criminal underlings as they speak out against him to the FBI.

 

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Bulger, after serving a nine-year stint in Alcatraz prison, straddles together a working crime business in southern Boston in the 1970s. FBI agent and childhood friend of Bulger John Connelly (Joel Edgerton) approaches Bulger with an offer to Continue reading Black Mass (2015) Movie Review

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) Movie Review

Fifty Shades of Grey¬†is an erotic romance film adapted from E.L. James’ novel of the same name. In it, nervous lip-biter Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is subbed in to interview billionaire playboy Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) for a graduate school newspaper. During the interview, sparks fly (I’m using this phrase loosely) and they become romantically involved. But Mr. Grey is oddly distant and afraid of commitment. Ana soon finds out Grey’s secret: a hidden life of playing out a sexual domination fantasy. Virgin innocent Ana doesn’t know how to handle this news at first, but soon becomes wrapped up in the “taboo” world of BDSM, falling for Christian in the process.

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From the title sequence, we are immediately flooded with exorbitantly sleek mise-en-scene, namely with shots of Christian’s wardrobe. We are also given beautiful landscape shots of the Seattle skyline. All the while, Annie Lennox singing “I Put a Spell On You” fills the scene with soulful body. This lush opening is enticing and inviting. It is only when characters begin to speak that problems arise.

Continue reading Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) Movie Review