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.
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.
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“Get ready to laugh more than three times, but less than 10,” comedian David Cross says in the pay-what-you-want intro to his directorial debut Hits, warning the audience that what they are about to see is a dark comedy and, as such, not a laugh riot. This is a humble opinion of the film. Dark as it is, there are plenty of opportunities for deep belly laughs.
The film, which Cross wrote and directed, follows a hapless dump worker Dave Stuben (Matt Walsh) and his daughter Katelyn (Meredith Hagner), who is determined to Continue reading Hits (2015) Movie Review
CAUTION: Spoilers of the original film’s ending are present in this review.
Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead is the sequel to the 2009 splatter horror film Dead Snow by Norwegian filmmaker Tommy Wirkola. The beginning of this sequel recaps the events of its predecessor: a group of friends travel to a cabin in the Norwegian mountains and are, one-by-one, mutilated by Nazi zombies hell-bent on Continue reading Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead (2014) Movie Review
V/H/S: Viral is the third installment in the popular cult anthology horror franchise. V/H/S was a highly-original breath of fresh air to the done-to-death found footage horror subgenre. It may be one of the best indie horror gems of the 21st century. V/H/S 2 was similarly fun to watch, but was ultimately a digression from the previous film. It was a safe sequel that wasn’t trying to go above and beyond what it accomplished with the previous film.
This new sequel is somewhat similar to the first two installments, where a series of short subjects are shown interspersed with an ongoing second plotline. Only, where the original two films had Continue reading V/H/S: Viral (2014) Movie Review
The Guest is a film by director Adam Wingard. In it, a man named David (Dan Stevens) approaches a family claiming to be a close friend of the family’s eldest son, who died in Afghanistan during the war. The stoic, smooth-talking David says that he has just been discharged from the military, and Continue reading The Guest (2014) Movie Review
What We Do in the Shadows is a horror comedy mockumentary coming from New Zealanders Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Concords) and Taika Waititi (Eagle vs. Shark), who both star in the film as well. It is a hilarious take on the vampire genre. Essentially, a camera crew is following around four flatmates who just happen to be immortal vampires as they try to get into clubs, clash with a similarly underwhelming pack of werewolves, and attempt to contain a newly anointed vampire who doesn’t know how to be discrete.
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Inherent Vice is the latest from writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Thomas Pynchon. Pynchon’s work is often characterized by its density and difficulty. As such, some said Vice could not be successfully adapted for the screen.
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Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? is a film by Michel Gondry (writer, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) in which he interviews famed linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky. During the interview, hand drawn animations created by Gondry depict Chomsky’s answers. Every so often, a small frame, inset in the animation, will show Chomsky as he is speaking. Their conversation delves into various alleyways, namely his philosophy on language and how we understand the concepts of the world through words and symbols.
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The Rover is a film from Australian director David Michod (Animal Kingdom, writer: Hesher). Ten years after a worldwide collapse of civilization, the Australian outback is a dystopian landscape dominated by crime and poverty. Following a botched robbery, three thieves (Scoot McNairy, David Field, and Tawanda Manyimo) crash their car Continue reading The Rover (2014) Movie Review
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 is an HBO documentary short subject that follows suicide hotline responders as they deal with consoling suicidal veterans and talking them down from the brink. Continue reading Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (2013) Movie Review