Fifty Shades Darker

Two years ago, we were finally given Fifty Shades of Grey. After years of anticipation. And we were given an R rated film that wasn’t as intense as the book, when all we wanted was an NC-17 penis showing flick.

It was bad, but it could have been worse. And strangely enough, the parody, Fifty Shades of Black was just as good as Grey. Meaning they both were bad, but just as bad as each other.

And now we have Fifty Shades Darker. Which according to my wife is a better movie, focusing less on people getting beat and more on a story. But books don’t always translate well into film, so I will note I am expecting the worst and hoping for…well, the worst as well.

His hand is in or near her vagina.

Unfortunately this movie does not begin inside the elevator as Anna (Dakota Johnson) leaves Christian (Janie Dornan) for good. No, it is some time later, maybe even months. Christian sends her gifts, she ignores them. And instead of working at a hardware store, she has a job as an assistant to a fiction editor, Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) in Seattle.

Life is good for Anna now, but she still misses Christian, just can’t handle his paddle. Anna also keeps seeing a creepy girl (Bella Heathcote) watching her every once in awhile, with bandages on her wrists. Blah blah, eventually Anna talks to Christian again, and immediately wants to hop on his dick some more. No more contract this time, just a slow relationship with immediate passionate sex and foreplay. And despite saying no rules, there are still some rules. Like he can’t just hurt her. And she can’t touch his chest. Oh okay.

Oh, plot. There is a plot. Yes. Okay, the boss of Anna’s is an obvious jerk and jealous of Christian. The creepy girl is one of Christian’s past subs still obsessed with him. And there is Elena Lincoln (Kim Basinger), the woman who taught Christian about sex, involved with his life and being a bitch too. And hey! Christian has a new security dude (Max Martini). Anna still overreacts to a lot of things, and Christian still doesn’t know how to carry on a conversation.

Oh, and of course flashbacks that imply that Christian’s fetishes are actually the results of abuse, abandonment, and things he has to change and not something Anna has to accept.

Also returning in their previous film roles, no matter how brief are: Marcia Gay Harden, Andrew Airlie, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford, and Victor Rasuk.

Now you cannot see their shame or anxiety.

There are so many things wrong with this movie, I knew it would be an easy and fun analysis to write. First major issue is of course that it ended up being worse than the first film! How was that possible?!

Darker decided to go a different route with the story. No, there is still some level of eroticism. But in way of public acts and sex beads, versus more traditional paddling used in the first film. A film can have all of this and still be a good film, but unfortunately instead of going for a good film, they decide to just take any and all important plot points and resolve them as quickly as possible. They must have decided that these scenes only exist as a way of transitioning between soft core porn scenes. But you know, still quite softer than anything else that exists. Because it is just an R rated movie with “Some graphic nudity” (meaning no, we still don’t see penis).

Now lets go into the scenes between sex. Well, there are technically some important plot points that occur in the film. Like Anna’s boss being all rapey. And right after the threat exists, in the next scene he is already fired and then she has his job. Boom, resolved. She has to go to a meeting in his place, we then hear a stupid idea, her obvious and better idea, boom, they like it, she is great at her job.

There is a helicopter crash. And within the next three minutes, despite being in a mountain wilderness, they area not only found to be alive but hey, back at the house and just seemingly ignoring that it even happened. There is a creepy girl, who appears a few times, and boom, she is subdued, lets move on.

This means the plot of the film is just their relationship, without a viable end goal. And with our ending, it isn’t as bad as the first one, but it feels like a terrible cartoon, with returning characters looking badly menacing. Shit, it is worse than a terrible cartoon, it is more like a bad soap opera (not a good soap opera).

Obviously the acting is still bad. Anna is still annoying and overreacts to everything. Christian is a character who has no ability to express feelings, so Dornan is wooden.

Oh, and yeah, the movie begins to imply the only reason someone would be into BDSM type things is thanks to physical abuse and sexual abuse in the past. You know, instead of regular fetishes. Yay, demonizing real, mostly normal people!

0 out of 4.

The Nice Guys

Nice guys have gotten a lot of bad press lately. And that is because of the “nice guys” trying to take advantage of women by befriending them and expecting sex and berating them and being not nice people. So calling someone a nice guy is a pretty big insult.

And The Nice Guys movie happens to be coming out the same day as The Angry Bird Movie, what a whirlwind of emotions!

Fun fact, if you look at the last names of the leads of this film, you will realize that they are also, in fact, birds, making this seem like something more than a coincidence.

A gosling is a baby goose, for those uninformed shitters out there!

Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a private eye, raising his daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice), alone. He mostly works sex jobs and things involving the porn industry, and screwing over old ladies into getting paid for working cases. Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a hired muscle, paid to beat up stalkers, people messing with young women or daughters, just creeps in general.

And life is good for them both in the late 1970’s. That is until Healy is paid to beat up March, for “stalking” some chick named Amelia (Margaret Qualley). Except March wasn’t even looking for Amelia. He was paid to find Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio), a porn star who died a few days earlier, but whose aunt swore she saw her later.

Everything seemed to be going great after the beat down, until Healy headed back home and found two thugs (Beau Knapp, Keith David) trying to kill him. They too are looking for Amelia, whom Healy hasn’t seen in quite a few days. Something bigger is going on with this girl, and if he wants to feel safe at his home, he has to find her. So he might as well get some help. And he only knows why investigator who has any sort of luck finding her. You know it.

And then some shit goes down.

Also starring Kim Basinger, Yaya DaCosta, Matt Bomer, Jack Kilmer, Ty Simpkins, and Hannibal Buress as a giant killer bee.

Don’t stare. I did just fucking say a giant killer bee.

Ever here of this guy Shane Black? He actually wrote/directed Iron Man 3 and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, while also writing a bunch of Lethal Weapon movies and more action things. He loves action, and now he has written The Nice Guys, which has been in development hell. Him and his buddy, Joel Silver, a producer, have been just trying to write and rewrite it for years, and eventually they got the actors involved and made it as quick as they could.

And to Mr. Black and Mr. Silver, I would like to say, hey, thanks for keeping up the faith.

The Nice Guys was a hilarious movie. Gosling and Crowe have an incredible chemistry despite their age differences and in general very different film history. The comedy and timing between them as practically perfect. And even better than their characters had big flaws, not just strange stereotypes. After watching them in this film, I practically demanded a sequel, but the theater worker claimed he had no control over that.

The only other person worth noting is Angourie Rice, who plays the daughter, and was in the very terrible Walking With Dinosaurs. She was basically a third member of their group and really tied the film together. That also means that that for the most part, the rest of the cast weren’t really notable. And there are some decent names. Bomer felt robotic, Basinger/DaCosta didn’t feel natural, and Qualley as Amelia was forgettable.

A great action comedy for the leads and one that I hope spawns a future movie. It is still a film worth watching in theaters, but equally a good idea to watch with a group of friends at 3 am on a Saturday morning.

3 out of 4.

Grudge Match

Every year on the Christmas releases, there tries to be that who gives a fuck “family”-ish film. Last year it was Parental Guidance. A movie that everyone can enjoy without thinking much.

Unfortunately for this year, two movies tend to fit the family genre, with one of them clearly leagues above the other. Sure, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty requires some thought, but all the families are going to flock to it over Grudge Match.

I mean, sure, take the guys from Raging Bull and Rocky and make them box. Sounds like a good idea, but oh man, the execution.

Green Men
Why do movies have to show montages whenever a video goes viral? That shit is dumb.

Basic premise: Razor (Sylvester Stallone) and Kid (Robert De Niro) were both Pittsburgh area boxers, who used to be a big deal in the 1980s. Their first match against each other went 15 rounds, with Kid coming up on top. They battled again a few years later, when Razor knocked out Kid in only 4 rounds. Before a rematch could be made to give them the best 2 out of 3, Razor mysteriously retired from boxing, and left Kid without a chance to redeem himself.

Now, many years later, they are both hurting. Razor financially, and Kid with his ego. They agree to pose for a video game from business man Dante Slate, Jr. (Kevin Hart), but once they meet, their feelings take over and they fight it out on the spot. The video goes viral, and there becomes a demand for them to finally have their rematch, 30 years later, despite their age and condition.

Their rivalry goes deeper than just a few boxing matches, when it is found out that Kid also slept with Razor’s girlfriend at the time (Kim Basinger), knocking her up. So Razor wanted to get back at him by never giving him the chance to fight him again. The reason this matters so much is because their son, B.J. (Jon Bernthal) finally learns the identity of his real father, and wants to help Kid train to get in shape for the big game, and introduce him to his grandson.

So who is going to win? A man fighting for the love of his life and money, or the man fighting for redemption and his new family?

Alan Arkin plays Razor’s old and trusty trainer, while LL Cool J plays a very successful trainer.

Supporting Cast
The supporting cast deserve their own video, for saving this accidental disaster flick.

During the very cliche and simplistic ending, the entire theater was booing at the screen, almost in anger at how much it felt like a cop out. It didn’t give us a real ending, is how it felt. Of course, I was the only one in the theater, so I can say things like “everyone there agreed with me” and it be correct.

Let’s compare it to another recent fighting rivalry movie…Warrior! Warrior was an incredible movie, one of the best of its year, great acting, and had more than one fight to watch. Both people had reasons they needed to win, like in “Grudge Match”, but they didn’t sugar coat the ending. They fought and a winner was chosen without either side backing down or doing anything but fighting to win. It was emotional and great, and fuck, I really want to watch Warrior now.

Grudge Match went the safe and boring route, and it should be judged as such.

Alan Arkin and Kevin Hart were pretty funny at their roles, but the ending of the movie sickens me enough to not care about any of that.

Get out of here wannabe emotional fighting movie. Just, just go away.

1 out of 4.