Freed At Last, Freed At Last

Freed.jpg

 

The international best seller that changed the world is a topic of much debate.  Tasteless porn vs. incredible love story, this series has two extreme groups fighting for superiority on what is the truth to the Grey series.  However, since many people don’t read these days, Hollywood has brought a visual representation to us to help stem the tide and get more people discussing the content of E.L James work.  And so, yours truly, alongside some very kind friends, heads into the trenches to give you another review on what is what in the movies.  Let’s get going!

 

LIKES:

 

The Romance:  The romance, as the fans will call it, has finally improved to the levels many wanted it to be from the start.  Fifty Shades Freed finally has our actor’s chemistry mixing well to portray a more realistic love story than what I’ve seen.  Rather than bland, uninterested looks, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan finally have some heat into their acting actually seeming to love each other than just tolerate.  The drama that fans want is packed into their on-screen time, a nice balance of overdramatic anger, passion, and desire in their little game of domination cat and mouse.  While still unbelievable at times, the magic finally raised to a new level for the final installment.

 

The JokesSuch a dark delicacy as this requires some more adult humor, and Fifty Shades Freed’s writing is able to bring this humor to full blast.  Clever alliterations, metaphors, and puns are well integrated into the goopy, lovey dovy, romantic bologna this movie is famous for.  These comedic devices are well-timed and well-delivered to maximize the punch that comes with it and had my friends and I chuckling.  Had there been a few more of these moments, the movie’s writing might have gotten even more points for creativeness and magic.

 

Semi-Tasteful: Despite the sultry atmosphere contained in these films, the censorship is still decent enough to add some class to the movie.  Rather than diving into the pornographic details that some of the fan-base loves, the movie keeps the camera work on the upper areas, straying away from the lower anatomy.  Even the love making scenes have been tempered a bit to not dive into XXX levels, but it barely skims by this.  Still, the small bit of class gets my nod of respect.

 

The Ending:  My friends and I agreed that the nice little nod to the series as the end was a good way to cap of the series.  Simplistic and predictable yes, but for those super fans, it is the emotional finesse you may have come to expect in the series.  And for the beginning credit, and only clip, it’s the ending that had many in my showing ahhing in delight.

 

The Music:  My final nod is at the director of music, who once again picks a slamming song track to represent the emotion of the scene.  A combination of genres, the selections are worthy of another soundtrack worth purchasing, assuming you are into those kinds of things.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Sex:  Let’s get this out of the way.  No surprise, I’m not the biggest fan of watching two actors make strong, awkward, and often strange sex fantasies come to life.  And Fifty Shades Freed was more than happy to throw a lot of these vivid images at me.  While a bit classy, these scenes didn’t fit into the story as much for me, nor did I really appreciate how fast and rapid they were crammed in.  The positive side is that these montages are at most 3.5 minutes long, but I’ll never look at ice cream the same way again…. Ewwwww.

 

Secondary Characters:  I don’t remember the books quite well, but I’m fairly certain the secondary cast goes farther than their cinematic doppelgangers.  Yes, I know the story is mainly about the star-cross lusters, I mean lovers, but this supporting group of families and friends should be you know… more supportive.  So why were much of the supporting band reduced to mere minutes of screen time with little to add to this tale?  A few clips of beautiful people, a tempting dramatic flair that goes nowhere, a shallow proposal that is cute but lacking, and some shotty presentation of key story elements are all they contribute.  After such integration in the first film, I had hoped for these components to strengthen as well, but they failed on this aspect for me outside of the fact that so many of them were pretty to look at.

 

Boring Tension:  Let’s face it, the story is not the best part of these series, but I had hoped that the antagonist would have had more bite to his coiffed hair.  Fifty Shares Freed did little to amplify the deadliness of Hyde, outside of making him look and sound even more insane.  The promise of a man with more brains and strategy was lost to low grade soap opera antics that just served as an example of poor planning.  I’ve seen better villains in a cheesy soap opera, and this anticlimactic climax was so disappointing to see fail.  While many may not be looking for super excitement, this reviewer would have liked to see more bite than bark.  Oh well, at least more room for love, right?

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, Fifty Shade Freed has improved in regards to the romance that this series has tried to sell.  The heated passion between the main characters took some major steps towards progress in this series, alongside the jokes, the soundtrack, and the nicely packaged ending.  However, the story itself is laughable, with all these plot points and known character diluted into less concentrated beings that are only there for a quick head nod out of the series.  Fifty Shades Freed is a glorified soap opera on the big screen, and therefore not worth the price of admission in my opinion, no matter how passionate, emotional, and hot it may seem.  Save this one for the privacy of your own home and your imagination. 

 

My scores are:

Drama/Romance/Thriller:  5.0

Movie Overall:  4.0

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Mum’s the Word: 60s story with 2000s Style

Mummy

 

Monster movies, an epic genre that at one time scared the pants off many before you know… things got out of hand with modern cinema. Legendary creatures like the Wolfman, Dracula, and Frankenstein filled the theater with actors decorated in epic make-up with often beautiful costars to face their “terror.” The stories they told remain timeless, but sadly the graphics are a little outdated for most modern movie-goers… until now.  This evening my buddy and I hit the theaters for a retelling of a classic tale in hopes of sparking a new trend to get us hooked on and make money.  As you can read, my review is on the Mummy tonight starring Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, and Sofia Boutella. Will it be a success, or are we cursed to another mediocre film?  Let’s find out.

 

LIKES:

 

True Monster Movie:  Where most creature films have been turned into gore-tastic bouts of killing, the Mummy returns to the roots of monster movie story telling.  A creature starts to rise to power and it is up to the group to uncover the mystery of how to stop it.  The Mummy focuses on the story telling dynamic, bringing character development, background information, and a dynamic tale that revives the classic genre. Even better is how the movie focuses on the story of this film, instead of building up for an inevitable sequel, something that is rare given the franchise aspect of Hollywood.  The result is a stronger story that is a little more captivating.

 

Comedic relief: Much like the 2000 series, this rendition brings some comedic magic to the desolate desert scenery.  The writing in particular is funny, with well-timed quips that range from simplistic insults and banter to clever puns that are more precious than the treasure under the sand.  Cruise and Wallis work well together with a chemistry that feels like rivals/love interests, and each delivers their humor in their own style that works. However, I laughed the hardest at Jake Johnson whose energetic and erratic style is reminiscent of a giant man child trying to face the curse.  The dynamic style keeps the laughs coming, but doesn’t get overused as we often see.

 

Impressive graphics/action:  While the Mummy certainly takes the story of the 1960’s monster franchise, its graphic presentation is clearly that of the more modern series. Nostalgia runs thick at the various curses our female monster throws including swarming birds, flesh contorting strikes, and yes, face in perilous sand.  The old tricks have never looked better and the technological feats are beautifully integrated into a smooth performance that is somewhat exciting. And speaking of the excitement, the action of the Mummy provides a faster pace than the classics, moving at breakneck speed and loaded with spectacular pyrotechnics.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Out of Place Components: The Mummy does well on the story aspect, but there are parts that felt out of place.  Certain qualities of the film curtail to setting up for the next movie of the franchise (yes, Universal is planning to revive the classics).  These moments are a change of pace (good), but divert a little too much from the path into the cheesy, overdramatic styles that we sometimes see.  I’ll agree that they are impressive displays of technology, but this just proves that not everything has to be covered in movies (hence sequels).

 

Action:  I said the action kept the pace fast and the movie engaging, but the action still has some improvement for me to get the seal of approval from me.  It’s a lot of running, praise to Cruise’s fitness level. Unlike the predecessors in 2000, this Mummy as fewer bouts of gunplay or combat, much of the time the cast dropping their guns to run some more.  They tried to throw some brawls in the mix, but that didn’t work to well for me. I missed the dynamic sequences and thrills they brought, but hey it’s the first film of a long line and there is sure to be more stunts in the future…maybe.

 

Rushed tactics: The heading is tough, but there are some rushed components to this film that needed some fine tuning.  In many proceeding films, it takes time for the bandaged monstrosity to rise to power, requiring gradual offing of characters in suspenseful sequences.  This version was a little short sighted, reduced to a monotonous ploy that lacked little more than repetitive spasms of poor extras.  Many may like the spin on this movie, but this (among other ploys) felt a little underdeveloped and soon became stale to watch.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

The Mummy is certainly not the movie I was expecting, and on many levels this is good.  While not the wild thrill ride from the 2000s, this spin brings the modern technology to the classic story, giving it a unique feel that was refreshing to see.  With comedic relief, decent acting, and impressive visuals, it has a number of qualities beckoning for a trip to theater. Yet, there are some editing limitations that need tightening up to make it flow better and the action component needed some sprucing up to further expand on the thrills.  All in all, a solid start to upcoming monster franchise, but there is work to be done in the future.

 

Action/Adventure/Fantasy:  8.0

Movie Overall: 6.5

Darker, Sexier,Deeper Story. Still Requires Some Work

darker

Robbie K here, and I’m back to bring you yet another movie review on the latest movie theater “hits.”  No doubt that many are ready for the mass advertised Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to the literary work that “graced” the world so long ago.  Despite how badly the first installment did, Hollywood is taking another shot at the series.  Is this thing up to the test?  Or is it just a plain, dirty dream filling, mess.  As always, I’m going to do my best to put bias aside (unlike some reviews) and give you some insight into this flick.  Let’s go

 

LIKES

  • Still Tasteful…mostly
  • Story a little better
  • Surprisingly funny at time
  • Soundtrack Still Kicking

 

Summary:  While I’m not the biggest fan of the Fifty Shades series, this reviewer has to recognize the pressure placed on the directors for this series.  For me, I think they did a nice job keeping the movie tasteful while indulging in some of the…sexier qualities of the film.  Although supposedly darker, the movie keeps most of the steamy scenes in decent detail without crossing into porn threshold, except the last scene…nothing tasteful about that.

But when the actors aren’t trying to sell the sex, the story that tries to give it purpose starts to emerge.  While certainly not the strongest story, Fifty Shades Darker is a little more dynamic, bringing some mystery, some drama, and some love to the table.  Those who wanted a little more details to the cast will get their wish, somewhat, and wetting your appetite for the next film.  Amidst all the dramatic moments though are some well-timed comedic moments, often pointing out the ridiculous concepts housed in this series. Yet the best thing, for me at least, was the soundtrack. Once more the music editors have selected/crafted tracks that fit well into the scenes, including a number of songs that will capture the heat of the scene. Was it as good as the first installment?  I don’t think so, but it still does its job.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Story is still lacking
  • No butts about it
  • Extra Characters Lacking
  • Character Development Simplistic
  • Acting still needs improvement

 

Summary: Okay, I’m not ignorant enough to not recognize that a lot of people are going for the “passionate” moments.  But a reviewer looks at the other qualities, including the story.  Despite being better and having more components to it, Darker’s story is still lacking.  Many of the plots promised in the trailer are simplistic at best, often dropping them for another sex scene or sequence of the couple arguing.  The mysterious girl, the blonde dominatrix, and many other tales involving other characters are diluted attempts to add suspense, adding a little suspense and foreshadowing for the next installment before the potential is dropped.  In fact, the only thing really developed to me was the origins of the strange obsession with domination and sadism.  As mentioned earlier, the character development is stronger in this film, but it too didn’t live up to the potential it could have.

 

While their sex life was reaching a climax, their backstories barely moved from baseline, other than a few flashes of sad origins and some insight explaining their approach to love.  For many this won’t be an issue, because it gives some more time for spicy antics, overdramatic quarrels, and plenty of butt and breast shots for audiences to absorb.  Yes, you get plenty of the eye candy in this film, which helps cover up the work in progress acting.  If I’m not mistaken, both leading roles are awkward, reserved, and have some traumatic history.  However, this does not provide an excuse for sloppy line delivering, creepy staring, and using grunts and sighs as space fillers.  I wasn’t the most thrilled with either leads’ performance in the movie, outside of being able to do it on the screen (they seem to have that down pat).

 

The VERDICT:

 

Overall Fifty Shades Darker delivers what was promised, steamy scenes interlaced with the romantic drama that is enjoyed by so many.  I think it still held some taste, mixing the sex with a story that provides the entertainment most will be looking for.  Can it match to the picture your imagination patient when reading?  No, because Hollywood doesn’t have an unlimited budget and has rules to abide. But it does its best to provide what many craved.  Yet not even sex can make up for the limitations in acting, detailed story, and character development that goes beneath the skin.  I’m sure my review will not stop fans from trekking to the theater, but this reviewer can’t recommend this one for the theater, unless you just want to see the sex on a massive screen.  Yet, it also doesn’t deserve the worst score, because it delivers what I think it promises, though not all the way.  Oh, and make sure to stay for the credits for a teaser that really is a tease.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Romance:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0