Saw two movies back to back with young woman at the center of both and thought I should probably write about it jointly.
First up is Drake Doremus’ ‘Endings Beginnings’ starring Shalaine Woodley as a young woman who finds herself in relationship with two men – whoa re best friends. I wish there was more nuance to the story but there isn’t. She just can’t choose between the two, or refuses to. I don’t even know what the point, too, because in the film, the two men, played Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan look alike so I find it hard to discern the difference between the two. When she gets pregnant later on in the film, my first thought was: well. it’s fine because she is sleeping with both and either one could be the father and it will not matter. The three actors are all good, so you can kind of see where each is coming from, but in the end it’s seem like rich white girl problem. They are all good to look at so you don’t mind everything that’s going on but when you finish you know there wasn’t much substance there.
Sally ‘Potter’s ‘The Roads Not Taken’ has Elle Fanning as a young woman taking care of her father (played by Javier Bardem) who is a writer suffering from early dementia. But Bardem plays the character as too much like a cliche that he has lost all dinity. Poor Fanning has to lug him round through his dentist and doctor appointments, and both are medical professionals who have the worst bedside manners. there are flashes of his life – Salma Hayek plays his first wife and their son dies, and Laura Linney gets one scene as Fanning’s mother. But the film is dead on arrival, nothing can make it rise from the dead.
Nothing really much happens in Emma Forrest’s ‘Untogether,’ so I was set to think that this is one of those character-driven movies. Only, I wish the characters were more interesting. We have Nick (Jamie Dornan) a writer who write a best selling memoir about his tour in Gaza, and there’s Andrea, an author experiencing writer’s block. They connect, but have trouble defining what they have. I mean, welcome to today. There are two other characters – Andrea’s sister and her musician husband, and we have Billy Crystal as a rabbi. There’s too much here, but seemingly not enough for something. And with about twenty minutes left in the movie, we get a bombshell turn of events, which is supposed to be shocking, but because the character is mostly unpleasant anyway, you don’t care much. Everyone is fine here, and I guess I should mention Dornan because his looks was the only thing that kept me watching. Everything else in the movie made Los Angeles look dull and dreary.
Whenever I try to explain to people why I completed watching all three Fifty Shades movies, I answer with two words: Jamie Dornan. I mean, I am on Moviepass so the movie is basically free, so I don’t think it is such a major waste of time to spend two hours with Jamie Dornan almost completely naked. Right? Right? I mean, I can justify that, right?
Because I really feel like I need to. This third installment, ‘Fifty Shades Freed,’ isn’t the worst of the lost (that would be ‘Fifty Shades Darker,’ which was dull and boring) I still contend that the first one was surprisingly entertaining. This third one is just fine, as long as you do not take it too seriously. There is no plot here, so don’t even search for one. The film opens with Christian and Anastasia getting married, and then we get some nebulous things like stalkers and imaginary danger. And the two engage in a lot of sex. They are still mostly tame, and maybe that’s from me being very jaded, although there is a butt plug involved in one of them (off-camera) so there’s some deviation.
But other than that, the only thing for me here is Dornan, who is cute. He seems to be bored and rolling his eyes while acting, but then again most probably in the cast, and the audience are in on the same joke at this point. Hopefully next Valentine’s Day the world gets a movie release that’s a real love story.
I have to admit I liked the first Fifty Shades movie, so I was telling myself I should really see the second part, although I wasn’t really raring or excited to see ‘FIfty Shades Darker,’ the first sequel on the three-parter series based on E.L. James’ books (those books are so wretched I couldn’t fathom reading more than a page of them) And I should have followed my instincts because this film is a bore – a bloody freaking bore that is a total waste of time. It follows the story a day after the first one ended (I could barely remember it) but basically, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) begs Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) to come back to him, and this time no more rules. There are minor complications to their happiness – some pesky stalker woman, peskier boss of Anastasia who won’t leave her alone, a peskiest helicopter accident scare – but none of them will be believable enough to keep your attention. In between those scenes are padded by ‘erotic’ and ‘kinky’ sex scenes that are so robotic that any heat is sucked right out of them. Johnson and Dornan look so bored performing these scenes, and even though I don’t agree with everyone that they do not have chemistry, what little they have is killed by these run-of-the-mill kink stuff. I never believed any of it for a second. Surely both Johnson and Dornan deserve better than this? I bet they are just counting the days till they can both move on. Because, frankly, I have,.
To capitalize on the success of the film 50 Shades of Grey, “Racing Hearts” has been released on video. I think this was previously released all over Europe with the title of “Flying Home” and I am guessing the title was changed because the new one would seem more romantic. What’s in a title? Funny how a change in it can alter the perception of a film. The movie, starring Jamie Dornan, is really less a romantic comedy and more one about pigeons. Yes, you heard me right – pigeons. The story may seem convoluted, but it is about an acquisition of a pigeon orchestrated by Dornan so he could land a billion dollar account for his firm. And yes, it was fascinating, who would have thought? It gave me an insight into that pigeon race of sending them off from Barcelona and tracking which one flies home the quickest. Dornan is a presence, for sure, and I didn’t think he was too bad here – he is very muted, for sure, but you cannot stop looking at him, and that is more than enough. He is definitely a movie star. The side romantic story line seems like an afterthought – they don’t have chemistry and I didn’t care at all.