The past seven days

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy passes away at age 83

Leonard Nimoy, most famous for his role as Spock in Star Trek, has died at the age of 83. Nimoy was hospitalized earlier this week with chest pains due to end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Along with his TV and film fame from the Star Trek franchise, Nimoy was an author and photographer. He published several books throughout the years and even delved into directing as he directed Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Rest in peace, good sir. You have indeed lived long and prospered.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jamie Dornan is not quitting the Fifty Shades franchise

Rumors have been running rampant regarding the unannounced, but inevitable, Fifty Shades sequels and the latest victim was the franchise's lead actor, Jamie Dornan. The rumors were that he was reportedly quitting the franchise because of his wife's discomfort with the role and his popularity.

Dornan released a statement today via his representative to set the record straight:
"Jamie is delighted that the film is breaking box office records worldwide and whilst the studio has not made any formal announcements about sequels, he is looking forward to making the next film."

In addition to that, it was made clear that Dornan would not be making any further statements until the sequels are officially announced. Many sources are now saying that both Dornan and Dakota Johnson have already signed contracts for the sequels and it's just a waiting game until the studio sorts out the problems and announces them. Johnson previously let it slip in an interview with Telegraph that it was a good thing she was excited for the sequels because she has to do them. 

I think at this point the best thing to do regarding this franchise is to not believe anything you read or hear unless it's coming directly from Universal.

American Horror Story: Hotel to be its 5th season

It seems that Lady Gaga's performance at the Oscars on Sunday was a precursor to much bigger things. Not only did she absolutely kill it, but she's nabbed her first leading role in the FX anthology series, American Horror Story... AHS: Hotel, to be specific.

Hotel is a bit of a surprise given the "Operation Top Hat" hints that were planted throughout Freak Show and the alien subplot in Asylum. However, Hotel does have some promise as it could bring the show back to its roots with a Murder House type theme where the events are related to the location. They very well could go a route similar to The Shining and it could work.
As far as Lady Gaga goes, I'm not too pro on her being in a lead role but she will definitely bring in viewers and for all we know she might not be that bad. She definitely is a performer and she has the creep factor down so we'll see how it unfolds.

Here is a teaser that was posted today:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rumor: Jamie Dornan to quit Fifty Shades trilogy

Rumor alert!

There are several online sources that are releasing articles stating that Fifty Shades of Grey lead actor, Jamie Dornan, is going to quit the franchise. In the reports they are citing that the discomfort his wife has felt over the sex scenes and his friendship/appearances with co-star Dakota Johnson has led him to the decision to leave the franchise after just one film. This comes in the midst of heavy rumors that director Sam Taylor-Johnson won't return to direct the second or third film, should they ever be officially announced.
These rumors started out of Australia after the magazine NW published an article stating that Dornan's wife, Amelia Warner, is mainly to blame for him choosing to leave the franchise. The insiders are claiming that Dornan took the role because he felt it would skyrocket his career and that he assured his wife that the inevitable attention from millions of other women wouldn't change their marriage. Another kicker included in the rumor is that instead of blaming his wife for her cold feet, he is blaming Dakota Johnson for their lack of chemistry stating that she gave him nothing to work with. Personally, I find that hard to believe seeing that she was the best part of the entire movie.

Anyway, the rumors are all over the internet now; Yahoo, Vulture, Daily Mail, IMDB boards, etc.. Universal has still not announced that sequels are official due to the rumored feud they are having with Fifty Shades author, EL James, over her demands for complete creative control including writing the screenplay for Fifty Shades Darker herself. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson still is up in the air and she went from saying she was on board for the sequels to not saying a damn thing. The first rumors about people jumping ship were about her due to her issues with EL James during production of the first movie. I still think sequels are inevitable given the success the film has had at the box office, but movies can't move forward without the pieces that put them together. If you have no screenwriter, no director, and a recognizable lead actor missing you have no movie. It's not looking good at all. At this point the only member of the cast seemingly excited about the potential future of this franchise is Dakota Johnson.
I've already said it, but if the sequels do happen I bet we won't see them for 2-3 years. Given the issues before Fifty Shades Darker has even gone into production it would be in their best interest to film the sequels back to back and just put space in between the releases. In other words, pull a Mockingjay and Breaking Dawn and just get it all over with at once so you don't have to worry about this crazy crap. Bottom line is they can't re-cast Christian Grey. Jamie Dornan brought him to life, the fans loved him, he's all over the place, and bringing in another actor would just be dumb. This isn't like replacing Evan Peters in Kick-Ass 2 or booting Terrence Howard from Iron Man. They were part of the franchise, but they weren't the face of it. If Dornan really does walk the sequels are dead. Period.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ben Woolf dies at age 34

American Horror Story actor, Ben Woolf, has died at age 34 after complications from a car accident..

It's been said that Woolf was crossing the street when he was struck in the head by the side mirror of a vehicle while crossing the street in Hollywood on Thursday night. He had been in critical condition since then.
Woolf was an AHS veteran as he appeared in season one (Murder House) as Infantata and in season four (Freak Show) as Meep. He appeared in a total of five episodes of American Horror Story and was featured in the finale of AHS: Freak Show just last month.

The Girl Who Played with Fire is likely not happening

It's been rumored that a sequel for the American adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo would be hitting for quite sometime now, but issues with Sony and director David Fincher stalled the project indefinitely. There's now more hints from actress Rooney Mara that any potential sequels are dead.

Mara told E! Online that she was sad that it doesn't seem to be in the cards, but it doesn't look likely at all. The film didn't hit as well at the box office as Sony would have wanted to begin with, but interest in an American version of the Millennium trilogy seemed to fizzle very quickly. David Fincher decided to move on and the studio was unwilling to pay Daniel Craig's post-Skyfall salary. At one point there were even rumors that The Girl Who Played with Fire would omit Craig's character entirely.
I personally loved Fincher's version and I really liked the books, but the source material wasn't that great. They managed to make great films out of the books in Sweden with Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander. I just don't think Americans were quite prepared for a dark trilogy like this. It's a shame but it is what it is.

Fifty Shades of Grey reaches $400 million worldwide

Despite a crazy 73% drop at the domestic box office in the first week, Fifty Shades of Grey has managed to stay on top (oh that pun) and bring in over $400 million at the worldwide box office. Domestically it brought in $130.1 million in 10-days while it brought in $280.5 internationally.
The US decline is assumed to be due to the film's holiday release (Valentine's and President's day weekend), but it has proven to be more of a driving force overseas as the decline on the other side of the world was only 57%.

However, it still managed to dominate (the puns keep rolling) the US box office as it still outperformed Kingsman: The Secret Service and new releases Hot Tub Time Machine 2, The DUFF, and McFarland, USA. People are trying to excuse the low performance of these films due to how films usually underperform on Oscar weekends and with the massive winter weather throughout the country, but let's be real... people are still interested in Fifty Shades of Grey. People who didn't go over the busy weekend waited a week and saw it over the lousy films it competed against for a second week in a row. It also is still playing in the most theaters by still taking up space on 3,655 screens.

Get used to it, guys.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2015 Academy Award Winners

The night was full of some pretty big surprises! The big winners of the night turned out to be Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel, although only one of them walked away with the Oscar for Best Picture. Birdman took home a total of four statues including Best Picture and Best Director. Boyhood was a huge favorite to win, but the only statue it managed to bring home was for Best Supporting Actress. Eddie Redmayne shocked audiences by taking home Best Actor and Julianne Moore took home a well deserved Best Actress statue.

Here is a list of the winners:

Best Picture: Birdman

Best Actress: Julianne Moore - Still Alice

Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - Birdman

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette - Boyhood

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons - Whiplash

Best Adapted Screenplay: Graham Moore - The Imitation Game

Best Original Screenplay: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo - Birdman

Best Animated Feature: Big Hero 6

Best Film Editing: Whiplash

Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Song: "Glory" - Selma

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki - Birdman

Best Foreign Film: Ida (Poland)

Best Documentary Feature: CITIZENFOUR

Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Visual Effects: Interstellar

Best Sound Editing: American Sniper

Best Sound Mixing: Whiplash

Best Animated Short: Feast

Best Live-Action Short: The Phone Call

Best Documentary Short: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Aside from the winners, the show just ran really long. There was no reason for Jennifer Hudson to perform after the In Memoriam segment because it simply took too long and although Lady Gaga was surprisingly excellent, why did they feel the need to pay tribute to The Sound of Music? Like seriously, there was no reason. Not to mention Joan Rivers was not included in the In Memoriam which is a real shame.
Neil Patrick Harris did what he could with the rather lousy dialogue and jokes he was given, but the opening to the show was fantastic. They tried to capitalize on jokes that have been done to death since last year's show (aka, Adele Dazeem) and NPH seemed to be exhausted about halfway through the show and tried to rush it. I think Ellen Degeneres edged him out by a little bit and was a better host overall. Sorry, NPH.

Winners for the 2015 Razzies

The Razzies are always so much fun to read about. Here are the winners for those precious golden raspberry statues for the worst films and performances of 2015.

Worst Picture: Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas

Worst Director: Michael Bay - "Transformers 4: Age of Extinction"

Worst Actor: Kirk Cameron - "Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas"

Worst Supporting Actor: Kelsey Grammar - "Transformers 4, Expendables 3, Legends of Oz"

Worst Actress: Cameron Diaz - "The Other Woman & Sex Tape"

Worst Supporting Actress: Megan Fox - "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"

Worst Screenplay: Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas

Worst Remake, Sequel, or Rip-Off: Annie

Worst Screen Combo: Kirk Cameron and his ego

Redeemer Award: Ben Affleck - from Razzie winner for "Gigli" to Oscar darling for "Argo" and "Gone Girl"

Poor Kirk Cameron, haha.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Kristen Stewart is the first American to win a Cesar

If you aren't aware what a Cesar Award is, it's basically the French equivalent to an Academy Award. Twilight actress, Kristen Stewart, made history at the 2015 Cesar's but not by being the first American to be nominated... she is the first American to win.

She became the first American nominated in over 30 years (the last was Julia Migenes in 1984), but she walked away with the Cesar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Valentine in Clouds of Sils Maria. She later presented with her co-star Juliette Binoche.
Stewart has been pretty consistently (and heavily) criticized for her acting ever since the first Twilight film emerged in 2008. She's been called boring, flat, monotone, lacking in emotion, etc.. After she was caught cheating on her ex-boyfriend Robert Pattinson with a married man her luck seemed to go down even more, but she has been slowly re-emerging in Hollywood by doing independent film and she's received a lot of positive feedback so far. There were a lot of people who even predicted that she'd be nominated for an Oscar for either Still Alice or Clouds of Sils Maria, but I think it's pretty apparent that the Academy doesn't like her. If they liked her she would have received an Oscar nomination for Welcome to the Rileys.

I've always said that the Twilight films were a bump in the road for her because although she is pretty terrible in them, she isn't a bad actress at all. She just needs to stick with what she does best. She was fantastic in Speak, Welcome to the Rileys, The Runaways, Adventureland, and I really liked what she did in Camp X-Ray. I think it's good for her to get the recognition even if it is overseas. She definitely is still an actress to keep on the radar.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Orange is the New Black loses Jason Biggs

Jason Biggs' portrayal of the somewhat oblivious Larry Bloom on Orange is the New Black has been concluded... for now.

Biggs stated in an interview with the New York Daily News that he will not be returning as Larry for season three of the award-winning Netflix series. However, he did say that it's possible for him to return in the future.
When we left Larry at the end of season two, he and Piper had amicably split and he soon fell in love with her married best friend, Polly. Unless they make it so he and Polly broke up as well, it doesn't seem like we will be seeing much, if any, of Polly in season three either.

Orange is the New Black is set to return on Netflix sometime in June.

First look at Jason Momoa's Aquaman

And he looks pretty badass.

Director Zack Snyder leaked the image via Twitter to tease what Momoa's portrayal of Aquaman will look like in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The costume is colorless (no surprise) and still displays the character's insignia on the belt. The trident is also pretty cool looking.
It is worth mentioning that although Aquaman is set to appear in the Justice League films, he will most likely only get a cameo in Dawn of Justice. There is no telling whether we will get any other teasers for other characters that have been cast already. Ezra Miller has been cast as The Flash while Ray Fisher has been selected for Cyborg. The "Unite the Seven" tagline could mean a couple different things; the seven seas since it is Aquaman or it could be the seven members of the Justice League.

We will see before too long. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is set to open March 26, 2016.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fox orders pilot for Lucifer

Fox has officially ordered a pilot commitment based on Lucifer, a character in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman comics. The character is based on the fallen angel, Lucifer, and he did later spawn into his own comic series.

Total Recall director Len Wiseman is on board to direct and Jerry Bruckheimer is producing. Reports so far insist that the show will focus on the ruler of Hell as he becomes bored of his post and resigns his position. He rises into Los Angeles where he assists the LAPD in capturing and torturing criminals. Lucifer will join a lineup of two more similar adaptations (Sleepy Hollow and Gotham).

EL James wants full control of Fifty Shades sequels

I personally, and surprisingly, enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey but I credit a big part of that to one thing: EL James didn't have complete control.

Apparently the British author is trying to up the ante with the studios and is now demanding complete creative control over the sort of confirmed Fifty Shades sequels. James' level of involvement with Fifty Shades of Grey became rather well-known as insiders blabbed to the tabloids about on-set fights between her and director Sam Taylor-Johnson. The rift and overbearing control over the source material even caused issues with the actors at one point.
Confirmation of the sequels was originally thought to be official, but since the release we haven't gotten any confirmation from Universal and the actors have made it clear via talk shows and magazine articles that sequels aren't official just yet, but they would love to return as the characters for more films. Insiders are assuming that two people won't be back, especially if full control is given to James, and that is Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel. Marcel and James evidently had a falling out while writing the original draft of the screenplay that spawned a rewrite because the original draft James assisted with was horrible. This is no surprise seeing how horribly written the books were.

Now... unless this is all in the contract that was written when Universal purchased the film rights, there is no reason why EL James has to be involved at all. This has to be somewhat true because Universal is reluctant to give her full control for a couple reasons:
  1. She is unfamiliar with Hollywood and how film adaptations of books work.  (obviously)
  2. She has never written a screenplay by herself. 
  3. She only has three writing credits to her name (aka, the Fifty Shades trilogy) and they are all within the last four years. Not to mention the trilogy spawned from poorly written Twilight fan-fiction she posted online.

Insiders are claiming that the reason the sequels haven't been officially announced by Universal is because they are fighting with EL James and it's holding up production. That is why the actors are having to beat around the bush when people ask them about sequels and that is most likely why Sam Taylor-Johnson went from saying on The Today Show she had signed onto the sequels to not saying anything at all. Come the day that things get squared away, if and when, production likely won't start until 2016 which would delay the sequels by at least a year. This is not smart because despite what it may seem like now, the fandom and mania will die down and people will lose interest. With franchises like these it is in the best interest to release a film every year. I assumed Fifty Shades Darker would hit in 2016 and Fifty Shades Freed would in 2017, but if they can't get past EL James and her demands that isn't going to happen.
This also puts the actors in a bind which is something I don't think they realize. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are on everyone's radar and there is no doubt that they are being sought after for roles, especially now that the international box office for Fifty Shades is over $300 million. Until they know when production of Fifty Shades Darker will start they can't really commit to other projects. If they do and a sequel is officially announced they might have some scheduling conflicts which would put them in a situation where Fifty Shades would take priority since they are contractually obligated to appear. That's not fair at all and this makes it even more obvious that EL James doesn't give a shit about the other people involved in this franchise.

The complaints most people have so far about Fifty Shades of Grey was regarding the script and the so-called "bore factor" that the film brought, but knowing how difficult production was with James' involvement you can't really blame them. Universal gave this woman way too much power and now she wants more. If Taylor-Johnson does really walk and won't direct the sequels they are going to have some major problems. Her vision for the film was actually quite beautiful and I don't think the sequels will have the same vision or elements if she is not involved. Not to mention they are going to have a hell of a time finding a director who is willing to work with EL James and take her shit with a grain of salt.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey - Review

Fifty Shades of Grey follows a young college student named Anastasia Steele as she enters an unknown world of sexual and emotional discovery after a chance meeting with Christian Grey, a 27-year old billionaire with a secret life as a BDSM dominant.

This will have spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie or read the books you might want to skip over this. 

I'm the first one to say that I really didn't like the Fifty Shades books. I read all three of them and although the second one was enjoyable enough and the third was the best, the first book was by far the worst. I could go on and on about how Christian is emotionally and sexually abusive but that isn't really relevant to the movie because... well, the movie downplayed a lot of things that the groups protesting the movie are pushing; BDSM being the biggest.
With that said, I did actually enjoy the movie. I thought that they changed and omitted enough from the book to really amplify the plot and the characters enough to make it an enjoyable movie. Whether you wanted it or not they did go for the mushy love story, but it actually worked in this case. They didn't completely omit the troubled past of Christian Grey and they let it play into why he was how he was, but it wasn't overdone. There was a lot that wasn't overdone and in this case that was the best thing that could have happened because of how poorly written the books were.
Sam Taylor-Johnson had a strong attempt and after seeing how this film was handled, I would hope that Universal finds a way to keep her around for sequels. I think losing the element and handling she brought to the film would really hurt the sequels. Aside from that the cinematography was gorgeous. I figured if it turned out to be horrible at least it was beautiful to look at. 

One of the biggest complaints from the fanbase, and from a lot of reviewers so far, was the apparent lack of chemistry between the film's lead actors, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. For me personally, I didn't find them to have a lack of chemistry that was distracting. It's apparent in some scenes that it must have been close to the beginning of filming because they seemed a bit uncomfortable and awkward, but as the film went on there was really a sense of chemistry between the actors.
Dakota Johnson, however, was the best part of the film. She truly shined and had the best performance of the whole cast. For this being her first lead role in a feature film she really nailed it. I found her performance to be fun, lively, and she really gave Anastasia a sense of self respect that she lacked in the book. One thing I said prior to seeing the film was that if Anastasia was the way that she was in the book it was going to be a struggle. She was the worst part of the book because she is basically a doormat. She lets Christian do whatever he wants to her because she doesn't want to risk him telling her to get lost. She doesn't come across as overly naive, like in the book, and and she stands up to him. Firm limits regarding the contract and what she will and will not do are set and Christian respects them all, unlike in the book where he felt she just needed to try things first. The scene where they discuss the contract really showcases the changes that were given to Anastasia because she seems to enjoy teasing Christian and then leaving him hanging. Kudos to them for taking a wood block of a character and giving her life. I really loved every aspect of Johnson's performance which is a surprise for me to say.
As far as Dornan goes as Christian, I don't think he was the best choice but he wasn't the worst. He did the best that he could given the amount of time that he had to prepare. The most glaring thing for me personally was how terrible his American accent was. There were times where I cringed hearing him say certain words and his pronunciation of certain words was very strange. As an American I could easily tell that he was struggling through most of the dialogue. Aside from that, I don't think he did a terrible job. It could have been worse.  As far as how they portrayed Christian, I think they made necessary changes. In the book he is a flat out stalker and is very emotionally, and often sexually, abusive to Anastasia. In the movie he just comes across as a little forward and seems to really be trying to impress her and win her over. He isn't just a giant asshole to her like he is in the book and I think that was a necessary thing to change. The only disappointment is he needed more development regarding his past. You get that he had a rough childhood and he does disclose to Anastasia why he is the way he is, but it's more of a precursor rather than an explanation. For people who didn't read the books there is a huge hole there that needed to be patched up with some more explanation. Hopefully they touch on that with the sequels.

Before getting to the most-anticipated aspect of this movie, let's cover the writing. It's no secret that the Fifty Shades trilogy has horrendous writing. Anastasia's "inner goddess" monologue and the dialogue between the characters is just terrible. However, I think the movie captured the dialogue in a way that wasn't overly annoying. They kept certain things from the book that were cheesy and lame (such as "laters, baby" and "fifty shades of fucked up") but it wasn't distracting and the lines didn't take away from what was going on. I felt that the characters said enough but not too much like they do in the books and that was a good thing. If they would have done a line for line adaptation it would have just been the worst. It's one thing to read horrible dialogue... it's another to actually hear it said out loud.

Now... the sex scenes.

It was assumed that these would be the driving force of the film as it is based off an erotic trilogy. However, I found myself a bit disappointed with the sex scenes, especially the BDSM scenes in the "red room." For a story so centralized on the lifestyle that Christian practices the movie didn't seem to explore it a whole lot. I thought that Anastasia's introduction into the room was well done and she really played off the whole, "what in the hell and I doing here" vibe that she gets in the book. But, out of all the sex scenes there were only two in the room and they were quite tame compared to what I expected them to be. It didn't really give that element of danger and fear that Ana had in the book.
On the other hand, the "vanilla" scenes were very well done. I thought the virginity scene was believable, for what it could be, and the ice cube scene was probably the best one of the whole movie. They just gave that sense of vulnerability and realism that most films don't capture when it comes to sex. It wasn't the typical, oh this is awesome let me just jackhammer away at this girl. It's hard to describe the essence that was captured but it was very well done. I appreciated those scenes a lot more than the BDSM aspects of the story.
Another thing I appreciated about it is they stayed away from Anastasia's ridiculous orgasms. In the book she pretty much has an orgasm whenever Christian comes near her at all. The movie was very lacking in the "big O" department in comparison to the source material, but you could tell that she was enjoying herself and discovering her own body and that you can definitely credit Dakota Johnson with. The way she handled her character's reactions and how you could see what she wanted without dialogue was impressive. None of it seemed forced or overly exaggerated.

With all that said, I think the main thing that I walked away with regarding the sex was the amount of nudity in the movie. Nudity doesn't really shock me and I don't get embarrassed by it, but there was a lot of nudity. Dakota Johnson goes full frontal a good four times or more and you easily see her body the most. I could probably draw a picture of her body without needing a reference photo and from what I have read she didn't use a body double, so good for her. The only thing that I noticed, and appreciated to a degree, was how she retained some body hair. I think it gave more believability to the character and was pretty accurate to most women who leave a certain amount of pubic hair and don't shave above the knee. The little details like that are what made it so enjoyable.
You also get a decent amount of nudity from Jamie Dornan, but it isn't full frontal like it is with Johnson. You do see a quick flash of his penis but it's probably a half of a second and is when he unbuttons his jeans. Every other time it's just back nudity (aka, butt nudity) and bare chest. They really had a great director of photography and cinematographer because the shots were really sculpted around Dornan's body to avoid frontal nudity.

The most improved change, for me, was the ending. I'll mention it below as well but the minor changes they made to the final scene was enjoyable. In the book it is more of a conflict for Anastasia to leave and it is several pages of inner monologue from her explaining how painful it was for her to leave. The movie shows her actually wanting to leave and while you see her upset, she seems to understand that it's for her own good. There is no argument over the money for her car and there is no argument about her returning the Macbook he gave her. He seems to understand why she is leaving and doesn't seem as conflicted about it either. It isn't until she's in the elevator that he tries to go after her and she quite forcefully says no.
The biggest change regarding the finale is when Christian goes into her room after the punishment she does not allow him to touch her and she kicks him out of the room.  The book version of Ana is allowing him to come close to her, cuddle her, and she still wants physical contact from him even after he punishes her. The movie version of Ana has her on one side of the bed with Christian on the other. She never looks at him when she is talking to him, she does not want him to touch her, and she kicks him out of the room after he tells her that she can't love him. She also leaves the next morning and not the same night. We don't see her return to her apartment to cry it out as the movie ends as their meeting started with them saying farewell through closing elevator doors.

Most questions I have seen online are regarding what is included in the book and what is left out. There was more left out than included from what I could tell and at times it did make the movie feel a little rushed, but I don't think it was a bad thing. Like I said before, if they would have gone for a line for line adaptation it would have run long and gotten too corny.

What was omitted (for those who read the book):

  • Anastasia does not get a job: In the book, Ana interviews for jobs and is hired right out of college as an assistant to the editor at a publishing firm in Seattle, but the movie has no mention of her even applying for jobs. I would assume this is something that will be saved for the second film.
  • Mrs. Jones is non-existent: As you might know, Christian's housekeeper was quite prevalent in the books and she did come into some significance in Fifty Shades Freed. However, she is not included or even mentioned in the movie. 
  • Taylor is not as prevalent: Taylor seemed to always be around in the books, but in the movie he is more of a backdrop and isn't that noticeable. 
  • Christian's overwhelming jealousy with other men in Anastasia's life: The book shows Christian was constantly overprotective of Ana and jealous of the other men in her life such as Jose Rodriguez, Ethan Kavanagh, and Paul Clayton. The movie doesn't depict this beyond Christian showing up at the bar and pushing Jose away from Ana when he tries to make a pass at her.
  • Ethan Kavanagh is non-existent: Speaking of jealousy and non-existent characters, Kate's brother Ethan does not make an appearance in the film and is not mentioned. He is another character that becomes somewhat important to the plot, so I assume he will appear in the second film. 
  • Dr. Greene is non-existent: Beyond a quick mention by Christian asking how the GYN appointment went, we did not see or hear any more about Dr. Greene. She is in the book and is in the later books as well, so this might be another casting announcement they are saving until the sequels. 
  • The WSU graduation was very quick: Ana's graduation is very big in the books and it gave Christian a big introduction to Ray, Ana's father. All we got to see on screen was a small bit of Christian's speech, Ana talking to him while getting her diploma, Ray and Christian shaking hands, the photo taken for the newspaper, and that's about it. 
  • Anastasia's trip to Georgia was very quick: There were several chapters dedicated to Ana's trip to visit her mother and had events such as her being silently upgraded to first class, her being more involved with her mother and stepfather, Christian dropping in on her, more sex, arguing with Christian about paying at an IHOP, and the air glider. The movie basically depicts Ana having lunch with her family, being dropped in on by Christian at the hotel, and being taken flying in the glider. That's it. 
  • Christian's issues with Anastasia's eating habits were minimal: Christian basically shoves food down Ana's throat throughout the book and consistently tells her she needs to eat. She also describes that she is so intimidated by Christian that she finds it difficult to eat around him. In the movie, he presents her food and the underlying tone of eating being important to him is there, but it's not overbearing. She doesn't seem to have an appetite problem at all in the movie.
  • There is less sex: The book has a total of 48 sex scenes. The movie has seven.
  • More controversial sex scenes were omitted entirely: Scenes involving fellatio, tampon removal, cunnilingus, and sex by intimidation and threats that were prevalent in the book were not present in the film at all. Don't let the internet fool you because they simply aren't in the film
  • The ending is a bit different: As I said already, the end of the book and the movie are essentially the same but have minor differences. The book has more of a conflicting struggle between the two characters and Ana really doesn't want to leave. She gives Christian back the gifts he got her much to his disapproval and they argue over the money for her Volkswagen. The movie, however, had Ana really wanting to leave. She was repulsed by Christian and hurt at the same time. He seemed to immediately realize what he had done by going after her and she responds by a very forceful, "Stop. No!" as she gets in the elevator to leave. 
  • The technology is upgraded: The book introduced us to Ana as if she was attending college in the early 1990's. She didn't have a personal computer and seemed to be completely lost when it came to technology. The book also utilized Apple and Blackberry products. The version of Ana we get in the movie has an older but decent flip-phone and a computer, but the computer is broken. Christian still gifts her the Macbook, but he does not give her a cell phone. His Blackberry also was updated to an iPhone. 
  • The beginning is very to the point: We get to Christian and Ana's first night in his apartment after 40min or so in the film, but it is several chapters into the book before we get to that scene. The book has a lot more conversations between the two characters and the post-interview events at the Heathman were also more in detail. The film takes us from 0-60mph quite fast because it is very quick from the initial interview at Grey House to the first night in the apartment. Conversations between Ana and Jose are not included as well as conversations between Ana and Kate. We don't see Christian ask Ana for coffee but we hear about it and the coffee scene is over and done with very quickly. 
  • Kate is not as protective of Anastasia: Kate is a lot more involved in the book than in the movie. She gets rather threatening towards Christian and when he upsets Ana she nearly kicks him out of their apartment in an attempt to keep him away from her friend. The movie depicts Kate as almost non-existent. She is there, but she isn't very involved. Ana kind of brushes off her roommate and in situations where Kate was present in the book she isn't in the movie, such as the night Christian shows up at their apartment.
  • Anastasia is a pretty feisty, funny girl: Ana was practically a talking piece of cardboard in the book. Let's be honest about that. The movie portrayed her in a very different light and it was a very necessary change. She has an obvious and likeable sense of humor and actually has self respect. She isn't overly aggressive towards Christian, but she knows what she wants and isn't shy about trying to talk about it. That is not something we had in the book at all. 
  • Christian's abundance of wealth: The exact depth of Christian's wealth isn't explored in any detail like it is in the book. We get the general idea given the fact that he has a garage full of cars and a helicopter, but that's really all we get. Ana also didn't seem as uncomfortable by his wealth as she was in the book. 

There is more that I could go on about, but those were the biggest things that I noticed. Overall I did enjoy the movie a lot more than the book. I think if this is a pace they are setting for the future movies that will no doubt happen they are off to a great start. I expected it to be horrible and was pleasantly surprised. 
I wouldn't recommend seeing this with anyone you would be uncomfortable seeing this subject matter with, such as parents. I saw it with a friend and we found things to laugh at and were comfortable with it. Just a heads up there. If you get weird seeing boobs in a movie you watch with your mom don't take her to go see this movie.

#fiftyshades #fiftyshadesofgrey

Kodi Smit-McPhee joins X-Men: Apocalypse

Fox is underway casting younger versions of the X-Men heroes and we have our fourth official casting announcement. Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee joins the young cast already consisting of Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), and Alexandra Shipp (Storm) and he will be playing the character of Nightcrawler in X-Men: Apocalypse

Smit-McPhee came onto the radar fairly young and was fantastic in Let Me In, the American version of Let the Right One In. He most recently reunited with Let Me In director, Matt Reeves, in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Nightcrawler was previously portrayed in the X-Men movies by Alan Cumming. Director Bryan Singer previously stated that he wanted to include Nightcrawler and Gambit in Apocalypse and he's already halfway there. Channing Tatum has been cast as Gambit for a solo film, but there is no confirmation (or denial) that Gambit will appear in Apocalypse.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pirates 5 gets an official title and synopsis

Production is finally underway for the fifth installment of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise in Queensland, Australia. This film has been in development since 2013 when directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Ronning were brought onto the project by Jerry Bruckheimer. Seeing that production started we have received some new information regarding the title, official casting, and an official synopsis.

As previously rumored, the film's title is indeed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Still on the casting list is the franchise's main moneymaker, Johnny Depp, as well as Javier Bardem, Kaya Scodelario, Brenton Thwaites, Geoffrey Rush, Golshifteh Farahani, Stephen Graham, and Kevin R. McNally. This will also be the first Pirates film without writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. Dead Men Tell No Tales is being written by Indiana Jones writer, Jeff Nathanson.

Here is the official synopsis:
Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down on his luck Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil's Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea... including him. Captain Jack's only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas. 

So there you have it. The cliffhanger with the mermaids in On Stranger Tides is being ignored and we have more ghost pirates similar to what we had in Curse of the Black Pearl. Also no mention on the fact that Will Turner still has some control over the seas because he is the captain of the Flying Dutchman.
I love the Pirates movies just like everyone else, but they need to just stop. There is only so much you can do with these characters.

As far as we know, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is set to hit theaters on July 7, 2017.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey quickly shatters records

No one really knew what to expect from the release of Fifty Shades of Grey this weekend, but the film adaptation of the erotic novel has surprised many and in three days has shattered box office records.

Not only has it already grossed $239.7 million at the international box office (and still climbing), it managed to bring in $81 million just in the United States. The film has more than made up its $40 million budget and it has been said that films for "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed" are most likely happening.

Want some more records?
  • Biggest President's/Valentine's Day opener (previously was Valentine's Day with $56.3 million)
  • Second highest film from a female director (first place still belongs to The Matrix Reloaded from the Wachowski's)
  • Highest number of theater screenings with 3,646 locations (previously was The Hangover: Part II with 3,615)
  • Biggest single-day February opening with $36.7 million (previously was Passion of the Christ with $33.1 million)
  • Second biggest February debut (first place still belongs to Passion of the Christ with $83.9 million)
  • Fourth biggest R-rated opening (still got beat by The Matrix Reloaded, The Hangover: Part II, and Passion of the Christ... no pun intended)
  • Universal's second biggest international opening with $158 million (first still belongs to Fast & Furious 6 with $160.3 million)
  • Biggest R-rated international release (previously was The Matrix Revolutions with $117 million)

I have yet to see Fifty Shades of Grey, but reviews of the film so far have been a mixed bag. It's pretty much a hit with fans and there are some critics out there that have given it some positivity, but it's received an overwhelmingly negative reactive from most film critics. The basics that I have gotten is it's watered down and sappy because they turned it into a love story. Also that Dakota Johnson is by far the best part of the movie and Jamie Dornan struggled and was flat.

With all that said, the box office alone proves that a lot of people were curious. I have no doubt we'll have more Fifty Shades in 2016 and 2017. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Joel Kinnaman in early Suicide Squad negotiations

Rumor has it that Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) is in early negotiations to replace Tom Hardy as Rick Flagg in the upcoming Suicide Squad film. Hardy was scheduled to play the group's leader, but he backed out a couple weeks ago due to scheduling conflicts and apparently he had issues with the script, too.

Kinnaman hit the big scene after starring in AMC's The Killing and he was the male lead in the recent RoboCop reboot. I didn't see either the show or the movie, so I have no opinion on whether he would be a good replacement for Tom Hardy. If he does wind up getting the role he will join the existing cast of Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jai Courtney, and Cara Delevigne.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How exactly can, and will, Spider-Man fit into Marvel?

There is a lot of speculation right now regarding the announcement of Sony and Marvel teaming up for Spider-Man. The main question on everyone's mind is, how exactly will Spider-Man fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Not only that, how will he be introduced?

There are a few possibilities here...

First of all, we already have confirmation that Spidey will appear in one Marvel film prior to a new solo film in 2017 and that it will feature a new actor, not Andrew Garfield. My personal guess is the same as a lot of other guesses... Captain America: Civil War.
Civil War follows the rift between the heroes as Tony Stark and Steve Rogers form their own teams to fight against one another in light of the Superhuman Registration Act and Spider-Man is one of those heroes. There are already rumors floating around regarding X-Men characters making cameos as well as the new Fantastic Four, so it would make perfect sense for Spidey to be introduced in some way for Civil War. Not to mention that is the next major Marvel film following Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man and the only one that makes sense prior to 2017. I doubt we will get a Spidey cameo in either of those as they have both finished filming and we don't have a new Peter Parker yet.

Another possibility is to just continue The Amazing Spider-Man story that's already happened. This is possible to just continue the foundation that's been laid out already and it would further support Sinister Six and Venom which are both still in development at Sony. However, with Andrew Garfield not returning there would be no real reason to continue it. If they do decide to continue it with a new actor they could still go off the fact that Gwen Stacy is dead, Peter's father might be alive, and that Spider-man has super blood.

However, they very well could just have Spider-Man appear out of nowhere. The option here is to just introduce Spider-Man as if he already existed but just wasn't focused on. Easy as pie.

If all else fails, maybe we could just go for another origins story! This is by far the worst idea out of all of them because we've had two Spider-Man origins in just a little over a decade. Not to mention everyone knows it. Peter gets bitten by a genetically altered spider, Uncle Ben dies, and Oscorp is his evil foe. It's been done and we don't need it again.

At the end of the day, even with Marvel's help, Sony will have final creative approval over Spider-Man so who knows what will happen.

Spider-Man spinoffs still on without Marvel's help

With the news of the agreement between Sony and Marvel regarding Spider-Man, there were some questions regarding the upcoming spinoff films Sony already has given the green light to. We learned today that Sinister Six and Venom are indeed still moving forward and they will not require the assistance of Marvel and Kevin Feige.

There is no confirmation on whether Alex Kurtzman and Drew Goddard are still attached to their respective films, but the fact that Sony managed to hang out to these projects is pretty surprising. With that said, I would assume that Kurtzman and Goddard are going to stay in the picture. Without the involvement of Kevin Feige, who will co-produce the next solo Spidey film, Sony seems to want to try and prove once again that they can create a successful interconnected universe.
One thing to remember is now that Spider-Man can appear in Marvel films, that means Marvel characters can appear in the Sony films. This does open a possibility of introducing Marvel cameos into Venom and/or Sinister Six. Goddard does have some experience dealing with Marvel as he was originally attached to the Daredevil series set to premiere on Netflix, but he departed due to his commitments to Sinister Six

With the announced agreement between the studios last night it was also confirmed that previously announced Sony versions of The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 have been officially canceled. Sony had already delayed the projects by a year but with Marvel stepping in they have opted to restart with a new Spider-Man film in 2017. This all was kickstarted by the complete failure that was The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Many fans called for yet another reboot of the character with new villains and a new Peter Parker and it looks like they are getting their wish as Marvel is hoping to cast a younger actor to portray Spidey. Sorry, Andrew Garfield.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Sony and Marvel agree to terms on Spider-Man

Guys.. this is finally happening.

There is confirmation that Marvel and Sony Pictures have agreed to terms and Spider-Man will appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The deal between the studios outlines a plan to have Spider-Man appear in an MCU film prior to the next solo Spidey film to be released by Sony in 2017. Another big tidbit is the next solo film will be co-produced by Marvel President, Kevin Feige. It is also possible that MCU characters might crossover into Sony's realm and vice versa. 
Rumors of this surfaced a few months back in the midst of the big Sony hack when leaked emails between Marvel and Sony were uncovered. Just about the only thing to come from the hacks was Sony co-chairman, Amy Pascal, stepping down. She will, however, still co-produce the Spider-Man film with Kevin Feige. There is no definite word yet on whether Andrew Garfield will continue as Peter Parker, but my guess is they will recast him at some point. He hasn't been a big hit so far.

My guess is the film Spidey will appear in will most definitely be Captain America: Civil War. That's really the only major Marvel release, aside from Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, coming prior to a 2017 solo release. It would also make sense as Spider-Man appears in the Civil War comics.

This is good news!

Saw writers to write the new Halloween

The writers of the later half of the Saw franchise have been hired to pen yet another adaptation of John Carpenter's Halloween. Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan have branched away from the Saw franchise since its end and now it seems they are returning to horror.

It is worth noting that this isn't technically another reboot or remake of Halloween, but it is being described as a "recalibration." There isn't really any telling what that means exactly, but I would assume it's going to be another attempt to distance the franchise from Rob Zombie's two Halloween films. This new Halloween project, appropriately titled Halloween 3D, has been in development for a while but nothing has moved forward yet. This is the first update we've had for several months.

Personally, I'm not a fan of Dunstan or Melton so this doesn't excite me at all.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey sequels confirmed

The Today Show held a special premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey at New York's Ziegfeld Theater with lead actors Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in attendance as well as author EL James and director Sam Taylor-Johnson. Reactions to the film are still trickling in on the internet, but one tidbit of information that did manage to leak was that films for the two Fifty Shades sequels will be happening.

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson announced at the screening that Universal has approved sequels and we will indeed be getting films for Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. Despite many people saying the actors have no chemistry and several domestic violence and religious groups urging moviegoers to boycott the film, the ticket presales alone gives Universal enough reason to give these projects the green light. There is no telling whether Taylor-Johnson will return to direct, but if EL James remains as involved as she was with the first film I don't think she will be coming back. Their creative differences is no secret and Taylor-Johnson has taken just about every opportunity she has gotten to blast James for her ridiculous amount of control over the project.

So like it or not, we have 2-3 more years of this franchise so you might as well get used to it. Now starts the fan arguments over who should be cast as Elena "Mrs. Robinson" Lincoln and Jack Hyde.

Personally, I found Fifty Shades Freed to be the most enjoyable book, by far, so hopefully they don't take that away and make it completely nuts... or split it into two parts.

Edit: According to insider sources, and the actors, the sequels aren't a done deal just yet. Everyone went from saying they were confirmed to saying they are hoping they happen. The truth is Universal is currently fighting with Fifty Shades author EL James over her demands and it is stalling production. As a result, Universal isn't officially announcing anything until they sort things out with James.

Lionsgate exploring Hunger Games prequels and sequels

More proof that studios need to beat every living ounce of something great.

Lionsgate announced earlier that Mockingjay - Part 2 will be released in IMAX 3D, but we also got a bit of information from CEO John Feltheimer regarding the future of The Hunger Games franchise. Apparently the studio is exploring options for expansion not limited to sequels and/or prequels to the original trilogy.

The Hunger Games has earned over $2 billion at the box office so far, but it's very unlikely that our main stars would continue doing Hunger Games films even after the second half of Mockingjay is released this November. Depending on how close they stayed to the end of the book, Katniss and Peeta would be long gone by the time any sequels came to be.
This is obviously a get rich scheme and it's disgusting. The focus shifted off Twilight so now they're trying to push forward The Hunger Games. I don't approve.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

EL James determined Fifty Shades of Grey ending, not the director.

It would appear that Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James did truly have the last word regarding the film adaptation. The Hollywood Reporter is stating that James managed to overrule director Sam Taylor-Johnson on how the film ends.
It has been said before that when Universal and Focus Features bought the film rights from EL James (aka, Erika Leonard) that she was promised exceptional input and control over the film. Apparently they really weren't kidding about that tidbit as she controlled a lot of the film's production, the script, and had several spats on set with Sam Taylor-Johnson over the creative direction of the film. 

If you are unaware of how the book ends (spoiler alert), Anastasia Steele winds up walking out on Christian Grey after he whips her six times with a leather belt as punishment for her undesirable behavior and for continuously breaking his rules. Granted she asks for it so she can try to fully understand his desires, but in the end she is so disgusted with him that she walks out on the relationship.

According to THR, James pushed for the final word in the film to be "stop" while Taylor-Johnson's preferred ending was the word "red," which was Anastasia's unused safe-word in the book. James' preferred ending came from the original screenplay she wrote with Kelly Marcel while the other ending came from a rewrite that was done by Patrick Marber.
Since the press tour started, Taylor-Johnson has been pretty vocal on her differences with EL James stating that filming was "very difficult" with the author being so involved with every aspect of the shoot. Other insiders claimed that James used every opportunity to flex the power given to her by Universal and it caused unnecessary creative rifts between her, the director, and the actors.
In the end it seems that this all comes down to an author not realizing that movie adaptations are not identical to the books. You do have to change things up a bit and include some aspects that would be missing from a page to page adaptation. Sam Taylor-Johnson and many insiders apparently felt that the ending James pressured them into using might hurt the allure of sequels and viewers won't be as satisfied as they would have been otherwise. Universal has yet to comment on this, but I would bet that if they greenlight movies for Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed that they won't have Taylor-Johnson back. Not unless they restrain EL James.

As someone who read the books both endings confuse me a little bit, especially if James was pushing for such a close adaptation. Anastasia's final interaction with Christian was her walking out and saying goodbye, it wasn't just her telling him to stop. Her final interaction of the book was with Christian's bodyguard, Taylor. If it ends with her just telling Christian to stop they will have left out her actually walking out on him which is a big mistake. On the other hand, if they would have gone with the "red" ending it would have destroyed Ana's arc completely because she never uses the safe-word. It comes heavily into play in the second book because Christian blames her for not using the safe-word and letting him know she couldn't handle what was being done to her.
I figure they probably cut the movie a bit short when it comes to the book because I have no doubt we will get sequels and they had to do something to entice people who haven't read the books for more. The film has already broken pre-sale ticket records and is on track to make over $60 million at the box office, just on opening weekend.

Either way, we will find out in 8 days. 

First poster for Poltergeist reboot

We also got a teaser for the teaser trailer (barf) and it looks like a typical, jump scare romp. I'm not expecting anything great. Not to mention it's PG-13
Poltergeist is set to hit theaters in 3D on July 24th.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Felicity Jones to lead Star Wars spin-off

We learned last week that Oscar-nominee Felicity Jones was competing for the lead female role in Gareth Edwards' Star Wars spin-off. She was up against Rooney Mara and Tatiana Maslany but in the end Jones has won the role and will appear as Edwards' leading lady.

The plot for this film is unknown, but we do have a December 16, 2016 release date set by Disney. The second spin-off being directed by Josh Trank is not currently related or unrelated to this film, but it's assumed they will either tie into the original films or they will tie into the new trilogy.

I say welcome to the Star Wars universe, Felicity Jones. I'm sure you'll fit in just fine.

2015 Super Bowl TV Spots

We got a lot of TV Spots during the Super Bowl and while some didn't quite hit the mark, there were others that did. Here is all of the TV Spots aired during the Super Bowl.

I think my favorite spot from this year was easily Tomorrowland with Inside Out closely following. There was also a disappointing, and surprising, lack of Avengers: Age of Ultron from the Super Bowl trailers this year. I figured we would get some sort of new teaser for the Super Bowl but I was wrong.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Prepare for 20+ min of sex in Fifty Shades of Grey

If you wanted something exciting from the first official clip from Fifty Shades of Grey you might have to wait a little while longer. The Today Show revealed the clip this morning of Christian Grey surprising Ana Steele at her workplace to buy cable ties, rope, and masking tape. Kudos to them for staying true to the book, but it's boring as hell. They really are keeping the interesting stuff for the theaters.

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However, Yahoo! UK is reporting that the highly anticipated adaptation, which we will receive in 11 days, contains over 20min of sex scenes. That is essentially a fifth of the whole film.They have also named it the "rudest film in a decade." Yahoo reportedly obtained the information via the adult website, Mr. Skin, in which they claim there is a total of 12 full sex scenes in the film. 12 may seem like a lot, but considering there are a total of 48 sex scenes in the book it really isn't that bad.
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson has reiterated numerous times that despite the loyal fanbase and expectations, the movie has been toned down because she didn't want it to be completely explicit. The lead actors Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson have both stated that they don't believe the film crosses into pornographic territory and that the production team acted as a whole to avoid that.

If you're "curious" you can see Fifty Shades of Grey starting on February 13th.