I went to the cinema to watch Fifty Shades of Grey and I have some questions

Fifty Shades of Grey has barely been in cinemas for a few days yet I've read approximately 23,980 articles about it and got to see (NSFW) gifs of Jamie Dornan's butt and bush before seeing it myself. It's bloody everywhere. And while some continue to go out of their way to say how terrible it is even though they haven't seen it, I thought it was fine. It's not as terrible as it should have been and it's not particularly fantastic either, but I've seen worse films this year (*cough* Jupiter Ascending *cough*) and it doesn't deserve the snobbery-laced kicking some people are give it. Still, everyone has their own opinions, and although I'll probably be defending this until the end of my days (Ghostbusters 2, meet your new friend), I have some questions and I demand answers. *Contains spoilers*

1) Why didn't Ana and Christian's relationship get time to breathe?

The first scene is her interviewing him for her college newspaper, and for some reason he foregoes the paperwork to snog her in a lift not long afterwards. There should've been a bit more time for the sexual tension to build-up so when he finally gets her against a wall it doesn't feel so hasty.
2) Why do all the women in Grey's company look like a cross between Jamie King and Margot Robbie?

They were weird silver suits, too. Like from the future.

3) Why didn't anyone tell Jamie Dornan when his accent slipped?

I know Christian had a tough childhood, but they didn't say anything about him living with his crackhead mum in Belfast.

4) Why does Ana have a flip phone?

No-one is so poor in 2015 that they still have a flip phone. I've seen tramps outside tube stations with iPhones.

5) What happened to Jose?

Apart from her nosey flatmate we never really meet any of Ana's pals except for Jose, who clearly fancies the pants off her and is desperately trying to navigate his way out of the friend zone. Unfortunately he chooses to do this when she's drunk off her tits and is quickly pushed out the way by Christian. We see Jose again so clearly the pair remain friends, but at no point does either of them address the awkwardness, which is just weird.

6) Why all the pop songs?

I would've loved to have heard Danny Elfman score this film instead of tolerating Ellie Goulding's raspy yodel.

7) What's wrong with being a virgin?

After whisking her away to his penthouse flat, Christian gets down to the business of bonking and starts questioning Ana about her sexual history. Well, she doesn't have any, and after a moment of bemusement he drags her away to his room a jolly good deflowering. Sure, losing your virginity to a billionaire in his posh flat is a bit better than the way most people do, but he almost seems disgusted by it. So disgusted he feels it is his duty to "rectify the situation". "I'm a situation?" she replies. Apparently, yes.

8) Why couldn't all the sex scenes be as good as the 'wine scene'?

While many try to convince you that Fifty Shades of Grey will leave you as dry as the Sahara, it does have odd moments of sexiness. Apart from the fact that he simply appears in Ana's flat (Seriously, how the fuck did he get in?) and we have to hear Beyonce singing over it, the scene in which he ties her up, covers her eyes with her sweaty sports bra, spits wine in her mouth and runs ice down her body is rather good. When he flipped her over and slapped her behind the women in the cinema (myself included) made a sound I cannot begin to describe.
9) Why couldn't he just be a kinky fuck?

This is more a question for EL James instead of Sam Taylor-Johnson, but I was bothered by his troubled childhood. I just didn't care for that and his sad piano playing. Nothing ruins a boner quite like someone going on about their past. But speaking of...

10) When do we get to meet Mrs Robinson?

The one interesting nugget in Christian's backstory is the woman who made him her sub when he was 15 and with whom he still maintains a relationship. I'm sure we'll see her in the inevitable sequel, but I wanted to hear more about that and less about his mum.

11) The negotiation scene was pretty good, right?

Now I know why it's been singled out in almost every review.

12) Why do we never see them going on a date?

In the negotiation scene Christian offers a weekly date in exchange for everything Ana is allowing which makes her very happy. But do we see them on a date? Nope. The drunk dialling and Christian's "smile" in the photoshoot provoked genuine giggles in the cinema and him trying to be a normal date may have created more humour. The film is two hours long with barely any plot so I have no idea why that didn't happen.

13) Why is Christian always wearing jeans in the red room?

Dicks in movies is a problem for some reason, and while I never expected to see Dornan's D, him wandering around in jeans was just weird. It's especially odd when Dakota Johnson showed everything and this is supposed to be a film for horny women. When oh when will our needs be met?
14) Is peacock feather tickling really as far as they could go?

I will never forgive Universal for watering the sex down so much. At least until Fast and Furious 7 comes out.

15) Can we see Patrick Marber's version somewhere?

Sam Taylor-Johnson and Kelly Marcel have gamely polished this turd, but I still wonder what could have been. What if EL James didn't serve as producer? What if it was a NC-17? What if Taylor-Johnson was allowed to make the film she wanted to? Most importantly, I'm extremely keen to read Patrick Marber's take, mainly because he would've done Dornan a favour and removed all the terrible dialogue he's saddled with.

16) That ending though...

Yeah, that's not a question, but it has to be mentioned. Many hated it but I loved it, mainly because the studio are so certain of success they don't even need to try. The whole scene with him hurting her and she rejecting him was a reminder that the rest of the film desperately needed drama and indeed a plot. Still, I kinda liked it.


Sandy and Frenchy together again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(...with Olivia's manager.)

This happened weeks ago and somehow I missed it. Google alert has some explaining to do.

Via: Boy Culture


Ten films I missed in 2014

You may have noticed from my silence for about, oh, seven months that I haven't been very good at blogging this year. Come to think of it, I haven't been very good at watching films, either. So as it's the time of year when everyone churns out list after list, I'm doing the same in a slightly different way by looking at all the films I missed during 2014. The best film of the year is 12 Years a Slave, by the way.

10. The Grand Budapest Hotel
I have a real love/hate relationship with Wes Anderson. On one hand, I love that he has a very distinct style, but on the other, I sometimes hate that style. However when I saw Ralph Fiennes with his little 'tasche, Tilda Swinton with her old face and Bill Murray as Bill Murray, I instantly became interested. The sweary dialogue that seeped through before the release date and the wonderfully garish colours colliding all over the place also made me think this may be the Wes Anderson movie for me. And yet, I didn't see it. I should probably mention that I began watching it a few months back on DVD but fell asleep because I sometimes find it difficult to stay awake during films, which is a great skill to have when you're paid to review films.

9. Pride
GAYS! They're great aren't they? How fucking wonderful of them to support the miners' strike in 1984 when they had their own problems to deal with. To be honest, when this was released in September it looked just a tad corny and therefore not worth me paying £8 for at my local (or £5 if I'm in Peckham), but since then I've seen the error of my ways and realise I should've sought it out because not only is it getting showered with accolades (including BIFA's Best British Independent Film award), it apparently features Dominic West dancing energetically to disco. Why the fuck didn't they put that on the poster?

8. Lucy
Depending on who you speak to, Lucy is either amazing or utter shit, but the fact it has polarised so many (while earning shitloads at the box office) is enough to entice me. Sure, this felt like a huge step back in ScarJo's career after the critically acclaimed Her (more on that later) and fucking creepy Under The Skin, but at least now she can storm into Kevin Feige's office and ask why the fuck Black Widow isn't getting her own film. I have a thing for mental films that make no bloody sense and this is supposed to be batshit crazy, so I'll be first in line when it's on Netflix and I have nothing better to do. 

7. Dallas Buyers Club
Now dropping weight is a legitimate shortcut to getting attention and awards, I'm mighty bored by films featuring malnourished stars before I've even seen them. Especially when that weight loss and performance stands in the way of Leonardo DiCaprio getting an Oscar, but I'm still up for seeing skeletal McConaughey and sassy Jared Leto do stuff before the inevitable sad ending where they both die. They both die, right? I'm guessing they die. 

6. Paddington
It's genuinely terrifying to see Hollywood work their way through beloved toys, books and cartoons of our youth, and even though I don't give a monkeys about a Peruvian bear, the reaction to this film has stunned me. The weekend of the press screening I saw my Twitter feed explode with praise from the most miserable bastards and many genuinely proclaimed it one of the best films of the year. Critics and audiences love it, and it's one of those films so universally loved I feel like I've missed out on something. 

5. Chef
I like food.

4. The Imitation Game
2014 is the year I finally got Benedict Cumberbatch. Sure, I fully appreciated his reading of R. Kelly's 'Genius' and his Chewbacca ain't bad, but I still didn't get the insane fandom surrounding Pamela Parry's son. But after blitzing through every episode of Sherlock, repeated viewings of this, and the fact he has Tom Hiddleston's phone number, I've grown rather fond of the man my mum calls 'Benadryl'. So why didn't I see his big movie of 2014? Maybe because it seems like a bit of a history lesson. Maybe because I'm incredibly picky when it comes to what I pay to see. Or maybe I had something better to do the weekend it came out, like sleep. Either way, I better watch this quickly if I want to get involved with the inevitable arguments during awards season. That's the best part! 

3. Her
I have yet to hear a bad word about this. And, y'know, moustaches. 

2. Nightcrawler
Jake Gyllenhaal's career has been really interesting to watch. As I've grown up, I've seen him go from emo god to almost-Spidey via dodgy blockbusters and tragic romances, and he obviously needed to give his career a tune up after the disastrous year that was 2010. Enter Nightcrawler: annoyingly not a biopic of a blue mutant but a neo-noir about a Travis Bickle-like amateur crime journalist/weirdo. It's written by Dan Gilroy and stars Bill Paxton, so I can only hang my head in shame for not catching it at the cinema.

1. The Guest
I can't remember the last time I've been so eager to see a film. I saw posters for this all over buses and magazines but ignored them because who pays attention to posters on buses anyway? It only came to my attention once the deafening praise clogged my ears and friends began telling me that I would love it because it features everything I love in the world, including gorgeous topless men. 
But as this is a pretty small film starring someone who drove into a tree in Downton Abbey (Feel free to add Dan Stevens to my list of favourite actors, right between Hiddles and McAvoy.) and made $285,845 across the pond, just as I began to start trawling London cinemas for it, it upped and disappeared like Dan's clothes. Luckily we live in a world where films are released on DVD and Blu-ray about ten minutes after leaving cinemas so I don't think it'll take me long to scratch this one of my must-watch list.

UPDATE: About four hours after writing this I relented and watched The Guest. It's utter and complete tosh and I still have no idea what it was actually about or how "David" turned himself into a terminator in a hot body, but it's so endearingly aware of how shite it is it's impossible not to love. 



It’s difficult to feel sorry for Brett Ratner. After gaining recognition for Rush Hour and its terrible sequels he promptly broke nerd hearts with X-Men: The Last Stand and continued this unfortunate run by making ill-advised remarks that saw him axed from producing the 2011 Academy Awards. Stylistically he’s been a bit Michael Bay-lite with his unoriginal mix of obvious humour, action and just a smidgen of loveable misogyny, but they’re always watchable in a there’s-nothing-better-to-watch way. Which brings us nicely to Hercules.

“You think you know the story of Hercules?”, says Ian McShane via clunky voiceover, leading us to believe that this will be a new take on the demigod. However anyone who’s seen the classic ‘90s TV show, Disney’s animated feature or is even vaguely aware of Greek mythology will already know the story quite well. But unlike other incarnations this one sees a woman’s unsupported bosom nearly fall out of her dress and a man almost impaled in his genitals, so perhaps this is a new take.

After his backstory is explained in three minutes (story < violence), Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) is approached the unfortunately-named Ergenia (Rebecca ‘not the X-Factor one’ Ferguson) to help her father defeat a warlord. He only agrees to do so after she promises to pay him and his bunch of misfits his weight in gold, so immediately Hercules isn’t the noblest of heroes. But underneath his stonking physique lies some issues as he’s routinely tortured by visions and nightmares about his past, and even he is confused by the legendary tales that precede him.

But every member of his team has their own story too, but instead of making them three-dimensional characters they’re summed up in short statements when introduced to people. At one point Aksel Hennie’s Tydeus frightens the young heir to the throne in a scene that only exists so Hercules can tell us he was tortured as a child, because apparently him tasting the blood of a corpse doesn’t make it abundantly clear that this man has issues. The only one who has any kind of development is Herc’s incredibly annoying nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie) who begs to be part of the action then does nothing but scream for his uncle when bald, tattooed crazies with spears come running at him. Get lost Scrappy-Doo, you’re useless.

The one thing you can’t fault with Ratner is that he knows what the people want and along with watching The Rock have a chat with Lovejoy, it’s the battle scenes. Bar the unnecessary 3D each one is perfectly staged and choreographed and is just violent enough to make up for the lack of blood. It’s obvious this whole film is Ratner’s fantasy movie but the action sequences, with its Chariots of Fire touches and leftover masks from Gladiator, is where he runs riot.

It should be mentioned that while the lone female warrior in the film struts around a leather crop top and matching mini skirt when she should be wearing armour, the perv-o-meter really goes off the chart when Johnson is front and centre. Each pan across his body is slow and lingering, and even when he’s covered in dust he still glistens; supermodel Irina Shayk may flash her thong for the boys, but this is pec porn of the highest order.

Dwayne Johnson has already proved he can stretch his natural charisma and screen presence to everything from brainless action (Fast & Furious series) to comedies (The Other Guys) and he makes a perfectly fine Hercules in a perfectly watchable film, and given Ratner’s recent output that’s more than we could've hoped for.

(This review was originally published by Virgin Media movies)



James Garner
1928 - 2014



Ridiculously long title aside, Rise of the Planet of the Apes easily surpassed expectations thanks to revolutionary effects, a top notch performance from Andy Serkis and John Lithgow's mad scientist hair. We're all so cynical when reboots and remakes are announced the filmmakers are already fighting a losing battle before it's even been released despite near guarantee of financial success, but ROTPOTA managed to justify its existence. So what now? Well, it's ten years after the ALZ-113 virus led to the collapse of humanity and Caesar is the leader of a delightful ape community where big orange ones teach the alphabet to little ones, apes in positions of power ride horses and female apes have babies and circle the drain but hardly ever utter a word, as nature intended.

I wonder what could ruin this peaceful and seemingly happy existence for the now free apes? Humans, of course. One of them encounters Blue Eyes and Ash, the sons of Caesar and his pal Rocket, and panics, shooting Ash and kicking off issues again with apes and humans. But one guy believes they can co-exist after fixing a dam in ape territory that will provide long-term energy for what used to be San Francisco so he goes in and gains Caesar's trust before the other one who's already shot Ash cocks up again. Long story short, things get messy and a war breaks out between humans and apes that involves Koba, Caesar's number one dude, jumping through fire on a horse while brandishing a damn uzi. I'm not joking.

Did you notice I haven't mentioned any of the human people's names? That's because they don't matter and could easily be summed up in general terms: the good guy, the untrusting guy, the black guy, the woman, the latin guy who disappears after the first act, the damaged teen who expresses himself through drawings, and Gary Oldman. ROTPOTA was all about how Caesar became leader of the apes but maintained the love he has for Will (James Franco), and that's still there, but while he had Will in the first film, his relationship with - OK, I'll give him a name - Malcolm isn't as effective because we have no idea who Malcolm is. The screenwriters honestly think we'll give a shit about him just by mentioning the fact that he lost his wife to the virus. Everyone lost someone to the virus - what else you got?

Thin human characters aside, DOTPOTA is exciting and massively watchable, and that's really all to the effects and the people in the onesies covered with balls. I'm not going to weigh in on the argument that Andy Serkis and actors like him deserve awards because I can't be bothered, but he carries the film and thoroughly deserves top billing. Thanks to ROTPOTA being surprisingly good, DOTPOTA feels slightly disappointing, but a bunch of bland humans aren't enough to drag down the whole film that's still one of the strongest offerings from this year's blockbuster season so far.


The cast of Hercules were in London for a Q&A and I went along for shizz and giggs

Invites for footage preview presentations are usually go ignored because when I watch a film I like to watch the entire film, not 5 minutes out of context. However I recanted on this when one popped in my inbox that not only promised footage clips and food (it didn't promise food but it was in the morning so I put two and two together), but an appearance from The Rock himself. And Brett Ratner. 

After shamelessly consuming more than a few mini pain au chocolats, I took my seat and was greeted with a wall of cameras, journos and people running around checking their watches. Approximately 20 minutes after the screening was billed Edith Bowman came out and introduced the man responsible for X-Men: The Last Stand. Looking just as you'd expect (Why do rich men always settle for ill-fitting suits?), he wittered on for a bit about his modern take on Hercules; how it's "a family film", it's a role Dwayne Johnson was born to play, it's his dream movie and how he hasn't finished it yet because he's editing three different versions. 

Eventually we got to the first set of clips that showed Herc in various scenes of battle that did a good job of showing just how gigantic Johnson has made himself. It's almost obscene. The clips were not in 3D and looked all the better for it; the ones in 3D made an already cartoony film even more cartoonish. Still, the signs are good. Johnson does have the charisma to carry a film like this and the main character has a typical gang of pals who each fulfil a role: funny one, short one, bearded one, woman. The main clip was a large scale battle sequence that featured flipping horses, Katniss Everdeen in a leather mini skirt and Ian McShane being, well, Ian McShane. People erupted into applause and for once it wasn't just because the director was there, it was because it was really good fun. Let's hope the completed film plays to that very clear strength.

Back in Leicester Square, Ratner returned for more rambling. Upon introducing Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, the aforementioned Katniss in leather, he randomly started shouting "We love female empowerment!", obviously forgetting that she spends the majority of her time in next to nothing and barely says a word. Speaking of, Irina Shayk was quite literally sitting pretty, waiting for someone to notice something other than her long legs and her struggle to keep her short skirt down. Finally Edith asked the Russian supermodel a question and she gave an answer so brilliant I wish it was just her and McShane up there. 

"I honestly think I was hired to be naked." No chatter about her "craft", no wittering about aspiring to be the next Meryl Streep, just pure unadulterated honestly that backed up almost every clip we saw on her in a thong and not much else. How delightful. Truthfully for a Q&A there was an awful lot of A with almost no Q. Ratner is clearly an excitable guy who loves making movies but we barely heard anything from anyone else and his answers veered wildly. Still, we did get to see John Hurt prance around talking about fabulous sandals for a few minutes. That - and the pastries - was well worth the trip.

Hercules is released in the UK on July 25th