Fifty Shades Darker – Extended Trailer

FIFTY SHADES DARKER 

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Darker, the second chapter based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” phenomenon.  Expanding upon events set in motion in 2015’s blockbuster film that grossed more than $560 million globally, the new installment arrives for Valentine’s Day and invites you to slip into something a shade darker.

 When a wounded Christian Grey tries to entice a cautious Ana Steele back into his life, she demands a new arrangement before she will give him another chance.  As the two begin to build trust and find stability, shadowy figures from Christian’s past start to circle the couple, determined to destroy their hopes for a future together.

 Also returning from Fifty Shades of Grey are Academy Award® winner Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Ehle, Victor Rasuk, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford and Max Martini, who are joined for the first time by Oscar® winner Kim Basinger, Bella Heathcote and Eric Johnson.

 Fifty Shades Darker is directed by James Foley (Fear, House of Cards) and once again produced by Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Marcus Viscidi, alongside E L James, the creator of the culture-spanning blockbuster series.  The screenplay is by Niall Leonard, based on the novel by James.

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Jennifer Ehle, Victor Rasuk, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford, Max Martini, Bella Heathcote with Kim Basinger and Marcia Gay Harden

Directed by: James Foley

In Theaters February 10th

http://www.fandango.com

Rules Don’t Apply

In 1958, the sweet and innocent Ms. Apple Blossom Queen from Virginia, Marla Mabrey (Collins), with dreams of making it big in Hollywood, steps into the world of Howard Hughes and her life is never the same.  For four-hundred dollars a week, a house to reside and a driver she, along with many other woman, are actresses, singers and dancers, kept under contract and available at all times for screen by Hughes, ready for screen tests at a moments notice and at his whim.  What becomes evident and quickly is he may not have anything for them, but nobody else can have them.  They are what he sees as the best and he, the great and powerful Howard Hughes, has them.  It makes the point of the opening scroll clearer; a quote by Hughes, “Never check an interesting fact.”  Being very paranoid Hughes keeps close check on everyone he employees yet is emotionally close to few.  Of his many drivers, Frank (Ehrenreich), a young and deeply religious Methodist, grabs the attention of the virginal Baptist Blossom, Marla.  Frank is not only religious but engaged, however, he notices her, as well, struck by her ability to stand out in a crowd; to be different, speak as an individual and not try to fit into a mold.

“Perfect holiday release…Give it a watch!” Shari K. Green

Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager, tmc.io

Hughes has strict rules about his drivers having affairs if they’re married, in fact, rule #1 is no employee is allowed to have any relationship whatsoever with a contract actress.  He doesn’t want them getting too close in any capacity but Frank can’t help himself and breaks the rule.  Frank and Marla, having an almost immediate attraction to one another, get closer and closer and defy the rules of not only Hughes but of their church.  Perhaps this is the only way they find comfort in the abnormal life they cater to each day.

Paranoia grips the eccentric billionaire for which they work.  Frank and Marla become a lifeline to Hughes as he teeters on the edge of madness.  He sees almost no one and he lives in the shadows; in the dark and secrecy.  Once you’re in, you give up your life for his and his desires, his dreams.  His needs are always met and whether fake or fiction in the heart of the person doing it, everyone coddles him and indulges him, laughs at every joke and is at his beckon call.  Frank and Marla change who they are as time moves on, to please their boss but soon it comes clear his interest is only in himself.

The film is quite fascinating.  With rumors of his quizzical personality and the opening quote, “Never check an interesting fact,” the question is what or if any of the film is factual.  Did he really have to have certain ice-cream instantly at any given moment and insist on flying himself across the world at the drop of a hat?  Curiosity of Hughes himself is what makes this movie so riveting but the sweet love story, the old fashion style it’s presented and the music Beatty uses makes it that much more delightful.  Beatty is larger than life and it’s great to see him back with this particular project.  He also wrote and produced it so he chose cinematographer, Caleb Deschanel (The Natural, Hope Floats, The Passion of the Christ) who has everyone in a special glow that befits the time period and the ambience Beatty was going for.  “Rules Don’t Apply” is the perfect holiday release and I suggest you give it a watch this Thanksgiving weekend.

hacksaw-ridge-movie-review

Hacksaw Ridge

War is Hell, as it is said, but a movie about War can go many different ways. “Hacksaw Ridge” plays up the unusual angle of a World War II conscientious objector who was the first one to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. He refused to carry a weapon on the battlefield, and instead carried 75 wounded men to safety on Okinawa.

Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) grows up in a backwoods area in Virginia. He was raised by his strict alcoholic father (Hugo Weaving) and loving mother (Rachel Griffiths). When his brother goes off to WWII, Desmond also decides to enlist. His new girlfriend Dorothy (Teresa Palmer) is surprised, because Doss is such a gentle soul.

Doss proclaims status as conscientious objector is valid in the Army. But it does not sit well with his superiors, Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn) and Captain Glover (Sam Worthington).  They try every way possible to make Doss uncomfortable so he will leave on his own. The base commander orders Doss to pick up a rifle. When he refuses, Doss is threatened with court marshal.

Doss misses the leave from the base when he was to be married to Dorothy. Desmond’s father pulls some old favors from a World War I buddy. Desmond Doss is set free again to become a medic for the unit.

As the war winds down in Europe, the savage battle rages on in Japanese waters. On Okinawa, the unit is sent to perform an impossible mission: take Hacksaw Ridge. The long climb up rope ladders deposits the troops in a barren field of death. Other units have tried to take the Ridge, and many have died fighting the Japanese.

The fierce battle starts death coming from every direction. There are tunnels and bunkers and heavy weapons that the Japs are bringing down on the troops. Doss and his unit are slogging and fighting on, at the cost of many dead and wounded.  The Japanese retreat into hiding, getting ready to come in full force again.

Doss remains in the field, up on top of the Ridge. He hears a weak cry and goes to help a soldier. And then there is another, and another. He devises a way to lower the wounded down the side of the cliff, so he can stay and care for more wounded. Doss becomes the only one able save some of the solders. He helps Sergeant Howell among others.

Captain Glover is shocked to see so many of his men in the field hospital the next day. He finds out that Desmond Doss treated and carried out each of the 75 men. Doss and the rest of the troops are ordered to take the Ridge again. But this time, all the men are ready to reach the goal, knowing that Doss had the courage to stay up on the Ridge all night and save so many.

Andrew Garfield does a marvelous job with the difficult role of Doss. He plays a man of principles who is put down for his beliefs, but who is so strong in his conviction that he makes up for the fact that he will not fight. In a bloody and gruesome situation, Doss continued to find a way to save his fellow solders.

Every other actor does a really good job with the roles that they portray. But a special nod must go to Vince Vaughn, because in this role he is stretching his acting ability to new level. He plays a drill sergeant with a slight sarcastic streak. He is nowhere as good as R Lee Ermey in “Full Metal Jacket”, who was the real deal.

Mel Gibson is the director, and he is making his way back to place of respectability in Hollywood. Gibson might be criticized for the level of violence and gore in this movie. But it is a War movie, of course, so there will have to be something that will be bloody. The first part of the movie is almost a fantasy of small town and rural life, so the next part with the blood and guts does come as a shock.

The true life story of Desmond Doss is worth telling, and this movie tells the story well. It dips into a section of extreme war time violence that is disturbing. But Doss made the choice not to fight, he made the choice to help save. He was recognized and rewarded for his efforts.

Bridget Jones's Baby

Bridget Jones’s Baby

I’ll admit I was skeptical.  ‘Our favorite “singleton” having a baby?!’  With television programs, this is usually the “jump the shark” moment.  Have studios learned nothing from that?  How could this be good for a film that centers on our “Bridge” and her love affairs?!

Back in 2001, I met Bridget Jones in “Bridget Jones Diary” and have seen the film a dozen times or more since.  If I happen by while someone’s watching; I’ll watch, too.  If it’s on cable, I can’t resist and will stop flipping and complete the film.  I loved Oscar® winner Renée Zellweger’s performance and her commitment to authenticity with the character that she took on.  She was willing to gain a lot of weight, which for a woman in Hollywood is an extremely risky move, she looked “mousey” and her hair was generally a complete mess the entire time she was on screen.  No matter.  The success of the film proved that with a sound tale to tell, good actors and ability to provide realistic, more importantly, relatablestorylines, anything is achievable. 

Risk to her health was not taken this time as Zellweger once again plays Bridget Jones, oddball and overall crazy person.  She remained her svelte self and even though her character is pregnant this time around she preferred padding to real weight gain, letting the make-up department get her to where she needed to be.

What “Bridget Jones Baby” mostly gives is why you loved it in the first place and that is mostly what you’d hope… Bridget.  In fact, it felt a lot like the first one without being unoriginal.  Needless to say, there’s a fight between two men and you picking sides is once again at the heart of things. 

Humor is throughout the plot, aimed straight at Jones and her choices.  She has two nights with two different men and now, not knowing who the father of the baby is, she’s trying desperately to find out the answer to this predicament she’s in… without letting them know what she’s up to.  Her prenatal doctor is played by Emma Thompson and she couldn’t have been more delightful.

For the most part, the secondary characters are a joy and add surprisingly detailed elements to what could have been a disaster.  What made it work was its ability to remain a Bridget Jones film.  It was as reliable as Bridget herself, yet at the end, it introduced her reason to be a little self indulgent and close her diary for good for it’s time to put someone, other than her lovers, in the forefront of her life.  There are a few moments that are very touching, even scenes from the first film that will have you realizing how many years have gone by. 

So, which man will get her heart, Mark or Jack?  You’ll have to watch and see.  Will it be the one you want her to end up with?  You’ll have to return and answer that for me yourself.  So, if you liked the first movie, you’ll like this one.  Aside from a few silly scenes, I have to recommend you check this out for a good laugh; it’s enjoyable and amusing.