Tag Archives: Bella Heathcote

Fifty Shades Darker (2017) Review

Time: 113 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Sex scenes & offensive language.
Cast:
Dakota Johnson as Anastasia ‘Ana’ Steele
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Eric Johnson as Jack Hyde
Eloise Mumford as Katherine “Kate” Kavanagh
Bella Heathcote as Leila Williams
Rita Ora as Mia Grey
Luke Grimes as Elliot Grey
Victor Rasuk as José Rodriguez
Kim Basinger as Elena Lincoln
Marcia Gay Harden as Grace Trevelyan-Grey
Director: James Foley

When a wounded Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) tries to entice a cautious Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) 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 them, determined to destroy their hopes for a future together.

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Full disclosure, I knew this movie was going to be horrendous before going in. 2 years ago I watched and reviewed Fifty Shades of Grey which was one of the worst movies of 2015 (second only to Hot Pursuit). And its sequel is one of the worst movies of 2017, no surprise here. Everything from the first movie is here, bland acting, an uninteresting story, random “erotic” sex scenes, you name it. There might be some hilariously bad moments here but its not really enough to warrant watching the whole movie.

I’ll just get the obvious out of the way: like the first movie, it’s based off erotica which was basically Twilight fan fiction, the plot is uninteresting and non-existent, the romance is terrible, there are random sex scenes that are somehow boring, basically most of what made the first Fifty Shades movie so terrible is here. In the first movie, the first half was kind of funny, whereas the second half was unbearingly boring. Here with Darker, it’s a mix of the two. I will say it’s not quite as boring as Fifty Shades of Grey but it’s not really that interesting or entertaining either. I will say that there is more going on, but it doesn’t count for much when it’s impossible to care about it all. The main thing happening is the romance, which was poorly done, nothing different from the previous movie. There is a bunch of subplots, one involves a former submissive of Christian who is stalking him and Anastasia (that comes and goes and disappears), there’s this subplot about Anastasia’s stalker boss (Eric Johnson) that’s pointless and completely random and there’s a subplot of Christian and Kim Basinger’s character which only is present a few points in the story, there’s a whole lot of parts that don’t matter. There is particularly a scene involving a helicopter which is so hilariously pointless and serves no purpose to the plot and lasts for 5 minutes. In fact it is worth noting that there is also some unintentionally hilarious moments, with the random things that happen. I didn’t hate this movie as much as the previous movie, probably because I knew what to expect. Aside from that, this movie is pretty much the same, that being utterly horrendous on pretty much every level.

The two leads, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan like in the previous movie were bland and lack any kind of chemistry. I can’t even blame them for their performances, they don’t have good material to work with. There are no notable supporting performances, I do wonder why Kim Basinger was in this movie, she does play I guess a significant part but she’s only in a few scenes.

Fifty Shades Darker this time is directed by James Foley who directed Glengarry Glen Ross, and know his direction doesn’t elevate the movie particularly. It is around the same level as the first movie, fine enough but some aspects are quite bad. The sex scenes are like the first movie’s, for the most part it’s just cliché Hollywood sex scenes that try to be seem kinky and it feels more boring than actually erotic. The music in here honestly makes many of the scenes hilarious, it has countless amount of cheesy pop songs, it almost feels like a parody, especially when its being played during the sex scenes.

Fifty Shades Darker is pretty much the same as the first movie with some slight differences, with it having unintentional hilarious moments and its not quite as boring but it is still as bad. But I can say that on its own, its awful. Fortunately this trilogy ends next year, so we don’t have to wait too long for this to all be over.

The Neon Demon (2016) Review

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Time: 118 minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Violence, Horror, Sexual Material and Necrophilia
Cast:
Elle Fanning as Jesse
Karl Glusman as Dean
Jena Malone as Ruby
Bella Heathcote as Gigi
Abbey Lee as Sarah
Desmond Harrington as Jack McCarther
Christina Hendricks as Roberta Hoffman
Keanu Reeves as Hank
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Jesse (Elle Fanning) moves to Los Angeles just after her 16th birthday to launch a career as a model. The head of her agency tells the innocent teen that she has the qualities to become a top star. Jesse soon faces the wrath of ruthless vixens who despise her fresh-faced beauty. On top of that, she must contend with a seedy motel manager and a creepy photographer. As Jesse starts to take the fashion world by storm, her personality changes in ways that could help her against her cutthroat rivals.

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The Neon Demon was one of my most anticipated films of 2016, this is the second film from Nicolas Winding Refn I’ve seen, after Drive. Drive was an absolutely fantastic film, I loved it, so naturally I was excited to see his upcoming film. After seeing this film, I have to say, I absolutely loved The Neon Demon. Visually stunning, excellently performed, everything here was great. Understandably, not everyone will like this movie, due to it not having a straightforward story and some of its weirdness will alienate some. I’m just glad I’m one of the people who loved it.28fc5711b37fcb526c803cf78b40972f[1]

There are a few things that you have to know before going in. This film is slowly paced quite a bit, part of that is due to the fact that The Neon Demon is also very artistic, with many visual sequences showing symbolism and metaphors. This really isn’t surprising as Refn is known for being more of a visual director. Although this film sort of has a plot, it doesn’t have a very straightforward story, there are many different ways to interpret this movie. This may turn off and come across as pretentious for some viewers, but I personally loved the story that Refn told. The last act is completely nuts, having a complete change in tone, turning into straight up horror. While that change was a little jarring, I loved the last act, even though at times it could get ridiculously over the top at times. I’ve also heard from many that this is Refn’s most disturbing movie yet, I’ve not seen Only God Forgives or many of his other films aside from Drive but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the case. I won’t say what happens in this movie to avoid spoilers (as I found many of them out before watching the movie), but let’s just say I can understand why this movie turned a lot of people off…

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The performances from everyone was excellent. Elle Fanning was really good in the role of the main character, she goes through a form of transformation in the film, and along with the visuals of the film from Refn, she conveys that expertly. All the supporting cast did great jobs as well. Jena Malone was a standout for me, there are certain stand out scenes that she’s involved with which (I won’t spoil) I have to say are very daring, she’s fantastic. Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee were really great as two of models who become jealous of Elle’s character. Keanu Reeves also plays a small part in the movie as the seedy hotel manager, he’s only in a few scenes but he still manages to leave an impression, it was a very different character for him to play.

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This film quite possibly has the best cinematography all year, which really isn’t surprising as it’s directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. I can’t really comment on whether its Refn’s best looking film yet (as I haven’t seen any of his films aside from Drive) but it looks so gorgeous. The use of colour also makes the film absolutely beautiful, visually this film is perfect. Also the soundtrack by Cliff Martinez is absolutely europhoric, memorable, it really added a lot of the movie.

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This movie really isn’t for everyone however, whether that be the lurid content, the slow pacing or the visual storytelling. If you want a more straightforward plot, this isn’t your film. For me though, The Neon Demon is one of my favourite films of the year. This film is a reminder that I really need to see more of Nicolas Winding Refn’s films, with this film and Drive, he’s already becoming one of my favourite directors.