3 reasons you should boycott the Fifty Shades of Grey film

Image via the6thsiren on Tumblr

Image via the6thsiren on Tumblr

It’s not long until Fifty Shades of Grey releases in the cinemas, and although you may be considering going to see it with your other half or friends for “a bit of a laugh”, there are some very good reasons why you shouldn’t see this film at all. If you truly don’t believe there’s anything wrong with the film or books, here are three reasons why you should give it a miss this Valentine’s Day.

It’s about abuse, not love

There is nothing romantic about domestic violence, yet Fifty Shades continues to try to convince us that stalking your partner, forcing them to do things they don’t want to, and making them feel frightened you’re going to beat “seven shades of shit” out of them (yes, that’s an actual quote from the book) is what true love feels like. There is nothing wrong with having a kinky sex life, or indeed living the BDSM lifestyle, but Fifty Shades’s interpretation of submission and domination is downright dangerous. Around two women a week are killed by either a current or ex partner. Domestic violence is a real problem and films and books like this do nothing to help solve it.

It doesn’t portray the BDSM community accurately

Want to spice up your relationship with whips and blindfolds? Fantastic! There are lots of great sex shops you can go to, experts you can speak to, and books and films which accurately portray what BDSM and kinky sex involves. Fifty Shades is not one of those films. Being dominant in the bedroom does not mean you force someone into sex – you agree what you do and don’t want to do with your partner beforehand. You lay down some house rules and agree on a safe word, if necessary. Mr Grey does not pay attention to safe words. This doesn’t just make him a bad dom, that makes him a rapist. A rapist who managed to convince a virgin girl to have sex with him, on his terms. Doesn’t sound so sexy now, does it?

There are much better, sexier films out there

Fifty Shades isn’t ground-breaking in any sense of the word. There are numerous, much better films out there that portray kinky sex the way it’s supposed to be. Secretary is a personal favourite of mine, and if you haven’t seen it, you should. James Spader, also called Mr Grey, plays a boss who likes to dominate his newest member of staff, Lee Holloway, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. It’s dark, sexy, funny, and, most importantly, it has a heart. Lee is never abused or forced to do things she doesn’t want to – she falls in love. In this film, BDSM allows the two characters to be themselves, to be free. It isn’t about a man who beats women because he’s long harboured a hatred for them.

I urge you not to go and see Fifty Shades of Grey in two weeks time. It will undoubtedly do well at the box office, and this worries me considering how poorly it demonstrates what a loving, kinky relationship should be. Fifty Shades may be marketed as ‘porn’ for women, but at its very best it’s a misguided effort to convince women to experiment more in the bedroom. Whether you’re a lady or a gentleman, never let your partner do what they want to you because society tells you to submit to their desires. That is not what a loving relationship is, and don’t let anyone, or any film, tell you differently.

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Tarantino is reflecting how we all feel about film violence

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By now I’m sure you’ve all seen that interview with director Quentin Tarantino in which he loses his cool and refuses to answer questions regarding the relation (or lack of) of film violence to real life violence. Whether you’re a fan or not and whether you thought he went overboard with his reaction or you sympathise with him, I think we can all agree on one thing – he’s simply reflecting our own frustrations.

Whenever there’s a national tragedy, films and video games are blamed and currently because of Sandy Hook, instead of people tackling the real issues – mental health and gun control (like Tarantino has stated on numerous occasions), it’s being blamed on entertainment. Let’s look at the evidence: there has never been any proof that violent cinema or video games causes or contributes to real life violent behaviour and yet it’s the first thing many journalists, parents and gun enthusiasts blame. America also has the highest amount of school shootings and yet they don’t blame their guns or healthcare system, they blame entertainment. Video games and violent films are watched worldwide, the rest of the world (for the most part) do not have anywhere near as many problems with violence as America does.

Tarantino has been making violent films for 20 years and over those twenty years he’s been asked the same questions time and time again. Many interviewers even try to push some sort of blame onto him, like his violent films are what has caused Sandy Hook – despite there being no link whatsoever. He simply says that firstly, it’s insulting to the people who have died in these shootings to spend time on the news talking about movies instead of how tragic the situation is. Secondly, he says that when there was violence in Shakespeare’s time, the playwrights were blamed. Both of these points are true and I don’t think you can blame Tarantino for not wanting to play along with journalists who sit there and simply point the finger. 

Ask yourself this, what was blamed for violence before books, films and video games? Nothing. Human nature has violent aspects, it’s like blaming rape on porn – rape has always been around and unfortunately it always will be but we can take steps to prevent it and help the victims. It’s the same situation with gun crime and in fact, there’s was a study in a 2009 paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics which showed that violent films actually help reduce crime and not increase it. Sometimes, we just need to live out our fantasies so we don’t do them in real life.

Impressions of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and 48fps 3D

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Let me start off by saying I’m not a big Lord of the Rings fan, I like the films but LOTR is not one of my favourite film franchises. I mostly went to see The Hobbit for my boyfriend, and because of my curiosity for Peter Jackson’s new 48fps 3D.

For those of you that don’t know, all films at the cinema are currently shown at 24 frames-per-second so Jackson has decided to double the amount of frames we see. Now because it’s filmed at 48fps, this doesn’t mean the film looks double the speed – it is in fact intended to give the film a higher quality. Many are calling the idea “revolutionary” but it’s not, many 3D films, particularly at theme parks, are shown at a higher frame rate, some even go up to 60fps. However, this is the first time a director has chosen to do this for a feature-length film, so it’s a new idea in that aspect. I was worried about watching The Hobbit at 48fps as I’d heard many reports beforehand that it made the film look terrible, ruined it even but in reality? The media were making a big fuss over nothing.

There are upsides and downsides of 48fps 3D. On the plus side, it improves the quality of the 3D effects, especially with motion-blurring. When a fast-moving action scene takes place or the camera is planning across the screen, the 3D can often look blurred or unfocused, as if the eyes are struggling to adjust to it. 48fps seems to fix this problem as the 3D, to me at least, looked a lot smoother. However, the downside is that some parts of the film look noticeably sped up, as if they’re running at the wrong speed. The best example of this is one the first scenes of the film, where Bilbo is walking around his house. He looks as if he’s walking just too fast perhaps this is more noticeable on the slower parts of the film. You can also notice this when characters are making hand gestures, it doesn’t look quite right but I wouldn’t say for one second it ruins the film. It might be a case of audiences having to get used to it but remember the 48fps 3D is only being shown on cinema screens that support it, so you won’t be forced to view it if you don’t want to.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey … one embargo to bind them.

As for the film itself, The Hobbit should not have been made into three films. Jackson managed to get one film out of each LOTR book and he should have done the same with The Hobbit. Although there are enjoyable parts, The Hobbit is very slow moving. The start of the film where there’s a little nod to the first LOTR film and where Bilbo meets Gandalf and the dwarves for the first time seems to take forever. The audience is waiting for the adventure to begin and Jackson spends far too much time in Bilbo’s house. The Hobbit is a string of little adventures and encounters that come one after the other – they’re safe, something bad happens, they escape, something else bad happens. This continues until we reach the point of the film – where Bilbo meets Gollum for the first time. Parts like this are fantastic, they’re what we watch The Hobbit for, the real back-story. In fact, one of the best parts of the film happens right at the beginning which explains the story of how the dwarves lost their home, it’s concise but with a lot of action, mainly a fire-breathing dragon.

Needless to say the costumes, CGI and the cinematography all look amazing, you’ll be pushed to find a more visually striking film this year and perhaps that’s what The Hobbit is all about. Martin Freeman is the perfect Bilbo Baggins, you couldn’t ask for a more perfect actor, he’s naive, funny and charming and watching his character change in the next two films will definitely be interesting.

So should you go and see The Hobbit or not? My advice is, if you’re a big LOTR fan, you’ll love it and you should but otherwise, The Hobbit will fail to capture your full attention for the 2 and a half hours that it lasts. It simply would have been better if it was one film or two at the most. It seems a shame that it’s been stretched out so much purely to make money but maybe LOTR fans will like this as it means they get to see more of the book come to life on screen.

Film review: Rock of Ages

Get ready to clap your hands, nod your head and mouth the words to your favourite classic rock songs in Rock of Ages, the film version of the highly popular stage play.

Set in 1987, Rock of Ages is the story of small town girl, Sherrie (Julianne Hough), who travels to Hollywood in hopes of becoming a singer and Drew (Diego Boneta), a city boy working in a Rock bar who also wants to live out his dream of becoming a rock God. The couple meet and immediately, they are in love. Meanwhile the bar Drew works in, is close to closing down and Dennis (Alec Baldwin) and Lonny (Russell Brand) are doing all they can to save rock and roll from the team of Christian women (headed by Catherine Zeta Jones) who are trying to shut it down.

The love story between Drew and Sherrie is sickly sweet and almost becomes too much but then Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) steps in. Cruise playing a drunken, sleezy rock God may be his best role yet. The girls faint, kiss him and sleep with him, the ultimate roll model for every wannabe rockstar. Stacee unintentionally makes things to go sour between Drew and Sherrie, causing them to go their separate ways and proving it’s not as easy to achieve your dreams as you first hoped.

As you can tell, the story isn’t brilliant but boy does the rest of the film make up for it. Not only does it contain some of the best rock songs of all time including: I love rock n’ roll, Sister Christian, Don’t stop believing and We build this city, the acting, singing and dancing are all incredible. The two lead singers, Drew and Sherrie have amazing voices and really pack an emotional punch. Rock of Ages also does a great job of mixing several songs together at once as well as intertwining each of the characters separate stories and backgrounds to keep the audience interested.

Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx and his baboon, Heyman, definitely steal the show. Stacee is effortlessly cool and sexy but has also gone a bit bonkers, certainly the star of the show. But Baldwin and Brand are also fantastic as the club owners, it’s the perfect role for Brand and I guarantee even if you usually hate him, you’ll laugh at him in this.

Catherine Zeta Jones has some great parts too – especially “Hit me with your best shot” where you see her singing and dancing in a church doing some incredibly high kicks. Props to you girl!

Rock of Ages is a great summer film for all the family and for anyone who’s a fan of classic rock. It’s funny, it’s sexy and it will have you singing along for days after you’ve seen it.

Rock of Ages is out this Wednesday.

4/5

The problem with Prometheus (warning: spoilers!)

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Ridley Scott originally said Prometheus was to be a prequel to Alien then he changed his mind and announced it was completely separate to the series but let’s be honest, it’s an origins story. A theory of how humans were created and, more importantly, how the aliens came to be. 

Prometheus is not a bad little sci-fi film. Before seeing it last night I’d heard all sorts of terrible comments and as a fan of (most of) the series, I was worried. The problem one critic seemed to have with it was the film moved “too fast” and the characters didn’t have time to develop. I, however, never felt that. No, the real problem was all the gaping plot holes and unanswered questions the film left like a nasty after taste. 

The first half of the film is rather confusing, not because it’s hard to understand what’s going on but because you don’t know what they’ve found. Which is fine but then the captain of the ship, who, as he says, ONLY drives the ship, comes in and explains to the main character what’s going on. Firstly, how does HE know more than her!? It’s essentially her mission, her work, he is just a driver. It seemed like a random way to explain what was going on to the audience. The synthetic poisons her partner for no other reason that just to “see what it would do”, thus killing him and almost sacrificing the entire mission. It’s made obvious that he is just a curious character but it seems a little off to me that a robot would be so irresponsible. But that’s just me being critical if anything.

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Later on, when Elizabeth has evacuated the alien-being inside of her, the rest of the crew just act normally when not five minutes ago they were trying desperately to contain her and put her back to sleep. But now they just stand around ignoring her and think “yeah it’s ok for her to come out with us again”. What!? She’s just given birth to an ALIEN and you’re just going to ignore that. Uhm, ok. Also, at the end when the creator of the humans gives birth to what looks like an early version of the Alien – where are all the others? There were other bodies of the same species with burst chests yet no aliens? Only those strange snake things which are possibly an early form of face-huggers. Do these Aliens come around because the evolve? My boyfriend argued they take on the DNA of whatever they’re inside but if that was true, Elizabeth would have given birth to an actual Alien and not a weird tentacle monster and there would have been more aliens running around but we saw none. IF the Alien at the end was the first of it’s kind then why was there an Alien depicted on the wall of the first room they find? Where did that come from? The strange green rock is also never explained.

Of course the main question you’re left with is “why?” Why did our creators want to kill us and why was infecting us with another life-form a good solution to that? It leaves it open for a sequel which saddens me because Scott really just needs to leave the Alien universe alone now. Perhaps I am too critical or reading into the film too much but you cannot deny there are too many unanswered questions for it to be considered an excellent film. Maybe Scott has just cut out half an hours worth of footage which will appear and explain everything when the inevitable directors cut comes out. It seems though that Prometheus just isn’t enough for us Alien fans. It’s a shame because the characters are great, the acting is superb and the special effects are pretty awesome too. It’s still worth seeing and I did enjoy it but it so could have easily been so much better.

What did you think of the film? Please comment below, I’d love to read your thoughts. 

Review: Dark Shadows

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Johnny Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a man who’s cursed with the worst fate a man can suffer – a woman’s scorn. Angelique (Eva Green) is a girl who falls in love with Barnabas but as her affections are unrequited, she plots against him. Unfortunately for Barnabas, Angelique is a witch and she throws his true love off a cliff and curses him with living forever, as a vampire. She turns the towns people against him and Baranbas is locked in a coffin for eternity until 200 years later, construction workers dig him up.  The rivalry between the witch and the vampire begins again.

The real laughs begin when watching Barnabas try to get to grips with the 1970’s but there is something all too familiar about an out of place man in the ‘modern’ ages. In fact, Dark Shadows very much reminded me of Edward Scissorhands – a tale about an outsider who doesn’t understand the world completely and gets driven away by violent villagers.

Although there are these similarities, Dark Shadows manages to be different. The character of Barnabas is fantastically portrayed by Depp, he’s witty, charming and even though he kills a few innocent people – he’s surprisingly likeable. It was also a nice surprise to see Eva Green as a completely different character than we’re used to and she makes the despicable Angelique sexy, seductive and incredibly evil.

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Many people criticise the constant pairing of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton but let’s be honest, it works and it was great to see Burton back doing a proper gothic film again. The sets are stunning, part fantasy, part reality for example the dusty old Collin’s family home is beautiful and really sets the scene for such a family. The make-up and CGI impress too, especially Angelique’s porcelain skin, although I’m not sure every single person in the film needed white make-up. We get it Tim, it’s gothic but don’t over-do it.

Combining the 1700s with the 1970’s was a great idea; mostly for the great music, clothes and hair-dos that go with it. It also meant the film gets a cameo from Alice Cooper himself which Barnabas declares is “the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen.”

Dark Shadows isn’t just funny – there are some wonderfully dark parts to the story, true Tim Burton style. The Collin’s children are misunderstood and have unfortunate pasts and presents, something which Burton loves to do as he felt his childhood was always slightly dark.

Dark Shadows looks good, sounds good and the story between the evil witch and loving vampire is definitely enough to keep your attention span. The humour makes sure the film isn’t too dark but there’s definitely enough sorrow to satisfy any avid Burton fan. And, may I now say, well done Burton for doing a decent vampire love story and welcome back to the genre you are perfect at.

4/5

Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman could be purrfect

As soon as the first pictures were out of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman; doubt spread across the internet. Many thought the actor was an odd choice for  the role but my thoughts were always “wait and see”. Now, Will Brooker, a lecturer at my university, has critised Nolan’s Catwoman as being unrealistic and untrue to the character of Catwoman.

First of all, it seems Brooker does not know the character of Catwoman very well. I am currently reading the New 52 Catwoman comics, which have been deplored for turning Catwoman into a sex object because she has a ridiculous figure (like most females in comics) and because she shags Batman in issue #1 (coincidentally, that’s why I picked up issue #1). Let’s look at Selina Kyle, she’s what every female dreams of being, she’s the ultimate femme fatale, she’s sexy, confident, she’s athletic and has an impossibly good body. Yes, she’s the not ideal role model for little girls but she’s not intended to be. She’s fun, she’s the spanner in Bruce Wayne’s works that he can’t seem to quit because there’s something enticing about her. Catwoman has always been this way – she uses herself, even if that includes her body, to get what she wants.

That’s the comic book Catwoman, but Nolan is going for realism, every super-hero or super-villain thing has been tied down to the real world in some way which is what makes his films fantastic. Brooker argues Catwoman’s new outfit design is not realistic. Firstly he argues that Catwoman is poor and would not be able to afford such high-tech gear. Now let’s get one thing straight – Catwoman is not poor. She steals very valuable things for a living, and he’s right, she doesn’t do it for profit she does it for the challenge, for fun but it doesn’t mean she just chucks away the money – where does he think it goes? In the comics, Catwoman regularly goes to high-class parties in swanky, long, expensive-looking dresses in disguise. Her short black hair means she’s able to wear wigs of every colour and style to hide herself and seduce whoever she needs to to get what she wants. It’s rare for Catwoman to steal hugely expensive items, in one issue where she does get a big hit, she’s not careful with the money, instead she decides to go to a luxury spa – which leads her into trouble. Sure, Selina has never lived in a mansion, that doesn’t interest her but getting nice things that would make her job easier? I’m pretty sure that would catch her eye.

He also hates that’s she’s wearing a skin-tight catsuit, claiming she looks like a fetish model. But that’s what Catwoman is iconic for! Her outfit has come in a few different forms but at the end of the day it’s usually a skin-tight catsuit, the clue’s in the name. I sort of understand why he would complain about the silver stiletto heels, they don’t look great and comic Catwoman goes for the more comfortable Doc Martin style boots which makes much more sense. However, I think Brooker is misunderstanding Catwoman again and women in general for that matter. Selina is exactly the kind of girl who would try to pull a crime by running around in heels. Catwoman is smart but not always sensible, you’ve got to remember she’s similar to the Joker in the fact that, it’s all just a game to her which is why Batman and herself always clash so much. There’s no way she’d pull off a crime without looking good doing it.

But Catwoman is a character that has been portrayed in many different ways and I’m sure a lot of comic fans would disagree with my analysis of her. Women in comics aren’t represented very well, they are always sexed up with impossible huge tits and thighs and maybe Nolan should have made more of an effort to stray away from that but I fear if he did, Selina would have been unrecognisable. Plus it’s a damn sight better than Tim Burton’s Catwoman, who came across as just a crazy cat lady rather than a sexy jewel thief. There is no right answer on how to portray a superhero/villain but I think that maybe Batman fans should wait and see what Nolan has to offer before slamming it so early on.