50 Shades of Grey
Two young, rising stars. A controversial story of sex and control, where the corporate guy introduces the naive woman to a wide variety of sexual games, pushing beyond her comfort zones all over his super-stylish apartment.
The movie was Nine 1/2 Weeks, starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger. The year was 1986.
I’m not saying I miss the erotic drama genre, necessarily, just that as a culture we’ve really regressed if 50 Shades of Grey is such a big deal, as a book and as a movie. We’ve become so conservative that some in the media are actually reporting on the percentage of the film’s running time consisting of sex scenes. (It’s apparently somewhere around 15%.) How lurid! How shocking!
The big difference between that earlier sweaty wave and this one is 50 Shades is adapted from a book by a woman, with women in key creative behind the camera. This is no small deal, and worth celebrating, isn’t it? Even if the content is Harlequin romance spliced with soft core?
And while many are sniffing at this movie sight unseen due to the critical pasting the massively popular book received, I shouldn’t have to tell you that bad books can be good movies. We’ll see.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
A much delayed feature action picture from director Matthew Vaughn, adapting a graphic novel from Mark Millar. These are the guys who also gave us Kick Ass, a fairly mean-spirited indie superhero movie. If that’s a strike against this one, in the plus column we’ve got Colin Firth, Michael Caine, and Samuel L. Jackson, and a movie that looks to take a few good swipes at the cheesier tropes of the James Bond films. As a lifelong fan of Bond, I’m all for that.
Big news this week was the announcement of Jon Stewart’s impending departure from his satirical news program The Daily Show. I was so sorry to hear it though I also gather he has a talent as a director and may be doing more of that kind of thing in the future. His first feature film, Rosewater, shows Friday night at Carbon Arc. It’s based on a true story about a journalist who was detained and interrogated in Iran. Go here for tickets and more details.