This week: 50 Shades of Grey

written by Lhynette Alejandro

When Anastasia Steele, a literature student, goes to interview the wealthy Christian Grey, as a favor to her roommate Kate Kavanagh, she encounters a beautiful, brilliant and intimidating man. The innocent and naive Ana started to realize she wants him, despite his enigmatic reserve and advice, she finds herself desperate to get close to him. Not able to resist Ana's beauty and independent spirit, Christian Grey admits he wants her too, but in his own terms. Ana hesitates as she discovers the singular tastes of Christian Grey - despite the embellishments of success, his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family - Grey is consumed by the need to control everything. 

“I exercise control in all things Ms. Steele." -  Christian Grey

Three main thoughts about the movie -

Uno: Elegance...elegance everywhere...
As much as we all know or at least have a slight idea of what this movie is, whips, the BDSM culture - the movie's style, characters and settings were over the top sophisticated and tasteful. It all revolves around Christian Grey and his success in life. The classy feel of the movie was established right in the beginning as Anastasia Steele went into Christian's office for some interview for a friend. She enters his office (she trips and falls on her face) - and the camera pans to a huge office, with a beautiful view of the Seattle skyline - his office being the CEO/President/Founder of everything sexy...had floor to ceiling glass windows. The super modern and masculine office furniture, very minimalist and a great contrast the the shiny marble floor (i am assuming it's marble). The freaking helicopter that took Ana and Christian back to Christian's penthouse suite...COME ON…is this real life? Can I get a ride? Let's not forget to mention the new car Christian gifted Ana for graduation. But what really stood out for me is the “playroom”. Whips, handcuffs and harnesses hanging in every corner of the room but they were neatly organized and placed in these shelves and holders. It takes out the “kinkyness” and the awkwardness of the movie for me. The BDSM culture (and I am sure this movie is a bit over the top and doesn’t quite capture the culture itself so please pardon me and I don’t want to offend anyone) is more than just the tools..and the sex. It exists in real life, and this movie portrayed it in a way where…it’s not awkward, it’s not taboo, it’s just how people live. It’s not in some dungeon or someone’s basement. It got me past the giggling and the blushing – because Christian Grey is serious about this secret. It’s not some game to him. It’s part of his sophisticated, high-class standards, and that definitely shows through his one passion. his playroom.

Dos. Anastasia's transformation.
From girl to a level with Grey. Her wardrobe slowly evolved, and the innocent little virgin girl persona was also transformed to a more dominant character - even though Ana's character was the "submissive" in this movie, she was playing Christian Grey...and has him eating out the palm of her hand.

Anastasia Steele throughout the whole movie, keeps Grey hanging by not signing the contract and going back and forth on her feelings for him. Two scenes that are my favorite were the meeting scene, where Anastasia and Christian discuss the contract for Ana to fully agree and commit to be Christian’s submissive. The whole meeting, Anastasia was being a tease to Christian by showing him what he wanted to see – body language “ your legs are pressed together, you’re flushed” making Christian think she wanted him…but at the end of the meeting---even when Christian asks her to stay, Anastasia just leaves. Second scene I liked is when Anastasia left Christian’s penthouse for good, which is the last scene of the movie. She’s had enough of Christian’s unwillingness to give her romance and love – and to top it off, Anastasia let Christian take her in the playroom to be “punished.". Anastasia goes to the playroom, bends over on the leather bench/table and Christian instructs her to count with him as she whips her six times…after the sixth whip, Anastasia is crying – and tells Christian “You will never do that to me again!” She bolts off and leaves. As much as the movie was such a back and forth on what Ana wanted from Christian, and what Christian was willing to give to her – that was the final straw. She should not understand why Christian would want to “punish” her and see her unhappy while getting pleasure out of it. I’m not going to lie, the majority of the movie shows Christian and Anastasia doing this back and forth dance towards each other, but within those scenes, you can see Anastasia’s transformation as she takes control over her own emotions and actions..and chooses herself over what Christian wants from her – despite the fact that she has fallen in love with Christian. NO MORE MS. NICE GIRL!

Three. Beyond the shades...the love story is endearing.
The scene after Grey’s family dinner – where Christian declares “you’re the one changing me," the two characters are falling hard for each other. I was confused – because for Christian to be the “dominant” why is he chasing after this girl? Why is he taking her on these plane rides and lavish dinners and taking her to meet is family? Giving her first edition books of some famous authors…WHY? THEN BAM...this dude is head over heels for her too. As cheesy as it is…I liked the love story between Christian and Anastasia. They both bring something to the table. Anastasia enlightened Christian to a type of relationship he has never had before, and Christian enlightened her…to well….you know, de-flowering her and helping her find out how she likes it in bed. And the possibilities are endless. Christian takes care of her, and she takes care of Christian emotionally…by being by his side – and the whole movie…Anastasia doesn’t sign the contract one bit. So, not to get into more cheesy stuff, because I’m a girl and I am well aware this is JUST a movie, it is endearing and it sucked me in. It’s a really good contrast to the whole sexy theme of the movie. Because what girl doesn’t want to be romanced by a young, tall glass of handsome every now and then. Sign me up! Sign me up for the “love and handsome man” deal, sans the other things.

I am giving Fifty Shades a 2 out of 4, Hell Yeah. But not as enthusiastic...the actors are new, Anastasia's fake naive thirst for Christian Grey got old really quick. The whole back and forth got annoying. But the overall story behind BDSM was quite a learning experience for me, the culture truly does exists. I tried to really hate this movie, because I felt shy for liking it and telling everyone to watch it because it has that enigma of “oh you freak…” but seriously, it’s much more than that. I was drawn by the sophistication and elegance the movie has, the evolution of Anastasia’s character and the love story of Christian and Anastasia. You’ll giggle, you’ll laugh, you’ll be annoyed and frustrated…What the heck…go watch it! 
Five thoughts from watching the trailer:
1. Who is this actress?
2. Show his face already.
3. ....well Hello Mr. Grey. Nice office.
4. This Crazy in Love remix is catchy.
5. What the hell is this room?

2 out of 4

This week: Into the Woods

written by Lhynette Alejandro

Into the Woods is a modern twist on several of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy). These stories are tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden and Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch (Meryl Streep) who has put a curse on them. (C) Disney

Uno: the aesthetics
Can we please talk about the fancy seamless special effects that populated this movie? From the costume, Cinderella’s  transformation from the girl hanging out by the fireplace to a very pretty princess to head to the ball. Even though Johnny Depp was only in the movie for a hot second, his character as the wolf was impressive as expected. The endless hours the actors spent in the make-up chairs reflects in how amazing everyone looked in the movie. We can’t forget about Meryl Streep with the blue hair, snaggle teeth and looking like a crazy bum off of the streets of Compton in the 80s. The way the actors were dressed and made up were so perfect for each character in the movie and definitely tied everything together, by everything I mean the environment they were in. The setting of the woods, as the precocious little girl in the red cape stupidly frolics through the deep dark woods (side note: I mean seriously, what little girl will be THAT happy to go into the woods?) The castle, the bean stalk, the village of the baker and his wife, Rapunzel... the special effects brought all these whimsical themes into life. I was hooked. Sitting in my movie chair, I was in a daze…living happily ever after.    

Dos: the great musical talent of Kendrick, Blunt and surprisingly Pine.
This totally surprised me, Chris Pine? Singing? Let me back track - I didn’t know Into the Woods is a remake of a musical from the '80s until I started reading more about the movie. It’s based on the play by this guy named Sondheim. Then I also read that the same person who produced/directed Chicago is the same person who directed/produced Into the Woods. So I was definitely intrigued. I had high hopes, but I definitely had my doubts – especially with this movie being a musical and all. I think of musicals similar to waiting for your newly painted nails to dry. You hate it, you have to sit there, and wait patiently and live through it because you paid money to get your nails done and you don’t want it to get smudged or ruined. Similar to a musicals – I paid for it, but hurry up with the singing, where’s the acting? Then bam, we all know Streep is, as always, nothing short of remarkable. Kendrick and Blunt didn’t disappoint either. Chris Pine blew me away though. I know it might sound lame, but he totally “Captain Kirked” his singing in his role as the Prince. He was fit for the part - he had the face, the blonde hair, the blue eyes, and to top it off he was singing like a bad ass. It blew me away and surprised me. Chris Pine’s singing was like finding that fifty dollar bill in your jacket pocket from last winter while you were spring cleaning. Chris Pine, you blew me away!!! Great singing voice!

Three: great mashup of all fairytales I know by heart presented so differently from what I knew as a child!
Even though the movie put some twists and intertwined each fairytale with one another – it was a great mashup of everything I had hoped. The movie kept the original story line for each fairytale which I really liked and added the baker and the baker’s wife story –Rapunzel gets in the mix of things with Cinderella and Jack with the beanstalk. It was nostalgic to start the movie with the words “Once upon a time…” The movie was whimsical and kept me interested the whole time. I liked that the dialogue was very witty and definitely smart. The fairytale characters definitely held their originality, but in this movie, the characters I knew as a child had something dark. With the Prince falling for the Baker’s wife, and Cinderella questioning the Prince’s motives. It was a good balance of surreal and then the dialogue made the characters seem like “real people” dealing with issues of love, grief, longing, sex, and envy. It was pretty much a fairy tale for grown-ups.

My two cents – If you don’t like musicals, just suck it up. This movie will change every bad opinion you have about musicals being boring and pretentious…maybe for at least 90 minutes you’ll be impressed. Did I mention that Chris Pine sings his heart out in the movie? Totally did not expect that. This movie definitely puts a grown up twist to the fairytales you knew as a child. The actors, the costumes and the whole story line are all together making the best movie sundae of all time. I also read that the movie has already snagged a few supporting actors award and best musical blah blah blah award…How can you go wrong with that? Just go, grab your keys, take a friend and enjoy the film as much as I did!
Movie trailer thoughts:
  1. WOW Meryl Streep! Tha snaggle tooth though...
  2. All my fairytales in one movie? I don’t get it.
  3. Hahaha the Prince was being a smart ass.
  4. Anna Kendrick! Pitch Perfect!
  5. Oh God, Johnny Depp looking wack!

2.5 out of 4

This week: Horrible Bosses 2

written by Lhynette Alejandro

Three reasons why I enjoyed Horrible Bosses 2:

Uno: The amazing chemistry between the three main characters definitely played a huge part.

Dos: You have the ever so stupidly hilarious Charlie Day, the horndog of a single guy, Jason Sudeikis...and between the two, Jason Bateman as the father figure who looked after the group, convincing everyone "we are not going to see mother fucker jones, because we are not going to kidnap anyone."

Three: The dialogue was fast and witty-usually this banter was between Day and Sudeikis. The kind of sarcastic humor I was hoping for was there...and it was definitely shown in the first scene where the three characters are on a makeshift morning TV show...introducing their "shower buddy" invention. Once I picked up the interaction between the three characters in the first scene, I was convinced that the movie will be peppered with unexpected funnies!