Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

1. Fifty Shades of Grey* (Universal)

2. The Boy Next Door* (Universal)

3. Taken 3* (20th Century Fox)

4. Spare Parts (Lionsgate)

5. The Wedding Ringer (Sony)

6. The Gambler (Paramount)

7. Black or White* (20th Century Fox)

8. Pyramid* (20th Century Fox)

9. Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (Alchemy)

10. Paddington (Anchor Bay)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Video Depot is starting the process of closing its final store, so this will be the last Top 10 list. The Independent thanks Jorge and the rest of the Video Depot folks for their partnership over the last 2 1/2 years!

Published in Video Top 10

I’ve seen a lot of people reading Fifty Shades of Grey in recent years.

I’ve seen them reading it at airports, in front yards while kids are at play, while driving cars on the freeway, at church with the book cleverly tucked in a hymnal, while violently kickboxing and, most notably, in public lavatories while jovially humming. (It’s very unsettling, that jovial humming.)

Everybody, everywhere, has been reading that crazy book in which the girl gets all bondage-like with the rich guy who has major, major mommy issues.

The Fifty Shades phenomenon has been impossible to avoid, and that virus has now spread to movie screens. While I managed to avoid the book as if it were an ill-tempered grizzly bear infected with ebola, I have a job to do, so off to the Red Room of Pain I go.

Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is a mousy college student who is so innocent that she doesn’t know what a butt plug is, despite the fact that she has a porn-star name. Subbing for a sick roommate, she goes to Seattle to do an interview for a student newspaper with billionaire-business-guy-douchebag Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Grey’s offices are immaculate and adorned with supermodels. The place is also riddled with fancy pencils that have “GREY” stenciled on them, so that when Anastasia erotically sticks one in her mouth, its sort of like she’s sucking on Grey’s dick.

Shortly after the interview, Grey starts stalking Anastasia at the hardware store where she works, but that’s OK, because he has billions of dollars and looks like the result of a night of passionate lovemaking between Ryan Phillippe and Eric Bana. Let’s face it: If Grey looked like Zach Galifianakis and only had a quarter in his pocket, he’d go straight to jail for such behavior.

His psychotic courtship eventually leads to Anastasia becoming his prospective bondage slave. He offers her a formal contract that, if she signs it, will allow him to become the Dominant, with her as the Submissive, in a kinky sex relationship that will involve spanking, humiliation, nipple clips and eating toast in bed.

The sex scenes eventually happen—and, if anything, they provide some good, hearty laughs. While the screenplay doesn’t explain much, Grey’s sexual proclivities and needs to abuse his mate have something to do with his being a crack baby. I guess we are supposed to feel sorry for him while he’s torturing his girlfriend, because his mom was a stupid crack whore. Fair enough.

When people aren’t having sex in this movie, they are talking in a somber, slow, irritatingly elongated manner. Everybody in this movie is a mopey, sodden sop. I love Seattle, but watching how the residents behave and communicate in this movie made me want to never visit the city again, even if the Mariners make the playoffs.

Back to the subject of Grey’s dick: Dornan signed a “No Dick Whatsoever … Sorry!” clause, so he never whips it out. There’s plenty of Dornan ass, and Dornan chest, and even Dornan chin scar, but no Dornan dick. Those of you dying to see some massive Dornan dick will have to score a real-life date with the guy, because there is no Dornan dick to be found in this flick. The guy could be a eunuch for all we know.

The movie sort of just ends after 125 minutes. Those of you who get intensely, emotionally involved in the plight of Anastasia and Christian will have to wait, Empire Strikes Back-style, for the sequel. Frantic negotiations have no doubt commenced with Dornan to get him to show his dick.

I saw Fifty Shades of Grey at a late-night showing on Valentine’s Day. I suspect there might’ve been some tug jobs and finger-banging going on in the theater; after all, it was the sweetheart holiday and, well, I heard grunting and snorting. If there were various acts of covert sex commencing around me, I’m sure they were 1,000 times more erotic and genuine than the hilarious antics occurring onscreen.

Fifty Shades of Grey is regrettably playing at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews

The year is loaded with intriguing movie releases! Here, we have listed but a small sampling. Keep in mind that all dates are subject to change, and the only thing that really matters is there is a new Star Wars movie coming out in December.

Well, actually, the fact that new Twin Peaks, Wet Hot American Summer and Evil Dead stories are going into production this year matters—but those are all happening on television. TV is getting really cool!

But we’re not here to talk about TV; we’re here to talk about the next 11 months of movies. Here we go!

Jupiter Ascending (Feb. 6): The long-delayed next picture from the Wachowskis (The Matrix) looks … goofy. Mila Kunis, who is quite lovable but simply can’t act, and Channing Tatum co-star. Tatum has what looks like Vulcan ears and some really bad haircuts in this one.

Fifty Shades of Grey (Feb. 13): If you are excited about this movie, I weep for you and the souls of your present and future children.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Feb. 20): If you are excited about this sequel, which is sans John Cusack … well, you are excused. It does look pretty funny.

Chappie (March 6): Neill Blomkamp (District 9) makes a movie about a kidnapped robot. I would much rather see that Alien 5 thing he was supposedly working on.

Insurgent (March 20): A sequel to Divergent, aka a sequel to a humongous piece of crap.

Zombeavers (March 20): This is a film about zombie beavers. I don’t think it is getting a major release, but I just had to mention it.

Furious 7 (April 3): I’m thinking some cars drive around really fast and stuff in this one.

Ex_Machina (April 10): Alex Garland, who wrote 28 Days Later, directs this film about the complications of a world part inhabited by very realistic robots.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1): Super-mega summer-movie season basically kicks off with the second Avengers movie. This one has Steff from Pretty in Pink (James Spader) voicing the evil title character.

Mad Max: Fury Road (May 15): After many false starts and the jettisoning of Mel Gibson, George Miller brings his iconic character back with Tom Hardy in the big role, and Charlize Theron sporting a shaved head.

Warren Beatty Movie That Has No Name Yet (May 21): Warren Beatty plays Howard Hughes … old Howard Hughes. Beatty directs for the first time in 17 years.

Tomorrowland (May 22): George Clooney stars for director Brad Bird in a film that may or may not have something to do with the Disney attraction. This is a passion project for Bird, who passed up directing the next Star Wars in order to make it.

Entourage (June 5): I went through an Entourage phase. It ended well before Sasha Grey joined the cast.

Jurassic World (June 12): Judging by the trailer, this looks awful. Like, really awful. Domesticated raptors running along Chris Pratt’s motorcycle? What are they thinking?

Inside Out (June 19) and The Good Dinosaur (Nov. 25): These would be the TWO Pixar movies you are getting in 2015. Feel blessed.

Terminator: Genisys (July 1): Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has been box-office poison as of late, looks to perk things up in yet another cyborg movie. It looks better than that Jurassic Park sequel.

Ant-Man (July 17): Edgar Wright was supposed to direct Paul Rudd in the latest from Marvel. He is not directing any more. I am worried.

Poltergeist (July 24): Normally, I would not be excited about yet another remake. But this stars Sam Rockwell, so I am marginally excited about yet another remake.

Pixels (July 24): Adam Sandler and other nerds are hired to fight 1980s-era video game-villains attacking New York City. This may be one of the greatest films ever made. I’m not being sarcastic.

Fantastic Four (Aug. 7): Fox is trying again. Miles Teller of Whiplash fame plays the rubber guy; Kate Mara plays the invisible woman; Michael B. Jordan is The Human Torch; and Jamie Bell (yes, that Jamie Bell) is The Thing. Sounds really weird.

The Walk (Oct. 2): When Philippe Petit walked between the Twin Towers on a tightrope in the 1970s, I was a totally freaked-out little kid. Now, with Robert Zemeckis directing and Joseph Gordon-Levitt starring in a re-creation of one of history’s greatest stunts, I expect to be totally freaked out as an adult.

Vacation (Oct. 9): Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo return, but this one is more about a grown-up Rusty (Ed Helms) taking his family on a trip. It all seems kind of farty.

Crimson Peak (Oct. 16): This gothic haunted-house story is another one of the projects Guillermo del Toro wanted to make instead of getting bogged down in Hobbit hell. Based on Pacific Rim, del Toro made the right choice. I’ve got a good feeling about this one.

Knock Knock (Oct. 28): Let’s see if Keanu Reeves can stay on a roll after John Wick. This one is directed by Eli Roth, who also directed Cabin Fever, Hostel and The Green Inferno, a cannibal movie that got caught up in litigation and was supposed to be released in 2014, but wasn’t. Actually, I’m far more interested in seeing The Green Inferno than Knock Knock.

Spectre (Nov. 6): James Bond is back with both Daniel Craig and Skyfall director Sam Mendes returning.

The Peanuts Movie (Nov. 6): Charlie Brown gets an updated, more detailed look, and it seems like they’ve done a good of job nailing the voices. I will be there, York Peppermint Patties in hand.

The Hateful Eight (Nov. 13): Quentin Tarantino does another Western. Django Unchained was his weakest movie, but I do cherish the idea of Tarantino going wild in the West again.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 (Nov. 20): The games come to a conclusion, and Jennifer Lawrence gets freed up to do other things. Rumor has it she wants to be a Ghostbuster.

Midnight Special (Nov. 25): Jeff Nichols, the man who gave us Mud and Take Shelter, returns with Michael Shannon as a dad who discovers his son has special powers.

Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens (Dec. 18): In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new Star Wars on the horizon, and J.J. Abrams, the man who made Star Trek cool again, is at the helm. Harrison Ford … Han Solo. That is all that needs to really be said about this.

Mission: Impossible 5 (Dec. 25): Yes … Cruise is still making these.

Published in Previews and Features