Monday, 28 July 2014


Monday, 28 July 2014
Mr Grey will see you now...
It's the trailer to the movie adaptation of the book your female co-workers and—OH GOD, NO!—your mum, raved about two summers ago. It was a good litmus test of people's literary taste, actually, because 50 SHADES OF GREY was an abysmal piece of literature (starting life as Twilight fan-fic) that conned millions of people into buying it. More fool them. But hey, sex sells.

The problem with adapting 50 Shades is that the only reason anyone bothered to read it was for the graphic descriptions of kinky sex and BDSM. Unless the film chose to be all-out porn, you're not going to get a true adaptation of everyone's favourite, highlighted passages. At best, this movie will be raunchy and appears to be leaning heavily on the fantasy trappings of billionaire Mr Grey (The Fall's Jamie Dornan), in terms of his physical appearance and the extravagant lifestyle he offers.

To be fair, this first trailer is about as good as you could expect from a movie like this. It doesn't look seedy, the leads are attractive, and it has fun teasing young Ana Steele's (Dakota Johnson) introduction to Christian Grey's sexual predilections. As side notes, I'm intrigued by the involvement of pop star Rita Ora as Mr Grey's sister, and Danny Elfman (Beetlejuice) being chosen as the composer.

I'll be interesting to see how this film is received by audiences next year. Will the book fans turn up in huge numbers, or will the film-makers realise the novel's success in the "e-book era" is because there's greater anonymity with saucy material. And people tend to enjoy explicit material in private. When you go see a film like this, with a paying audience, that's a more extroverted thing to be doing with your evening. I can imagine it doing well on the first weekend, as people are reminded of the 50 Shades phenomenon and the marketing hoopla kicks into a frenzy... but it'll either be a half-decent movie that can't compete with the book's written word, or a flaccid "porn film" with good production values, hamstrung by MPAA constraints for R-rated films.

50 Shades of Grey hopes to give the box-office a spanking on 14 February 2015.

My name is Max. My world is fire and blood.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD has been stuck in development hell for around 25 years; so if you're a fan of this Australian action franchise, you're either numbed by the hellish wait, or so psyched your eyes twitch whenever a car revs its engine. It's bizarre to have a sequel released after a 30-year gap, without the lead actor returning (Mel Gibson lost interest around 2000, and is now too old.) Instead, British beefcake Tom Hardy steps into the role of Max, having been attached to the project for six years, and we finally have a trailer.

And, OH WOW! It's Mad Max taken to a gob-smacking Fast & Furious-y extreme, thanks to the advances in special effects and stunt-work since the mid-1980s. Glorious! Even better, most of it appears to be practically shot without much CGI embellishment and, consequently, looks absolutely mind-blowing. This footage is stylish, exhilarating, action-packed, but also incredibly beautiful and artistic. It also seems to be pulled from one main action set-piece early in the film, so I can't imagine what they have cooked up for a big climax!

There are some indelible images here, and I don't think returning director George Miller could've released a more exciting first look. My guess is MM:FR will stand apart from the previous "trilogy", but entice newcomers to check out those old releases. I'm very excited for this.

Mad Max: Fury Road roars into cinemas 15 May 2015.