Fifty Shades of Grey – DVD Review

Fifty Shades

For those of you whose Dom doesn’t permit you to keep up to date with popular culture allow me to introduce you to a literary adaption that has caused more fuss than it has any right to. Fifty Shades of Grey is an aspiring erotic romantic drama in which the virginal student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and handsome young billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) meet, fall madly in love, and negotiate a contract which would make Anastasia the Submissive to Christian’s Dominant. All Anastasia wants is to fall madly in love but Christian would rather just buy her nice gifts in exchange for tying her up and rubbing her down. So to speak.

Can they make it work? Is Christian emotionally stable? Is Anastasia making good life choices? The film answers very little of these questions as the film circles its quite basic plot. For all the fuss created about E.L. James’ original novel and this adaptation not much actually goes on. After their initial meeting Steele and Grey have sex a few times in between trying to convince each other to pursue wildly different relationships and then the film just ends.

From a romantic point of view the film failed to give any reason why I should want the lead pair to get together. Were either of them a friend I would advise them to move on and find someone new. Anastasia’s personality begins and ends with liking books and wanting to make love while Christian likes playing piano topless and, look away now sensitive folks, fisting. Their interactions outside of the bedroom/red-room-of-pain don’t demonstrate enough chemistry to convince that they are actually in love, lust, or even in the same book group.

Fifty Shades 2

When it comes to the erotic element of the film it is a bit hit and miss. Some of the sex scenes do succeed in actually being sexy but then the film suddenly descends into sweeping camera moves and slow fade transitions that leave the sex, after all that fuss, a little pedestrian. Considering the raunchy nature of what we see on TV and online (I’m talking Netflix not actual porn) week in week out Fifty Shades of Grey actually felt a little tame which was not what I was expecting.

We all know the film is the result of infighting between E. L. James and director Sam Taylor-Johnson. That lack of creative freedom and singular coherent vision has resulted in a film that isn’t really anything in particular. The film didn’t feel particularly romantic, erotic, nor dramatic. It wasn’t even a total disaster so isn’t worth hate-watching. Overall Fifty Shades of Grey is boring and bland; a sanitised story of love and lust that fails to excite.

For anyone seeking a romantic erotic story of a woman embracing a sadomasochistic relationship please watch Secretary, and to see a damaged man overindulge in sex let me recommend Shame. Both will show you what Fifty Shades of Grey could have been if it had the ambition.

Fifty Shades of Grey is out on DVD and Blu-ray should you need to see it for yourself. (So are Secretary and Shame.)

NOTE: The DVD I was sent included the “Unseen” version of the film with roughly three minutes extra footage. Sadly no special features were available for reviewing but the various sets do have extra footage/documentaries should you need more content when you’re done.

Evolution of a Rumour: A Guide to Online Journalism

Movies News Headlines - Page 1 - Digital Spy

Filling a film news site isn’t hard. Every day you will be sent dozens of press releases which are ready to be regurgitated as content and lots of brands will email asking to pay you so that they can write articles for your site in exchange for all-important links. And at the end of the day if you run out of sponsored posts, glorified press releases, and competitions you can always just make up a rumour, makes vague references to sources, and post it as if it were fact.

I have been following the casting rumours for Fifty Shades of Grey with vague interest ever since Felicity Jones had her name thrown into the mix by fans of the books. We are fans of Jones here at Mild Concern and the thought of her appearing in what was potentially soft-core porn was as exciting as it was worrying. All the speculation ended earlier this week when it was announced that Dakota Johnson would be taking the role and I could stop fretting about it or giving bizarre interviews to anyone.

Then yesterday I was lured back in by the following headline on Digital Spy:

Felicity Jones turned down 50 Shades of Grey over full frontal nudity?

“How interesting,” I thought. “Allow me to read their exclusive interview with Felicity Jones on the matter.” How naive. The question mark in the title should have been a dead giveaway. Instead the article simply stated that she “is said to have objected to the movie’s scenes of full frontal nudity”. They do not go on to elaborate as to who said this or where they got the story from. The article then goes on to discuss random details about the film and ends with a slideshow of images of Dakota Johnson. The content of the article relating to their fabricated bit of news was so small I felt the need to represent the article as a whole in a pie chart:

Digital Spy Chart

Annoyed I ranted on Twitter and got on with my day until coming across a similar article on the Metro website:

Felicity Jones turned down Fifty Shades of Grey Anastastia Steele role over full frontal nudity?

Such a familiar headline! I wonder where they got their information from? The Metro were good enough to pad out the story they may or may not have found on Digital Spy as they included a brief quote from their interview with Jones in which she said “It all depends on the film-maker and script, just like any other job.” So they have a direct quote from the actress… in which she says nothing to support the story. Their chart of relevant content in their article is slightly more favourable:

Metro Chart

Before the day was out the “story” was on multiple sites, none with a source, but all littered with question marks and words like “reportedly”, “apparently”, and “sources say”. Perez Hilton ran the non-story with the following charming image:

Perez Hilton

The only story I read which cited a source was The Fan Carpet which regurgitated the story but included the phrase “according to The Wrap“. As is the case when I’m in an investigative mood I couldn’t not follow the trail and scoured The Wrap for the source of this story. And there it was. It was not in an article about Felicity Jones but a broader piece on the actors who are actually in the film:

Inside Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson’s ‘50 Shades of Grey’ Casting: Chemistry Tests to the Dotted Line

The vital piece of the article that mentions our favourite actress goes as follows: “Make no mistake, several young actresses turned down the role of Anastasia due to the full frontal nudity it requires, including Felicity Jones.” Look how minuscule Felicity Jones was in this article:

The Wrap Chart

One passing mention to the fact that she turned down the role (unconfirmed) and that it may have been due to the nudity (unconfirmed) and numerous other sites claim this as a lead story and clog the internet by reporting it as news.

All that from a passing comment. And now we’re involved too!

So don’t worry about reporting actual film news, just make it up, infer it from someone else, and make sure you use a question mark so that you can’t be sued for libel. Have fun!

Actors Selected to Perform Kinky Sex for Your Amusement


As a recent expert on the casting of the Fifty Shades of Grey film (pause for laughter) I thought it was only fitting that I bring you the news (a day late) about the actors who have actually been hired to show you their genitals in what is sure to be a sensitive and artistically valid feature film adaptation of the book series that has been titillating readers for only two years now.

Author of the books and all round smut-peddler E L James revealed the on Twitter that the role of Christian Grey will be played by Charlie Hunnam and Anastasia Steele is to be portrayed by Dakota Johnson. But who are this sexy pair? Looking at the image above we can see that they are an attractive pair but what else?

Charlie Hunnam is a male man (not a mail man) from England who has been in a variety of things I have failed to see including Queer as Folk, Undeclared, Sons of Anarchy, and Pacific Rim. He also played the title role in a 2002 version of Nicholas Nickleby which for some reason also starred Anne Hathaway. From what I can tell Hunnam is a good egg, can actually act, AND has the all important buff bod we need here.

Dakota Johnson is a female woman from America. She is made from the combination of Melanie Griffith’s egg and Don Johnson’s sperm and has Antonio Banderas as a step-dad and Tippi Hedron as a grandmother. The only acting I have seen her do is during a brief cameo of the final episode of the American version of The Office but hopefully some of her relatives’ talents have rubbed off on her*. She was also Kate in the sitcom Ben and Kate but I have no proof that show ever existed. A Google image search reveals her to be blonde, slim, and attractive** so no one will object too much to seeing her trussed up and naked.

Ultimately you have to ask yourself “do I care who is in this film?” and “surely it’s for the best that Felicity Jones stays far away”. The answers are likely to be “no” and “you’re right, she’s better than this”. The fact that they seem to be casting proper actors with greater assets than those they keep in their underwear, combined with choosing a proper director in the form of Sam Taylor-Wood seems to suggest that they are trying to make a decent film out of a book that sounds like dirge***. Whether they can or not remains to be seen.

Do it right and they could make Shame, do it wrong and they’ve made Shameless Boytoys. Either the way people will watch either out of love for the source material, morbid curiosity, or simply to get themselves off.

* Before Charlie Hunnam does (snigger)
** A triple threat known as “trouble”
***Having not read the books I cannot wholeheartedly condemn or promote them

A Short Note on Jesse Pavelka’s Buff Bod

Jesse Pavelka

As readers of EntertainmentWise will already know I recently trundled down to the entertainment site’s offices to discuss casting rumours surrounding the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. The interview was originally filmed but has since surfaced without the footage included – the fact that I arrived sweaty, windswept, and with no idea what to do with my face when it wasn’t talking may have contributed to this decision.

Regardless the interview was good fun and gave me an insight into what it is like for the people I interview. The write up of my thoughts on Fifty Shades of Grey casting rumours can be read over at the EntertainmentWise site.

Well, almost. This particular paragraph raised an eyebrow or two:

Ouch! Instead Tim is favouring a much less known star, model Jesse Pavelka. The US fitness expert is well known for his buff bod, which Tim reckons is a definite plus for the role: “As a model he would be attractive and willing to do probably anything to get this role. He’s a blank slate, you can apply any character you like to him.”

I am not denying Pavelka his buff bod, though it’s not a phrase I’ve used before (I once called someone a “dish” and that didn’t feel right for anyone involved), but he is not my favourite to play Christian Grey. My personal favourite, if (and when) forced to pick one, is Matt Bomer. Why? Because he can actually act and last year had all my female friends rushing to lust over him in Magic Mike.

As for Matt Bomer’s buff bod… he’s the one on the right:

As for the Felicity Jones plug… OBVIOUSLY that was me. I am nothing if not determined and persistent.