When you’re a film critic in a market that doesn’t have a lot of advance screenings, you’re at the whim of theater release schedules. That means if you have a segment on Friday morning, you must go see whatever movie is showing on Thursday night. For a while it meant a lot of midnight showings, then studios started releasing films at 10 p.m., and now most films have their first showing at 7 p.m. There are three new releases this weekend but only one of them has a Thursday night release, which is how I ended up watching 50 Shades Freed, a movie that I had absolutely no interest in ever seeing. I haven’t seen the other movies or read the books but there I was on a Thursday night, a grown adult man sitting by himself in a crowded theater watching 50 Shades Freed.
I’ve never felt more uncomfortable (or creepy) watching a movie.
I tried to minimize the creepiness by waiting until the previews had started, sneaking into a seat at the end of an aisle near the back that left about 3 seats between myself and the group of women next to me. I even bought my ticket online so I wouldn’t have to say, “One for Fifty Shades Freed” to the young person at the box office. When I sensed the movie was about 10 minutes from being over, I got up from my seat and it was one of those electric recliners, so you could already hear the motor but then, as leather is prone to do, it made that sound. You know the sound I’m talking about and the women sitting a few seats over all looked at me and then leaned over laughing to each other.
So much for this not being awkward. I got out of there as quickly I could when the credit started.
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve said more about watching the movie than the actual movie. That’s because this movie is so bad, there is nothing to say about it. I knew what I was getting into and I didn’t expect Citizen Kane but I thought there might be enough of a storyline to be interesting. There wasn’t. For an hour and a half movie, there was maybe 30 minutes of actual plot. The best line in the whole movie comes near the end. Anastasia says near the end “this has to stop” and I couldn’t tell if she was talking about what was happening in the movie or the movie itself.
Have you ever watched a sequel to a movie and thought “Now I want to see the other one”? I’ve done that a few times but this time…nope.
Now, I know there are a lot of people who really enjoy these movies and that’s fine. I’m clearly not the target audience and if you are among the people who read this or watched my segment and are upset about it, I apologize. I truly hope that you enjoy it.
Also in theaters this week…
Clint Eastwood directs The 15:17 to Paris, chronicling the lives of three courageous young American who thwarted a terrorist attack on a train headed to Paris while they were traveling through Europe. The film follows the course of the friends' lives, from the struggles of childhood through finding their footing in life, to the series of unlikely events leading up to the attack. Throughout the harrowing ordeal, their friendship never wavers, making it their greatest weapon and allowing them to save the lives of the more than 500 passengers on board. It stars Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos who were the actual heroes on the train.
And for the kids…
Peter Rabbit, the mischievous and adventurous hero who has captivated generations of readers, now takes on the starring role of his own irreverent, contemporary comedy with attitude. In the film, Peter's feud with Mr. McGregor, played by Domhnall Gleeson, escalates to greater heights than ever before as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door who is played by Rose Byrne. James Corden voices the character of Peter, with Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley performing the voice roles of the triplets, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.