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Trailer Reviews: Fifty Shades of Grey

Holy crap, Lars von Trier added another volume to Nymphomaniac! Yes! - Charlotte Gainsborough is back as Joe, the unrepentant nymphomaniac who's appetite for sex returns...with a vengeance! I can't wait to see how von Trier outdoes himself with pretentious and artful mundane things like fly fishing and the Fibernache sequence will be used as a metaphor for Joe and her numerous partners...



Oh wait, it's just the anticipated first look at the erotic drama Fifty Shades of Grey (due out in theaters February 13, 2015). Nevermind.

First off, I have never read the original source material by E.L. James. The premise - a young girl and a mysterious entrepreneur falling in love, but quickly realizing his past is much darker than previously imagined, including a thing for bondage and dom-submissive fetishes - feels something ripped from a cheesy erotic romantic novel that didn't sell with readers until present day. That, and I have a little something called Cinemax After Dark. Nevertheless, the erotic drama is something that hasn't really resurfaced in quite sometime. Sure, there were movies like Shame and the previously mentioned Nymphomaniac, but those movies were less erotic and more unsettling to watch. The former is a brutal and frank look at a man's self-destructive path toward the abyss because of his addiction to sexual gratification, and the latter is a provocative commentary on female sexuality and gender politics on sex - hardly titillating for audience consumption. So I guess we should welcome what promises to be a steamy, sexually-charged drama featuring two attractive leads in Dakota Johnson as Amanda Steele (no offense, but jeez, that sounds like the stage name of a porn star!) and James Dornan as Christian Grey. I mean, there's not much wrong with the trailer, to be honest: the cinematography looks lush and lovely give the dark color palette it flaunts; the acting has an air of mystery behind it, especially with Dornan's Grey; and Beyonce's hit song, "Crazy In Love" takes on a more sinister tone, in contrast to the song's upbeat, energetic tune.

The problem is that the trailer itself isn't really all that steamy, or erotic. Universal Pictures and their indie outfit, Focus Features, have bragged about this being dark and sensual, but the trailer misses out on the sensual/erotic portion of it. Sure, there's fast cuts of Amanda being tied up and moaning in pure pleasure over this new sexual experience, but we don't feel the heat radiating off the screen. The purpose of something like this is to turn the audience on; to get us hot and bothered, to feel the scorching passion between the two lovers, and you'd think the trailer would give said audience a taste of what is to come before the big, um...release (no pun intended). The trailer to Fifty Shades of Grey fails on that effort.

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