For most people, Valentine’s Day means flowers, chocolate, and romantic dinners. For cinephiles (or people too cheap or lazy to leave the house), Valentine’s Day means snuggling on the couch and watching a romantic movie. If you’re planning a Netflix night this weekend, picking the right film is key. There’s nothing worse than inviting that special someone over for a private screening, lighting a few candles, pouring a glass of wine, and then killing the mood by putting on In the Ream of the Senses.
Christian Grey is an unusual guy. He’s the world’s most eligible billionaire bachelor and an enormously powerful businessman. He’s an avid jogger, an exceptional piano player, and a licensed helicopter pilot. He also really like the color gray. He wears gray suits and ties, drives a gray car to his gray office building (which is called Grey House) under gray Seattle skies, where his assistant dresses in—you guessed it—gray. (For the record, his office chairs are white but the couches are gray too.) And, oh yeah, he’s into kinky sex, including bondage, spanking, and domination.
The first reviews of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ are out and most are pretty mixed on the film and whether or not it delivers on the white-hot sexuality of the original novel. But here is one film that absolutely brings the raw animal magnetism: ‘Fifty Shades of Buscemi,’ a mashup that inserts the great star of ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ ‘Fargo,’ and so many more into new film opposite star Dakota Johnson.
This is sort of a surprising-not-surprising news item. Universal is readying a sequel to last year’s phenomenally successful comedy ‘Neighbors,’ which starred Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as married thirtysomethings whose suburban bliss with their newborn baby is spoiled by the arrival of a rowdy frat house next door. The first movie didn’t exactly leave a bunch of loose ends for Rogen, Byrne, and Efron to continue into another film, and comedy sequels don’t have a great track record. But the first movie did gross over $268 million worldwide against an $18 million budget. Hence the not-surprising part: Universal’s announcement that they’re working on a ‘Neighbors 2,’ which they hope to have in theaters by next summer.
It’s great when a movie understands exactly what it is. ‘Magic Mike’ was an intelligently made Steven Soderbergh movie about life in Great Recession America. But it became a huge surprise hit in the summer of 2012—grossing $167 million worldwide against a budget of just $7 million—because it had Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, and an assortment of the finest man-candy in Hollywood bumping and grinding with their shirts off. The marketing for ‘Magic Mike XXL’ seems to have an innate sense of this. The first poster is a picture of Tatum with his shirt off, pointing at his crotch where the word “Coming” is suggestively placed. And this teaser trailer is basically Channing Tatum (and the rest of his team of shredded male strippers) dancing, stripping, and then dancing with their shirts off. I smell box-office gold. Wait, no, that’s baby oil and Muscle Milk. But those things smell a lot like box-office gold when they’re in ‘Magic Mike XXL.’
Episode 415 of ‘Seinfeld’ was called “The Movie,” and it ended with Jerry delivering a monologue about the guy in every group of friends who can’t follow the plots of films and invariably spends them whispering confused questions to their seatmates (“Why did they kill that guy? I thought he was with them? Wasn't he with them? Why would they kill him if he was with them? Oh, he wasn't with them. It's a good thing they killed him!”) ‘Jupiter Ascending’ turned me into that guy. If you can explain the plot of this baffling movie in all of its intricacies, you are either a genius or one of the Wachowskis who wrote and directed it. It’s hard to believe that a movie that contains this much exposition could also be this confusing, but it does and it is. Something went horribly wrong here.
An afternoon update from our We Swear We’re Not Making This Up Desk: TheWrap reports that Kevin Spacey, Oscar-winner for ‘The Usual Suspects’ and ‘American Beauty,’ will next appear as the star of a comedy called ‘Nine Lives.’ The “high-concept comedy” is described thusly (and, again, we didn’t make this up):
So Sony and director Paul Feig have found their new Ghostbusters: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon. This whole idea of an all-female ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot came together after the passing of original series star and co-writer Harold Ramis, when director Ivan Reitman relinquished the franchise’s director’s chair and everyone involved finally gave up on trying to convince stubborn (and probably very wise) Bill Murray to make a second sequel to the original film.
For a while, the party line on the possibility of an ‘Iron Man 4’ was that it was not going to happen. And, at least technically, that’s still true—because instead Robert Downey Jr. is co-starring ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ where his Tony Stark and Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers will get into an epic superhero tussle.
It feels like several years have passed since Christopher Nolan released ‘Interstellar,’ but that’s just because I’m still stuck on that tidal-wave planet where time dilates and stuff. In reality, it’s only been a couple months since Nolan’s latest epic sci-fi film, which opened to positive reviews and, despite its heady subject matter, went on to earn more than $660 million worldwide. Love it or hate it, you have to at least respect the fact that Nolan’s still making huge blockbusters based on original ideas and deeply personal subject matter—as opposed to board games or toys or something.
If you haven’t watched Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s ‘The Interview’ yet, either because you’re too cheap to spend $6 to rent it online, or you were worried North Korean hackers would catch you buying it and share your private emails slagging your boss with the world (I’m sorry Mike! When I called you “a giant goober,” I meant that in an affectionate way, like Goobers candy! Which everyone loves!) you are in luck. As part of their quarterly letter to shareholders, Netflix announced that they will “exclusively” offer the comedy to its U.S. and Canadian customers starting this Saturday, January 24. Sorry Netflix Netherlands! You’re out of luck for now.
‘American Sniper’ had a record-shattering weekend at the box office, grossing an astounding $105 million from Friday to Monday. It’s already the second biggest earner of Clint Eastwood’s entire career after ‘Gran Torino,’ and with six Academy Award nominations (and great word-of-mouth) behind it, it’s posed to become his biggest hit ever.
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