Who Should Direct the Next ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Movie?

Say what you will about Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie — but it was, at the very least, a more competently made endeavor than Fifty Shades of Grey, the book. Along with Dakota Johnson, who brought a disarming wit to a flat Mary Sue character, the credit for this belongs to director Sam Taylor-Johnson. Previously known for music-inspired projects such as the John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, she managed to condense 500 pages of Cinderella capitalism and awkwardly rendered sex into two hours of solid Hollywood Romance Product. But, likely due at least in part to clashes with Fifty Shades author E.L. James, Taylor-Johnson has announced that she’s exiting the franchise.

Considering that Universal has already greenlighted adaptations of the final two books in the series, the obvious question is: Who will direct the next film, Fifty Shades Darker? Though, frankly, I’m doubtful that Taylor-Johnson’s replacement will be anyone to get excited about, here is an unnecessarily lengthy list of audacious and entirely unlikely suggestions. Only a few of them are American, because Americans rarely make great movies about sex. … Read More

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Sony Pictures Plans Protoculture-Pumped Live-Action ‘Robotech’ Film Franchise

The Robotech franchise, which had been languishing in Warner Bros.’ vaults since they secured the film rights in 2007,… Read More

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Let’s Overanalyze the Autobiographical Elements of Noah Baumbach’s ‘While We’re Young’

In our memoir-obsessed and “reality”-infused culture, the search for autobiographical details and correlating avatars in the works of filmmakers who create personal (or Personal, or “personal”) works is a temptation we should be able to resist, and rarely can. The image of neurotic writers gleefully mining their own lives for raw material is one so deeply entrenched that it dies hard, even if it’s ultimately a reductive lens through which to approach the work. All of this is a long way of getting around to saying that I’ve seen Noah Baumbach’s new film While We’re Young, and it’s got me weirdly worried about him. … Read More

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10 Groundbreaking Documentary Exposés of Closed, Secret Worlds

Sunday night, HBO will present the television debut of Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney’s excellent (and controversial) documentary exposé of the history and practices of the Church of Scientology. The film is a barn-burner — not just because it’s compelling and well done (though it is), but because it gives such prominent exposure to an organization whose inner workings have largely remained behind closed, locked doors. This is one of the most valuable services nonfiction film can provide; some movies share history, some solve crimes, and some tell secrets. Here are some of the best docs in the latter category. … Read More

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Director Sam Taylor-Johnson is Officially Out of the ‘Fifty Shades’ Business

Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson will not return to the wildly successful sex-and-airplanes franchise, Deadline… Read More

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Exactly How Offensive Is Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart’s ‘Get Hard’?

In Etan Cohen’s Get Hard, out this Friday, ridiculously wealthy white asshole James (Will Ferrell) gets framed for Madoff-style investment fraud. Faced with a healthy prison sentence that begins in 30 days, he hires black working guy Darnell (Kevin Hart), who washes cars in his parking garage, to teach him how to survive (read: not get raped) in prison. Oh, the culture clash! Oh, the shenanigans that ensue! You can pretty much set a countdown clock to when hopelessly square James will turn up in the hood, sagging and sporting Locs and spewing street slang. And since Get Hard unspooled at SXSW last week, three questions have swirled around it: Is it racist? Is it homophobic? And if so, is it also… Read More

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