batman Dakota Johnson

Naughty, Violent, Cartoon Sequels: February 10's New Movies

Friday, February 10, 2017 Rob Samuelson

Hollywood is treating the weekend before Valentine’s Day (have fun celebrating with your significant others if you’ve got ‘em, otherwise don’t worry about it) almost like it’s a big summer weekend. All three wide releases are big deals. They may not end up being good, but these are big properties. Let’s see what’s in store for us at the movies this weekend.

Photo credit: Fifty Shades Darker/Facebook

Fifty Shades Darker
Director: James Foley
Writer: Niall Leonard
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson

When Fifty Shades of Grey was released in 2015, I worked in a movie theater. It was a nightmare when that movie opened, with crowds of people lining up the way they do for superhero blockbusters. This is my way of saying, this stuff is enormously popular, although I’m not so sure why. The music will be pretty cool like the first movie’s soundtrack was. Dakota Johnson will be lovely and subtly funny as she is in everything. That’s the extent of the guaranteed good things. Unfortunately, Jamie Dornan will be as emotionless as the whips and chains he uses on Johnson as part of their characters’ BDSM sex contract. Dornan stinks at his profession, folks. Replace him with someone who can act and these movies might be pretty good. As it stands, the handsome slab of rock is dragging these things down into drabness when they could be the most sleazy fun you’ll ever have at the movies. Fix it, Hollywood.

John Wick: Chapter 2
Director: Chad Stahelski
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane

John Wick is exactly the type of movie my friends and family would expect to make me flip out. And they’re probably right. Problem is, I haven’t seen it, even though I know it stars Keanu Reeves as an assassin who specializes in head stabbing. From what I gather, John Wick: Chapter 2 is more of that. It’s been received well, especially for a sequel to a low-budget action schlock picture. So if you’re into violence and excessive gore, punch your ticket for this film.

The Lego Batman Movie
Director: Chris McKay
Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith , Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington
Starring: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate

The first Lego Movie, from 2014, was one of the most unexpectedly great things I’ve ever seen. I love it with all my heart. That movie’s charming argument for being able to break free of society’s constraints to play the way you want to play was often boosted by the presence of Will Arnett as the Lego universe’s version of Batman. He’s a venal dolt who can’t seem to do anything right, but his gravely voice and awesome gadgets make him look cool. Now he’s got his own movie, and it looks like a blast. Along for the ride is Arnett’s Arrested Development costar, Michael Cera, as Robin, along with a number of other modern comedy greats, including Zach Galifianakis as the Joker and Halfstack favorite Jenny Slate as Harley Quinn. If you’re looking to laugh on purpose instead of uncomfortably (like the first movie on this week’s list) or nervously (like the second movie on this week’s list), then you know what the choice should be.

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