It's a steamy class-conscious double-feature edition of Yes No Maybe So today with the recent debuts of two adult-oriented "nasty thoughts" dramas. They're both directed by women which is an unexpected plus from the complete rarity of it and oh my god I never want to type that sentence again because it's so infinitely gross that it's being typed in 2014. First we have iconic actress turned director Liv Ullman's adaptation of Strindbergh's classic Miss Julie about a cross-class dalliance between a lady (Jessica Chastain) and a servant (Colin Farrell) and then we have rising director Sam Taylor-Wood turned Sam Taylor-Johnson*'s adaptation of the not-classic best-seller 50 Shades of Grey which is also a cross-class dalliance between a fledgling reporter (Dakota Johnson, spawn of Melanie & Don) and a billionaire (Jamie Dornan, who has already spawned thank god because those genes must not go to waste!).
Which of these movies do you most want to have sex with right now?
Don't be shy.
Let's get to the YNMS breakdown starting with Miss Julie. There is so much more after the jump... I'm longwinded today.
that time YouTube selected a unflattering freeze frame
• I call dibs on the url fuckyeahslimwhiteankles.tumblr.com/
• I've only seen one of Liv Ullman's directorial features (Faithless) and though I didn't love it the acting was good.
• Sexual dramas are way too rare at the movies -- I haven't seen an A list actor pour cold water on his genitals in ages. (i.e. never. That shot!)
• I have no idea why R rated movies are more timid about sex than HBO or Showtime but I'm hoping the trend discontinues immediately. and if this one can get as much heat as it looks like it's getting from something as tame as ankles it could enter The Piano territory in terms of 'how is this so impossibly hot?'... though that's probably too much to ask for / expect.
• Even the Norwegian subtitles are making me horny
Skaff meg noe å drikke
Do it. I'm not going to ask twice!
• If you have to pick three actors for a triangular chamber piece how inspired to choose these: a star of the moment likely to last (Jessica Chastain); a major talent that's ghastly underemployed (Samantha Morton); and an underappreciated leading man (Colin Farrell) who will soon come into his own in a major way.
• One always hopes that period costume dramas feel lively and immediate in the playing and not fussy and stodgy and at least for 2 minutes and 11 seconds in this trailer Miss Julie accomplishes that.
• Colin in this trailer. Yowza. Here are two great quotes on that:
Farrell's voiceover should not be heard by anyone ovulating."
- Matt Zoller Seitz on Twitter
The film is set to premiere at the [TIFF] After which all of Canada will need to take a shower as a result of their proximity to Farrell’s voice."
-Jesse David Fox at Vulture
• I cannot describe how much I hate those dumb 'stingers' (is that what they're called?) at the end of trailers that ALWAYS attempt to be light and frothy or jokey even if that's totally inappropriate to what proceeded it. Blech
• Are foot fetishists going to just break out into mad orgies in theaters during this one?
• This might retroactively ruin the chaste upstairs/downstairs hotness of what's her name and Tom the driver on Downton Abbey
• Stage classics are not easy to make cinematic as hundreds of library titles prove. It's not just a question of opening it up. Could go wrong in at least 40 ways.
• Out of context both Chastain and Morton are coming off a little broad so hopefully that's just a case of big performances not being able to be contained by short attention span packaging.
Enough with the hedging, I'm totally in love with this trailer! That's an unqualified yes. Now on to the next nasty thoughts drama after a brief refractory period...
We're not going to divvy up the thoughts on the next one just take them as they come.
50 SHADES OF GREY
Instead of divvying this one up into Yes No Maybe So sections. I'mma treat it Thoughts I Had... style where we just narrate as we go...
• This starts just like The Devils Wears Prada! - YES
• This blonde assistant chick is not Emily Blunt -NO
• ...she's Jodie Foster from Elysium! - HELL NO
• They are playing this weird hiding game with Jamie Dornan even blurring him out when we first meet him. Ugh. We know what he looks like, marketeers. - NO. ONE SHOULD NEVER BLUR DORNAN OUT.
• She describes Mr Grey as "Intense, smart, really intimidating." - MAYBE SO
• "Just look at me." Gag when pretty actresses pretend that they're plain janes - NO
• If an elevator ever makes that noise and a whole orchestra starts booming when you enter it, press the emergency button immediately! - PSA
• Two elevator sex moments with scary emphatic music? Doubling down chutzpah - MAYBE SO
• Oops, Jamie, you already used that facial expression twice and this is only your third closeup - NO
• This helicopter shot is right out of Indecent Proposal. Remember that one? - NO
• Why is every clip making me think of other movies? - NO
• Remember 9½ Weeks? - YES BUT I WAS ONCE DEEPLY PARTIAL TO KIM BASINGER
• That widescreen shot with the piano and the bedsheet gown is very David Fincher & Madonna's "Express Yourself" - YAAAASSS
• It's a supernatural drama! Jamie Dornan can vanish in the middle of missionary position kisses through the power of the dissolve - YES
• What's will all these flying scenes? - MAYBE SO
• Have you ever been at a dinner where people were groping each other underneath the table. It is so obvious and gross - SUPER MUCH NO
• "My tastes are very... singular" LOL. If by singular you mean one in a long loooooong line of BDSM enthusiasts. Seriously there's old timey photographs of this stuff. There's probably even cave paintings of it and they didn't have real clothes back then much less blindfolds and whips! People have been into it for so long is what I'm saying. Anne Rice wrote porny books about it. There have been a ton of movies about it. Not singular. - YES BUT IN AN IRONIC WAY
• Keira Knightley used to see this expression all the time in her bedroom. Just saying - YES IF ONE WERE KEIRA KNIGHTLEY CIRCA 2004
• "Enlighten me then" - I can't decide if this line reading is great or obnoxious or sexy or coquetteishly gross but I'm always curious about the acting abilities of the spawn of actors - MAYBE SO
• Even if Dakota is good Maggie Gyllenhaal in Secretary is a lot to live up to by comparison - GOOD LUCK!
• Opening on Valentine's Day? Hilarious - YES
• "Crazy in Love" is my favorite Beyoncé song which is also Not singular. But it's weird to advertise that so big in the credits when the song is 11 years old. Unless Beyoncé is throatily croacking it out while dehydrated and tied up in Mr Grey's sex room, you're overselling it. - UH-OH UH-OH UH-OH OH NO NO ♫
The End (whew)
* I know I've mentioned this before but in case you missed it, I was super gung ho about Sam Taylor-Wood early on when I saw her excellent short film Love You More (2008). I was less impressed but there was still promise with her pre-Beatles Lennon bio Nowhere Boy (2009/2010 super-bungled release) which was significantly hobbled by music rights problems. This is her first credit with her new name post marriage and it's high profile so there's a lot riding on it; will Sam Taylor-Johnson break out in a way that Sam Taylor-Wood didn't quite? If you've been living under a no-celebrity-gossip rock, she married the young actor Aaron Taylor, her Nowhere Boy lead (now Aaron Taylor-Johnson) two years ago. Nobody would have cared if a 45 year-old male director married a 22 year-old actress but of course people mildly freaked out about this and would have majorly freaked out had either party been more famous. Aaron will next been seen as Quicksilver in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Samantha will next be seen giving interviews about 50 Shades of Grey while reporters try not to ask about her sex life with Aaron while talking about this sex movie.