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Friday
Jul252014

Yes No Maybe So, Eros: "Miss Julie" & "50 Shades of Grey"

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.

MISS JULIE


that time YouTube selected a unflattering freeze frame

YES
• 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 


NO
• 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?


MAYBE SO
• 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...

 

(okay)

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. 

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Reader Comments (28)

I was hugely anticipating Miss Julie since I love the cast, but curiously, that trailer had the opposite effect on me than it did on you. YES to the cinematography and Morton. But you seriously think Morton and Chastain look "broad" compared to whatever the hell Farrell is vomiting all over that trailer? He's giving me the same desperate "I don't know what the hell I'm doing" vibes that I got from his Savings Mr. Banks performance--which was horribly modulated. And Chastain's accent work is horrendous.

The featured dialogue in that 50 Shades of Grey trailer is unnatural and trite that I can't even blame the actors for seeming wooden/bad. No one talks like that.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKate

I need that Beyonce song on Itunes now!

And yes, Miss Julie is looking the sex! OMG... wow.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Miss Julie-Yes 50 Shades-No

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Miss Julie--Yes. A soap opera, is a soap opera, is a soap opera and I can't wait to watch that cast chew their way to the Arctic. I like the accent work. But it is running perilously close to an over wrought howler that will be a camp classic. LOVE MORTON--MORE PLEASE!

50 Shades of mediocre. Uh....no. Besides there not being a singular original idea in the direction (Really? Copying the glider scene from the remake of Thomas Crown? Complete with bad CGI? At least TC had the excuse that the technology wasn't there yet.). Aside from the very pretty Mr. Dornan only have 2 facial expressions and seriously lacking the gravitas for the role, aside from the piss poor line readings from both actors, aside from the very poor depictions of sex let alone SM sex and I'm starting to hate that song..........wait......I don't think I need another reason to avoid this.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Miss Julie, yes please!
50 Shades looks painful.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTravis

Cristy Turlington did the bed sheet thing better for George Michael too.

However, the elevator scene, which was lifted from an horrendous Dutch film and its remake called Down about an elevator which had human DNA and set out to revenge itself by killing all the people who killed it's human host to get the DNA..........that almost worked as parody.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Well, I wouldn't say no one would care if a 45 year old male director married a 22 year old actress and they had two kids together. It might be less of a thing, but possibly more, depending on the particulars. I mean, if the 22 year old had been JLaw or Emma Watson there would have been a worldwide collective WTF.

I think they mentioned that Beyonce did the version of Crazy in Love just so people were sure it wasn't a cover by someone else, and Queen Bey probably insisted on such a prominent credit.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

Samantha Morton is a goddess. I'm now 90% sure this will be in my personal top 5. Hopefully she gets plenty of screen time.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

I agree with Kate on Colin Farrell; every line out of his mouth sounded horrendous in that trailer.
We know he can be good, his comedic tour de force in In Bruge is terrific.
My favorite new director, Lanthimos, cast him in his upcoming Lobster... I really hope Farrell will be good in it.

Back to Miss Julie... Yeah, it looks nice, I guess, but I've always had a hard time getting excited about chamber pieces, about filmed plays, no matter how well they're written. They usually come off very stodgy - maybe that's why Chastain goes a little modern on us, to liven things up.
Unlike Kate and Nate I respond to what she's trying to do here...

About 50 Shades Of Grey... I looks pretty fucking awful. I can see it now... 9 % on rotten tomatoes. or am I being optimistic?


But as always I'm a YES to both movies, because I see EVERYTHING, except children's movies.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

I kind of want to watch 50 Shades of Grey. Oh dear. I know the books are reviled/loved but i'm intrigued. I blame that cover of Crazy in Love. I still get excited when that song pops up on my iPod.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

Initially, unfiltered reactions:

"Miss Julie" -- What. The. Hell.
"50 Shades" -- Yawn. Beyoncé's new version of "Crazy in Love" is the most interesting thing about that trailer.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

I'm not totally sold on Miss Julie - but I think it's interesting that "Oscar nominee" is the higher honor than "Golden Globe winner", which is what they could've called Chastain. I mean, I agree, but I'd never really thought about what a marketer would rate higher.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

If you are shooting for an Oscar, then Oscar nominee ranks higher.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

With so much exposition to cover in the "50 Shades" trailer, it's so reassuring that they took time to establish that the lead woman has low self esteem. Looks like a real class act.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Excited for Jessica Chastain in Miss Julie. I didn't pay much attention to what the characters were saying in the 50 Shades trailer, since Beyonce's new interpretation of her classic pop song "Crazy in Love" was way more dramatic and emotionally involved than these two actors.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiguel

I am ALL OVER Miss Julie. Great play, and if anyone could make it a great film, Liv Ullman is at or near the top of the list. Plus: PERFECTLY cast on all fronts. Colin Farrell has ALWAYS been the sex, and I cannot wait to see him and Jess go at it. Yes, yes, a thousand times YES.

50 Shades is such trash, but it's really fun, occasionally very hot, trash. I fully expect the film to be even worse, probably even laughably bad, but I'm still going to be there on Valentine's Day (GENIUS). I'm VERY interested to see how far they take this. And for what it's worth, Dakota was super likable on the unfortunately short-lived sitcom Ben & Kate, and Dornan is all wrong for the part, despite the hotness. I can't decide if the trailer is actually well-constructed or not, though. It seems to be part of this recent trend that I don't really care for of making trailers only for fans of the title. But I still got a bit giddy at the end, though, and that version of Crazy in Love is KILLER.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Mike in Canada- Chastain is also the titular character and the first alphabetically. She'd be bound to go first no matter what, eh?

July 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Strindberg and Don Johson's offspring put together. Never thought I'd type that sentence. The internet...

July 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

that's golden globe vinner colin farrell

jamie dornan - good lord. i only knew him from an appearance on the graham norton show where he told an adorable story about how he walks weirdly and now i think he should be in everything (that way i'd might eventually sit through a movie of his 'cause this one...? no)

July 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpar

The only thing I've seen Dornan in was a mini series out of N Ireland called "The Falls." with Gilllian Anderson and Archie Panjabi. He played the killer they were looking for and was pretty good in it (its worth getting on DVD). Course, he didn't have much in the way of lines, was naked and most serial killers are presented pretty one note emotionally so it worked. To be honest, this looks like the same portrayal, just different drag.

July 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

50 Shades is a big NO. The book treats BDSM as a sexy thing but also as a horrible thing that only damaged people do. The full trailer appears to be extremely faithful to the book, which is NO all the way, and the acting looks SO wooden. It's so made-for-TV but with sex.

Miss Julie YES PLEASE NOW PLEASE.

July 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

Miss Julie - Jessica Chastain is an automatic yes! Though the trailer is better than I expected.

50 Shades - LOL no, unless it is on cable 2 years from now and I'm too lazy to turn on Netflix.

July 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

The "50 Shades.." trailer looks slick- but seriously who can say no to Mr Farrell...?

July 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I'm a YES for the cast of Miss Julie, but MAYBE SO for ULLMANN as director. Her film version of Kristin Lavransdatter was devoid of the interesting themes of faith and loyalty that are deeply rooted in the book and concentrated solely on the love story, and made that far more sappy than it is in the book. However, that was several years ago and I am intrigued by this trailer, it certainly didn't seem sappy. So overall a hopeful YES.

I've tried to read 50 Shades and I didn't even get to the naughty bits due to the poor writing and completely blank main character. The trailer does not convince me that the script or main actress will improve on that. The line "I'm incapable of staying away from you", isn't that from Twilight? Not surprising, 50 Shades seems pretty much Twilight sans vampirism plus SM to make it seem for adults... Big NO Also, I thought Jamie Dornan was so good and so both sexy and scary in The Fall and I might have been a MAYBE SO for him, but he's too clean shaven and one note in the trailer so I'm sticking with NO

July 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMysjkin

Miss Julie-Maybe so. I don't know yet.
50 Shades of Grey-*lol* I'll probably watch that one day in a free TV premiere. Could be entertaining. LMFAO DWP copycat opening....

July 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

I am not at all looking forward to the sexist and sex-phobic discussions that will come about with the release of 50 SHADES. Not only the "women like this drivel?" nonsense that also got thrown at the Twilight movies (as if there haven't been plenty of terrible movies made by and aimed at male audiences), but this idea that BDSM (or whatever phrase is used) is demeaning and not common and that it's putting forth a false idea about sex. Ugh. I've already seen someone on Twitter ask in all sincerity why a woman would be turned on by that? Basically anything that isn't missionary position is considered weird and out there and disrespectful and that you're a freak if you like it. It's frustrating. Being directed by a woman I fear this will only be amplified because, unlike a male director, she should "know better" or some such.

I think the film looks fine. Exactly what it says on the box. Everyone will mock it and then gif it beyond reason.

July 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Trivia time! Jamie Dornan is married to Amelia Warner who was "married" to Colin Farrell. (She says it wasn't legal, he still refers to her as his ex-wife.)

Jessica Chastain looks too old for her part. And, wasn't she prettier?

I've seen every film Colin Farrell has ever made, so Miss Julie is on my list.

As for opening on Valentine's Day, A Winter's Tale (Colin Farrell with an unfortunate hairstyle)opened on Valentine's Day. I had NO trouble getting my husband to go see it. I wouldn't have a prayer getting him to see Shades. Then, again, I won't see it myself......ever.

July 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHep

...and by husband, you mean your cat?

July 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterunregistered

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