Fifty Shades of Grey


Viewed – 16 July 2017  Netflix

I was never going to actually watch this.  The largely negative media backlash to the books and the movies themselves were enough to put me off.  However I’m also someone who feels every movie should be given a day in court.  So with admittedly low expectations I sat down to watch this hyped, supposedly ‘erotic’ drama.

fifty-shades-of-grey

Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) unwittingly finds herself smitten by the swarve business tycoon Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) after quite literally stumbling into an interview on behalf of her flatmate.  It’s a corny introduction but fun all the same and I got distinct Bridget Jones meets Patrick Bateman vibes, what with this suited mystery man hiding a dark side and Anastasia’s never-been-kissed girl next door persona.  Now there’s a movie I’d love to see.  Anyway back to this one and I’ll admit I found myself enjoying the subtle chemistry and battle of wits between these two characters.  Grey wanting Anastasia to become his submissive, revealing to her fairly quickly his other life, that of a dominant who likes to spank, whip and control the one he is involved with.  He lays it all out and I certainly enjoyed watching Anastasia slowly transform into someone she never knew she could be.  That being said, some dodgy dialogue (“Necrophilia isn’t my thing” – in reference to Grey touching Anastasia whilst she was sleeping?  Does the writer not know what necrophilia is?) and an ending that came off as ‘so what were you expecting?’ this ultimately promised more than it delivers and keeps events fairly light and safe rather than go as dark and intense as it should have.  We do get plenty of nudity, a couple of diverting, stylishly-filmed sex scenes that are probably only really sexy if s&m is your-thang (and if is, you’re probably into stuff more daring than what we see here).  However if like me you find Dakota Johnson appealing, have a thing for Jamie Dornan or ever enjoyed those late night ‘naughty’ movies … this may still press your buttons.

It’s over-long and a takes itself too seriously (in need of that black humour that worked so well in the similarly themed ‘Secretary’) but is certainly not as awful as I’d heard.  However it’s no erotic masterpiece either.  Yet on this evidence, I’d still like to see the follow-up.

Verdict: 3 /5

Falling for a Titan


Titanfall-Concept-Art-HD-Wallpaper-940x1024_edited

Well it’s here, after much anticipation and a teasing beta, now I have the actual game in my hands!  Yes I am talking about XBOX ONE’s much anticipated exclusive (at least as far as it not coming to PS4) … Titanfall.  Developed by ex members of Infinity Ward, the guys responsible for the highly popular shooter Call Of Duty, this futuristic online-only game breathes some much needed fresh air into what was becoming a tired genre.

The basic concept is that you fight in two teams, at first on foot, but as you battle to kill the apposing team, each player is able to launch a titan… a hulking robotic exo-skeleton not that different to the ones seen in movies like Avatar and The Matrix Revolutions.  Then you battle either in or out of your Titan, as well as being able to free-run the environments on foot with wall running, double jumps and the like.  Its a great deal of fun!

Titanfall-screenshot-2-1

It stings somewhat their isn’t a single-player story element, and just a bolted on multiplayer-campaign which doesn’t really do much that you can’t experience playing in the various multiplayer modes – just with added commentary and a few extra battles going on around you … it’s still games of Atrition (deathmatch) and Hard-Point (domination) overall.  A wasted opportunity … but this is at least made up for by 14 detailed and well designed maps that offer a ton of enjoyment, as does the deep and rewarded levelling and customization options.

As a big release for the XBOX ONE which continues to dwell in the shadow of PS4’s success, I think it’s a crowd pleaser overall and at least its aiming at the right audience.  Call Of Duty, Battlefield etc. all continue to dominate, so it’s a wise move making this a potential system seller.  I personally think it’s a mistake on Microsoft’s part to allow this to be released on the XBOX 360 as well, giving an excuse for the undecided console owners not to jump to a next-gen system just yet.  Halo didn’t require other formats to make XBOX sell, and neither should Titanfall.

titanfall screensot 1

There has been some controversy over Titanfall’s final display resolution of 1408 x 792p compared to the much desired 1920 x 1080p of full HD (something the PS4 seems to handle with ease).  I only have a 26” 720p display so … what’s it like in reality?  Its gorgeous!!  Very smooth at an almost steady 60fps (surely most important??) and with very detailed graphics, great lighting / shadow effects and large, complex environments.  Screen-tare does rear it’s head, but isn’t that noticeable.  On my TV such shortcomings like lower resolution are a non-issue and well, with the games I have played on the XBOX ONE, such as Dead Rising 3, Forza 5 and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition … I can firmly say they are all slick, very detailed and attractive games that make me happy with my purchase.

So if you hanker for a new breed of online shooter, or just want that excuse to go for a new console … you could do far worse.  It really is a great game … lacking a little with no single player, but as a pure multiplayer experience, its fantastic.  Prepare for Titanfall!