Fifty Shades of Grey: At last: the movie version of the book that made a nation of foosball moms feel dirrrrrty! And it has all the prerequisites to be just as much of a howl-fest as its source material: The director hasn't been entrusted with a feature since her first film half a decade ago. The male lead is best known for TV's Once Upon a Time. And his female co-star is Melanie Griffith's kid. So of course this thing is destined for a swift descent into ignominious obscurity, right? With its ludicrously tasteless Valentine's Day opening the rancid cherry on the shit sundae? Hate to burst your ballgag, sweetheart, but it's Fandango's top R-rated advance seller of all time. Ain't it always, always the way. (R)
Kingsman: The Secret Service: Just a few weeks ago, the director of Kingsman: The Secret Service declared in an interview that the moviegoing audience is tired of hyperserious, Christopher Nolan-style action films. That's a pretty ballsy statement, since it presumes an almost extrasensory knowledge of the deep desires of a huge mass of people – while dismissing the viability of one of the most successful filmmakers of this century. It's also pretty self-serving, since Kingsman – which concerns a super-secret spy operation – just happens to embody a lighter-hearted approach to comic-strip action. So just who is this mouthy upstart of a moviemaker? None other than Matthew Vaughn. Who directed the highly esteemed Layer Cake. And brought the X-Men franchise back to quality with First Class. Ummm ... take your base, dude. (R)
Mommy: In this French export (and Cannes Jury Prize winner), a single mom struggles to raise a teen with ADHD. And you know what the problem with those kids is: They never stop oui-oui-ing all over the place! Salvation might be arriving in the form of a new neighbor who's happy to help out – except that she's apparently a bit of an odd bird. For one thing, I hear she insists on drawing pictures of the Prophet Muhammad. Here we go again! (R)
Old Fashioned: Hey, here's an alternative to Fifty Shades for your Valentine dollar! It's a love story in which a young woman falls for an antique-shop owner who is also a "reformed frat boy." Should everybody beat a path to this level-headed, unexploitative, anti-sensationalist picture? Think again, oh hopeful one: It's a Christian flick in which the chief narrative complication is its hero's wholesome determination to keep coitus within the bounds of holy matrimony. Hey, auteur/star Rik Swartzwelder: We don't want to wait for marriage to have sex. We just want to wait for senility to see Fifty Shades of Grey. (PG-13)
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