50 SHADES OF BLACK [PG-13] D
Having suffered through the relentlessly inane pseudo-sexual drama that was “50 Shades of Grey” (which after awhile started to work only as a cruel and senseless joke on audience sensibilities), I wondered what Marlon Wayans and his spoofy crew (director Michael Tiddes and co-screenwriter Rick Alvarez) would be able to do with the source material. Sadly, it seems, absolutely nothing, other than focusing on the lowest common denominator elements as Wayans prances around in the role of Christian Black, a shady billionaire with a confounding sexual appetite who attempts to woo an innocent college girl (Kali Hawk) to join the kinky side, only to discover that she is far darker in terms of her own sexual appetites. Wayans and his team operate best in the broadest of sketch comedy terms, far away from any notion of actual storytelling.
THE FINEST HOURS [PG-13] C+
Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) is a shy, almost stuttering lad – good looking but scarred and scared deep in his emotional core – who meets a headstrong lass named Miriam (Holliday Grainger) with more than enough moxie for the both of them. Their story somehow sets the stage for director Craig Gillespie (“Lars and the Real Girl”) as he takes audiences into the eye of a horrific natural disaster in 1952, as the crew of an oil tankers broken and stranded off the coast of Cape Cod prepare for the worst, while a seemingly under-manned Coast Guard squad sets off on an implausible rescue mission. Webber and his three-man search team brave the elements, but can’t overcome the overly earnest approach that renders the action dull and oddly listless.