Matthew Lickona 9:21 a.m., Sept. 29
Fifty Shades Freed
Freed at last, as moviedom’s favorite boy-beats-girl franchise draws to a halting climax. Christian (Jamie Dornan) and Ana (Dakota Johnson) tie the knot, but audiences anticipating auto-eroticism are soon asphyxiated by 90 minutes of panoramic pans across exotic locales. Add to this a few yawn-generating softcore spankings before closing on a note of unmitigated violence. Marriage has made quite the prude of Christian, who now winces at the amount of skin his wife flashes on a nude beach. And with an eye-rolling Ana wise to his whips-and-chains schtick, there’s little excitement left to the couple's S&M couplings. Submissive moviegoers might need a safeword — try “storytelling" or “pacing" — to unambiguously communicate the profundity of their emotional discomfort and intellectual detachment. As for the filmmakers, when all else fails and S&M simply will not do the trick, reintroduce an ex-boyfriend to kidnap and brutalize one character and stomp the pregnant stomach of another. Better to pass the time thinking about your parents having sex than sitting through this. 2018.