‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Author E L James to Release New Book ‘The Mister’

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E L James, the author of the scandalous “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the subsequent series of books, announced on the “Today” show Thursday that her next novel will be titled “The Mister.”

A contemporary romance set in London, Cornwall and Eastern Europe, the steamy novel introduces readers to privileged and aristocratic young Englishman Maxim Trevelyan and the mysterious, talented and beautiful Alessia Demachi, who’s recently arrived in London owning little more than a dangerous and troublesome past. The book is now available for pre-ordering from Amazon, and “The Mister” will be available in bookstores on April 16.

Arrow Books, the same imprint that launched the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy in 2012, will publish James’ new novel in paperback and ebook formats, with simultaneous publication from Penguin Random House Audio.

Also Read: How Peter Dinklage Helped Jamie Dornan Prep for ‘Fifty Shades’ (Video)

“I’m so excited to finally get this passionate new romance out into the world,” James said in a statement. “It’s a Cinderella story for the twenty-first century. Maxim and Alessia have led me on a fascinating journey and I hope that my readers will be swept away by their thrilling and sensual tale, just as I was while writing, and that, like me, they fall in love with them.”

“Today” also shared an excerpt of the book, a sexualized scene with writing not unlike what we’ve come to expect from James.

The “Fifty Shades” series was adapted into a trilogy of films starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in 2015. All three films collectively have grossed $1.3 billion worldwide at the box office.

Read a full synopsis of “The Mister” via Penguin Random House.

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‘Book Club’ Film Review: Women-of-a-Certain-Age Sex Comedy Has Poignancy Beneath the Pratfalls

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It’s a credit to TV’s greater curiosity and openmindedness that when I beheld the four stars of “Book Club” — actresses ranging in age from 65 to 80 — my thoughts turned to how recently I’d seen them on their respective shows or in headlines about their upcoming series.

The ensemble romantic comedy benefits enormously from Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and Mary Steenburgen keeping their comedic and dramatic muscles warmed up (though a stiffer Candice Bergen has her bravura moments, too). None of the women are asked to do anything too strenuous in “Book Club,” but their collective charisma — along with their male co-stars’ — add up to an irresistible charmfest.

The premise of “Book Club” sounds, to be honest, excruciatingly dumb: A quartet of elderly friends are inspired by the “50 Shades of Grey” books to spice up their sex lives. But first-time director Bill Holderman, who penned the script with Erin Simms, smartly adds a pinch of salt to the sweetness to amplify both sides of the flavor spectrum.

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The film’s aspirational, 60-is-the-new-40 fantasies feel grounded enough in emotional truths and aging concerns that the most unrealistic thing about these literate ladies, who deliver guffaw-worthy lines about Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” and Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” is that they never once mock “50 Shades” author E.L. James’ atrocious prose.

“Book Club” opens with an awkwardly Photoshopped snapshot of the four main characters in their youth, clinging to their copies of Erica Jong’s “Fear of Flying.” Now a few years shy of 70, all but one feels erotically adrift. The exception is commitment-phobic Vivian (Fonda), a luxury hotel owner (in attention-grabbing animal prints) who’s happy as a lifelong bachelorette but finds herself drawn to an old boyfriend (Don Johnson) who’s visiting Los Angeles.

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The others are in various stages of sexual shutdown. The most resistant to an erotic rekindling is federal judge Sharon (Bergen), who internet-stalks her ex-husband (Ed Begley, Jr.) and his decades-younger new fiancée and seemingly hasn’t been on a date since her divorce 18 years ago. Chef Carol (Steenburgen), the only one friend still married, struggles with her husband’s (Craig T. Nelson) utter lack of interest in sex.

Widowed homemaker Diane (Keaton, in a first-rate set of her signature androgynous garb) is needled by her condescending daughters (Katie Aselton and Alicia Silverstone) to move to Scottsdale, where she can be stuffed into the basement and supervised 24/7. Diane shows resistance even before she meets a stranger on a plane (a positively smoldering Andy Garcia) who’s willing to show her everything she missed out on during her lackluster marriage. Richard Dreyfuss and Wallace Shawn make brief appearances, but somehow Sam Elliott does not.

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To be sure, “Book Club” has more goofy gags than it does witticisms. An arrow on a plant moisture meter twitches from “dry” to “wet” when a character gets lost in Christian Grey’s Red Room, and Nelson’s character is marched into several situations fly-first after a Viagra accident leaves him fuming and erect. The cast is just as game for the broad humor as it is for the emotional beats; the latter’s familiarity doesn’t detract from its poignancy.

As movingly as each character’s romantic and/or familial storyline wraps up, though, I wish the core cast had a few more scenes to themselves. They share such an easygoing chemistry — and the inevitable scene where the friends diagnose one another on what they’re doing wrong hints at such layers of friendship — that it felt disappointing that their decades-long bond wasn’t the focus of the movie. The men are a treat. But there isn’t quite enough of the women to comprise a feast.



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‘Fifty Shades Freed’ Review: No Shades Of Grey In Final Chapter Of E L James’ Sex Fantasy

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They’re baaa-aaaack! Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, that is. Every year around Valentine’s Day, Universal has been shrewdly serving up another chapter of the pair’s steamy, kinky relationship, and it all comes to an end now with the third installment of the cinematic adaptation of E L James’ publishing phenomenon. Of course none of these movies looks much different, and Fifty Shades Freedagain from a screenplay by Niall Leonard and direction by James Foley…

‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Review: At Least Look Like They’re Enjoying Themselves This Time

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There’s a real temptation to cut the “Fifty Shades” films some slack; after all, almost every month sees the release of another superhero movie, designed to fulfill the power fantasies of boys of all ages.

Even if the ongoing saga of Anastasia Steele (played by Dakota Johnson) is nothing but wish fulfillment, why should adult female audiences be deprived a vicarious shot at career advancement, gorgeous lingerie and a billionaire underwear model who’s fond of what the young hero of “20th Century Women” would refer to as “direct clitoral stimulation”?

However, if you think that those same audiences also deserve characters with any depth and plotting that relies upon the presence of multi-dimensional human beings, “Fifty Shades Darker” falls short. It’s nice that the two photogenic leads are treating sex like a pleasurable activity rather than an onerous chore in this second entry, but overall, the film plays like an un-asked-for collaboration between the Hallmark and Playboy Channels.

See Video: New ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Trailer: Christian and Ana’s Relationship Takes a Dark Turn

After peering into the sadistic heart of her boyfriend Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and walking out on him at the end of the previous movie, Anastasia sets off on her own, starting a new job at a Seattle publishing house as the assistant of fiction chief Jack (Eric Johnson, “The Knick”). At a gallery show for her photographer pal Jose (Victor Rasuk) – fantasy alert, there a bunch of huge portraits of Anastasia, and she looks gorgeous in all of them, except OMG, you guys, she’s so shy! – she runs into Christian again. He’s just bought all her portraits, and he’d like to have dinner.

So creepily crisp in the first movie, Christian has let his stubble grow in to show how lost he is without Anastasia. She quickly takes him back under a “no rules, no punishments” understanding, and despite the provocative title, their couplings play out as being much more fun this time. Anastasia has coerced him to the vanilla side, but she’s not beyond asking for the occasional spanking or a trip to the red room when it’s something she wants to do.

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Everything’s so generally cozy between the two, in fact, that “Fifty Shades Darker” has to keep finding its drama from without, rather than within, their relationship. Whether it’s Jack getting handsy or the appearance of Elena (Kim Basinger) – the older woman who taught a young Christian the ropes, as it were – or the threat of one of Christian’s old subs (Bella Heathcote), who’s now stalking Anastasia, our young lovers run a gauntlet of threats in between masked balls and dinners out and naughty elevator rides.

TV scribe Niall Leonard makes his film debut as a screenwriter, adapting the terrible prose of novelist E.L. James, to whom, by sheer coincidence, he happens to be married. There’s none of the occasional glimpses of self-aware humor that Kelly Marcel offered in the previous installment, just banalities, bromides and blank stares.

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If you’ve seen Dakota Johnson in anything else (“Date and Switch,” “How to Be Single,” even her hosting stint on “Saturday Night Live”), you know she has a spark that these movies completely suppress; as for Dornan, the character’s relative state of relaxation has rubbed off on the actor, but he’s still stuck playing an underwritten stiff.

Director James Foley and his team give the target audience what it allegedly wants: gleaming surfaces, nudity at a distance, and the tidiest kink imaginable. What Foley doesn’t do is imbue this fluff with the grit that you might expect from the director of “Glengarry Glen Ross.” But hey, coffee is for closers, and part threes – “Fifty Shades Freed,” directed by Foley, opens next year – are for people who keep their heads down and do what the bosses want. In Hollywood, that’s the real tale of submission.

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‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Review: Sexual Smorgasbord Ratchets Up The Heat — Just In Time For Valentine’s Day

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It might not be in the league of The Godfather Part II or Aliens, nor should it even be spoken of in the same breath, of course, but Fifty Shades Darker manages to be a sequel that tops its predecessor simply by not taking itself very seriously and providing what the customers are there for: a good, inventive sex scene every 10 or 15 minutes. In fact, as I say in my video review (click the link above to watch), these movies are structured a lot like musicals, where the…