Sandy Kenyon reviews 'Fifty Shades Darker,' 'A United Kingdom'

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If you're spending the weekend before Valentine's Day at the movies, there are a couple of new options.

If you're spending the weekend before Valentine's Day at the movies, there are a couple of new options.

One is a love story that explores race in the 1940s, and the other is the second installment of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" franchise.

It's likely to be popular, but is it worth your money?

"50 Shades Darker" is hilarious, but it's not a comedy. As one movie-goer put it, it's tough to get into a sex scene when all around you folks are howling with laughter.

The most dramatic scenes got the biggest laughs at a movie best described as boring and barely watch-able, a few minutes of not-so-sexy sex in between endless conversations shot in the flat way TV series used to be made before television production improved.

Despite their obvious good looks, stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson generate almost no heat. Their lack of chemistry is fatal to the film, just as it was in "Fifty Shades of Grey," though this one makes Christian Grey a lot nicer.

Anastasia Steele can't quite decide how servile she wants to be, which fits a toned-down and tepid movie made by a middle-aged man who's determined to play it safe.

A figure from Christian's past is played by Kim Basinger, and if you want to watch a sexy movie for real, check out some of her older titles instead.

"A United Kingdom" is based on a true story about the marriage between the leader of Botswana and a British woman, which caused a stir in Africa and around the world in the years just after World War II.

David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike star in the historical drama about a couple Nelson Mandela called "a shining beacon of hope and inspiration."

On one level, it is a powerful love story. But audiences will also learn a lot about the history of Africa in the 20th Century.

"A United Kingdom" is as informative as it is entertaining.
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