Directed by Bryan Singer and starring Rami Malek as late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsodyis a movie I really enjoyed. I’m certain that the ‘behind the scenes access’ it felt like the film was providing is a big part of the reason why.
Prior to watching, I didn’t quite know how moving and tragic Mercury’s story was. Now considering all the highs and lows in his life, it was just perfection that 1985’s dual-venue benefit concert, Live Aid, happened the way it did and that Queen were there to deliver their forever legendary performance.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Malek is well-cast especially in terms of his acting talent. Nevertheless, it would have been super if facially he looked a bit more like Mercury. Especially since the rest of Queen seemed to resemble their real life counterparts quite a bit. This is basically the only complaint (if one can call it that) that I have about Singer’s movie.
Overall, I had a great time watching the brotherhood between the band members, adored Freddie’s wit and charm, especially liked the footage of the band’s time in the studio and during the very important negotiation before the song Bohemian Rhapsody was released. There’s also the moments of true and beautiful friendship that may stand out for you; they certainly did for me.
I say, watch Bohemian Rhapsody for all the reasons including the great music. Music I enjoyed so much that I found myself wishing that I’d been there on that special day at London, England’s Wembley Arena on July 13th, 1985.
Vice, writer /director Adam McKay’s biography of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), the most powerful Vice President in history is a movie I both enjoyed and did not enjoy.
The parts I found least engaging were the moments that explained the ins and outs of the White House and / or American politics during Cheney’s time as VP. It’s quite unfortunate because I’d actually hoped that Vice would be a movie that caught me up on some of America’s political history. It turns out that the way McKay’s story is told just didn’t hold my attention the way I’d hoped it would.
The parts that did have me most engaged were the moments that revealed Cheney’s character and emotional journey. Especially as he grew into a successful man. To put it another way, I liked the parts that revealed Cheney’s heart, the character study rather than the political details of his operations post 9/11.
Where his wife Lynn Cheney (Amy Adams) is concerned, even though I may not agree with much of what she stands for, it was great to see a strong, confident woman speaking up for herself and taking charge of her destiny.
In addition to the great performances by Bale, Adams, Steve Carell, and Sam Rockwell, I also want to congratulate the makeup and prosthetics team for a job well done. I was most impressed by the transformation of Rockwell into George W. Bush.
As for the all important question of whether Vice is worth your time… if politics, American politics in particular is especially interesting to you, perhaps give it a go. I can’t guarantee that you’ll like the way McKay chose to tell this tory but you may enjoy the content. I myself probably would have stopped watching Vice long before the end if I wasn’t such a big fan of Bale and Adams.
The story of the The Favouriteis set in the 18th century and centres on England’s Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), whose close friend, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) steps in to govern England because the queen is too frail.
Director Yorgos Lanthimos’s film starts off relatively pleasantly even though the atmosphere is quite tense. The tension continues and things take a darker turn as the true motivations of the key players surrounding the queen begin to emerge. As a result, I find myself feeling more and more sorry for Anne, especially in her unfortunately frail state and considering the tragedies she’s already endured.
Woven in with the tension and darkness is humour which I enjoyed and a noticeable amount of definitely gratuitous but also well placed profanity. I liked the central performances by Coleman, Weisz and Emma Stone. I’ve never seen Stone’s generally very sweet looking face and big beautiful eyes take quite the less than sweet look they do in this movie. As for Coleman, I always knew she was capable with comedy (Peep Show, my favourite sitcom of all time) and she really does well in this heartbreaking dramatic role. No wonder she’s already won the Golden Globe for Best Performance By An Actress in A Motion Picture.
The makeup and 18th century costumes on both the men and women did well in delivering some fun and entertainment. Especially considering that many men walked around in massive wigs, quite a lot of makeup and ladies, especially the queen wore dresses with rather puffy sleeves and skirts.
The Favourite is not at the top of my list as far as movies about British royalty are concerned but I did have a good time. Watch it because it’s generally good and who knows, you might love it, even more so if you like rabbits.
Blackkklansman is the true story of Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado who successfully infiltrated the local Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter.
Starring John David Washington, Adam Driver and Topher Grace, Blackkklansman is an engaging, suspenseful and entertaining experience from start to finish.
Considering the backdrop of a very racially tense time in America, director Spike Lee does a good job of delivering tension and suspense mixed in with humour and iconic imagery of the 1970s. From the style, fashion, music as well as the general mood and atmosphere. Lee serves it all up without forgetting the all important message, particularly in reference to the past and present encouragement of racial violence by political forces.
I enjoyed the general cleverness of Lee’s directorial execution as well as the execution of Stallworth’s police investigation. The brotherhood between the investigative team is also a highlight, along with the vision of so many healthy looking afros and being reintroduced to the following rather joyful song…
The Happy Princeis the heartbreaking story of an artist who deserved so much better than the worst of the treatment he received whilst alive. The artist in question is the now very much deservedly adored and celebrated Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde.
Starring Rupert Everett, Colin Firth and Emily Watson, I wanted to learn about the untold story of the tragic times leading up to Wilde’s last days. As a fan of his work and many of his great quotes, I had somehow imagined that I’d be hearing famous Wilde quote after famous Wild quote as the movie played. This is not quite what happened and I’m not sure that if it had, it would have been a good.
The good news is that there’s definitely clever and witty Wilde sayings to enjoy, even though Everett’s film focuses quite rightly on telling Wilde’s truth and capturing his undeniably magnetic charm.
As well as the fact that The Happy Prince is rather well cast, the cinematography is a pleasant surprise. I liked the general flow of the story which switches between present day and flashbacks. I also enjoyed the words that follow the unexpected confrontation in France… ‘There’s nothing in me, not even fear.’
The Happy Prince brought to mind the value of great friends during dark times. It also reminds me that as sad as Wilde’s story is, I can’t help but notice how far LGBTQ rights have come since the days of Wilde, and that certainly makes me happy.
Watch it if you’re a fan of Wilde. I have been for a long time. I even went to his final resting place at Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris once.
One more Wilde quote… ‘Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.’
Stan & Ollie is the Jon S. Baird directed biography of Laurel and Hardy, the world’s most famous comedy duo.
Starring John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan, the film follows the pair as they embark on a gruelling theatre tour of post-war Britain.
I recently watched a Wired interview on their YouTube channel where the question of whether John C. Reilly had won any awards came up. The answer was no. Fingers crossed that this movie is good enough to change that.
I’m in for the story of a great friendship and because I’ve been a Reilly fan ever since his great work in Magnolia (1999).
Stephanie Hyam, Shirley Henderson, Danny Huston, Nina Arianda and Rufus Jones also star.