Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Review

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Directed by Bryan Singer

Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Mike Myers

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 biographical film about the British rock band Queen. It follows singer Freddie Mercury’s life leading to Queen’s Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985.

My Opinion:

This is one of those movies where I’m glad I waited a couple of weeks before reviewing it. If I’d written it while still on a “high” just after seeing it, I’d have rated it too highly. It’s a fun film. I like Queen and of course love Freddie Mercury (I did a list of My Top Ten Queen Songs HERE). Who doesn’t love Freddie?? He’s a legend and I miss the days when we had proper performers like him. And Bowie. (I’m still not over being upset about Bowie’s death either!). Anyway, this film was a lot of fun but it’s not going to be an all-time classic. It’s somewhat disposable and, while Rami Malek did well, it’s not an Oscar-worthy performance. I never really felt like I was watching Freddie Mercury. (Sorry!)

I can see that this film is similar to The Greatest Showman: audiences love it while critics have been harsh in their reviews. It’s easy to understand why it has fans. It’s great hearing all of Queen’s biggest singles and witnessing the creation of Bohemian Rhapsody was an absolute joy (whether or not it was accurate – I have no idea). And as a huge fan of Wayne’s World, I personally adored the fact that they had Mike Myers playing a record executive who hated their weird opera song. Brilliant.

Rami Malek may not exactly feel like Mercury but, to be fair, I don’t think anyone could ever do Mercury justice. Malek was still very good & fun to watch. I think credit hasn’t really been given to the rest of the band in the film, though. Gwilym Lee was especially good as Brian May. However, what I possibly enjoyed the most was seeing Freddie’s relationship with Mary Austin. I knew of her but knew very little of their relationship. I was glad that there was so much focus on her as she was such an important part of his life and I thought Lucy Boynton was great. Again, I think she’s probably not been given enough credit but, to be fair to Malek, it’s probably much easier playing a character who isn’t as well known as Mercury. I also liked her a lot in the fantastic Sing Street so she’s definitely one to watch.

I haven’t read any reviews so don’t actually know what negative things the critics are saying but I do know they like a gritty drama when it comes to biopics and Bohemian Rhapsody certainly isn’t a gritty drama. The movie feels very watered down. It’s a very “family friendly” version of the life of a rock band. Come on – where was all the raunchy sex?!?!? I don’t really mind when Hollywood movies do this, though. If you wants facts, watch a documentary or read a book about Queen. This movie is pure entertainment. As long as you know what you’ll be getting if you watch it, you should enjoy it if you like Queen’s music and just want to know a little bit about the band (but mostly Freddie). It’s a fun movie but not a great film. That was fine with me since I just wanted some light entertainment anyway.

My Rating: 7/10

I definitely have to end with the Wayne’s World clip…

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The DUFF & The Scorch Trials Movie Reviews 

Welcome to my “Young Adult Movie Adaptation Review Special“! I read one of these books (the movie was awful) and didn’t read the other book (the movie was surprisingly fun). Let’s see which was which…

The DUFF (2015)

Directed by Ari Sandel

Based on The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Starring: Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Nick Eversman, Skyler Samuels, Bianca A. Santos

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF – Designated Ugly Fat Friend – by her prettier, more popular counterparts.

My Opinion:

Even at my advanced age, I still enjoy a good teen comedy. Obviously, nothing will ever compare to my 80’s John Hughes classics but there have been a couple post-1989 ones that haven’t been too bad (Clueless, American Pie, etc). But the majority are bad and full of hateful teens (like in stuff such as Project X and, sadly, Dope – a movie I was hoping to love). However, The DUFF is easily one of the better ones I’ve seen from this genre in a long time & I really enjoyed it.

Mae Whitman (the voice of Tinker Bell in all those Tinker Bell movies! You’ll know them well if you have a daughter 😉 ) plays the DUFF, aka the “Designated Ugly Fat Friend”. I liked her in the fantastic The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and she’s a lot of fun in this & totally relatable as a “real world girl”. I hate saying that as it sounds so rude but, yeah – unlike the girls in all other Hollywood movies, she looks like a normal person. Hollywood movie girls are too ridiculously attractive and it sets a bad example (especially in teen movies).

Whitman’s two best friends in this are of the unrealistic ridiculously attractive variety but I suppose they were trying to make her look less attractive in comparison. But, anyway! That’s not entirely relevant as this movie isn’t really trying to make as big of a statement on superficiality as I was expecting. Whitman’s character is, at first, entirely content with how she looks & dresses – she only changes when someone calls her a “DUFF”. So I guess the main message is more about how we treat people but there’s a bit of a moral about accepting yourself the way you are.

Anyway… Forget I said all that! This isn’t some annoying teen movie that thinks it has an important message or something – it’s just a lighthearted comedy & actually quite funny compared to a lot of current teen flicks. The humor is a tad on the raunchy side (fine by me) so this is probably aimed more at the mid to late-teen age range. Although certainly not at the same level as something like Heathers (nothing is!), The DUFF is smart & sassy like a lot of the 80’s teen classics. Hopefully more teen movies go in the same direction as this one since I’ll probably still be watching this genre when I’m 90.

My Rating: 7/10

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

Directed by Wes Ball

Based on The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Ki Hong Lee, Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor, Patricia Clarkson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot of The Scorch Trials takes place immediately after the previous installment, with Thomas (O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers battling the powerful World Catastrophe Killzone Department (W.C.K.D., or WICKED), while facing the perils of the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with dangerous obstacles.

My Opinion:

WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL?!?!?! I’m so damn confused by this movie! I’ve read The Maze Runner trilogy (I did a recap & review of the final book HERE last week) and, although I have some major issues with it and it often annoyed the hell out of me, I thought it was a decent enough story overall. I read the books after seeing the first film, which I found quite enjoyable (much more enjoyable than the books, actually). So I finally watched The Scorch Trials after finishing the books. IT BARELY EVEN RESEMBLES THE BOOK!!! ??? Why ???

I would assume that books can be quite hard to adapt into films, especially long books that must be reduced to a roughly two-hour running time. The Scorch Trials isn’t a long book, however. Plus, the first movie was faithful to the book so it’s even more confusing that they’ve decided to take things in such a different direction in the sequel. I’m not overly bothered about a 100% faithful adaptation as I know things sometimes need slight changing or need to be left out due to running time. As long as there are no major changes that completely mess with the storyline, characters’ intentions/personalities, or the overall themes, I’m fine with them.

Well, The Scorch Trials has major changes. No, wait – that’s not exactly right as you can’t even really call them changes… It has completely new stuff added in. It’s so drastically different that it feels like the screenwriter(s) didn’t even read the book & instead based the story on its back cover synopsis or on some weird ass “Chinese whispers” version of the story.

You know what? I don’t care. I’m not going to waste my time reviewing this. It lost my interest after it started going so completely off the rails that I went & did other things around the house while it kept playing in the background. I’m not sure what the hell was going on. After this movie, I’m not going to bother with the next one since I sure as shit can’t be bothered to re-watch this one to figure out what the hell was going on. BAH! What a stupid waste of time. Either be faithful to a book or, if that fails, don’t follow it AT ALL & just steal the name (like World War Z). At least I knew beforehand with that one that they ignored the book….

My Rating: 4.5/10 (Not lower than that since I guess I still like the characters and think Dylan O’Brien & Thomas Brodie-Sangster are good in these films)

Sing Street (2016) Review

Sing Street (2016)

Directed & Written by John Carney

Starring: Lucy Boynton, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Aidan Gillen, Jack Reynor, Kelly Thornton, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes.

My Opinion:

I really enjoyed this movie! It’s nice to watch a feel-good, fun movie like this one. It was also nice to get a break from superheroes… I could’ve gone to X-Men: Apocalypse but just didn’t have the energy. I’m very glad that I saw Sing Street instead. I’d rank it very high on my list HERE of the 2016 movies I’ve seen.

I’ve not seen any other John Carney films. I’ve not seen Begin Again mainly because I really don’t like Keira Knightley plus Adam Levine is in it, right?? Ugh. If I see that stupid video where Maroon 5 are playing at various weddings ONE more time, I’m gonna puke! And I do want to see Once but I’ve been putting it off for years because it looks so indie & soooo singer-songwritery. I really need to be in the mood for that sort of thing before I watch it as it has the potential to annoy me. I already know, however, that Sing Street is the one for me.

Teenagers in 1985! With loads of my favorite 80’s music! Joe Jackson! Duran Duran! Hall & Oates! The Cure!!! This is MY era! I’m very happy that this movie had a mixture of well known 80’s songs as well as new songs written by the band in the film as I was afraid it would all be music that I didn’t know. But, hell – the songs by the band in the movie were really good anyway! Maybe a little too good to be fully believable from a group of 15-year-old boys… But who cares? This is one of those movies I enjoyed so much that I can ignore a few small imperfections. Yeah, the story is basic and a bit cliché & predictable. That really doesn’t bother me as long as a film is good, which this one is. I don’t want to pick it apart. I hate when people overanalyze a movie that’s just meant to be fun. I had a lot of fun watching Sing Street – there were more laughs than I was expecting, I cared about the characters & what would happen to them, there was just the right amount of drama without it being melodramatic, and the music was great. What more can we ask for from a movie?? 🙂

This movie is full of unknowns as far as I’m aware (I’ve not looked them all up). Well, except for the dad being played by Littlefinger. That was weird – seeing Game Of Thrones actors in other things is always a little distracting. Everyone did a good job & I really liked not knowing them all already. Our main character (the band’s singer) & the girl he falls for are adorable – I would imagine we’ll be seeing them in many more films after this one. The movie gets a decent balance between the different aspects of the boy’s life (his relationships with his family, the girl, the band, and other students & teachers in his new school). However, my favorite relationship was probably that with his older brother, played by Jack Reynor. Loved him! He’s the best thing about the movie. I’ve never seen him in anything before but apparently he was one of the possibilities for playing Han Solo? I hope to see him in more after this – he was a real highlight in this film.

Summary:

There’s not much more that I can say about Sing Street. I clearly thoroughly enjoyed it but I know that it’s very much my type of thing. I always like movies about bands but especially love them when they involve teenagers in the 1980s since I’ll always be able to relate to that (even when the movie is set in Dublin instead of small town America). It reminded me a lot of We Are The Best!, a Swedish movie from a few years ago about three girls in 1982 Stockholm who decide to form a punk band. Sing Street has the same sort of spirit as that film and I loved them both & can totally relate to the characters in both films despite them being set in different countries from the one where I grew up. What can I say? The language of music is universal. I highly recommend Sing Street to music lovers and to Eighties lovers.

My Rating: 8/10

**Don’t watch this clip if you like knowing nothing about a movie beforehand but there aren’t any spoilers in it or anything. This is the first song that the band in the movie writes (The Riddle Of The Model) & this clip shows them making a “video” for it. If you’re curious, it’ll give you a good idea of the vibe of the film. And it’s a catchy tune! 🙂