Watched, Read, Reviewed: November 2018

Happy December, everyone! Is winter over yet? Oh man – I’m mega late with this update & it’s now almost January. That’s even worse than December. Have I mentioned that I hate this cold & dreary time of year??? Well, here’s what I watched & read way back in November…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED

Bohemian Rhapsody – 7/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

**I’ll try to review all the below 2018 releases in full later so I’ll only talk a little about the two I saw at home.

A Star Is Born – 8/10

Mirai – 7/10

Ralph Breaks The Internet – 7/10

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms – 6.5/10

The Boat That Rocked (aka Pirate Radio) – I’d always wanted to check this out sometime as I find the pirate radio thing that happened in the UK fascinating. I love the spirit of pirate radio. Sticking it to corporate radio bullshit! And I’ve always had a thing for Pump Up The Volume (I think it was a teenage nerd dream of mine to be Slater’s anti-establishment pirate DJ in that). This movie was pretty bloody awful, though. Could they really not just make a movie based on the true story of pirate radio, which would be thoroughly interesting, instead of an overlong piece of fiction filled with hateful characters? What I find most fascinating, however, is just how much the world has changed in the ten years since this was released. This couldn’t be made in the same way now as there’d be a huge backlash due to how the female characters are portrayed (and a scene involving Gemma Arterton is rapey beyond belief). I have to get the hell off the internet sometimes when I see words like “woke” and “problematic” and I just want to puke. I’m Gen X and rude as fuck and offended by nothing so, if I found this movie slightly uncomfortable in 2018, I’m hoping that the people who use those words never check it out. I’ll say two good things about it, though: Philip Seymour Hoffman was really good and the soundtrack was AMAZING. Holy hell! Richard Curtis must have some serious connections to have gotten the rights to so many great songs for this film (I looked it up – there are 60 songs in the movie). It was actually worth watching for the constant background music alone. I’d say the movie somewhat captured the spirit of pirate radio’s love of good music and wanting to share it with others. It’s just a shame that a good movie about pirate radio wasn’t made instead of this silly one. – 5.5/10

Slaughterhouse Rulez – 5.5/10

The Grinch – 5/10

Better Watch Out – This was an odd one. I was excited about this as I like a good Christmas horror comedy: Gremlins is an all-time favorite & I thought Krampus was a fun film. The marketing was strange for this… I got the impression that it might be another comedy horror such as Krampus but it’s nothing of the sort despite being listed as a “comedy crime horror thriller” on IMDb. Everything I read said to avoid spoilers for this so I’ll not say much about it other than that I absolutely hated the turn that this film took. As I said before, it takes a hell of a lot to offend me but I didn’t like the creepy way this played out. And, as always, I hate movies filled with hateful characters (though the girl wasn’t too bad). I don’t know. This has an okay IMDb rating as far as horrors go so clearly some must like it but I can’t for the life of me imagine who as I can think of no one I would recommend this movie to. – 4.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

Bird Box by Josh Malerman – I enjoyed this horror novel. If you liked A Quiet Place, you’d probably like this story as well. In the book, people start going mad and killing themselves & others after seeing *something*. No one knows the cause so people start barricading themselves in their homes & wearing blindfolds at all times. I’d say the only negative was that I didn’t love the main character as she seems so cold & uncaring but it’s also completely understandable as this terrible new existence has made her that way. This has now been made into a Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock and I have to say I hate the look of the trailer as it looks like too much has been changed (plus she’s very wrong for the role). I’ll check it out but I highly recommend reading the book first if you’re interested. – 4/5

Ghastle And Yule by Josh Malerman – This was a short story hidden at the end of Bird Box and, oh my god, I loved it! I liked it so much that I tweeted the author (I never do that – I just felt the need to let him know I appreciated it). The story is about two rival horror filmmakers and I highly recommend it to lovers of filmmaking & especially classic horror filmmaking. The way Malerman describes each of their films in detail made them feel like real directors and actual movies I’d seen. Seriously – every movie described in this story needs to be made for real. Horror filmmakers are missing out if they don’t do this. At the very least, the story itself should be a film. – 4.5/5

Stories Of Your Life And Others by Ted Chiang – I’ve only read two of the stories in this collection so far. I’ll try to review this once I’ve read the whole book.

Currently Reading: Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby – But I have to return it to the library and I’ve not finished it. Damn. Good so far. Typical Hornby.

TV SHOWS WATCHED

– The Walking Dead – Ugh. Why do I keep doing this to myself?! This show has sucked for years. It has sucked since Darabont left. And I never loved Rick but it’s completely pointless without him now…

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

No plans! Too busy with work. And stupid Christmas. I may try to review the 2018 films I’ve not yet reviewed. And I’ll do end-of-year Top Ten lists as always but that may be the first week of January.

December Movies I Want To See:

Sorry To Bother You – Sounds like a “love it or hate it”. I do like weird.

The Old Man & The Gun – Sounds like an interesting story but I’ll wait for Netflix.

Mortal Engines – Damn, reviews aren’t great but I liked the book. Looks like it’ll be another “wait for Netflix” film.

Aquaman – Meh. DC movies suck but he’s pretty damn hot so I might watch this one.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – Saw it. It’s brilliant! And I’m not a huge superhero fan.

An Elephant Sitting Still – I know nothing at all about this but it’s a Chinese film with decent reviews (but probably too obscure for me to be able to ever see it easily). And I’ve just seen that it’s four hours long?! Huh. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Mary Poppins Returns – I’ll go as it looks like a lovely family film and I like Emily Blunt but I’m seriously bored with reboots and remakes and sequels and whatever.

Bumblebee – Tickets booked! I’ll have seen this by the time this posts. Sounds like a fun family movie.

Holmes & Watson – Could be fun. Could be shit. Will Ferrell movies are iffy.

**I’ll end with a song from the thoroughly disappointing The Boat That Rocked movie with the thoroughly fantastic soundtrack. I’ve always loved Crimson And Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells. I seriously always thought this song was about taking a girl’s virginity in the grass but I can’t find any evidence of this online and I’m now weirdly disappointed that there’s no actual meaning. This is from Wikipedia: “The title, “Crimson and Clover”, was decided before a song had been written for it. The combination of unknown meaning came to James as he was waking up, comprising his favorite color – crimson – and his favorite flower – clover.”

Advertisements

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…

My Top Ten Queen Songs

Today would have been Freddie Mercury’s 71st birthday. I figured this would be a good time to do a Queen top ten list.

I like Queen. I went through a phase for about a year in my twenties when I listened to loads of Queen (I went through a lot of musical “phases” then). I’ve not listened to them as much in recent years and, like with a lot of bands, I must admit that I don’t know much beyond their greatest hits. I didn’t even really know Brighton Rock, which featured heavily in Baby Driver.

But Queen rightly deserve the reputation as one of the all-time greatest rock bands & I miss the days when we had performers as amazing as Mercury. Who do we have nowadays? Ed Sheeran?? Ugh. Everyone is so damn boring now. It truly sucks.

Like with all my lists, this is a ranking of every Queen song I know. If you know of a great album track missing from this list, I’m open to recommendations of songs I should check out. So, counting down to my favorite, here are My Top Ten Queen Songs:

The Rest Of The Songs That I Know:

33. Don’t Lose Your Head
32. Save Me
31. Play The Game
30. Tie Your Mother Down
29. Seven Seas Of Rhye
28. Somebody To Love
27. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
26. Headlong
25. You’re My Best Friend
24. Don’t Stop Me Now
23. One Year Of Love
22. I’m Going Slightly Mad
21. These Are The Days Of Our Lives

Top Twenty:

20. The Miracle
19. I Want It All
18. I Want To Break Free
17. Keep Yourself Alive
16. Stone Cold Crazy
15. Hammer To Fall
14. Princes Of The Universe
13. Flash (all the Flash soundtrack stuff…)
12. The Show Must Go On
11. Who Wants To Live Forever

Top Ten:

10. TIE: Fat Bottomed Girls & Bicycle Race
9. We Are The Champions
8. One Vision
7. Radio Ga Ga
6. We Will Rock You

Top Five:

5. Killer Queen

4. A Kind Of Magic

3. Under Pressure

2. Another One Bites The Dust

1. Bohemian Rhapsody (I didn’t want number one to be so obvious but it’s a damn good song)

And an honorable mention for Brighton Rock, thanks to Baby Driver.

And, sorry, but I have to include the Wayne’s World scene. Not ashamed to admit that this will always be one of my favorite movies…