Rami Malek, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, Aidan Gillen, Lucy Boynton, Joseph Mazzello, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee, Mike Myers
Let me preface this review with a brief statement that not everyone is going to agree with me – but that generally covers most reviews, if not all. Sometimes my opinions breed conflict, but I’d prefer they breed discussion of opinions, so let’s all play nice kids.
I read a Freddie Mercury biography not that long ago, and decided that I was likely the reincarnation of the iconic rockstar. Okay – so without the talent bit. Freddie was a complex character, one that oozed confidence and had an on-stage presence that few could compare with. Behind closed doors, however, he was lonely, struggling to find himself in a world where he saw himself as an outcast, and found solace with a number of cats and the one love of his life – Mary Austin – despite being a gay man. Freddie was born Farrokh Bulsara, and despite having a conservative family from Zanzibar, always knew he was a performer: both on stage and in personality.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is much more than just the story of Freddie Mercury, but also the rise of Queen – from their days as “Smile”, playing in small university clubs, to the eventuate climax of the film (and their career) – playing to 100,000 people at Wembley stadium and a billion behind TV screens for the 1985 Live Aid concert, organized by Bob Geldof. But the film does mostly focus on the lead singer, and explores the trials and tribulations of his incredibly interesting life.
Rami Malek plays the iconic performer, and let’s face it – deserves an Oscar for his performance. You’d be forgiven for at times forgetting that you’re not actually watching Freddie Mercury on screen, but rather the “Mr. Robot” actor – who really should be more famous. Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor) and Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon) round out the remaining Queen members, and all have incredible presence within the film, despite them ultimately being overshadowed by the name on everybody’s lips: Freddie Mercury.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” sees the formation of the title song, and how a record exec (played by Mike Myers) made a big mistake in passing on releasing it to radio – and ultimately losing Queen. There’s a clever nod to “Wayne’s World” in this scene too – I won’t spoil it but do keep an ear out.
Despite controversy, Bryan Singer remains the sole director’s credit on “Bohemian Rhapsody”, with replacement Dexter Fletcher receiving an Executive Producer credit. Whoever did what, did it really well. There are some fantastic and powerful shots, and despite a little bit of questionable CGI in the Live Aid sequence, the film captures the band in an incredible fashion.
For those who were concerned that the AIDS crisis wouldn’t get addressed – despite it being important and also the reason Freddie ultimately left this world – it does, and in a very respectful manner.
Do you have to be a fan of Queen to enjoy “Bohemian Rhapsody”? No, but really – who isn’t?! Show yourselves! Obviously the reason you go and see a movie about Queen is for the music – and “Bohemian Rhapsody” certainly delivers the goods. If you’re a fan of music, in any sense of the world – do yourself a favour and see this movie.
This is undoubtedly the movie of the year for me. Queen consistently pushed the boundaries of music, and Freddie Mercury pushed the boundaries of a then-largely-conservative world: being true to himself in a culture of being told to reign it in. His story is both poetic and tragic, but his name is one that history will never forget. The film manages to capture all these elements, wrapping it up neatly in one hell of a career defining performance – for not only Queen at Live Aid, but also Malek as Freddie. Bravo, “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
4K : Impeccable audio and video is accompanied by featurettes, documentary, fun behind the scenes footage and more. If you’ve got the set-up, definitely go for the 4K release.
Luz review : slow moving but with some very stylistic pleasures to be found
Check out Drew’s review of this supernatural horror!
A young woman walks into a police station in a very slow wide shot, the camera pointed straight on in a very clinical, detached way. She approaches the reception bench where a cop is busily shuffling paperwork, turns and moves down the room to a vending machine to stare at it. Barely minutes have passed and you’re immediately sure this isn’t a horror film either from Hollywood or influenced by Hollywood styles.
The woman, Luz (Luana Velis) is a taxi driver to whom something terrible has happened earlier in the night, but before we get even an inkling of her story we move to a couple, the sultry Nora (Julia Riedler), seducing a man in a bar named Dr Rossini (Jan Bluthart) by telling him a story about the rebellious girl (Luz) she went to school with.
What you might not realise without any foreknowledge of the plot is that Nora is possessed by an evil spirit, and that her seduction of Dr Rossini is a way to transfer it to him. When she does so, Nora’s body slumps, apparently dead, and Dr Rossini goes to the police station where Luz has surrendered herself.
It turns out the spirit is in love with Luz, and will do anything to be near her. Dr Rossini is called to the police station to help them with the catatonic woman, and the demon gets its chance.
With two detectives in attendance, Rossini puts Luz under hypnosis to find out what happened to her, but none of them have any idea they’re under the instruction of something from another realm, and the session turns into a nightmare when Luz’s memories seem to be playing out in front of them, and Dr Rossini’s colleagues get increasingly fearful for their lives.
A bit like the oft-discussed hotel room scene at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the denouement seems fairly disinterested in the traditional dictates of story or narrative, writer/director Tilman Singer more interested in a visual fever dream than a plot.
The above description might be all you need to know to gauge whether you’ll respond to “Luz” or not. It’s slow moving and makes no concessions for the viewer, so some will be turned off within minutes. But if you stick with it there are some very stylistic pleasures to be found. The marketing material that accompanied the film mentions David Cronenberg, Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci and whether they were Singer’s influences or not, it’s as fair a summing up as you could probably get.
Shot all in a couple of locations on scratchy 16mm film and running only a shade over an hour it has dreamlike cinematography, swinging from still and stark to smoky and back again. The action is moody and low key, and while it’s a demon possession horror movie with no laying on of crosses, spewing of pea soup or even a single jump scare, you’ll love it if you’re a fan of the kind of alt-horror that used to be popular in the pre-video nasty era.
Disc Reviews : Mohicans, Lock Up, Prince of Thieves
Drew takes a look at some of the latest releases on the shelf
Drew pours himself a glass of bubbly, pushes the pizza from its card box box and gives the DVD player something to chew on.
Disc Reviews : Arrow, Flash, Banana Splits, Sheldon
The Blu-ray player gets all superhero-y this week
A round-up of what’s been circling the laser on the player-box this week.
Arrow : The Complete Seventh Season
Like any series, there’s usually a point where Henry Winkler is forced to peel himself into a wet suit and jump over a foam white pointer – thankfully for The CW’s “Arrow” that time hasn’t come yet (and with the show about to wrap, it might not come).
Seven 7, believe it or not, actually plants a welcome firecracker under the show’s touché by shaking things up and adding some compel back into proceedings, with the now-outed Green Arrow behind bars, facing some of the rogues he put in there over the past seasons. Stephen Amell is as good as ever but it’s Emily Bett Richard’s Felicity Smoak who gets the dynamite arc this season.
Nice fan-pleasing assortment of bibs and bobs including Comic-Con panel, featurettes, gag reel, deleted scenes.
The Banana Splits Movie
A film that’s concept is arguably more awesome than the offering itself, “The Banana Splits” will largely appeal to those with a woody for nostalgia and those with a love of torture porn.
A weird combo, sure, but for the most part this forgettable but fun works. There’s also some good laughs to be had.
The Flash : The Complete Fifth Season
Still the most enjoyable, and ostensibly most delicately-handled of the current crop of superhero shows, “The Flash” continues to knock it out of the park with its ridiculous-though-ridiculously entertaining storytelling, gifted and extremely likeable cast, and in the case of season 5, a solid and surprisingly emotional arc concerning Barry and Iris’s daughter, Nora, who has traveled back in time.
If even just to see what the super-adaptable Tom Cavanagh is doing that week, “The Flash” remains mandatory viewing.
Typical of Warner Bros, they rock it in the extras department here too.
Young Sheldon : The Complete Second Season
Where “The Big Bang Theory” started to suffer in its later seasons, it’s surprisingly-dissimilar spin-off “Young Sheldon” succeeded.
More “The Wonder Years” than an extension of its multi-camera parent, the clever, relatable and very funny coming-of-age story trades pop culture gags for life lessons and two seasons in, it’s a barter that works.
There’s some absolute corker episodes on the set, in particular one where the very unique Sheldon hears that kids with stunted childhoods end up social outcasts, so decides he better start acting more like his peers.
It’s funny, because so much of it rings true.
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