By Erin Brady | firstname.lastname@example.org
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is a musical biopic chronicling the rise of British rock band Queen through the eyes of its frontman Freddie Mercury, played by Emmy award winner Rami Malek. The film was directed by “X Men” director Bryan Singer.
A survivor of Hollywood’s notorious Development Hell, the film suffered multiple setbacks, including the firing and reinstatement of Singer after allegations of sexual assault surfaced, before finally arriving to theaters last Friday. Was it worth it? I suppose that will depend on your view of Queen; if you are more of a casual fan, you most likely would like it. However, the same cannot be said for more passionate fans of the group such as myself.
It seems more akin to a quick skim of a Wikipedia page instead of an in-depth look into the makings of one of the world’s most iconic bands. Many of the events in the film, particularly the first encounter between Mercury and his future lover Jim Hutton (played by “Shameless UK” actor Aaron McCusker), are either shallowly portrayed, changed severely, or completely omitted.
For context, the aforementioned first meeting between Mercury and Hutton reportedly happened in a leather club, while Hutton is shown as one of Mercury’s housekeepers in the film. The main cast, particularly “The Social Network” actor Joe Mazzello as Queen bassist John Deacon, make the best with the weak script they appeared to have been given.
In fact, the performances are the best thing about the film. Malek commands the screen as the late Mercury, both figuratively and literally demanding the audience to pay attention to him. “Eastenders” alum Ben Hardy and “Henry V” actor Gwilym Lee also have memorable performances as drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May respectively. “Murder on the Orient Express” actress Lucy Boynton also shines as Mercury’s ex-wife, Mary Austin, in a somewhat small, yet pivotal role.
However, the negatives largely outweigh the positives. The concert scenes are plentiful, but incredibly rushed, besides the re-creation of the band’s iconic 1985 Live Aid performance at the end of the film. The color grading shown throughout can become quite strenuous at times and Singer’s fascination with action movie-style quick cuts come across rather awkwardly.
Overall, I would give the film a 4/10. Perhaps this is one movie that should have stayed in Development Hell.
“The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is a Christmas-themed fantasy film directed by Lasse Halstorm with reshoots helmed by Joe Johnston. It centers around a young girl named Clara, played by “Twilight” actress Mackenzie Foy, who discovers a magical world in the midst of war. While it attempts to kickstart Christmas cheer, it fails spectacularly in campy CGI.
There are few redeeming qualities about “The Nutcracker,” from the poor acting – especially from Foy and her forced British accent – to the bizarre editing. There’s one scene where the characters are attending a ballet performance and it suddenly cuts to a parade taking place. The build-up to Clara’s arrival to the mystical land known as the Four Realms is perhaps the most anti-climatic introduction to any unworldly setting I’ve ever seen in a film.
Perhaps the most confusing thing about this film is the fact that the plot is so thin that it is easy to figure out exactly what happens in it. There were multiple times throughout the film where I knew what would happen. In fact, I even predicted the so-called “twist” revealed towards the end quite early into the film.
Overall, I would give the film a 2/10, simply because there was too much style and not nearly enough substance to justify it.