In Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek is as good as advertised as Freddie Mercury, the dynamic lead singer of the band Queen.
Once again, I played hooky from work to see a movie, this time Bohemian Rhapsody. I keep forgetting that just before the Academy Awards, the Regal Theater in Colonie Center brings back some of the Oscar-nominated films.
The good news: Rami Malek is as good as advertised as Freddie Mercury, the dynamic lead singer of the band Queen. He may I’ve read that when Malek had the false teeth in, it helped him in developing the character. Those who care about such things note: “After wins at the SAGs, BAFTAs, and Golden Globes, [he] has run away with the [awards] season,” and will likely win an Oscar.
Also, the makeup and casting people have created a cast that looks very much like the other members of the group: Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, and Joe Mazzello as John Deacon, although they all appear more annoyed than angry during the band’s arguments, many of which, I’ve read, didn’t actually happen.
The real Mary Austin, Freddie’s sometimes girlfriend, played by Lucy Boynton, seemed satisfied by the portrayal of her relationship with Mercury.
I liked the stunt casting of an almost unrecognizable Mike Myers; the Wayne’s World movie (1992) helped a six-minute song to chart again.
Of course, the eclectic music of Queen is on display. The last scene of Live Aid in 1985 was fun. I saw a couple people in the theater crying at the end. All in all, it might have been a serviceable biopic with a (relatively) happy ending.
The BIG problem is that the movie is emotionally dishonest. It is well known that films based on the lives of real people take liberties with minor characters, dialogue, even chronology.
But the brief movie revelation is that Freddie had AIDS BEFORE the climatic Wembley concert in 1985, when he wasn’t diagnosed until 1987. As this article and others note, the movie then necessarily glosses over the societal response to the disease.
Bohemian Rhapsody is a mostly feel-good movie – did I mention it has the music of Queen? – and one can certainly enjoy it, particularly if you know nothing of the era. But don’t take it too seriously as a real depiction of Freddie Mercury’s life.
Undoubtedly, this is why it’s the worst-rated film of the Best Picture nominees among critics (61% positive on Rotten Tomatoes), yet is a crowd-pleaser (88% positive).
In the Best Documentary Feature category, I expectedwanted Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (re: Fred Rogers) and Three Identical Strangers
When Roma came to the Spectrum Theatre, I said to my wife, “We need to see that film.” The weekend we were finally available, it had just left.
Yes, I suppose I could see it online, but I know I won’t. Currently, I have movies I’ve recorded weeks ago. I can’t find the block of time to watch them as they were meant to be viewed, i.e., in one sitting, without interruptions.
Roma was actually the second film in that category this year. In the summer, we both wanted to see First Reformed; alas, it didn’t happen. Links to my reviews, but only the first appearance on the list.
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
*Olivia Colman, The Favourite
*Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
*Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? – my pick
Best Actor – I would have bet money on Ethan Hawke in First Reformed getting nominated
*Christian Bale, Vice – he was REALLY good Dick Cheney
*Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
*#Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody – I suspect if I see this, this will win out
*Viggo Mortensen, Green Book – never felt like a starring role
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma – will win
*Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
*Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman – my clear favorite
*Adam McKay, Vice
*#Pawl Pawlikowski, Cold War – hasn’t played yet in Albany
Best Supporting Actress
*Amy Adams, Vice – she was very good
Marina de Tavira, Roma
*Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk – a tossup between her and Adams
*Emma Stone, The Favourite
*Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Best Supporting Actor
*Mahershala Ali, Green Book – practically a leading role
*Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
*Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born – too small a part
*Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? – my favorite role
*Sam Rockwell, Vice
*Green Book – my choice
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – a Netflix film that I’ve never seen advertised in a theater around here
*BlacKkKlansman – since it won’t win Best Picture, this would be a nice consolation prize
*Can You Ever Forgive Me?
*If Beale Street Could Talk
*A Star Is Born
Best Original Song
*“All the Stars,” Black Panther
*“I’ll Fight,” RBG
*“The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns – this DID make me a tad weepy, maybe perhaps
*“Shallow,” A Star Is Born – give Gaga SOMETHING
“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Best Original Score
*Black Panther – Ludwig Göransson evokes Africa, my #1 pick
*BlacKkKlansman – Terence Blanchard’s eclectic-sounds, my #1A pick
*If Beale Street Could Talk
*Isle of Dogs
*Mary Poppins Returns
Best Film Editing
Best Foreign Language Film
*#Cold War (Poland) – opened this weekend in Albany
Never Look Away (Germany)
*#Shoplifters (Japan) – saw it this past weekend; worthwhile
Best Animated Feature
*Isle of Dogs – very quirky; liked it a lot, and it’s not a sequel
*Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – at this writing, still playing
Because the wise men come, wise men go, angels high, shepherds low.
This is how God’s love shows.
It’s a wondrous story to me, to me.
Surely, you are familiar with the Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody. Well, apparently unrelated to what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 70th birthday year, my church’s youth leader directed a version of something called Bethlehemian Rhapsody, about the birth of Jesus earlier this month.
There are a few examples of these online, always involving puppets. But the version the church kids did was a live-action bit, with The Daughter playing Mary. The adult choir soloists also sang with the kids. They did a boffo job.
The lyrics start:
Is this the real birth? Is it nativity? Caught in a census in the town of his ancestry.
Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see. He’s just a poor boy foretold by prophecy. Because the wise men come, wise men go, angels high, shepherds low. This is how God’s love shows. It’s a wondrous story to me, to me.
This is not to be confused by a different Bethlehemian Rhapsody, involving David and Goliath, sung by the group ApologetiX, with the lyrics here.
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