Freddie Mercury's life while he was fortunate enough to be associated with the great men of Queen
Directed by Bryan Singer
Starring Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, and Gwilym Lee
Review by Jon Kissel
World class parodies sadly don’t make money, but it would be better for moviegoers and filmmakers if they were more successful. Formulaic romantic comedies don’t get made if the public recognized their hacky tropes from They Came Together. Cop thrillers get 50% better if Naked Gun is playing on a loop by craft services, and the Lonely Island HBO Sports specials would force future 30 for 30 directors to raise their game. Of all these, it’s Walk Hard that is apparently the most underseen, because that John C. Reilly comedic masterpiece filets not only the musical biopic but the biopic in general, making it impossible for an ineffectual writer to coast on the shorthand of a Greatest Hits list. It’s been over ten years since Walk Hard’s release, and the makers of Bohemian Rhapsody clearly thought that was enough time to put in the rearview. Just as Dewey Cox is cribbing from serious musician biopics, Bohemian Rhapsody seems to be cribbing from Walk Hard. On the one hand, if stealing must happen, then steal from the best. On the other hand, this film exemplifies the worst and laziest of the genre, sabotaging any future attempt to flesh out one of pop music’s grandest personalities and generating exactly as much entertainment value as any single youtube video of Queen.
Raw is one of those films that engenders visceral reactions in its viewers. Its showings have apparently resulted in the paramedics being called in after audience members have fainted. Even the trailer dares the viewer to look away. As the latest entry into the company of the French Extremity genre, along with gorefests like Martyrs and Gaspar Noe's nightmare landscapes, Raw deserves its grotesque reputation, but it is not solely going for cheap thrills. Julia Ducournau's intense but heady film is a feast for the eyes, as oddly beautiful and entrancing as a story about a sheltered veterinary student's cannibalistic awakening could possibly be. Ducournau throws down a challenge to stomach her work and an invitation to experience it. Both are worth accepting.
There are movies tethered to their time, and then there’s Danny Boyle’s The Beach. Philosophically, this film is the essence of pre-dot-com-bubble, pre-9/11 America, a frivolous place with a flat culture that must be abandoned to find whatever life really is. A person can only view a work for the first time once. I don’t know what it would have been like to watch The Beach in 2000, but watching it nineteen years after its release is an eye-rolling experience.
As the fourth Star Wars film in four years, the troubled production that was Han Solo’s origin story is the sore thumb of the bunch. While each previous film has its detractors, some louder than others, Solo is the film whose critical dismissal and lackluster commercial haul was striking enough to push the giant ship of Disney away from continued annual returns to George Lucas’ universe. The energy of Solo itself is like a self-fulfilling prophecy, such that the actors and filmmakers may have anticipated how their work was going to be received, put their heads down, and made it to the final frame. From Ron Howard on down, no one seems creatively inspired or happy to be here, resulting in a film that has little impact after the credits roll.
The world as we know it came extremely close to dramatic changes a mere decade ago. During the fall of 2008, it was a very real possibility that there was going to be no cash in ATM’s, that paychecks wouldn’t clear, and that the spiraling panic would destroy the global economy and produce the violent aftershocks that economic calamities always produce. We escaped that outcome in the immediate, though the same results may still be coming on a slower timeline. In the intervening years, a liberal canard has emerged in the idea of ‘doing everything right,’ and still struggling to stay ahead of disaster. While some portions of the American public, usually the minority portions, have long dealt with this uncertainty, it’s a new feeling for many. What is it like to constantly have the Sword of Damocles hanging over you, to know that a health emergency or a layoff caused by macro forces beyond one’s control can move a family from their home to a week-by-week hotel room? The brilliant Take Shelter places that dread within the context of mental illness, of a schizophrenic bread winner who senses calamity even when the skies are clear. Jeff Nichols, cinematic chronicler of the rural American male, makes his masterpiece by tapping into the psychic undercurrents rippling through the 21st century US and bringing them to the surface.
JUST SOME IDIOTS GIVING SURPRISINGLY AVERAGE MOVIE REVIEWS.