Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

6

“Now we’re four misfits who don’t belong together, we’re playing for the other misfits. They’re the outcasts, right at the back of the room. We’re pretty sure they don’t belong either. We belong to them.”
– Freddie Mercury

SYNOPSIS: The story of the legendary rock band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid (1985). – via IMDB

So I went to see this when it came out in cinema, and I was sadly out of the blogosphere when it hit, so I didn’t write about it. I recently purchased it in Blu Ray and I was interested to see whether it would hold up for a second viewing, and if the experience would be diminished any by not seeing it in theatre, on a big screen.

Well, let me tell you, no disappointment to be had over here! I thought that Bohemian Rhapsody was just as good at home as it was in the cinema, I don’t feel like any magic was lost. So, let me see what I can say about this movie… obviously it had one of the best soundtracks of all time xD Seriously, I absolutely loved listening to the music, seeing it come to life on the screen, it was great and there were so many moments where I had goosebumps because wow.

So on to the performances. I am not usually a fan of Rami Malek. I don’t know, I’ve never actually liked him outside of his video game portrayal of Josh in Until Dawn. So when I heard he had been cast to play the iconic Freddie Mercury, I was dubious to say the least. I mean, he isn’t a terrible actor or anything, he has just (until now) not really done anything that has really blown me away. Then I saw pictures of him as Freddie and I was quite surprised. By the time we had hit the trailers, I was really excited, and Malek nailed it. Not only is Malek fantastic, but the rest of the cast playing the members of Queen are brilliant and cannot be overlooked. Gwilym Lee’s Brian May, Ben Hardys’s Roger Taylor, and Joseph Mazzello’s John Deacon are excellent. The actors had wonderful chemistry and it was great to watch them. Such solid performances all round from them, and man, they nailed the look of each of the band members. Excellent casting – not only did everyone look right, they appeared right, too, without stuffy performances.

I really liked that the movie stayed more with the band and the music as opposed to a tell all scandalous interpretation of everything. I get that there was drama and all that, but that is so not why I went to see this. So yes, the narrative is a little skinny and all that, but that takes nothing away from it. What you need is there – some drama, some backstory, some struggle and all that, but the movie focuses on the band and the music, and I appreciated that. Also, there was some highly entertaining humour sprinkled through it.

Naturally, this review would not be complete if I didn’t mention that phenomenal Live Aid performance, so here it is. Wow. I was so impressed with the level of detail that went into this (especially if you take the time to watch the two side by side). I love that such care and attention went into it.

So, overall, I obviously highly recommend checking out Bohemian Rhapsody. It is not a biographical, gossipy tell all or anything like that, but if you like Queen (hell, even if you don’t), and you like the music, then this is well worth the look see. It is just as charming the second time around, and even my husband willingly rewatched it (seriously, no coaxing or begging or anything, he asked!). I had a great time with this, and I can see how I will go back to it a few times. Okay, I am going to stop here. Just go watch it.

Stranger Things: Season 1 (2016)

22

stranger-things-poster-netflix1

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • The score. Like really. It was awesome, and very reminiscent of Drive. It resonated every step of the way, and was so important.
  • The opening credits. They are dead simple, no frills, bells, and whistles, and yet it is awesome. That music, the neon, the letters? I really liked this.

stranger things intro

  • The child actors. These kids were good. Usually kids in movies annoy me, their acting is stiff and unbelievable. But here? These kids were compelling. I am particularly a fan of Dustin.
  • Hopper. Initially you meet this dude that wakes up, brushes his teeth, chains a cigarette, washes down pills with a beer, all at the crack of dawn. However, as lost as this man appears in the beginning, it does not detract from the fact that he has a cop’s mind, and it is amazing to watch it kick into gear.

stranger things hopper wake up

  • The references and vibes! Carpenter, King, Hawkins, Stand By Me, everything!
  • The humour. It is just fantastic. Really had me laughing at times.

stranger things hopper mornings are for

  • The character development. People were not left to stagnate – while the kids were learning about themselves and El, so were Jonathan, Steve, and Nancy learning about themselves and changing. Joyce and Hopper discovered things and had to adapt the way they saw things, and embrace it. Brilliant. Everyone was involved here.
  • Mr Clarke. Seriously, this teacher was the best for so many reasons, and a character I absolutely adored! Here are some.

What I didn’t like: 

  • There are leaps and bounds in the logic that aren’t always explained, and don’t always make sense.
  • Nancy annoyed me endlessly. She was selfish and grating and silly. What an annoyance. However, her character changes and grows so much that she actually becomes someone decent later on.

stranger things nancy slap

  • I love less is more when it comes to the monster, and while this show managed that for the most part, I still feel that we saw too much of it, and it sort of killed the creep factor for me.

stranger things kids meet bad guys

Rating:
I was so eager to check this out. I saw a trailer for it a few months back, and thought it looked like something that was totally up my alley. Then it released, and the reviews came back really positive, so I knew that I just had to get on it. Well, my husband and I watched it in three consecutive work nights, and then we were done. Done, and sad, because it is over now for a while. The minute this show started, I was pleased. It had a dark, creepy intro scene, some unseen monster, and then some ridiculously simple, cool opening credits. Everything was so eighties and old school and horror like, I was happy. The characters are introduced to us, and they are quite sweet, or interesting, or strange, depending who you meet. The boys and their Dungeons and Dragons tournament was endearing, and from there, the show kicks in.

stranger things dungeons and dragons

Stranger Things features a lot of heart, and that was cool. Yes, shows have relationships and you get invested, I am not disputing that, and great friendships. But Stranger Things shows you about the deep bonds that kids form as friends, their innocence at adding a latest, mysterious addition to their little ensemble, the love a struggling mother has for her child, and the ties between brothers. It was quite multilayered, and worked wonders.

stranger things johnathan nancy steve stranger things steve bat

Let’s talk about some characters I really liked. I was a big fan of Hopper – no matter the washout you think he is, the man has a cop’s brain, and is extremely good at what he does. He is also a tortured dude, but does his best to help people, even if he would prefer it happen after coffee and doughnuts. Then there is Mr Clarke, and he is just awesome, and brings a lot of humour to the screen, which I love. He is also a great teacher, and encourages passion for these kids, which is awesome. Winona Ryder is in fine form here as Joyce, and totally brings a lot to the table.

The kids need their own paragraph. Eleven is a great character, and Millie Bobby Brown played her so well. You pity her, but you also sort of fear her (because let’s face it, she is a bit of the unknown). She learns about all these totally foreign concepts (friendship, promises, etc.) and picks up on these things and embraces these concepts with open arms, without questioning, as only a child can, despite whatever has happened to her. Let’s not forget about Dustin, Michael, and Lucas here. These kids had their friendships with one another tried and tested, and are all at that age where things start to change in their lives. They learned more about trust, honesty, courage, and bravery in a short period of time than they would have even if years had passed. Of the original group of boys, Dustin was, without a doubt, my favourite. He is hilarious, has heart, tries to keep everyone happy and together, and has a real smart mouth. Definitely love!

stranger things better runstranger things she's crazy

Stranger Things is a tense watch, and draws you into this fictitious world effortlessly and completely, and while you know that so much that is going on is fantastical and bizarre, you totally just give in and take it on. You get invested. While they did not show too much of the monster, I still feel that they showed too much. I am all for the less is more when it comes to monsters. Give me flashes, give me more atmosphere, and while the show handled that successfully for the most part, I still feel that we saw too much of the monster, and it totally killed the freaky vibe with it. Anyway, all that said and done, Stranger Things is fantastic, and I enjoyed the heck out of it. All I  can say is watch it. Watch it now.

stranger things van flip

Rapid Review: Deathgasm (2015)

15

deathgasm-poster

SYNOPSIS: Two teenage boys unwittingly summon an ancient evil entity known as The Blind One by delving into black magic while trying to escape their mundane lives. – via IMDB

deathgasm ice cream

Oh man, fixing the horns made me laugh xD

deathgasm metal horns

GRADE 8It’s official. New Zealand is totally onto something over the last few years with their horror comedies. They are 3/3 now on them, after the wonderful Housebound, the hilarious What We Do In The Shadows, and now this. I first heard about Deathgasm from Ryan, but the minute I read about it, I knew it was something I had to see. Metalheads? Demons? A war? Now, I am sure that Dethgasm isn’t going to be for everybody, to be sure, but for those who love metal will get a kick out of this. It’s insane. It is silly. It is out there. It’s gory as hell. It really embraces the metal thing, but looks at it in such a funny manner, really. It never takes itself seriously and constantly has fun, yet spends some time exploring some deeper things. As a metalhead, there were spans of places where I cringed at the depictions, but I had a really good time with the movie. There is metal being played everywhere, and it is so perfect for the insane butchering that is going down on screen. There is so much blood and so much gore, so you get exactly what you are hoping for when going in for this. The movie also had a message, and I loved it! There was no fear of being a little different, and not fitting in. It also showed how people can get along, even when they are not from the same background or into the same things. These kids are all misfits, and it works every step of the way. The movie has tons of energy  and this is evident from the off. Deathgasm also knows exactly who the target audience is and goes for it, which is great. Like Metalocalypse, this is a movie for metal lovers that others, too, will hopefully enjoy. There are some flaws to the movie, no doubt, one being that it felt a little longer than was strictly necessary, and I had big issues with the stupid, useless love triangle that reared its ugly head in the film for nothing, as well as SPOILER Medina changing a lot about herself to be with Brodie, because, you know, who wants to be with someone who does not change for you, who is just themselves? I thought this was a really good directorial debut from Jason Lei Howden – very interested to see where he goes from here! Deathgasm is exactly what you signed up for – funny, bloody, disgusting, awkward, super energetic.

February Blind Spot Review: Moon (2009)

16

moon poster

“Gerty, is there someone else in the room?”
– Sam Bell

SYNOPSIS: Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet’s power problems. – via IMDB

moon sam bell

GRADE 8.5So I decided to check out Moon this month because I have very little time on my hands, the movie didn’t have a long run time, and I am so involved with the whole X-Files thing at the moment that space just ticked my boxes. Space and conspiracy, and I got both, which was highly unexpected. Sam Rockwell, right off the bat, deserves all the praise heaped upon him for his performance as Sam Bell. I mean wow. I went into this movie as blind as I could, and thought I was seeing a movie about a man who was losing the plot, having fallen out of touch with reality after almost three years in isolation on the moon. Instead, I got this great story that you are constantly wondering about – what is real, what is in his mind, what is going on? It is not as straightforward and simple as you would initially think. Rockwell carried the majority of the movie MINOR SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS and I was quite a fan of the way that he portrayed two Sams, both who had things in common, and yet on the other hand were so completely different that you could tell on sight which Sam we were dealing with. Not only that, but the fact that he managed to make both Sams work together is another thing, too, that was impressive. Kevin Spacey voicing Gerty was fantastic. His voice made Gerty creepy (because seriously, who the heck is this robot?!) and soothing and calming all at once, so Gerty’s character successfully keeps you on edge, and you never really know how you should feel about the robot. Considering all that is done with a voice alone and then the emoticons displayed on Gerty’s screen, credit is due. Moon looks beautiful and is shot well, and has a score that complements the movie every step of the way, making it an experience, but never taking over or missing a beat. I really, really enjoyed this movie and I think that it was crafted well. The pacing was great and the story moved along, never losing you along the way, but never getting bland, either. When the movie brought the heart to the game, it did so with finesse. Moon is a thought provoking affair, no doubt, and while a small, simple film on the surface, it is merely the tip of the iceberg at the end of the day, there is so much more to this. Also, the miniscule touches of humour thrown in at times were so well implemented that they never felt forced or out of place in such a dramatic movie. Wow, this is actually a lot to say about a movie you can’t really say anything about in fear of spoiling too much. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Moon and would highly recommend it if you have not yet seen it, it’s truly a solid sci-fi drama.

Rapid Review: The Final Girls (2015)

20

the final girls poster

“Camp Bloodbath is like the granddaddy of all campsite slasher films, okay. Amazing production design, insane music, over-the-top acting. It’s a cult classic!”
– Duncan

SYNOPSIS: A young woman grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself pulled into the world of her mom’s most famous movie. Reunited, the women must fight off the film’s maniacal killer. – via IMDB

the final girls afraid the final girls run

GRADE 8.5Yes. This. Excellent. I know, I sound like a bumbling, incoherent fool, but that’s because this movie was just that good. Like, seriously. I didn’t have super high hopes for it, though there are fellow bloggers of mine that thoroughly enjoyed it. Why? Because, well, often these horror comedy endeavours just go so wrong. This is not the case here. Within the opening few minutes, I was laughing. There was potential. So, to see where it was all going to go, that was the important bit. Luckily for us, The Final Girls delivers on so many levels. The humour is maintained throughout the film, and while I can not say that this was a horror in any which way, I can acknowledge that it relied heavily on old school horror to use as a setting to tell the story, and fans of horror will love the implementation that was used to portray the movie. It was spans of fun. I mean, there was the über disgusting Kurt, and his obsession with sex and the female anatomy was so nasty. Then, of course, there was the cuckoo Tina. She started as super annoying, and don’t get me wrong, that didn’t necessarily improve, but she did provide a barrel of laughs – especially if you recall her Adderall induced Cherry Pie moment. Taissa Farmiga was very good here, though I expected that. Alexander Ludwig was a solid pick for his role, and I particularly enjoyed him, though I do miss his accent and just plain down intimidation factor from Vikings. Don’t even judge me, monkeys! One thing that I also really liked about The Final Girls is that, no matter how much fun we are having throughout, it very successfully manages to bring some serious heart to the film, and not to the extent where you roll your eyes and wonder why in the world they are pissing something so good away, but you are left exceptionally impressed with the fact that they integrated it so successfully. Anyway, I must admit that The Final Girls is one smart horror comedy, and is fresh and unique, definitely something that horror fans might enjoy on the level of The Cabin In The Woods. The cast was perfect for this, it was shot well, the music was complementary, the jokes were excellent and there was tons of fun to be had all around. The Final Girls is that something different, if you are looking for a change of scenery in the tired horror genre.

Rapid Review: Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

4

lethal weapon 4 poster

“Since I met Riggs, I’ve had my house destroyed, my car wrecked, and now my boat sunk. What’s left?”
– Roger Murtaugh

SYNOPSIS: With personal crises and age weighing in on them, LAPD officers Riggs and Murtaugh must contend with a deadly Chinese crimelord trying to get his brother out of prison. – via IMDB

lethal weapon 4 fight

GRADE 7I had a good time with this one. I thought it was a really cool way to bring them all together, to let us know that they are, indeed, getting too old for this shit, while never actually having any of this be annoying as hell. The fact that they addressed these things was awesome, and I am a huge fan of the way that the cast was kept consistent from the first movie all the way through to the end. That is something rare for ongoing film franchises. It’s the little things like that that can really make some things fantastic. Anyway, Murtaugh and Riggs are back in action, and naturally, wrong place, wrong time gives them their latest case, what with a lot of people being smuggled into the country. Riggs is adjusting to life with a pregnant Lorna, and Murtaugh needs to deal with the fact that Rianne is pregnant and unmarried. Chris Rock is brought in in this movie, and I was not his greatest fan, though him and Leo together did give me quite the giggle. Jet Li performed some pretty awesome martial arts, so it was something to see someone stand up against Riggs, who has never really had competition in that field, except maybe from Lorna. Danny Glover and Mel Gibson share more of that awesome chemistry, and you can really buy into them being these really tight cops with family-like bonds. Plus, Murtaugh and all his money was something that really had me giggling when the truth finally came out. Really, well done. This movie had more plot than the last one, though not an awful lot more. Whatever the case, it is far more memorable. I had a really great time watching these movies again – pure, simple entertainment. Overall, flaws and all, Lethal Weapon 4 was fun, more of the same formula that works, and quite a nice way to close off the franchise, despite what many have to say about it.

Review: John Wick (2014)

34

john-wick-poster1

“John wasn’t exactly the boogeyman. He’s the one you sent to kill the fucking boogeyman.”
– Viggo Tarasov

SYNOPSIS: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. – via IMDB

joh wick bullet dodge

GRADE 9Yes. Yes. Yes. That is all that I have to say. I was super amped to get to this and I must honestly say that it lived up to all my expectations and then some. I’ve watched this multiple times and it doesn’t get old, it doesn’t get boring. John Wick is, quite simply, just immense amounts of fun. Keanu Reeves is an actor that I thoroughly enjoy and will defend, bad movies and all. When he is properly cast, he owns, and that was precisely the case here. Plus, his outfits… hmmmmm.

John Wick is shot beautifully, touting a slightly washed out look but in-your-face neons that coloured it when necessary. It cannot be denied that the movie looked amazing, and had a pretty awesome score to carry it, too. I was a big fan of the action sequences, the choreography was simply stunning and I could not take my eyes off of it. I suppose having stuntmen directing this film gave it all the more oomph. The humour in here was dark and funny, and it certainly spoke to me.

Broyles Lance Reddick is an absolute hoot as the concierge at the front desk of the Continental, and I was so hoping that Ian McShane would get a line containing “cocksucker”, but no such luck (it would not have jibed with his character), it was awarded to someone else later on. Anyway, the plot is simple and straightforward, no silly bells and whistles and nothing to inundate it. The storytelling is deliberate, and within the first ten to fifteen minutes, you have what you need to understand everything and the plot moves on.

Wick is an impressive and enjoyable character, and I had quite a blast watching Bratva boss Viggo Tarasov quaking in his boots just to think of the drama that is about to unfold due to his son’s stupid actions. The cast that made their appearances is very good, too. I was a big fan of the costumes, too, because let’s face it, those suits were amazing. I was thrilled to hear Manson featured in here, finally sounding more like his old self again (let’s face it, Manson’s new album, The Pale Emperor, is his best album in years). 

John Wick is totally the type of movie I love when dipping my toes into this genre: no nonsense, dark, amusing in a smart way, well put together, and engaging. What a ridiculously stylish movie. Go watch it. Now. Really.