Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

bohemian-rhapsody-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Bryan Singer

Genre: Biography, Music, Drama

Runtime: 134 Minutes

Main Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aiden Gillan, Allen Leech, Tom Hollander, Mike Myers, Aaron McCusker, Meneka Das, Ace Bhatti

Plot: The real-life story of how the legendary rock band Queen came to be, starting with how they got together and ending with their epic performance at Live Aid in 1985.

My Thoughts: Sometimes I’m the worst English lass in history. I don’t drink tea (only herbal), I’ve never watched Downton Abbey or Doctor Who, and I’m not a Queen fan. I do eat biscuits and complain about the weather though, that’s the only thing keeping me on this odd little island I guess.

Anyway I digress, but I wanted to make the point that I’m coming at this movie knowing nothing about Queen apart from the lyrics to no less than 5 of their songs. I can’t speak for how well Rami played Freddie Mercury, because I’ve never watched a performance of his – but in a way, I think that’s why I was so set on watching Bohemian Rhapsody, I wanted to know Queen’s story.

Due to me mixing up screen times, my old blogging bestie Jenna and I ended up having to watch the movie in IMAX – and oh boy am I glad we did. (My husband will be laughing to himself reading this because I rarely shut up about how much I love IMAX. It’s amazing, ok?!) If the room was emptier we would have been up on our feet stomping and clapping for We Will Rock You, it was a brilliant experience.

I really enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody anyway, and I drove home playing the album on the loudest volume my car could take before it started vibrating. I dig what Queen stand (stood?) for, and it’s amazing what the band achieved. I can’t help but feel some of the story along the way has been dramatised (maybe it hasn’t – who am I to judge?) and I felt the focus of the story lost its way around the half-way mark, but those are my only real complaints.

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Best Bit: The Live Aid concert for sure. By that point, I’d been converted into a fan and with the IMAX surround sound, it really gave me quite a thrill!

Worst Bit: Paul. Everything about him. Was his part in the Queen story exaggerated for the movie? I don’t know – but he was a venomous snake. May his phone be forever on low battery.

Fun Trivia: Sacha Baron Cohen was the original choice to play Freddie Mercury. He left the project due to creative differences with the band’s guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. The deal with Baron Cohen fell apart after May voiced upset after finding that the project would only be a biopic of Freddie Mercury and not the rest of Queen. May felt that it should focus on the other members and the aftermath of Mercury’s death. He also voiced his negative opinion of the casting choice of Baron Cohen, whom he felt was too much of a comedic actor who wouldn’t do Mercury justice in drama.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 of Freddie Mercury’s cats. Did he have 4, or 5? I can only remember that tabby one that gave the best dirty looks.

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A Star Is Born (2018)

a-star-is-born-movie-review-2018Director: Bradley Cooper

Genre: Romance, Music, Drama

Runtime: 135 Minutes

Main Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, Bonnie Somerville, Andrew Dice Clay, Michael Harney, Rebecca Field, Rafi Gavron, William Belli, Anthony Ramos

Plot: After one of his shows, Jackson Maine meets and falls for struggling musician Ally, who already gave up on her dreams of being in the spotlight. Jackson coaxes her back into it but as her career finally takes off, Jackson’s personal issues put a strain on their whirlwind romance.

My Thoughts: Apologies in advance for any typos in this post, it’ll be because I’m still SOBBING over this movie. I’ve been so excited to see this and I was gutted to miss out on the advanced screening I got an invite for, so I pretty much raced to the cinema on opening night to see it. Sometimes you just know a movie is going to be great, and I wasn’t wrong here.

I don’t even know where to start. This is Bradley Cooper at his very best (and he’s already amazing) but Lady Gaga? Lady goshdarn Gaga absolutely steals the show. I don’t know enough about them to know if she’s in the running for an Oscar but if it were up to me she would have one! I haven’t had my heart shattered by a movie since La La Land, and now I don’t know if it will ever recover.

For such a long movie the time just flies by, definitely helped by the amazing soundtrack. Annoyingly it wasn’t released onto Spotify until yesterday so I’ve had to put up with playing Shallow on repeat on YouTube until then. It’s got to at least get a nomination for Best Original Song, right? Is it an original song, or was it in the original movie this is a remake of? I’ll have to look it up.

I thought I knew where the story was going. I really did think I had it all worked out, and I wasn’t mad because the movie is so well made it would have been forgivable, but then I had the rug pulled out from under me. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, that’s for sure. The only thing that kept me from curling up in a ball in the cinema was the lady behind me loudly bawling her eyes out. I hope she’s doing ok!

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Best Bit: Jackson Maine and Ally performing Shallow together on stage for the first time. It’s not even my favourite song (that award goes to Always Remember Us This Way) but it’s such a beautiful moment and gave me goosebumps.

Worst Bit: The final song. Not because it was a bad song, or even a bad moment, but that was the hardest part to watch. I was so sad I felt a little sick.

Fun Trivia: For his role as Jackson Maine, Bradley Cooper was taught to play guitar by Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson. The pair hung out in Cooper’s basement almost every night for a year so that Cooper could learn how to perform and present himself like a musician. Cooper is backed by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real for his stage performances. Veteran dialect coach Tim Monich worked for several months with Cooper to help him better flesh out his vocal singing range.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 fake boobs that Jackson Maine will sign for you if you ask him nicely!

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Review: Song to Song (2017)

Remember how literally just a few days ago I said I was struggling to name 5 movies that I really didn’t enjoy this year so far? Remember how my list was half-hearted because I didn’t truly hate any of them, I was just disappointed by them? That I actually missed hate-writing about a movie? Turns out the movie gods were listening that day, because they delivered Song to Song.

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I’ve heard that Terrence Malick movies are often controversial, and a quick check on IMDB confirmed what I thought – until now I haven’t seen a single one of his movies. I gotta say, there were none that really shouted out to me either, but there was no way I could ignore Song to Song. Here’s what I knew:
– Music was a strong feature (I’ve been spoiled by John Carney movies)
– It was set in Austin, Texas (I got to go there for work once and had an amazing time)
– The cast was excellent (Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Ryan Gosling & Michael Fassbender)
– It was described as a modern day love story

What could possibly go wrong?

It all started out okay to be honest. It felt a bit qwirky, a bit weird. It was a little raunchy too, so ticks in all the boxes from me. My eyes struggled to adjust to the fact that no single shot seemed to last any longer than 5 seconds, but I thought I’d get used to it. I had over 2 hours of movie to get used to it!

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About 20 minutes in, it all just went to hell. I couldn’t work out what was going on anymore. I thought it was established that Rooney Mara’s character was together with Michael Fassbender’s, but then she fell for Ryan Gosling. It seemed like some weird love triangle, because Ryan Gosling seemed way more interested in bro’ing it up with Michael Fassbender, but then he got married to Natalie Portman and…are you still reading?

This entire movie hurt my head. None of the characters ever seemed to talk much, or even smile. I’m sorry but, how can you fall in love with someone if all you do is float around silently, looking at them with the face and flair of a catwalk model? It’s infuriating!

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I actually gave up at the mid way point and turned the movie off. I thought I could be satisfied with not knowing how the story ended, or wasting another hour of my life whilst risking permanent frown lines from the face I pulled the entire time watching. Alas, the next day the completionist in me couldn’t take it anymore and I watched the rest. Did it get any better? No. Was it worth it? I got to see Ryan Gosling make a turkey out of a napkin (actually one of my favourite party tricks) so there was that.

I’m really sorry to actual, legit movie critics who understood this movie and what it was about, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea at all. 1 and a half napkins from me…you can turn them into turkeys yourself, or ask Ryan Gosling to show you how!

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My Disney Mix-Tape

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Today’s post is all thanks to Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews. Last week, in collaboration with Bex at Film Music Central, Drew posted something far greater than simply a list of his favourite Disney songs. He turned them into a full fledged mix-tape listing! You…you know what I mean by mix-tape, right? You’re not too young?

I’m just about old enough to remember sitting on my bedroom floor on a Sunday evening with my hifi stereo, timing the record and stop buttons perfectly to record my own mix-tapes from the radio’s Top 40 hits. The key to success was pressing stop in time so that you wouldn’t catch the DJ’s voice. You see, the art to the perfect mix-tape is not just choosing the right songs, but putting them in the right order so they flow!

You can see Drew and Bex’s choices on Drew’s blog here. Drew was kind enough to let me run with his idea and create my own mix-tape, and I’m sure he would be happy for others to do the same!

Admittedly, I started my mix-tape by scribbling down my favourite Disney songs to sing along to in the car, that’s my theme. Once I’d whittled these down, the hard part was choosing the order. It’s not perfect, but I think I did okay. Let’s press play!

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#1 Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride (Lilo & Stitch) – Staring off with something joyful! Plus it makes me think of the sun, sea and sand which is nice when driving around the rainy, grey UK.

#2 Where You Are (Moana) – Continuing the island theme! Plus, I will never get bored of shouting ‘Consider the COCONUT, Consider it’s TREEEEES’ whilst sat in traffic.

#3 You’ve Got a Friend In Me (Toy Story) – It’s always nice to travel with a friend, and even better if you can serenade them whilst in the car. Sorry, passengers of mine.

#4 In Summer (Frozen) – Speaking of friends, Olaf is just the best friend to have ever, right? Plus, us Brit’s have always dreamed of what a real summer looks like.

#5 I’ve Got a Dream (Tangled) – There’s a dream theme here, but I’ll admit. I just love this song so darn much. Plus, it’s guaranteed to make my husband join in singing with me.

#6 I’ll Make a Man Out of You (Mulan) – Taking a powerful turn here. I also like to sing this song to cars that drive well below the speed limit.

#7 You’re Welcome (Moana) – #sorrynotsorry for another Moana song. Speaking of singing to traffic, I break into a rendition of this when someone pulls out in front of me.

#8 Lava (Lava) – A calming break from all that road rage. Plus, this is the greatest song from any Disney short in my opinion.

#9 Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid) – Following on from the beautiful songs theme. I can’t play this with my Mum in the car though. She acts the entire song out!

#10 The Bare Necessities (The Jungle Book) – Let’s finish the way we started, with something cheery. Everyone loves The Bare Necessities!

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#1 It’s a Small World (Disney Theme Parks) – Screw the haters! I love the Small World ride! I love the Small World song! I bet it’s stuck in your head now too, isn’t it?

#2 A Whole New World (Aladdin) – Buuut if you’d prefer, we can have a Whole New World instead. This song got 100x better when Adam Driver sang it on Saturday Night Live.

#3 Hakuna Matata (The Lion King) – In case the road rage returns, it’s important to remember Hakuna Matata. It means no worries, for the rest of your days…

#4 Gaston (Beauty and the Beast) – Okay, I wasn’t sure where to slot this song in, but Gaston’s song is just brilliant, and I pray to the powers that be the new adaptation does it justice.

#5 We Know The Way (Moana) – I know what you’re thinking, another Moana song?! Put that satnav away, I know the way!

#6 Try Everything (Zootopia) If I don’t know the way? We’ll take a slight, scenic detour, and remind ourselves that it’s important to try everything. Even terrifying drives down country roads.

#7 On My Way (Brother Bear) Once I get back to a road with actually marking, and at least 2 lanes, we are well on our way!

#8 I See The Light (Tangled) I hope this isn’t the light at the end of the tunnel, because I can do a mean duet of this song all by myself.

#9 Life’s A Happy Song (The Muppets) This is the happiest song in the world, and the perfect outtro to my playlist. Fun fact? This is the song me and my husband walked back down the aisle to on our wedding day!

So there we have it, what do you think? I have actually made this into a Spotify list, so if you can bear to sit through It’s A Small World you can listen to it here!