This Queen biopic will rock you.
Bohemian Rhapsody tells the tale of the beginnings of the rock group, Queen, to their iconic show at Live Aid. Set against the band’s music, Bohemian Rhapsody is the story of the whole group with a focus on front man, Eddie Mercury and his struggles with his family, sexuality, and drugs.
Reviewers panned this movie but they forget that this isn’t a movie about Mercury and pan the movie for its lack of depth into Mercury’s sexuality and feel that they glossed over his life. But the movie is about more than Freddie. It’s about the whole band. With two Queen band members, Brian May and Rodger Taylor, as well as Jim Beach, the band’s lawyer and manager, serving as executive producers, the script focuses on the band from their point of view. The script also plays loose with the timeline to increase the drama and tug at the viewers’ heartstrings.
Rami Malek portrays Mercury with zeal. His movements and mannerisms will have you forgetting the real Mercury isn’t on the screen. Rami worked with a movement coach and viewed hours of tapes in order to mimic Mercury’s iconic stage presence and expressions. I suspect that Rami will get an Oscar nod for this role, but I doubt he’ll win.
With a fun cameo by Mike Meyers as the record producer, Ray Foster, who turned down Bohemian Rhapsody, saying it would never be a hit because kids couldn’t bang their heads in a car to the song, the movie comes full circle from Wayne’s Bohemian Rhapsody piece in Wayne’s World.
For fans of Queen and their music, the movie will have you singing along. The theater was packed on a Friday morning with the entire audience clapping when the movie was over. This is a movie I will purchase and watch again. Even though it takes liberties with the timeline, it is a movie which shows how family can be more than blood and even with differences, love will prevail.
Hunter Killer keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Captain Joe Glass (Gerard Butler) is put in charge of a top secret mission to rescue any soldiers who survived after a nuclear sub goes missing just on the edge of Russian territory. But things aren’t what they seem. At the suggestion of a member of the NSA, RA John Fisk (Common) sends in a SEAL team to get eyes on what’s going on in the area. Then all hell breaks loose. A rogue Russian military officer kidnaps the Russian President and sets about to start World War Three. And it’s up to Captain Glass and his men on the sub as well as the SEAL team to rescue the Russian President and avert a war.
This movie was based on the book “Firing Point” by George Wallace and Don Keith and feels very much like a John Clancy novel. The action is pivotal to the plot as viewers hold their breath as life and death decisions are made which leave the characters in peril. The title, Hunter Killer, is the name of the class of submarine, not necessarily a plot point.
Butler serves as executive producer on this project and held on to the script for years until the tensions rose again with Russia, making this story more plausible. He also spent about three weeks on a US Navy nuclear class submarine, with the director observing the training and running simulations in order to make the story more realistic. The movie highlights the often frightening and tense situations on a “floating tin can”.
Gerard Butler is good as Captain Glass but it’s the other characters who shine brighter. Michael Nyquist plays a Russian submarine captain who must work with Butler in order to avert a world war. Common’s character remains calm in the face of verbal abuse from his commanding officer, yet keeps silent and ends up being right. No “I told you so’s needed.”
Fans of military and action movies will really enjoy Hunter Killer. The big screen only immerses the viewers deeper into the action. The best part though is the hope you leave the theater with…maybe some people will do what is right, putting not only their lives on the line but their careers in order to make the world safe. And we need to know in these times more than any other that people make a difference.
Forty years after the first Halloween movie, Michael Myers returns to finish the one person who got away.
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) walked away decades ago after Mike Myers started his killing spree in his hometown. She’s wished for a chance to end him since then and has prepared for the day she’ll get the chance. She’s become a paranoid, alcoholic who has lost her daughter and hides behind locks and walls.
Mike Myers has been silent since his capture. He’d been serving time in a mental facility under the supervision of a new doctor but is finally being sent to a maximum-security prison, labeled the Hellhole. When two investigative reporters show him the mask, they hope he’ll say something…anything…but the mask sets the inmates on edge. Mike escapes during a transfer and cuts a bloody swath through his hometown again on his way to Laurie’s house.
With many nods to the original movie, as well as the other movies in the series, Halloween is a treat for fans of the original. It wipes out the movies after the first and re-sets the timeline. Nick Castle returns to the role of Mike Myers, giving the character the original feel but this movie is more of a redemption than a horror movie. There’s suspense and gore but not the jump out and scare you frights. And sets up the rematch between Laurie and Michael with both appearing to have nine lives.
With John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis serving as executive producers as well as musical director and lead actress, the movie leans heavily on the past nostalgia of the first movie. Unless you are a fan of the original though, you probably won’t enjoy this movie. With the many spooky offerings such as Lore, The House on Haunting Hill and even the Conjuring series, Halloween seems tame in comparison.
Disappointed that we never learn more about why Mike set off on his killing spree or how the town picks up the pieces after this latest massacre, the ending leaves it open for a sequel (and the director, writers and actors are on board- contracts were set in place when this movie was being made, just in case).
A good movie for fans but not one you have to spend your money on. J
Cancel any reservations at the El Royale. The place is murder.
Set in the 1960’s, the El Royale was a popular tourist destination which attracted Hollywood stars and celebrities. With the loss of its gambling license, the hotel which straddles Nevada and California has become a ghost town. When four strangers, each with a secret, check into the hotel one rainy night, all hell breaks loose and bodies will fall.
The hotel itself has secrets from hidden microphones to one-way mirrors where unsuspecting guests are filmed. This night, a priest (Jeff Bridges), a black singer (Cynthia Erivo), a vacuum salesman (Jon Hamm), and a hippie woman (Dakota Johnson) walk into the hotel but none are who they seem. Some of the guests are searching for redemption while others are trying to escape their life but on this one night, things will never be the same.
Bad Times at the El Royale is a twisted suspense-filled movie with plenty of twists and turns. Viewers see a variety of perspectives as the movie unfolds, sometimes from two differing points of view. Each of the seven people who arrive at the El Royale are dangerous and aren’t afraid of killing to get what they want.
Jeff Bridges is both devious and sad in the role of Father Daniel Flynn as a former convict who is facing memory loss. Even with his criminal past, he’s a righteous man who is troubled by his choices. Another strong character is Miles Miller, the bellboy/hotel clerk/cleaning staff (Lewis Pullman). His choices aren’t always his own but when push comes to shove, he finds his backbone.
However, the arrival of Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth) which sets in motion the explosive ending. Chris’s character seems to be a blend of Charles Manson and Jesus—as a cult leader who seeks to teach his followers about life. His ability to be cut and dry about death will leave you shaken and more than a little frightened.
Written and directed by Drew Goddard, who wrote The Cabin in the Woods, which also starred Chris Hemsworth, set out to create a movie in the same vein of Quentin Tarantino with the non-linear storytelling and shocking violence, Bad Times at the El Royale will keep you on the edge of your seat but doesn’t have to be a movie seen on the big screen to grab you. With plenty of surprises and nods to bigger historical events, this is a movie you might need to see a few times to put all the puzzle pieces together.
It’s all fun and games until aliens try to take over the world.
When a wealthy entrepreneur decides to bring back some specimens from outer space in his quest to create a better human being, he doesn’t realize the havoc they will cause.
Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is a hard-hitting journalist who isn’t afraid of pushing to find answers. But when he sneaks into his girlfriend’s (Michelle Williams) computer and finds evidence against Life Foundation founder, Carlton Drake and sets out to expose his undercover dealings. Sadly, all it does is get his girlfriend and himself fired, and destroy their relationship. Fast forward and one of the Life Foundation doctors develops a conscience after tests run on the outer space specimens ends up killing people. She reaches out to Eddie who breaks into the lab and ends up with a specimen inside him.
Venom is a “nerd” on his planet but on Earth and connecting with Eddie, he decides to go against his own people who set out to destroy the planet. With Venom inside him, Eddie is unstoppable as Carlton Drake sends his paid killers out to get the specimen back.
While originally seen as a villain in the third Spiderman movie (with Toby Mcguire), Venom gets his own movie and origin story. Both silly and violent, Venom is more like Deadpool than Captain America. The wise cracks and unsuspecting surprise of the symbiote provide more than a little humor. Who wouldn’t end up thinking they are going crazy when their body suddenly changes in front of their face?
With a Stan Lee cameo, Venom sets itself as a part of the Marvel Universe but not in the main group. The two extra after credit scenes give viewers a sneak peek at the bag guy for Venom 2 as well as a special scene from the new upcoming comic Spiderman movie.
Certainly a must for fans of the Marvel superhero franchise and one worth seeing more than once, if only for the quirky smile of Tom Hardy.
Based on a children’s book of the same name, The House with the Clock in its Walls (written by John Bellairs) will delight the younger audiences with magic and fright.
After the death of his parents, Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) is sent to Michigan to live with his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) who is a warlock, and lives in a house with a mysterious clock in its walls. As the young Lewis is learning to cope with his own tragedy, he must find his own power as well as the power of true friendship.
Jonathan’s best friend and warlock, Isaac Izzard (Kyle MacLachlan) returns from World War II a changed man. He’s evil and is bent on ending the world. When his plans go awry and he dies, he must return from the dead with a little unwitting help from Lewis in order to complete his master plan. Now it’s up to the non-warlock Lewis to find his magic and save the day.
The house is a magical place. One any child would love to be a part of, from a lion topiary which acts like a mischievous house cat to a dirty old recliner which acts like a dog. The picture frames play Lewis’ favorite television shows and the stained glass window predicts the future.
Jack Black plays his character much like he plays most of his other characters, over the top and a little too much like himself. However, Cate Blanchett as Mrs. Zimmerman, a friendly witch who lives next door, is amazing. The quips fly fast and furious between the two as the one up each other with silly name-calling.
Owen Vaccaro is a fun fresh face who has been in Daddy’s Home and the sequel most notably but he’s a young actor we will see more of in the future. He plays Lewis with a nerdy and needy bent which delights viewers.
The House with the Clock in its Walls is sure to delight audiences even though the ending is a bit forced. Fans of the children’s book will enjoy seeing a favorite come to life. For Michigan fans though, this movie has a special honor since the author wrote about his hometown of Marshall, Michigan and used places such as the Cronin Mansion as a basis for his books.
While some of the scenes could prove frightening to younger audiences, the mix of laughter and silliness as well as a happy ending will dispel some of the frights. Just be sure to know your child since even the doll scene could upset some adults. Maybe your children can cover your eyes!
When Riley North’s family is murdered, she finds revenge.
Riley North (Jennifer Gardner) is a middle-class mom. One daughter, Carly and her mechanic husband. When her husband considers a job as a get-away driver, he is targeted by the Mexican drug dealers and made an example of on his daughter’s birthday at the Christmas carnival.
Riley awakens from a coma to find she’s the only one who survived the drive-by but in a system where the judge, lawyers and even police are corrupt, she doesn’t get justice for her family, until she takes matters into her own hands.
After going off the grid for five years, stealing cash and guns, Riley re-emerges to kill everyone who was involved in her family’s death. The FBI and local police are out to stop her and the Drug Cartel puts a target on her back. The battle is on.
Jennifer Gardner returns to her action roots and shows off her physicality in this role, as Riley isn’t above using her fists to get her point across. She knows she’s going to die when this is all said and done but she’ll do anything to end the bad guys first. Directed by the man who did Taken with Liam Neeson, Peppermint feels much like that movie but with a female in the lead.
The storyline will have to you surprised at times with twists you don’t see coming, especially among the police, and while the movie is predominately about revenge, there are a couple of fun scenes where Jennifer reminds viewers being a mom is at her core.
The theater was packed for a Friday morning. The most I've seen at the theater in a while. Occasional cheers were heard as Jennifer got the bad guys. This movie appeals to women who like a strong female lead who isn’t afraid to hurt the people who hurt her family. A couple of ladies at the theater were wondering after the movie if any of their friends could take out a drug cartel. However, the movie takes a lot of hits for its racial tone of bad Mexicans. Yet, there is a diverse cast especially on the law enforcement side.
With the level of violence and death, this isn’t a movie for younger audiences. Fans of Jennifer will enjoy seeing her back in action but the overall storyline is a typical revenge movie. From the first scene, you know who the killer is. But if you are looking for a movie which will remind you not to mess with an angry mom—this is it!
No Sesame, All street…The Happytime Murders isn’t your children’s movie.
Directed and produced by Jim Henson’s son, Brian, The Happytime Murders is about a former policeman turned detective who sets out to solve the murders of a 1980’s popular puppet TV show. As one by one the former cast members are murdered, Phil Phillips (a puppet) must work with his former partner, Detective Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy) and his former flame, Jenny (Elizabeth Banks) while the FBI sets out to prove he’s the puppet who murdered them all.
The puppets are second-class citizens in this movie’s world. They are beaten up, ignored and are forced to sing and dance on the street corners for cash. Phil lost his badge when he missed a shot on another puppet who held a gun to his partner and was drummed out of the force. His guilt over the incident has left a scar and made him weary of people.
The Happytime Murders is anything but happy. These puppets are raunchy, not even PG-13 but totally R-rated. It’s over the top how they have portrayed them with sugar addictions, strange porn habits and anger management issues. The storyline and world creation has a touch of Who Framed Rodger Rabbit but without any of the good lines or artistry. Happytime launches from one sexual innuendo to the next, rather than creating any depth to the characters. Melissa McCarthy comes off as a sad and angry woman. She spends most of the movie yelling and swearing at someone or snorting candy sprinkles.
Since this movie was produced as well by Melissa McCarthy and her husband, you know it will feature her as the lead, and will have Maya Rudolph as a character in addition to a sneak peek at Melissa’s husband, Ben Falcone in a scene. It was the only joke I laughed at. Melissa is leaving the station after being suspended and tells off each of the officers in the office. She tells Ben’s character that she wished she’d have slept with him, and he says, “There’s still time.”
Happytime will appeal to a certain demographic who like movies with a lot of sexual jokes and raunchy comedy but for most, they will be put off by the lack of a storyline and one-dimensional characters. Watch this one on DVD.
Wealth, Romance and Family clashes in this Rom-Com, perfect for a date night!
Based on the first book in the best-selling trilogy by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians is the first Western Production with an only Asian cast. Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is an American-born Chinese NYU economics professor who travels with boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) to his family home in Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. Along the way, she runs aground of his domineering mother and social climbing friends.
Along with Rachel’s and Nick’s story, the movie also showcases Nick’s sister, Astrid (Gemma Chan) and her husband as they struggle to keep their marriage afloat. He’s from a working class family and never felt like he was good enough for the wealthy Young family. Be sure to wait for the mid-credits’ scene for a sneak peek at what might be coming for Astrid’s future.
Rachel's college friend Goh Peik Lin (Awkwafina) and her father, Goh Wye Mun (Ken Jeong- from the Hangover movies) steal the movie. They are the comedy to the romance and provide Rachel support she needs when Nick’s mom (Michelle Yeoh) hits Rachel with a big surprise.
Would Crazy Rich Asians be as successful if it was about wealthy Americans? Or another ethnic group? Probably not. The over the top wealth and lifestyle of these Singapore families goes as far as having a bachelorette party on a private island with free shopping. The way that social media spreads like wildfire and how mean girls can be to each other is shocking but so true. It will be interesting to see if they make a second movie, after all, the books are at the top of the New York Times lists.
Crazy Rich Asians is fairly clean. There are a few moments of underwear shots and making out. However, this movie is not for the younger audience and it probably won’t appeal to the guys. But if you are looking for a movie to see with your girlfriends, this is it. As well, it’s perfect for a date night. Guys- your girls will love the romance and she’ll leave with a glow!
Jaws on steroids, The Meg was a fun adventure movie with plenty of action and some interesting surprises.
When Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) was forced to leave men behind when his underwater rescue mission goes sideways, his career, marriage and sanity are damaged because of his claims that an extra-large shark attacked the Navy’s nuclear submarine. When a new underwater research team funded by an American billionaire (Rainn Wilson) becomes stranded at the bottom of the ocean floor, Jonas is asked to save the team which includes his ex-wife (Jessica McNamee).
The research team inadvertently lets the 75-foot prehistoric shark out of the ocean floor where it was trapped by a super freezing layer of gas which mimicked the bottom and had kept the Megalodon from being discovered. There are certainly flaws in the science of this movie since it’s not really possible that the large shark could survive in such a small area without the larger predators he needs for survival.
A Chinese and American production, it was interesting to see how the billionaire was portrayed as an over the top, goofy person more interested in money and lawsuits than people. Was this how the Chinese filmmakers see Americans? Or one in particular? One moment which was over the top silly and parents of teenage boys will “get” was when the two geeky scientists snickered over the word “inserted” each time it was used. It reminded me of the one year my boys kept saying “Poop” at Thanksgiving dinner.
Jason Statham played his typical sexy and thrilling super military guy. The character was much like many of the other characters he’d played, sexy but also a total bossy, super military man who could handle everything thrown at him including the sass of a 8-year-old (Sophia Cai) and her sexy mother (Bingbing Li). The budding romance between Jonas and the daughter of the chief scientist shows up with her being sarcastic to him and him saving her life more than once.
A great supporting cast with recently named as Catwoman actress-Ruby Rose and Masi Oka from Hawaii 5-O, keeps the storyline flowing. But Meiling (Sophia Cai)- the young daughter steals the movie with her honest insights into life because in her words, no one realizes she listens to all they say in front of her. Her screen time with Statham is sweet and I believe his character fell in love with the little girl before noticing her mother!
With many nods to Jaws and even a throwaway line about Shark Week, the Meg is sure to delight fans of big action movies, much like the Rock’s San Andreas or Rampage. With the fear factor and a quite a few deaths (after all, this is a shark movie), The Meg is not for younger audiences, although for me the moment I almost cried at involved the death of a whale and not a human. Just don’t expect a great plot- go for the action.
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