‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ review: An easy come, easy go biopic

Bohemian Rhapsody rocks well as a safe and mildly scandalous musical biopic.

Bohemian Rhapsody treats the life of Freddie Mercury with a cautious affection. The film starts in London 1970, when Freddie (Rami Malek), still known in his birth name Farrokh Bulsara, is a young man who works as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport, but he intends to make his name as a musician. One night, after watching the local band “Smile” perform, Freddie convinces their guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) to make him their new lead singer, after giving them a taste of his incredible vocal range. The trio later add bass guitarist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) to their ranks and dub their new band as Queen, a name picked out by Freddie himself. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. As they reach unparalleled success, lead singer Freddie has to traverse his career and personal life surrounded by darker influences along with the possibility of pursuing a solo career.

With a run time of over two hours, Bohemian Rhapsody supplies as a reminder that the band will forever come down as a legend. As a biopic, this film tips more favor on fleshing out the lead singer’s life than the band Queen itself. The film puts much drama in the band’s rise – the struggles and its cheerful trip through the hits. While on Freddie’s life it struggles to find focus, the film does not go for a more liberal approach other than what might have been a public knowledge already. It revolves much time to his relationship with Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) and to his solitary to gay relationships. The film doesn’t seem to know what to do with his homosexual desire. His love affair with Paul Prenter (Allen Leech) only played a nightmare of scandal, addiction and exploitation with him being innocent. It only views Paul as a villain and AIDS as a punishment. In attempt to stay polite, the film gives an untarnished image to the surviving members of Queen.

Rami Malek, on the other hand, brings an extraordinary performance that deserves all the cheers it gets. No wonder why the film makes much better viewing because he almost gets the good lines and he offers something more beyond the material. Malek outshines all the other cast members, especially in the recreation of Live Aid in which he gives everything he has by performing it like it might be Freddie’s last time. It’s one of the most truly affecting scenes to the viewers.

Where the film feels lacking and flawed, the music compensates much for it. Bohemian Rhapsody would make you feel that something essential is missing but the band’s performance will make you appreciate the film more. Many of the major Queen hits are heard in the film and these will let you get into the film’s groove. The excitement along with the audience participation is what the film does best with. “Bohemian Rhapsody” “We Are the Champions”, “We Will Rock You”, and “Radio Ga Ga” are all great hits to sing along worthy ofb an IMAX viewing.

4 out of 5 stars

Directed by Bryan Singer. Starring Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Allen Leech, Aiden Gillen, Tom Hollander, and Mike Myers. Produced by 20th Century Fox, Initial Entertainment Group, and Regency Enterprises. Run time: 135 minutes.

Mackenzie Foy plays Clara in ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’

Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” stars teen actress Mackenzie Foy (“Interstellar,” “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”) as Clara, an intelligent 14-year-old with a penchant for science.

Based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale and “The Nutcracker,” the big-screen adventure showcases the wondrous journey of Clara, who finds herself in the mystical world of the Four Realms, home to a host of eccentric characters and no shortage of surprises.

According to screenwriter Ashleigh Powell, Clara isn’t really comfortable in her skin. “She’s kind of a fish out of water,” says Powell. “She doesn’t fit into the normal stereotypes of a Victorian girl—she’s not interested in fancy dresses and the like. She’s more of a tomboy. She likes creating and building and figuring out how things work. In that respect, she’s very similar to her godfather, Drosselmeyer, so they’re kindred spirits.”

But Clara struggles with the recent passing of her mother. “It’s the first Christmas that her family is spending without Marie,” says Powell. “And her mother has left behind Christmas presents for Clara and her siblings, which sets everything into motion.”

Clara receives an egg-shaped music box with a note that reads, “Everything you need is inside.” But the box is locked and, surprisingly, there is no key. Clara is disappointed and confused, but determined to unlock the music box and the secrets it holds. Her confusion persists until a golden thread, presented to her at her grandfather’s annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. She is welcomed with open arms by the regents, particularly Sugar Plum Fairy, who confides that she was once very close with Marie.

But this strange new world is not whole. It is scarred with past conflict—one regent is in exile, her realm forgotten and crawling with mice who serve as her soldiers. Clara and Phillip must brave this ominous Fourth Realm, home to the regent-turned-tyrant Mother Ginger, to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world.

Says director Lasse Hallström, “Clara learns through the course of the story that she’s worthy of trusting herself and worthy of being herself.”

Mackenzie Foy brings the character to life. “Clara is a very complex person,” says Foy. “She has all these different emotions—she’s hurting, but she doesn’t want people to see that. She’s also an outcast for being an intelligent young woman in a Victorian society. She doesn’t yet realize what a wonderful thing that is.”

“Mackenzie is a brilliant young actress,” adds Hallström. “She’s so alive, she’s technically brilliant and she has impeccable instincts.”

“The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” opens in Philippine cinemas October 31, 2018.

About Mackenzie Foy

MACKENZIE FOY has quickly emerged as one of Hollywood’s most exciting young actresses. With a breakout role in one of the biggest movie franchises of all time, Foy’s body of work continues to evolve with exciting and challenging projects.

Foy is the voice of the little girl who befriends an eccentric neighbor (voiced by Jeff Bridges) in the animated film “The Little Prince,” which premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. It is a film adaptation of the popular book first published in 1943, and the most famous work of the French aristocrat, writer, poet and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects (as well as braille), and with total sales of over 140 million copies worldwide, it has become one of the best-selling books ever published. Other actors voicing characters in the film include Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, James Franco and Benicio Del Toro.

Foy starred in director Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” alongside Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway. Critics called Foy’s performance “superb,” “outstanding” and “impressive.” She won a Saturn Award and was nominated for Critics’ Choice and Teen Choice awards for her performance in the film.

Foy starred in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” directed by Bill Condon, as the half-vampire daughter of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), whom they must protect from the evil Volturi.