Bohemian Rhapsody

What a Fairy Tale!

bohemianrhapsodyLoved this movie. It’s not gritty or shocking or in-your-face which I kinda expected. It’s nice. Very nice. So sit back and think of it as a fairy tale version of reality…I mean that in a nice way.

It’s so rare to get a GOOD script. This was just that. A well-written script with taut writing. I looked up who wrote it…ANTHONY McCARTEN. He is a New Zealander – hooray for our cousins across the ditch! – THAT is why it’s so good.  It’s a fresh take. Not from a formulaic weary wizened up old hack who can only write action heroes. Hope you win something shiny, Anthony!

But back to the script…

It carried everyone along with a really good pace, helped along with nifty camerawork and great editing…even some comic chicken cameos! Emotionally it didn’t really have any great highs and lows but maybe it didn’t need them. There were poignant moments where so much was unsaid that worked beautifully between Freddie and Mary; and between Freddie and his parents. When the script is so tight, you really need good actors to carry it off…happily they did.

Rami Malek was superb. Absolutely mesmerising. With the iconic look, mannerisms & charisma of Freddie Mercury.

If anything, it was too nice. Everyone was NICE. (Well, nearly everyone.) The band were nice guys. “Brian May” had a perpetually pleasant, understanding look on his face. The most raunchy scene was where a bunch of guys in leather jackets got ferried into Freddie’s house for a bit of a good time but, well, over to you to find out what eventuated.  Yes, there was conflict but it was always polite. Spinal Tap had more grit (and more rude words!) and that’s saying something…

The ending – don’t worry, I won’t reveal it –  was too prolonged. Just a couple of songs and then freeze frame would have done just as well. I kept waiting for the final song. Come on, come on, I know it’s about to end, the story is coming to an end, come on…but it kept going.

But all in all, wonderfully entertaining.  A heartwarming movie.  A movie that taps into the human need for friendship and vulnerability and forgiveness. A movie full of music to make you happy – even if you’re not a particular fan of Queen. A really fun movie – watching a bunch of good guys come up with musical ideas, aim high thanks to fearless Freddie, make it in the industry and become a world-wide phenomenon, hey it’s a winner!

As Freddie used to say: “We are the champions, my friend”.

That’s Not Me

Directed by Gregory Erdstein.

Written by Gregory Erdstein & Alice Foulcher.

Hmmm. Great acting. Very perceptive characterisations. I want to like it. I want to support Australian Indie films. And Australian comedy. But…

Big problem. This movie is presented as the hilarious goings-on of identical twin sisters. The publicity features both twins (played by the very talented Alice Foulcher):

That's Not Me Poster

All the promos say: ‘Aspiring actress Polly is mistaken for her celebrity twin sister at every turn, and decides to use it to her own advantage.…’

Fabulous! Crazy co-incidences! Wacky scenes where one twin arrives as the other leaves! Twins swapping clothes! Twins playing practical jokes! It was nothing like that. It was the character study of A TWIN. Note: 1 (one) twin. And she turns out to be a loser. Or does she? I’m not sure. The weird thing is that the second twin doesn’t appear until the end of the movie.

I don’t know why the script editor (not blaming you, script editor) or a kindly friend or gaffer or granny or SOMEONE didn’t say:  Hey, this is a movie about twins, so shouldn’t there be twins be in it? Why is it that one of the twins doesn’t actually appear onscreen until 85 mins in? Didn’t anyone notice???

A nice character study of a confused late-twenties female but that’s not really what was promised. Such a missed opportunity.


written and directed by Grímur Hákonarson

I was expecting a comedy. Clearly I misread the publicity. I was so excited to see a film set in Iceland and support the Icelandic film industry – which seems to be the entire population of Iceland based on the final credits – that I assumed it would be a dark comedy because, well, aren’t all vaguely Nordic films zany and out-of-left-field and quirky, etc, etc, etc? ramsWell, there are a couple of comic moments – one involving a bulldozer – but Rams certainly won’t send you out of the cinema chortling with merriment. It will leave you feeling: Oh. Or perhaps: Oh? It’s bleak. Intense. Sad. Poignant. And structurally very clever: the gradual disentanglement, the mirrored actions, the rescues, the journey, the salvation.

Lots of close-ups of the craggy Gummi, (Sigurður Sigurjónsson), one of two bearded Icelandic-jumper-wearing brothers, who lives in an isolated valley in the north of the country and whose whole life is wrapped up in his sheep. Crisis arrives when it’s found that one of the prize rams has a deadly and contagious disease and drastic action must be taken…

On the way to Hotel Sel for hot chocolate

Not a still from the movie. Not northern Iceland. Not a valley. And no sheep. But still, it’s Iceland so it’s vaguely relevant (c) WJL 2013

Lots to love. The simple cream-coloured buildings. The tough, all-encompassing rural life. The grumpy brother next door, Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson), who’s a bit of a bother. Sheep running upstairs. Sheep running up hills. Love those sheep. Like curly rectangles on sticks. Dramatic sweeping shots of the farms, the roads, snowscapes, yes, but snow is not the focus until those sheep take off pursued by the two brothers and a dog into the white… The changing seasons. The Christmas candles. The bath tubs. The beautiful restrained acting to capture the bond between Gummi and his beloved sheep. And an ending that must be said is a tad ABRUPT.

A tender film.