Bohemian Rhapsody is 2018’s biggest clickbait movie full of biopic mediocrity.
The movie's music, of course, pays homage to the band Queen and the legendary singer, Freddie Mercury; but the rest of the film reeks of uneven simplicity and half-baked Wikipedia sources. From the start of its production hell to the firing of director Bryan Singer, to somehow winning over the hearts of many Academy members for musical nostalgia; Bohemian Rhapsody obnoxiously stuck around this award season. This subpar musical biopic has been widely admired by audiences alike, but don’t let that fool you. The film's subject matter on Mercury's sexuality was constructed at a surface level narrative and lacked depth. Sadly, this was one of many problems with the film's on-screen character portrayal. Bohemian Rhapsody also went on to win the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama and four Academy Awards, including Best Actor (Rami Malek). I am dumbfounded on how this hamstrung musical beat out other far superior dramas like If Beale Street Could Talk, BlacKkKlansman, A Star Is Born, and Black Panther. Nevertheless, The Academy ran with its foolish popularity and even nominated it for Best Picture. A huge slap in the face to other worthier films (Eighth Grade and If Beale Street Could Talk) that were ultimately snubbed.
At the end of Sunday night, Bohemian Rhapsody somehow took home the most Academy Awards (4) – Best Actor, Best Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. While the film's editing looked like it was chopped together by a YouTube blogger. Don’t believe me? Watch this video breaking down a god-awful scene. In this scene alone, I counted 60 cuts in 104 seconds. That's 1.8 seconds per shot length. Maybe, Bohemian Rhapsody won Best Editing because they virtually edited out Bryan Singer of their awards narrative and campaign. I will say this, Rami Malek did an exceptional job transforming into the role of Mercury; which is why The Academy awarded him with top honors. Malek was able to wire down Mercury's mannerisms to a T. Malek's engaging performance is the only reason I am giving this ghastly film 1.5 stars out of 5. Furthermore, he put blood, sweat, and tears into the role of a lifetime. Not to mention, Malek had to deal with Singer throwing pieces of electrical equipment at his head. Good gracious. In the end, the film's overall impact left me unsatisfied. This further proves that awarding a movie based on sheer popularity is a horrible idea. Yet, this year's Oscars had a 12% boost in ratings. Are you happy Academy? Bohemian Rhapsody is a movie that I hope fades away into the deep abyss.
Bohemian Rhapsody is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). For thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language.
2018 is one of the best year's I've seen for filmmaking. There were bold and authentic stories displayed on the screen; while many women director's rose to the occasion on delivering a tour de force in filmmaking. We had film's that captivated us, shined new light on other cultures, opened our hearts, and may have even left us in tears by the end. There's a reason why we continue to go back to the movies, and 2018 is one of them.
All three of these films receive a five-star review from me.
If Beale Street Could Talk
A beautiful film full of love and sacrifice. If Beale Street Could Talk is another masterstroke perfectly executed by writer-director Barry Jenkins (2017’s Best Picture winner, Moonlight). Uplifted by engrossing performances from actor’s Kiki Layne and Stephan James. While actress Regina King’s performance will bring you to tears. I’ll be rooting for her to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Visually stunning and wonderfully crafted, our narrative follows a couple (Tish and Alonzo) in the early 1970s. Their dreams are shattered when Alonzo is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Beale Street is presented in a non-linear structure, while the score is meticulously blended underneath. Composer Nicholas Britell (12 years a Slave, Moonlight, and Vice) fills the atmosphere with cellos, brass, and horns. "The cellos really became for us this symbol of love, because the movie is about love and injustice." It’s one of the best films from 2018. Beale Street should also win the Oscar this month for Best Adapted Screenplay. It’s a shame The Academy didn’t give this film recognition for Best Picture. Jenkins’ masterwork deserved to be a nominee. If Beale Street Could Talk is a great American novel (written by author James Baldwin) that’s now been turned into a great American film.
If Beale Street Could Talk is rated R (Restricted). For language and some sexual content.
Cold War (Zimna wojna)
Cold War (Zimna wojna) is a beautiful movie full of love, heartbreak, and politics. Writer-director Pawel Pawlikowski’s (2014’s Ida) masterstroke of gorgeous artistry and jaw-dropping landscapes are breathtaking. Flawlessly crafted and wonderfully acted, Cold War follows the love story of one couple’s on-and-off again relationship throughout the 1950s. This dense 88-minute picture draws you in fast and will leave you speechless by the end. Nominated for three Oscars, Cold War is one of the finest films I’ve seen to display the harsh realities of a grim life incorporated in the ‘50s Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia, and Paris. Yet, we are also enriched by the sophisticated theatrical show biz of that era. Blended with a jazzy background, Cold War showcases the haze people lived in after the war. Pawlikowski based the story on his real-life parents, who did break up and get together a couple of times as well as moved from one country to another. One could get lost in Pawlikowski’s gorgeous, yet bleak visuals. It's a master craft only by a true artist with a keen eye for beauty. It’s one of my favorite films from 2018 and one of the very best to come out. Dare I say, a bonafide masterpiece.
Cold War is rated R (Restricted). For some sexual content, nudity and language.
Burning (Beoning) is one of the most haunting and most complex movies I’ve seen in recent memory. I highly recommend experiencing this slow-burning masterpiece. This is a film that sticks with you, long after the credits fade away. I can't get it out of my head. Our film follows the complex love triangle between a girl (Jeon Jong-seo), a boy (Yoo Ah-in) and a serial killer (Steven Yeun). Burning is a murder mystery infused into the human condition. This haunting spectacle is perfectly executed by writer-director Lee Chang-dong (2011’s Poetry). Burning is an art-house thriller that takes its time to sneak up behind you. Lee Chang-dong is an international master, who slowly builds his narrative puzzle. The end result will leave you breathless, bar none. Burning is one of the best films from 2018. It’s a shame The Academy snubbed this gem from an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. Do yourself a favor and go watch this gripping nightmare on the big screen. In the end, you won’t know what hit you.
Burning is rated NR (Not Rated).
For Your Consideration:
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Next Best Picture
In Their Own League
Mike, Mike, and Oscar
The Movie Oracle