Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#101 Post by knives » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:20 pm

joshua wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:21 pm
knives wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:35 pm
Better Midler
Got my new band name. Thanks!
Typos save the day.

User avatar
thirtyframesasecond
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:48 pm

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#102 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:08 am

I used to be one of these people who hated Queen. Now, it's just May and Taylor for rinsing every dollar possible from the band's name and back catalogue. John Deacon's had the right idea and he wrote the better songs.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#103 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:13 am

I think they all had their moments but you're right about what they've done to the name. Although there are much worse examples, it doesn't make them any better in my eyes for doing it. It extends into this movie and their participation in it as producers. They certainly have every right, but it doesn't guarantee the end result will be every bit as exciting as their music was.
Soothsayer wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:15 pm
2. That Rolling Stone quote is stupid and indefensible in any context. Presenting it here as a serious point of debate makes no sense to me.
To be fair Dave Marsh hated everything. It's a little obvious to me that him and Bill Wyman saw Queen as de-constructive of the idea that Rock music can become a tool of social change and taken seriously, or at worst were firmly against their (in Marsh's case at least, Wyman was born in '61) counter-culture values by simply treating what they did as entertainment. Or perhaps worse still, they didn't make another version of a record they had their minds blown by in the 60's, and chose to forge their own path. Several years ago someone went to the trouble of listing the 500 worst reviews ever published in RS, and in it you'll see plain as day that innovation is the music critic's most despised enemy.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#104 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:22 pm

"A Spirited Rami Malek Can’t Save Bryan Singer’s Royally Embarrassing Queen Biopic"
it’s an out-of-body experience to watch such a paint-by-numbers portrait in a post-“Walk Hard” world.

User avatar
hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#105 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:21 pm

Man, how did I miss the last few pages of this thread?

I've never been a Queen fan but I tried and kept an open mind - I still have a compilation I made (basically Greatest Hits in chronological order with some additional singles and fan favorites), but it's never done much for me. There's two singles that I genuinely like: "Under Pressure" (which I discovered through a Bowie compilation) and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (which I discovered through Dwight Yoakam's cover). But outside of those two songs, their most enjoyable music tends to be goofy fun before the song wears out its welcome ("Bicycle Race" and of course "Bohemian Rhapsody").

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#106 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:30 am

I'm really fond of "Who Wants To Live Forever". For it's operatic ambitions, it also comes off a little more somber than even some of their other ballads.

Zot!
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:09 am

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#107 Post by Zot! » Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:13 am

post-“Walk Hard” world.
Boy, after this I think we can sign-post just about anything.
Queen, a surprisingly popular band in the US considering how ridiculous they are both in form and content. Not unlike the Sparks, who had very little success in the US. Both very talented, but mostly grating for me outside of their attempts to specifically write a hit. Also, I don't think I've ever seen a musician biopic I enjoyed, except maybe La Bamba....I think it helps when we don't reach the obligatory "excessive lifestyle" bit, which is exceedingly boring.

User avatar
hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#108 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:48 am

I was about to agree but I'm Not There is pretty awesome - I'm very familiar with Dylan's work though, and so much of what makes it brilliant would get lost if you knew nothing about him. It's clearly not a film for a novice, but honestly if it was, it might end up being the generic, paint-by-numbers "life highlights" film that defines most musical biopics.

Chuck Berry and Dylan wrote two of the best autobiographies ever, and Nick Tosches's biographies on Jerry Lee Lewis and Dean Martin are flat out great - I imagine they'll all be adapted some day. (The prologue of the Jerry Lee Lewis book alone is electric.)

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#109 Post by knives » Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:20 pm

Scorsese has been trying to adapt the Martin one for years.

Brianruns10
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:48 am

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#110 Post by Brianruns10 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:54 pm

Big Ben wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:23 pm
There was certainly some aesthetic that rock bands adopted that were certainly fascist inspired but that doesn't equate to them supporting the politics itself. I doubt many people listened to The Wall and thought it was Pro-Facism for instance. The same goes for the film version.

Queen was and is a harmless rock band. Exuberant live performances with large crowds being in any way fascist is just ridiculous.
I don't think The Wall was pro-fascist. What it was trying to do was highlight the ways in which popular music adopts the tones of fascism. Whether intentional or not, there is something uncannily nationalistic about the way legions of people gather in these Nuremburg-esque arenas and stadiums to listen to the musical preachings of individuals who have been lifted to the level of super men by their peers.

I think the point the Wall seeking to make was how potentially dangerous this could be, and how so much power and adoration invested in a single person or group can be both positively and/or negatively charged, depending on the context and message.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#111 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:59 pm

Warren Zanes' book on Tom Petty might be the best I've read in a long time. I'm in the middle of reading Mick Wall's recent book on Guns 'n Roses. A lot of good books out there on bands that aren't officially signed off by them, but written by journalists who have been hovering around the inner circle long enough (like Wall did for so many bands). The Petty book is an exception as Tom and the other Heartbreakers were interviewed directly by the author, but ones like the one I'm on now, or Mark Blake's Pink Floyd bio, or the Winwood/Brannigan books on Metallica, show real depth in terms of the research and the interviews with band members and those close to them.

User avatar
Never Cursed
Such is life on board the Redoutable
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:22 am

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#112 Post by Never Cursed » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:42 am

I had the, ah, privilege of seeing a press screening of this tonight, and I’m sad to report that it’s the exact thing that I was expecting it to be (and that I believe most of us were expecting too). “Glorified Wikipedia entry” is the level the movie’s pitched at, with slight biographical references and ridiculous “explanations” for songs (a scene of Mercury tapping out the piano chords of “Bohemian Rhapsody” in a moment of post-coital inspiration being the dumbest of these) offered in lieu of any deeper understanding of Queen or Freddie Mercury. I thought A Star Is Born, another movie about the problems facing famous musicians, was only okay, but at least that movie cared enough about the musicians at the center of its narrative to ask some questions about who they were and what drove them. Here, Mercury is a total cipher - Rami Malek is good as him, I guess (and make no mistake about it, this is a Mercury biopic), but the movie isn’t interested in asking who he is or what motivates him to perform. Nor does it care about examining Queen as a whole, given that Mercury dominates every scene with the band. And that's the thing: the movie isn't really interested in doing anything. There are a bunch of popular Queen songs played, which are all pleasant and familiar; there are several concert sequences, which are alright at best and overedited, energy-free, CG-aided abominations (the Live Aid finale) at worst, and the film has little else to offer. This is one empty-headed movie, and the idea that it’s going to be the most successful biopic of a year that gave us at least four great biopics is somewhat insulting.

As a post-script, I should mention that the audience I saw this with absolutely loved it. The “six bloody minutes” line from the trailer brought the house down, which is a little depressing. Also, I love A.O. Scott’s vicious review.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#113 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:31 am

I'm going to be much more interested in what the UK critics think, per my earlier comment about Queen's musical legacy in the UK compared to America. Mark Kermode gushed over it on Twitter, but this review in The Guardian is lukewarm at best.


User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#115 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:29 pm

I have that on DVD (originally titled We Will Rock You but re-released in 2007 as Queen Rock Montreal & Live Aid). While I'm more fond of their concert film from Wembley Stadium 5 years after it, this performance is particularly excellent. May & Taylor did a commentary track for the re-release, saying that if it comes off as intense is because they were absolutely furious at the film crew shooting it.

User avatar
whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#116 Post by whaleallright » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:35 pm

Never Cursed wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:42 am
I should mention that the audience I saw this with absolutely loved it. The “six bloody minutes” line from the trailer brought the house down, which is a little depressing.
this is why these lowest-common-denominator movies keep getting made: because people like this exist. there are worse things in the world, of course. it's a particular shame here, I suppose, because the Freddie Mercury story is so rich and could be handled in so many other, much more interesting ways.

I recall the film Control, a "biopic" of Joy Division, as being similarly bereft of imagination or interest. no ideas of its own, no narrative momentum, really just a series of awkward tableaux illustrating various Stages in the Life of Saint Ian Curtis, closely following the Wiki biography and salted with the same dumb punchlines intended for the "knowing" audience members to chuckle at. the film has one decent scene, at the very beginning, and then heads straight downhill.

I persist in thinking that, despite some really good exceptions, the biopic is probably the least fruitful genre of mainstream movie we have.

to pick up another thread from this, uh, thread, I have to admit I never understood why so many rock critics (including, as I recall, Dave Marsh, Greil Marcus, and Robert Christgau -- among the bigger names in American rock criticism) persisted in describing Queen and their music as "fascist" or various versions thereof. I know it has something to do with the vastness of the arena-sized crowds for their gigs which, I guess, clashed with their idea of rock as a more intimate sort of encounter. but aside from some very flimsy analogies to Nuremberg rallies, what this has to do with fascism or Nazism is beyond me, and why the same argument should not be applied to, say, Fleetwood Mac (who likewise played to huge crowds in the mid-late 1970s) is beyond me, too. at risk of making about as big a leap as the critics did, I have to wonder if there isn't some kind of sublimated homophobia happening here—not necessarily an objection to homosexuality or homosexuals as such, but an objection to the particular kind of flamboyant queerness that Mercury embodied.
Last edited by whaleallright on Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Big Ben
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
Location: Great Falls, Montana

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#117 Post by Big Ben » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:38 pm

The brain evolved to process patterns not probability. The reason people associate Queen with Fascism is because both had large shows that enraptured their audiences. Given the propensity of people to call things they don't like Fascist it doesn't take much effort to realize that critics didn't like Queen and associated it with it because of it. This is also why people with certain bias tend to think absolutely innocuous information is part of a grander conspiracy.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#118 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:42 pm

I think there is as much antipathy towards what wasn't in their music, which at least at the time of the Marsh dig, would have meant any kind of social conscious about the world outside of them. Their 70's albums all tended towards influences of progressive rock, hard rock and sometimes digging into other more quaint areas that would produce more gimmicky songs. Amidst that kind of vast musical tapestry, they seemingly couldn't be bothered to write about the problems facing their home country of England or the world at large. It's that kind of disconnect that really ground up the gears of these writers, who came up in the 60's and saw Dylan and the Beatles "change the world". It's also in no small part what spurned the whole punk movement, which in the end did about as much good for the world. The world didn't change, but we had a lot more people with pins in their noses, and critics who treated The Clash as the 2nd coming.

User avatar
Roger Ryan
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:04 pm
Location: A Midland town spread and darkened into a city

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#119 Post by Roger Ryan » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:32 pm

whaleallright wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:35 pm
...I recall the film Control, a "biopic" of Joy Division, as being similarly bereft of imagination or interest. no ideas of its own, no narrative momentum, really just a series of awkward tableaux illustrating various Stages in the Life of Saint Ian Curtis, closely following the Wiki biography and salted with the same dumb punchlines intended for the "knowing" audience members to chuckle at. the film has one decent scene, at the very beginning, and then heads straight downhill...
Hmm, I consider Control to be one of the best music biopics because, in my mind, the film does not put Curtis on a pedestal of tragic post-punk god. Often, what we're shown is quite mundane, allowing the film to be about a progression of small choices that have unwittingly larger consequences for someone suffering from mental illness.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#120 Post by MichaelB » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:56 am

Yes, I’d very much agree with this - and it’s interesting that despite being tonally different to the max, 24 Hour Party People takes a similar approach, although one that’s more cynically knowing about just how much mythmaking there was.

And of course Anton Corbijn was one of the original mythmakers, and he’d have been well aware of this.

User avatar
aox
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#121 Post by aox » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:14 am

Roger Ryan wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:32 pm
whaleallright wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:35 pm
...I recall the film Control, a "biopic" of Joy Division, as being similarly bereft of imagination or interest. no ideas of its own, no narrative momentum, really just a series of awkward tableaux illustrating various Stages in the Life of Saint Ian Curtis, closely following the Wiki biography and salted with the same dumb punchlines intended for the "knowing" audience members to chuckle at. the film has one decent scene, at the very beginning, and then heads straight downhill...
Hmm, I consider Control to be one of the best music biopics because, in my mind, the film does not put Curtis on a pedestal of tragic post-punk god. Often, what we're shown is quite mundane, allowing the film to be about a progression of small choices that have unwittingly larger consequences for someone suffering from mental illness.
I have to second this. Control is an odd example to cite. I also felt it was one of the best biopics of the past 20 years because of the unique approach you outline.

User avatar
whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#122 Post by whaleallright » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:53 pm

I thought that it was unremittingly banal after the first scene. As you might expect, it looked nice with its high-contrast b&w. But it was basically an arty-looking TV-movie biopic. The staging of nearly every scene was an akward tableau vivant designed only for audiences to nod in recognition. "Here's the scene where Joy Division meet Tony Wilson," etc. The fetishistic way that Corbijn recreated the mise-en-scène of Curtis's suicide grossed me out. In fact to me it's nearly state's evidence no. 1 of the sort of problems you often get when still photographers make films.


User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018)

#124 Post by domino harvey » Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:18 am

First Trump, now this

Post Reply