This week kicks off with one of the most talked about movies of 2018, Bohemian Rhapsody. Rami Malek plays legendary rock front man Freddie Mercury of Queen through his humble beginnings and the formation of the band to their meteoric rise in the music world. The film covers Freddie’s struggles with his sexuality, fame, and family and the tensions that arise when the band finds itself famous and each member looking for their own place as Freddie gets put in the spotlight.
There was much controversy from fans that Bohemian Rhapsody glanced over many details in Mercury’s personal life but I thought the film did what the band really wanted it to, which was to present a rousing tribute to Mercury and to one of the most successful rock bands in history. It is truly a love letter to the fans and to the music. And the casting of the band could not possibly have been better. Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, Joseph Mazzello (yes, the little kid from the original Jurassic Park) as John Deacon and a magnificent performance by Malek as Mercury anchor the movie and give it a real sense of authenticity. There are emotional scenes, some really great laughs and some sensational behind the scenes stories and music that all fuse together to make one of the most enjoyable music bio movies ever. And for huge Queen fans like me, this is a real treasure culminating is one of the best music sequences ever put to film with the final scenes of Queen at Live Aid.
Next up is the new Hugh Jackman film The Front Runner. Jackman plays Gary Hart, a U.S. senator from Colorado whose 1988 presidential campaign was derailed when he was caught in a scandalous love affair. The film follows the campaign from its beginnings as Hart was thought by most to have the best chance of becoming president, to his challenge to the press to follow him around with full transparency to the eventual discovery of his affair and how he was forced to drop out of the race.
Director Jason Reitman, known mostly for his character driven comedies, does a great job here of balancing the real life story of Hart while keeping things entertaining and interesting. Jackman does a fantastic job of playing Hart, keeping the character true while giving his own spin to the character. The film suffers from some odd pacing issues but Jackman’s performance and an amazing supporting cast including Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons and Alfred Molina keep things engaging and tell an interesting tale of someone who could have really been a great president lose everything due to indiscretion. Maybe more timely today than when it originally happened.
Lastly this week is a new 25th Anniversary Edition of the comedy classic Four Weddings and a Funeral. Hugh Grant plays Charles, a socially awkward but good natured Brit who doubts he will ever find the right woman. Over the course of Charles and his friends attending four weddings and the funeral of a friend, Charles meets and eventually finds himself falling in love with an American named Carrie (Andie MacDowell). As each event comes and goes, Charles learns more about life, love and the things that are really important.
Four Weddings and a Funeral was a massive independent hit in 1994 and became a template for many romantic comedies in decades afterwards. Hugh Grant became a huge star from the film as well and all the praise heaped upon the film is still warranted to this day. The film holds up extraordinarily well, it is charming, dryly (and sometimes gut-bustingly) funny, touching and romantic. And the cast assembled here is one of the most complimentary ever making this one of the most brilliant comedies ever, well deserving of its classic status.
Also of note this week is the new comedy Nobody’s Fool with Tiffany Haddish, Backtrace with Sylvester Stallone and the Blu-ray debut of the 2001 cult classic horror flick Valentine.
Until next week movie lovers!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday February 12, 2019
A Caribbean Dream
American Vandal: Season One
At Eternity's Gate
Audition - Special Edition
Berlin Alexanderplatz* - Criterion Collection
Blue Movie (1971)*
Cartoon Network: Ben 10: Out to Launch
Channel Zero: Dream Door - Season Four
Channel Zero: The Complete Collection
Dragons: Race to the Edge - Seasons 1 & 2
Four Weddings and a Funeral - 25th Anniversary Edition
Haunted Hospital: Heilstätten
Horror Express - Special Edition
Maria by Callas
Nightflyers: Season One
Parkland: Inside Building 12
Peppermint Soda (1977)*
Scream and Scream Again
The Front Runner
The Happy Prince
The Haunted Castle (1921)/Finances of the Grand Duke (1924)*
The Poison Ivy Collection*
Valentine - Collector’s Edition*
VHS Lives 2: Undead Format
*Catalog Blu-ray debut