Bohemian Rhapsody – Review

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4 STARS

Director: Bryan Singer/Dexter Fletcher
Cast: Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Joseph Mazello, Ben Hardy, Lucy Boynton, Aiden Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, Mike Myers

If you’re ever asked to name one of the best rock bands the world has ever seen, many bands will likely come to mind. Chances are though that the one band that would be mentioned more than any other would be Queen. Formed in 1970, the original four-piece group was made up of lead singer Freddie Mercury, lead guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon. Over the next fifteen years they stormed the charts worldwide with their progressive rock and unique style. But their success was not without its hardships. Becoming one of the world’s most popular rock bands, not just then but even still today, is not something easily come by, meaning there must be some kind of story worth putting on the big screen. Has Bohemian Rhapsody done the band, particularly Freddie, justice, or will another one bite the dust?

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Halloween (2018) – Review

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2 STARS

Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Haluk Bilginer, Jefferson Hall, Rhian Rees

Forty years ago we were introduced to one of horror’s most formidable antagonists: Michael Myers. Created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, his first appearance in 1978’s Halloween struck a chord at the time for his apparently unfeeling approach to his victims. One victim who lived to tell the tale, the now-legendary Laurie Strode, became a heroine of sorts, fighting her way out of the ordeal that was laid upon her by just-as-legendary Michael. Four decades and nine opinion-splitting movies later (check out a run-down of all previous ten here) we come to the latest showdown in Michael and Laurie’s story. After all this time, does Michael still have what it takes to terrify an audience? Is Laurie still as badass as ever? Is the story that surrounds them stronger than previous poor attempts?

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First Man – Review

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4 STARS

Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Ciarán Hinds, Corey Stoll, Patrick Fugit, Olivia Hamilton

Biographical films (‘biopics’), whilst informative, can often be misleading. The need for studios to impose the importance of entertainment on filmmakers generally leads to taking dramatic license, sometimes hugely, sometimes in small ways, and creating something that is indeed entertaining (hopefully) but often too digressive from true events. First Man covers the life of American astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon, from 1961 to 1969, the latter being the year of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Considering it’s based on a biography that was written with Armstrong’s blessing and the film itself was approved by Armstrong’s two sons, has Damien Chazelle been successful in his commitment to making First Man as close to the real deal as possible, both scientifically and personally, whilst keeping it entertaining, or is it a failed mission?

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Bad Times at the El Royale – Review

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4 STARS

Director: Drew Goddard
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Lewis Pullman, Dakota Johnson, Cailee Spaeny, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, Nick Offerman

Does the name ‘Drew Goddard’ ring any bells? Because it should. Although not on the same level of recognition (yet) as the likes of Tarantino or Scorsese, Goddard’s fingerprints are all over a few popular films of the past decade (Cloverfield, World War Z and The Martian) thanks to his skills as a writer (and occasional producer). He’s dipped his toe into television, lending a hand to the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, its spin-off Angel and working again with J.J. Abrams after Cloverfield on Lost. Goddard’s only feature film directorial credit other than Bad Times is 2012’s The Cabin in the Woods, which he also co-wrote with Buffy and Angel creator Joss Whedon. What all these projects have in common, if nothing else, is quality writing. Goddard has set himself up as someone worth studio money, a filmmaker worthy of investment. But is Bad Times at the El Royale proof that such an investment was worth the money?

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Venom – Review

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2 STARS

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, Reid Scott

2018 has been quite the year for Marvel-based movies. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll have at least heard of Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp and the hype surrounding the upcoming Avengers 4, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far From Home movies in 2019. Although Sony rather than Marvel Studios/Disney own the rights to the character of Venom for cinematic purposes, due to their agreement on the rights for Spider-Man it is possible for Venom to exist in the MCU, though it’s still unknown as to whether it does/can/will or if it is in its own universe. But for the time being, does Venom hold its own as a Marvel comics-based film, MCU-related or not, or is it as weak as a puny human being flung around by a Hulk?

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