BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (2018)

Bohemian Rhapsody

A film by Bryan Singer

Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee 

Bohemian Rhapsody recounts the extraordinary fate of the Queen group and their iconic singer Freddie Mercury, who challenged stereotypes, broke conventions and revolutionized music. From the dazzling success of Freddie Mercury to his excesses, risking the near-implosion of the group, to his triumphant return on stage at the Live Aid concert, while he was struck by the disease, discover the exceptional life of a man who continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and all who love music.

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Here it is I remember when we will rock you and we are the champion came out on the radio back then I was in high school in Michigan. Here is the impact of Queen back then, we were eating lunch at the cafeteria and they put on the radio and Queen came on with we will rock you and we are the champion right after it. When we will rock you all the student started banging their feet and clapping then singing to the tune. That is the impact that Queen had back then and still today. Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek)  was born Farrokh Bulsara, that I didn’t know. Here comes this genius who revolutionize music and even interacted with his fans on stage. Here is a genius who was tortured because he struggle with his own sexuality. Also his muse Mary who he had a great relationship with knew how he was and when Freddie died he left her his estate. The star here is Rami Malek who embody the essence of freddie, shines which  brings me to the casting were the actors has terrific chemistry. The problem that I have the film does not seem to know what to do with homosexual desire also his music and song are so connected to his sexuality and the film does not show that at all either. I wish they also they shown the writing process of the songs a little more in details. However the credited director, Bryan Singer was replaced by Dexter Fletcher late in the production (That’s got to hurt).  The live aid concert in 1985, yes I remember that too and what a performance it was. I saw it on TV.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

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COLD WAR (2018)

Cold War

A film by Pawel Pawlikowski

Cast: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc

During the Cold War, between Stalinist Poland and Bohemian Paris in the 1950s, a freedom-loving musician and a passionate young singer live an impossible love in an impossible time.

Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War begins with close-ups of folk musicians loudly playing for the camera and you are going what the hell is going on but wait it is part of the film. The film tells the tale of a tragic romance between a musician and a singer, spanning fifteen years in  post-war Europe.  Wictor (Tomasz Kot) in the middle Polish winter in 1949, as he and fellow music expert Irena (Agata Kulesza) travel around the frozen landscape of Poland in a truck, recording folk music wherever they find it. Thanks to Kaczmarek (Borys Szyc), a school is set up to bring  young talent and create an ensemble to celebrate Polish musical culture and tradition. Competition is fierce but a blonde with stand out named Zula (Joanna Kulig).  She is ambitious and caught the eye of wictor which soon after the romantic relationship is going to take place. The film is shot in black and white. And may the fractured romance across Europe begins.

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Here is a woman Zula A singer on fire with a beautiful voice. Sassy, immature, she pretend to be a peasant woman to join a group of folk singers. She meets Wictor that she is going to fall in love hard for despite some her life’s choice that are going to be different from his. It is an offbeat romance where the two are going to struggle and it looks like they are addicted to each other despite that her choices are not the greatest one. Pawlikowski’s Cold War is dedicated to his parents, on whose love affair it is loosely based. And yes it is a masterpiece. Here the polish cinema is making its mark in this world. It is growing and expanding at the speed of light.

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THE LOST CITY OF Z (2017)

lost city of Z

A film by James Gray

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland, Sienna Miller

The true story of Percival Harrison Fawcett, one of the greatest explorers of the twentieth century. Percy Fawcett is a recognized British colonel and a loving husband. In 1906, when he was about to become a father, the Royal Geographical Society of England proposed to him to leave to Amazonia in order to map the borders between Brazil and Bolivia. Right a way , the man has a passion for exploration and discovers traces of what he thinks is a very old lost city. Back in England, Fawcett constantly thinks of this mysterious civilization, torn between his love for his family and his thirst for exploration and glory …

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Here is a stroke a genius where James Gray reappropriates a genre fallen into disuse to offer us the masterful portrait of an explorer carried by his thirst for adventure.Here Gray choose to do an interpretation of the novel La cité perdue de Z écrit par David Grann. It is no secret that  Gray makes the viewer follow the adventure of the military man names Fawcett that disappeared somehow into the jungle never to return to England. James Gray’s latest feature film is a beautiful  scenario built around Percy Fawcett’s (Charlie Hunnam’s) back and forth between his home and the heart of the Amazon jungle. Here Gray shot this film à la classic mode the only thing to do to me otherwise the film will fall into the water. Fawcett is not crazy to go to the amazon forest but to reclaim his tile of his name he decided to go which trigger his thirst for adventure and exploration as well as glory. Charlie Hunnam here does a superb job to incarnate his character.It is interesting to see that Fawcett also has other obligations, well he is a  husband and father which his wife makes the sacrifices here  and is beautifully interpreted by actress Sienna Miller. You see  he returns to his home, after several years of travel so it takes a toll on his wife. He has a hard time with the children. The cinematography here is near perfect. I can’t wait until his next picture.

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ROCK’N ROLL (2017)

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A film by Guillaume Canet 

Cast: Guillaume Canet, Marion Cotillard, Philippe Lefebvre, Gilles Lellouche, Yvan Attal,  Kev Adams,  Maxim Nucci,  Johnny Hallyday.

Guillaume Canet, a 42-year-old actor, is questioning the day when, where on a set of shooting, a young collaborator tells him that he is no longer an object of desire for the women of the younger generation …and bang!!!

Since I am in France I have read an interview with Canet who said he came up with the film poking t himself and his life as an actor when he was being interview a while back the interviewer said to him you are not very Rock’N Roll are you. Meaning he his at his place well manner, and well dressed that is how he is in real life. He said to her no not really. Now he wanted to make fun of his life and of the industry where they told him the image of a star is that don’t smoke, stay in shape, no grey hair on your head, wriggles are a no-no etc… Basically forbidding to age. So he decided to write this film with his friends. And this film is pure joy.

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He doesn’t hold back on his actor’s ego, cinema’s obsession with youth and even takes a crack  shot at the trashy way actors are treated by casting directors like they were in a ferry   tale. Everybody plays themselves here not exception. You will find that Marion Cotillard with a Canadian accent Québécois she is preparing for the role of Dolan’s film even plays on her image of a tornado of awards. The uneasiness of loosing at the ceasar, messing up a kid birthday party, cocaine-paralytic bust on YouTube, being difficult on the set etc…Basically he is have a middle age crisis. It is also its ability to implement this on both sides of the camera. Here Canet is back with this comedy that rocks but with all due respect to the viewers I have to say this the film towards the end is a little too much. Still it is so good. Have fun.

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THE VIOLIN TEACHER (2016)

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A film by Sérgio Machado

Cast: Lázaro Ramos, Kaique de Jesus, Elzio Vieira

Devoured by stage fright, he fails the audition and reluctantly agrees to teach music to teenagers of Heliopolis, the largest favela in the city (Brazil). Yet in this hostile world, where dealers and gangs reign are supreme, Laertes will forge a strong links between his students and even discover their talent that will change their life forever.

An other based on a true story here is a man who is consumed by stage fright and can’t on with his life. He finds add jobs here and there until he reluctantly take a job teaching in the ghetto. Little did he know that they will need each other in order to survive and over come their fears. Yes the script is  predictable, you even know where the story is going ,but it is still interesting to see how the film maker Sérgio Machado has told the story and even film it. Laertes is passionate, he lives for his music. With his  ability to be always attentive to others, through his sense of humor, he manages to pass on his passion. As for teenagers who form the orchestra, most are non-professional actors. Their well-tempered endearing personality make them  authentic comedians. The director does not shy away from the problems in the favelas. Or even the good people who are pissed at the police. Here is a well tied story that works but is predictable and you will have still a good time.

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the violin teacher

BROOKLYN (2015)

Brooklyn (2014)

A film by Pascal Tessaud

 Cast: Kt Gorique, Rafal Uchiwa, Jalil Naciri

A young Rap artist moves from Switzerland to Paris to become a rap artist where she failed in Switzerland.

Pascal Tessaud who is a film documentary director tries his luck at director of this feature that he wrote, I fell to mention he is also a writer. He has leaved in Saint-Denis where he grew up. Here he writes about what he know the scene of young rap artist who dreams of making it big. This film has caught the Attention in 2014 of a Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival. So I decided to see this wonderful piece of art.

It is an original story who feels like a documentary Guerrilla film making style in Saint-Denis where he admired rap stars. In the heart of the film it is where the kids who dreams of becoming a rap star start to reinvent themselves or do something at least original in their craft where a coach takes care of  and try to help them fulfill their dreams. Tessaud had a hard time to fund the film so he did it on a shoe string budget. He found KT Gorique from Switzerland who won 1st place in free style rap a competition in New York because she is a natural at it, she gave her 300% into it it was unbelievable. Professionals such as directors Christophe Ruggia and Mehdi Charef  the actors  Liliane Rovere Jalil Naciri was behind the project since the beginning. Here is the real kicker Tessaud has film this with 2 camera the one you take a picture with like a cannon. Since he was from Saint-Denis he was able to count on the people around his neighborhood. When you film a movie out of the classic style it has to find its mark and luckily it did as well as it found an audience. Last year the film got recognized by the Cannes Film Festival. Let’s see what he does for his next film.

Brooklyn (2014)

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STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015)

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015)

A film by F. Gary Gray

Cast: O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell

The N.W.A came out of the Compton in the mid 80’s where society fail the youth black people where violence between cops and young black people was frequent in the black neighborhoods.The lyrics of N.W.A.  was a target on the corrupt police and the system falling black youth N.W.A was their voice, the young black people could relate too. N.W.A came out of the right time. The film starts with Eric “Eazy-E” Wright (Jason Mitchell) as he flees a crack den to escape an invading SWAT team. As he goes on the top of the roof and escape the police it is debatable , yes it is based on a true story but some stuff might be exaggerated or put in. They were not saint however that mentality would soon carry over to their rap careers, as well.  Andre Young aka Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), who struggles with a  home life made more difficult now that he’s about to become a father. O’Shea Jackson aka Ice Cube played by his son who bears the same name) ,who soaks in the world around him like a sponge. The Bloods ‘n Crips gang battles, the police brutality for some of us were clueless that was going on every day in the ghetto.

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015)

Produced by Cube, Dre, and Eazy-E’s widow, the film largely focuses on those characters and how they built N.W.A. The music was their weapon of choice they exercise the 1st amendment right to get their message to the people. The three made a good team with a lot of energy flowing out of them. They quickly became celebrities and people were celebrating in the street. Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) a crooked producer who plays it very well I might have will rip them off? I think every artist in the music business has gotten ripped off by music producer at the beginning. Here is a film that has raw energy and brutally honest.

The film establish the chemistry and the dynamic of this new sound  as well as the girls, the parties, the concerts and the relationship between the Three Cube, Dre, and Eazy-E. Yes they had millions of fans, terrified parents, and still the brutality of the police that was going on. They would channel their rage thought their music. It is crazy what they had to be put though in order to get there and F. Gary Gray has done an outstanding job here directing this film. Of course there was the back stabbing , the paranoia, and the fact that everybody wanted a piece of the action.

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015)