Film Reviews

Bohemian Rhapsody – Film Review

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Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t just the story of Queen, and their incredible front-man Freddie Mercury. This movie is about a queer, talented misfit from Zanzibar. Before this movie, I didn’t know a single thing about Queen outside from knowing all of the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody thanks to my love for karaoke. I didn’t know a single thing about Freddie Mercury. I went to see the movie simply out of a whim on a night out with my friends.

While I was watching the movie, I was completely surprised to find that Freddie Mercury was, in fact, not straight. It wasn’t at all what I had been expecting, but I loved the portrayal. On screen, Freddie was an effeminate man with beautiful moves and a voice like no other. The story is a classic “rags to riches” story, and that was what I had been expecting. But I didn’t know there would be so many layers to it. I loved seeing Freddie’s family, his dynamic with the rest of the band, his days touring, and the way he felt so strongly for Mary.

I am aware now that many details in the movie are not true. Many things were changed, probably to add tension and build up to the famous Live Aid concert scene, which is a big moment in the movie. I think the film had a great balance of everything. But I don’t think I would have enjoyed the movie as much as I did had it not been for Rami Malek’s amazing performance. The man has talent. Actually, now that I’ve delved into the world of Queen, I think Rami Malek is a bit similar to Freddie Mercury. I think they’re both incredibly blunt and honest in everything they do. I also believe the rest of the cast fit the band members very well.

The most meaningful thing to me was seeing Freddie Mercury being idolized and loved, to this day, while knowing all of those details about his life. I couldn’t believe that there was this outstanding queer icon in the world that I was not aware of. Being pansexual, I live for any queer representation in the media. Seeing people worship this man for being who he was made me so happy. I think this is an important movie for the LGBT+ community, even though they mostly labeled Freddie as gay, despite him identifying as bisexual. But that is not surprising, considering the constant erasure of bisexuality. However, I still think this movie is excellent and deserves a lot of love.

My rating: 9/10

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Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Film Reviews, Uncategorized

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

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“Remember, every treasure comes with a price.”

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan is an adult contemporary novel following Rachel as she meets her boyfriend, Nick’s, family. What she doesn’t know is that they are super crazy rich, and that money has gone to their heads. So the book follows her as she deals with all of their judging and backstabbing ways a long with a couple other POVs like Nick’s mom Eleanor and his cousin, Astrid.

This is such a light, funny book. A nice break from my usual books that can be a little dark. It doesn’t have the best writing in the world, but it doesn’t subtract from the book at all which I think is the important thing.

At the start it can be confusing. There is all these names of family members and it takes time to really understand who is who and who all is related, but it does get easier. I did feel like there is a lot of filler in the beginning, but it does help you understand to whole world later.

I really liked to characters and even when I didn’t, I liked disliking them. They shocked me with their antics, and made me fall in love with their love. They are complex and real even when it is still hard to wrap my head around how rich they all are.

I also saw the movie adaption and it is just as wonderful. The changes were there, but I felt they were good changes. It was a sweet, funny movie just as the book was. I would recommend reading the book and seeing the movie.

There has been talk about the anti-black sentiments in this. Most of the help had darker skin. There is classism and  sexism as well. I would link an article talking about this but I can’t find a good one. 

4 stars

Film Reviews, Uncategorized

Call Me By Your Name- A Film Review

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name (2017)

“People who read are hiders. They hide who they are. People who hide don’t always like who they are.”

Isis just put out her review of Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman that you can read here. We saw the movie together, but decided if she reviewed the film it would just be a comparison to the book. So that’s why I’m here even though I usually don’t do film reviews.

So like the book the movie follows seventeen year old Eilo as he falls in love with his father’s summer intern, twenty-four year old Oliver. It takes place in Italy in 1983. The director is Luca Guadagnino, and James Ivory wrote the screenplay.

The age difference between the two was very jarring to me. Even as Elio showed time and time again how mature he was, it didn’t particularly help the situation that Elio looked around fifteen and Oliver looked like he was in his thirties. And as I’ve heard many predators comment that their victims are maturer than their age, I don’t even like pointing out that he was. 

Elio spends the film trying to figure out his sexuality. He’s been flirting with Marzia, a longtime friend, yet is completely captivated by Oliver. In fact, everyone is captivated by Oliver. If Oliver was a girl I would call him a manic pixie dream girl. I spent a lot of the film thinking it was simply sexual attraction they were experiencing, but when they got together, I found myself thinking they were cute. They were relaxed, for once, and laughing, and I was surprised to find that they actually enjoyed each other’s company. The actors had great chemistry together so that only helped the film. 

I also disliked how their love was portrayed as being one for the ages, something that would never die. With some of the conversations at the end of the film, especially with Elio’s dad, it felt like they wanted it to be more than it was. I’ve became aware of this review that talks about the review as an abusive relationship instead of an amazing romance.

Elio was weird, to put it simply. He talks in odd, mysterious ways so I was always wondering how anyone was understanding the conversation with him. He masturbates with a peach, sniffs Oliver’s used swim trunks, and tries to swallow people’s noses when he kisses them. And Timothée Chalamet played him perfectly. His acting was so good, honestly, I want to see him other movies. He is nominated for Best Actor for his performance, and it is truly deserved.

The way the movie was filmed was great. The music that was incorporated throughout really added so much more to every scene. The movie was truly a beautiful film. Weird but beautiful. And despite this review being mainly complaints, I would recommend it. I enjoyed it. I’m still thinking of how beautiful it was a couple days later. 

 

Film Reviews, Uncategorized

The Big Sick-Movie Review

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The Big Sick is a romantic comedy based on a true story. It’s about Kumail, an aspiring comedian, and Emily, an aspiring therapist, as they go through their relationship. They deal with commitment issues, Kumail’s parents wanting to arrange a marriage for him, lying, trust issues, and a medical coma.

The Kumail in the movie is actually Kumail in real life. He and his wife actually wrote the script too. I think that really added something special to this movie. I’m not a big fan of romantic comedies. I usually think they are boring and typical. This movie was a breath of fresh air. The two love interests had actual chemistry together. It was actually funny and heartbreaking and well acted out. I also loved that both of their parents were featured heavily.

This is a small film. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January where  it was picked up by Amazon Studios. It was a limited release last weekend which is when I saw it, but it’s a wider one this weekend. I strongly recommend going out and watching this movie. Kamail Nanjiani is definitely somebody to watch and support as he grows bigger. 

 

Film Reviews

Beauty and the Beast – Film Review

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Yesterday, I finally got around to seeing Disney’s brand new live action Beauty and the Beast adaptation. Everyone and their mother has been raving about this movie, so I bought into the excitement and took my niece and nephews to see it.

I should note beforehand that I heard a lot of controversy over this version having a canonically gay character, which offended a lot of people, for many different reasons. Not knowing enough about the original story (Belle was not my favorite princess growing up, sue me) I went into it unsure pf what to expect in regards to that. (Side note: one of my bigoted coworkers assumed I was only watching the movie because of the gay character). So this fact has been pretty significant, since mostly everyone knew about it going into it.

First, let me talk about the actual film. Emma Watson played an amazing Belle. I had no idea she had such a beautiful voice, but it was quite stunning. No complaints there. Emma’s a talented individual and I think she took to the role perfectly. The film was reminiscent of the animated Disney film, and it was really neat seeing all the characters come alive. The romance was believable and it made me nostalgic. And can we talk about that insane growl at the end from the Beast in human form? That was also very nice. There was so much humor, and it was just adorable sometimes. I laughed a whole lot, especially during the Gaston and LeFou parts. They were an interesting pair, and I loved their dynamic.

So, halfway through the movie, it occurred to me that I still hadn’t seen this supposed gay character. I noticed hints between Gaston and LeFou, but I wasn’t sure if Disney would actually pair them up romantically. I noticed that LeFou was effeminate, but that does not make a man gay. LeFou was trailing behind Gaston, but that’s what sidekicks do in every film. I waited for something to happen, either between them or someone else.

And then by the end of the movie, when Belle and Beast finally kiss, and all the secondary characters suddenly appear, everyone starts pairing up. Couple after couple started kissing on screen or making googly eyes at each other, hinting at a romantic connection. I get it, Disney’s a big believer in true love, so this was a trademark somehow. It’s fine. But then I was still waiting for this supposed gay character to get his love interest, like everyone else in the movie. And since LeFou was the only one alive from the pair, I counted on him. Eventually, I noticed LeFou dancing at the ball, with a woman. Okay, I thought, that’s cool. I guess it wasn’t him after all.

A few moments later I hear my niece whisper, “He was dancing with another man. Did you see that?” I turn to her, wondering if she was messing with me. I probably looked away for one second, and I missed this mystery man LeFou was dancing with. I kept my eyes glued to the screen until the credits, but there were no other signs of this happening. And that was that.

Leaving the theater, I was still completely unsure whether all those rumors were true. Was there really a gay character in the film? I’m still not sure. I’m not saying that anyone needs to be with someone else to prove their orientation, but in a movie that promotes true love and urges couples to get together, I would think the one gay character would get someone, too. And how is this representation?

From my perspective, LeFou was just an effeminate character, sassy and cute, yes, but that raises other questions. Are these the traits we’re supposed to connect with homosexuality, so much that we don’t get any real confirmation?

This turned more into a rant than a film review, but I’m still wondering why there was such a fuss about this supposed gay character when I had such a hard time just figuring out who this character could be. I see you, Disney, taking the safe way out of this. When are we going to get a gay princess?

Film Reviews, Lists

Favorite Romance Films

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In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve put together this list compiling my top favorite romance films. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for a good romantic movie. I love sitting back with a good snack and watching two fictional characters fall madly in love with each other. Who doesn’t? Isn’t fun to root for two people to finally get together after so many obstacles and misunderstandings? (I grew up watching telenovelas, so this is a way of life for me). Anyway, let’s begin.

 

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

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I’m sure everyone has seen this masterpiece, but I had to include it anyway. Having seen mostly all adaptations of this Jane Austen story, I have to say that this one stands out. It isn’t exactly like the book, but another thing entirely, and that’s what makes it so great. It keeps the best parts of the characters and relationships, but adds it a little extra humor and fun.

The Wedding Singer (1998)

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Let’s be honest. This is probably one of the best Adam Sandler movies ever made. But this movie is made ten times better thanks to Drew Barrymore and her sweet charisma. This movie is kind of a big cliche, but I’m not even mad about it. I love every moment, and every ridiculous and beautiful song in it.

City of Angels (1998)

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And here we have the movie that always makes me listen to Iris on repeat and sing my heart out while crying over the bittersweet ending. I have a love/hate relationship with this movie. The whole angel thing doesn’t excuse Nicholas Cage from stalking poor Meg Ryan even when she’s in the bathtub. I mean, come on. It just goes to show that even angels are big creeps. But I still root for these two every time.

Big Eden (2000)

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This is one of those unbelievably sweet and feel-good movies that don’t come too often. I adore this one so much that it’s my usual go-to whenever I need a lift me up. It’s just so damn beautiful. Henry and Pike go through so much before they can be together, but it is so worth it in the end. And what could be better than a small town being so accepting and encouraging of two men falling for each other? Probably nothing.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

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Meg Ryan was the literal queen of rom-coms back in the day. This is another classic, of course. I’ve seen this one quite a few times, and it never gets old. Seriously. It’s so witty and clever and absolutely frustrating because these two are so stubborn and it’s just great and awful at the same time. If you haven’t yet seen the beauty of Harry and Sally, then you’re in for a treat.

The Way He Looks (2014)

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This movie is like an ice cream sundae on a hot summer day. It is absolutely stunning. I love the quietness throughout and the way the friendship develops between the two main characters before it ever turns into more. I love that one of the characters is blind and he fights his way to independence. There’s so much to love about this one. And yay for two boys falling in love and having a happy ending!

Margarita With a Straw (2014)

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This movie is heartfelt and painful, but I loved it all the same. The main character has cerebral palsy, but that isn’t the focus of the story. Laila learns to be independent, far away from home, where she falls in love with a woman. It’s not as lighthearted as the movie poster might indicate, but it is so worth the watch. I loved the romance, and everything in between.

Dan in Real Life (2007)

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This is possibly my top favorite romance film of all time. It isn’t abundantly romantic. It focuses mainly on Dan’s family and  character development, and it is fantastic. This one has a pinch of forbidden love. Who doesn’t love that? I really love the overall atmosphere of this movie. It’s set in a small Rhode Island town and it’s full of quirky characters. The soundtrack is outstanding, which is just a plus.

Film Reviews

10 Cloverfield Lane – Film Review

I went into this movie without any expectations. Only one person recommended this to me, and other than that, I heard absolutely nothing about it. The title, though, sounded familiar. I vaguely remember watching Cloverfield back in the day, but I never made it through the film because I don’t do well with shaky cameras. Although I’ve heard this movie called a sort-of sequel to Cloverfield, I found very little in common.

With a main cast of only three characters, the movie captures suspense wonderfully. It follows Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, as she packs her bags and takes off into the night road. She has a car wreck, and wakes up at a bunker with two men, the very eerie Howard, played by John Goodman, and my personal favorite Emmett, played by John Gallagher Jr. In here, understandably believing she’s been kidnapped by Howard, a paranoid man with one too many conspiracy theories, she is told that the outside world has been destroyed.

My favorite thing was the constant feeling of doom, even once Michelle felt a little more comfortable in the bunker. Howard’s unstable character kept me doubting his good intentions, and I wasn’t sure what was true and what wasn’t. In contrast, I loved Emmett’s innocence and quick alliance to Michelle, who was one of the best characters I’ve ever seen in a horror film. Michelle was a quick thinker, and she was so clever in all she did. I was actually rooting for her the entire time.

Nothing that happened in this movie was predictable. I was not sure what I was expecting, if anything, but I was left beyond astounded. There was something so original about this film, even though it had elements that are so overused. It was so well put together. I’m not sure what genre this film really fits into, but it left me a little disturbed. In a good way. I think this is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.

My rating: 9.5/10