Rapid Fire Oscars Reviews: Bohemian Rhapsody & BlackkKlansman


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To say the least, I crammed in a few Best Picture candidates in the last couple days leading up to the 91st Oscars. Among the movies were the popular Queen flick ¨Bohemian Rhapsody¨ and Spike Lee’s return with ¨BlackkKlansman¨. ROLL IT!

 

Bohemian Rhapsody

 

This film has been widely known as the public favorite. Easy put, people love the late Freddie Mercury and his prestigious band, Queen. This movie took a long time to be released into theaters after a sudden director change during shooting. Bryan Singer, the original maker of the film, was terminated due to filed sexual assault allegations against him in December of 2017. I think it is easy to see the shift in directors here. I think Singer’s view of where the movie should lean is more of a biopic style. The group of directors that banded together to make the rest of the film sort of create a new movie which focuses more on the band as a whole rather than Mercury solely, and I think it plays off a bit strange. Definitely one of the weaker parts of the film.

 

Rami Malek, previously known best for his role on the TV show Mr. Robot, was casted to portray the Rock legend {Mercury} in the film. Seems like it paid off as Malek upset the likes of Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper to win the academy award for Best Actor. I mean he was brilliant, but I don’t think it was a performance that deserved such a prestigious award. I mean it isn’t like he is singing like Bradley Cooper does in A Star is Born, or making an impressive physical transformation like Christian Bale in Vice. He is great, but I think it was a low-blow from the Academy passing on those two exceptional performances. For the other performances, nothing special. The cast fails to make headlines. Mike Myers cameo is probably the most memorable performance outside of Malek.

 

My major problem with this film is the ending. I mean I understand the classic band uniting script with the big culminating performance at the end but it seems cliche for an Oscar contender. The ending seems rushed and too picture perfect of a wrap up in my opinion. I mean the actors are lip syncing Queen songs to a crowd full of extras at the end… nothing too impressive to me. All in all, it is tough not to compare Bohemian Rhapsody to its musical counterpart A Star is Born. This one didn’t meet the mark set by the directing debut of Bradley Cooper. There is a lot of untapped potential here.

 

Grade: B-

 

BlackkKlansman

 

Good for Spike Lee. I think this might be his best film ever. In a recent interview, Lee discussed his conversation with producer Jordan Poole regarding the true story that influenced the making of BlackkKlansman–¨6 words. Black Man Infiltrates Ku Klux Klan¨. Lee was hooked. BlackkKlansman follows the true story of Ron Stallworth, played by John David Washington, who became the first African American cop for the Colorado Springs police department. With help from his fellow officer Flip (Adam Driver), the duo dives deep into the violent organization. Stallworth communicates directly to Ku Klux Klan members over the phone while Flip meets and befriends the members in person. It is a thrilling story.

 

What I failed to hear coming into this film was how funny it was. The writing is brilliant but it is more just the absurdity of the plot which makes it so drop-dead hilarious. One scene in particular where Stallworth is talking on the phone with the leader of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke (Topher Grace), makes you chuckle and question how this could actually have happened. The movie has tons of laughable scenes which coincide very nicely with the intense scenes of the movie.

 

Once again, the writing is for sure the best element of the movie. The dialogue is very meticulously drawn up and does a relatively efficient job of keeping the audience on edge. It won for Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Award (Correct Pick *Audience Clapping* Thank you) and it was deservedly so. Specifically the scenes with Flip congregating with the Ku Klux Klan is well written. I assume it had to be difficult for these actors to repeat some of the brutally racist, homophobic, and anti-semitic lines they read on their scripts. It is obvious to me that the writing really elevates the performance–great to see Lee snatch the award for the manuscript.

 

The last scene in this movie is your typical strong message that Spike Lee tends to leave the audience with. He ends this thrilling story about race and breaking barriers of pastime America by showing tape of the Charlottesville, Virginia white supremacist riots and reaction from our political leaders. It is powerful to say the least. Watching two hours of a racially intensive movie and then realizing that some of the issues presented still show up today in our modern America. This was my final viewing before Oscar Sunday and I would place it at 3rd out of the 8 Best Picture candidates this movie season. Great film!

 

Grade: A

 

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