Good day to all! WE ARE BACK! We felt like we dropped off the movie planet entirely and now are scrambling to catch up on so many that are quickly dropping out of the theaters. Life can be so complicated for globe trekkers you know…
Nonetheless, we managed to squeeze in a few films this weekend. Enjoy!! J&J
A Star is Born
This is the fourth remake of A Star is Born. The original from 1937 starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. It was groundbreaking for its time. Next came Judy Garland and James Mason in 1954. And most recently Barbra Streisand and Chris Kristofferson in 1976. All were excellent.
The current version closely follows the original story line. That said, everything else feels fresh, honest, plausible resulting in a contemporary update that was exciting and heartbreaking at the same time.
Bradley Cooper is the seasoned rock star struggling with alcohol, drugs and interpersonal family issues. Lady Gaga headlines as the up and coming superstar.
The rest of the cast is a who’s who of the entertainment industry. Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavon, Anthony Ramos, Dave Chappelle and Alec Baldwin all deliver great performances.
That said, the chemistry between Lady Gaga and Mr. Cooper is amazing. The story is not always easy to watch. There is a fair amount of conflict and heartbreak.
This film is rated R for language, sexuality, nudity and substance abuse. We are on the fence regarding viewers. The film is not suitable for young children. The film is listed as a drama with a run time of 135 minutes.
There is little doubt in our minds this film is headed for a great awards season. See it on a premium screen with a good sound system if you haven’t seen it already.
This is a true story about a 19 year old man in Arkansas whose parents plan to banish him from their lives unless he agrees to a ‘conversion therapy program’ designed to “fix” young gay/lesbian/transgender men and women into “normal” people.
It’s not a perfect film on the topic but it is absolutely relevant given that 39 states continue to allow such practices and estimates of 700,000 young men and women have been subjected to such programs.
Lucas Hedges delivers an outstanding lead performance as the 19 year old Jared. Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe are also excellent as the religious parents. Other stand out performances include Joel Edgerton (the Writer, Director and star), Cherry Jones and Flea (yes, the Bass Player for the Red Hot Chili Peppers) as the “policy enforcer”.)
The film is rated R for sexual content including an assault, some language, and brief drug use. It is arguably suitable for youngsters 14 and above. The run time is 111 minutes.
It’s finally in the theaters as of yesterday, the much touted release of the Freddie Mercury biopic titled as the rock group’s trademark recording Bohemian Rhapsody.
We will be the first to say the story line drifts way off the factual history course right from the get go. The production was plagued by casting issues that stretched over three years. Fortunately Rami Malek was hired for the Freddie Mercury role. His performance is exceptional and inspired. Soon after the production changes sprouted new energy and a clearer focus. These changes in place make the story flow smoother and script feel more natural.
There is a fair amount of time spent on Freddie’s sex life, straight, gay, bisexual… This didn’t really add to the story but in fairness it didn’t detract either. While we learn a lot about the leading character in this film, it is obvious there is still a whole lot more to the story.
This film is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language. The run time is 134 minutes. The music and the characters are extraordinary. We see Oscar written all over this film!