The World According to Renee

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Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody movie poster

You know the songs. You know the man. You know this film is going to be chock full of amazing songs. You know how it ends.

What you don’t know is that this film is also chock full of amazing performances, witty retorts, ironic statements and a glimpse into the creative genius that is Freddie Mercury.

It’s hard to believe Freddie has been gone almost 27 years, leaving a legacy of anthems sure to get any toes tapping and a fight against a disease that we seem to be winning. This film is not just the story of Freddie, but the story of Queen. The two are forever intertwined. Wait, Freddie did solo albums? I hear you ask. Yes, in fact, he released two solo albums. However he is best remembered as the front man of Queen.

I’ve heard the criticisms about the film: glosses over his extravagant lifestyle, doesn’t focus on his homosexual relationships (much), but really, how long do you want the film to go for? There’s plenty that could go into any film, but this is just the right amount of personal and professional lives.

At times the film does seem a little muddled as to whether it is a Freddie biopic or a Queen biopic. That’s my only complaint. Rami Malek is the perfect Freddie. The viewer never feels like they are watching an impersonator. The costumes are on point, including Freddie’s famous overbite, and every actor looks they are the real thing. During the Live Aid scenes, I actually forgot I was watching actors play the parts of Queen. That is the mark of a great film, when the viewer isn’t spending their time wondering where else they’ve seen that actor or wondering if they are lip syncing. I was totally lost in the film from the opening moments.

Rami Malek is previously known for his work on Mr Robot. His character is quite shy and introverted, so it was a complete twist to see him as one of the world’s greatest performers. The cast was outstanding. Special shout out to Mike Myers, who plays a record executive who quips that “Bohemian Rhapsody is not one of those songs that people bang their heads to while they drive their cars”.

You will come away from this film stomping your feet, clapping your hands and humming Queen songs. You’ll want to see it repeatedly. And you should.

9.75 popcorns out of 10. (Because no film is absolutely perfect.)

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November 5, 2018 Posted by | Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit movie poster

Aww bunnies!

Based on characters from Beatrix Potter’s famous series, this film is adorable, witty, cute and sassy.

And then it gets weird.

But let’s start at the beginning. Peter and his sisters Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, along with cousin Benjamin Bunny, are adept at raiding Mr McGregor’s (Sam Neill) garden for food. They are cared for by neighbour Bea (Rose Byrne), who loves the rabbits and protects them from Mr McGregor’s pie dish. The old man dies, leaving his manor and farm to pompous great-nephew Thomas McGregor (Domnhall Gleeson).

Cue romantic subplot and a Home Alone– bunny-style war later, and the whole charming film turns into a complete wreck.

The characters are adorable. There’s jokes for older kids, a few laughs, plenty of sass and a rockin’ soundtrack… Until the halfway point, where it’s entirely acceptable to turn off the film and read the source material instead. The film changes direction so abruptly, your head will spin. You’ll be wondering what happened to the plot and the charm you’ve been enjoying for the past forty minutes. Once the film’s story changes, there’s no going back. Whilst the first half of the film is near-perfect, the latter half feels forced, almost like the writers ran out of cute ideas and literally pulled dialogue out of a hat populated with ideas from the local kindergarten. It’s plain disappointing how badly this film ends.

6 out of 10 popcorns

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Reviews | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Annihilation

Annihilation movie

Annihilation is a Netflix film starring Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh. They lead a team of kick-ass females into the Shimmer- a strange and mysterious dome which is threatening to take over everything.

Natalie Portman plays Lena, a biologist and former Army officer whose husband arrives home from a secret mission but he’s not quite himself. Soon afterwards, her hubby suffers multiple organ failure and Lena finds herself in the offices of Dr Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who is organising a trip to the Shimmer to find out WTF is going on. Naturally Lena also volunteers and, together with three other women, trek into the unknown.

According to IMDB, the film is based on a book which the screenwriter only loosely remembers, and interprets his script as “a dream of the book”. Certainly the cinematography is dream-like in the same way the Land of Oz was dreamlike to Dorothy, but with fewer Munchkins. What follows is a visual delight with some butt-kicking and a pretty thin plot. However, it’s enough to keep viewers hooked right til the end.

There are very few male characters in the film, and they are all secondary characters. The women don’t sit around talking about their men nor do they belittle their males either. It’s refreshing and awesome to see a film carried solely on the weight of an all-female lead cast; Natalie Portman is a perfect choice for Lena and carries the character beautifully.

The main issue I have with this film is the lack of intense plot: it could have been deeper, more twisted, to keep the viewer guessing. The film’s ending is barely satisfactory and astute viewers probably know what’s going to happen about halfway through the movie. (I didn’t.)

I’d recommend this for a date night or when your brain is too tired to concentrate too hard.

7.5 out of 10 popcorns.

March 26, 2018 Posted by | Reviews | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Downsizing

Film: Downsizing starring Matt Damon

If you’ve seen the trailer for this film, you’ll know it’s about Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig choosing to become smaller for the sake of saving the environment. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know 3/4 of the film is nothing like the trailer at all.

This film could have been so many great things: biting satire, social commentary, political statement, hilarious comedy, bleak drama. Instead, the film is rather like three separate stories smooshed into one very strange film. The premise of becoming small in order to preserve the environment is an intriguing idea, but unfortunately it only lasts for a quarter of the film. The rest of the film could be set in any time, any circumstance and has nothing to do with being small. Or anything else for that matter.

Even if you’re a fan of Matt Damon, as I am, this film offers very little. Give it a very wide berth.

4 out of 10 popcorns (and that’s being generous).

March 10, 2018 Posted by | Reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Coco

Disney’s Coco

Finally got round to seeing this film and it was worth the wait!

Coco centres on a boy named Miguel, who is descended from a line of shoe-makers who really, really hate music. Believing he has found an ancestral link to the greatest musician of all time, Miguel somehow ends up in the Land of the Dead. In order to get back to the Land of the Living, he needs his family’s blessing but they forbid him to play music, leaving Miguel no choice but to track down the musician Ernesto de la Cruz to secure his blessing.

There are passing resemblances to the story of Moana; family denying destiny, a strong-willed child travelling to new worlds, a male role model showing them the road home and realising the person they were looking for isn’t the person they seek.

Astute viewers are going to realise the ending long before it happens, but that does not spoil the magic. Tis film just keeps on giving: even on the second, third and subsequent viewings you’ll find something else, which only adds to the beauty.

This film was nominated for, and won, two Oscars: Best Animated Feature and Best Song for Remember Me. Personally I wasn’t a fan of the song, and without seeing the other nominees for Best Animated Feature, it would be very difficult to imagine a better film to win.

I can’t say enough good things about Coco. Go and watch it for yourself.

9 out of 10 popcorns

March 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment