Bohemian Rhapsody

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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:37 pm

Mister Tee wrote:I'm actually a little vague on Singer's level of responsibility. Unless my memory is deceiving me, he didn't receive directing credit on the print I saw (I think it said Dexter Fletcher?), but IMDB lists him as director.


Bryan Singer is the sole credited director. Here is my understanding of what happened: Bryan Singer disappeared halfway through principal photography. Dexter Fletcher was hired to finish up the film. However, Singer returned to supervise post-production and more than half of the finished film contained footage that he directed, securing his sole directing credit. Dexter Fletcher is credited as an "executive producer" or "associate producer" or something.

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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:31 pm

ITALIANO wrote:Let me just add - since it was mentioned I think in this thread - that the Edith Piaf biopic with Marion Cotillard was a bit more layered honestly.


Hmm...not sure about that; it may just be a decade's distance helping diminish the earlier film's flaws. But then again, most of us went into La Vie en Rose expecting a good movie, while we went into Bohemian Rhapsody expecting a fiasco, so, discounting for the standards by which we judged, perhaps you're right.

This is weird though, isn't it? (fitting for this oddest of film years): half a dozen of us here, intelligent filmgoers, don't exactly like this film (Sabin comes close to articulating just what I said to a friend the other day: it's not a good movie, but it's damnably enjoyable). And this puts us at odds with not just Metacritic (a truly lousy 49, last I looked) but with vast portions of Film Twitter, which view the film as truly awful and evil.

It's been a very weird year for critical response. Maybe this is what happens in a non-consensus year, but I feel like critics have wildly over-praised some films this year (Black Panther, A Star is Born, even Roma -- though I obviously like the last one considerably more) while excoriating others (Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice) at levels normally reserved for Razzie contenders. I feel like "things fall apart, the center cannot hold" ought to be invoked at some point.

My theory for why Bohemian has been so vilified:

1) The association with Bryan Singer. I'm actually a little vague on Singer's level of responsibility. Unless my memory is deceiving me, he didn't receive directing credit on the print I saw (I think it said Dexter Fletcher?), but IMDB lists him as director. Is this one of those "Pierre Boulle wrote the Bridge on the River Kwai screenplay" things, something said for popular consumption but believed by no one? In any case, many of the people online who hate the film start with "directed by a pedophile" and proceed from there.

2) The first trailer apparently made it look like Mercury's gayness was going to be seriously downplayed; this got a lot of people ready to yell, and they seem to have stuck to that position even though the actual film doesn't really merit the accusation.

3) This is something it's hard for me to judge, because it's not my tribe, but...I think some gay audiences find the film's approach to gay issues problematic. One thing is what Sabin mentioned: the fact that the Evil Manager is the guy who appears to lead Freddie into expressing his gay side -- it makes people conflate the two and feel the film is putting a negative spin on his being gay. I was able to separate the two, but I can see where some would not be able to do it so easily.

Another is simply depicting gay life from the 70s as a sort of furtive, guilt-ridden thing. This may just be an unbridgeable gap with people born later, in an era where gay life is far more integrated into the general American fabric. The sense I always got from gay friends of my generation was that, back in the day, there was a good deal of furtiveness involved -- it wasn't the completely taboo 50s/early 60s, but it wasn't the march in parades/run for city council open-ness we take for granted today (not suggesting it's gay utopia now, either, but the differences are stark). Maybe some people are reacting against the historical realities because, in retrospect, the way they're portrayed feels demeaning?

It's odd to be spending this much time poring over such a mediocre effort, but, again, that's 2018.

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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:40 am

Sabin wrote:Bohemian Rhapsody speaks not to personal experience as the germ of inspiration but a rather a specialness that comes inbred, being destined to the all-important audience, which must explain why this film is such a hit with millennials.


The film has been a huge hit with baby boomers who were fans of Queen. As Queen's music has remained popular the film has appeal across most demographics. You don't make $800 million world-wide (which it should do within the next 3 to 4 weeks) without broad appeal unless its a comic book adaptation which tend to have a large very specific audience or a film aimed at the children/family market.
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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:38 am

Sabin wrote:We deserve a lot better but we could do a lot worse. This is schlock, but it's surprisingly competent schlock. Well, maybe we shouldn't be so surprised. We're talking about Bryan Singer who may not be the most reliable director in the world but he knows how to step up to the plate (I like Owen Gleiberman's description of him as a "big-budget short order cook") and is probably a match made in heaven for wiki-screenwriter Anthony McCarten. The first fifteen minutes of the film, I muttered the words "This is awful" about four times. Near the end of the film though, I found myself saying "Oh God... do I like this?" And I did. It's not a good film but it's an entertaining mediocrity.

Rami Malek may as well be doing Mick Jagger for the first half of the film but his take on Freddie Mercury is going to resonate with today's audience as a queer outsider who needed family to discover his confidence. Once again, I find myself full of shit this Oscar season. I had I seen this film earlier, I can't imagine proclaiming Bradley Cooper the front-runner with any confidence. Rami Malek is going to win Best Actor. Cooper may dig deeper and find something more authentic but Malek's movie is more adept at wringing tears. And while Bohemian Rhapsody itself is quite shallow (yay! another Best Picture nominee that isn't especially good), I might actually prefer it to Green Book and A Star is Born. The only straight-washing the film does to Freddie Mercury is in the songwriting. Bohemian Rhapsody speaks not to personal experience as the germ of inspiration but a rather a specialness that comes inbred, being destined to the all-important audience, which must explain why this film is such a hit with millennials. It's shallow but it understands contemporary fame more than A Star is Born for better or worse.

Btw, while Bohemian Rhapsody certainly doesn't straight-wash Freddie Mercury's life, has it gotten any shit for its portrayal of Paul, the devious gay manager?



I agree on... well, everything, actually - except that I muttered "This is awful" for much longer than fifteen minutes. But by the end the movie - while always very superficial (it's I'll Cry Tomorrow once again, with - quite hypocritically alluded to more than seen - drugs and sex in place of alcohol) gets certainly more effective, though effective in a rather basic, unsubtle way. "Schlock" is the right word, but this is "schlock" of the cautious type - ironically, a very conventional movie about a very unconventional man.
But I spoke too soon, too, about Bradley Cooper being a sure Best Actor winner. I still think he could make it in the end, but Rami Malek has the kind of showy role which the Oscar often falls for. And yes, the movie itself is probably slightly better than A Star is Born, but I hope American cinema even in such a year has given us something worthier... :)

The devious gay manager is like the rest of the movie (except maybe for the leading character) : bidimensional, cliched, but maybe in that context not too offensive: there's the bad gay guy, the good gay guy, etc. All very formulaic in the end, but that's what most movies are nowadays.

Let me just add - since it was mentioned I think in this thread - that the Edith Piaf biopic with Marion Cotillard was a bit more layered honestly.

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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby Sabin » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:11 am

We deserve a lot better but we could do a lot worse. This is schlock, but it's surprisingly competent schlock. Well, maybe we shouldn't be so surprised. We're talking about Bryan Singer who may not be the most reliable director in the world but he knows how to step up to the plate (I like Owen Gleiberman's description of him as a "big-budget short order cook") and is probably a match made in heaven for wiki-screenwriter Anthony McCarten. The first fifteen minutes of the film, I muttered the words "This is awful" about four times. Near the end of the film though, I found myself saying "Oh God... do I like this?" And I did. It's not a good film but it's an entertaining mediocrity.

Rami Malek may as well be doing Mick Jagger for the first half of the film but his take on Freddie Mercury is going to resonate with today's audience as a queer outsider who needed family to discover his confidence. Once again, I find myself full of shit this Oscar season. I had I seen this film earlier, I can't imagine proclaiming Bradley Cooper the front-runner with any confidence. Rami Malek is going to win Best Actor. Cooper may dig deeper and find something more authentic but Malek's movie is more adept at wringing tears. And while Bohemian Rhapsody itself is quite shallow (yay! another Best Picture nominee that isn't especially good), I might actually prefer it to Green Book and A Star is Born. The only straight-washing the film does to Freddie Mercury is in the songwriting. Bohemian Rhapsody speaks not to personal experience as the germ of inspiration but a rather a specialness that comes inbred, being destined to the all-important audience, which must explain why this film is such a hit with millennials. It's shallow but it understands contemporary fame more than A Star is Born for better or worse.

Btw, while Bohemian Rhapsody certainly doesn't straight-wash Freddie Mercury's life, has it gotten any shit for its portrayal of Paul, the devious gay manager?
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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:57 pm

anonymous1980 wrote:
Precious Doll wrote:
Its also been an awfully long time since an actor turned director won the best director award - Mel Gibson being the last for Braveheart. Its funny that in the 16 year period 4 actors turned directors won director and two of them (Redford & Costner) for directorial debuts. Beatty & Gibson won for their second directorial efforts.


Are you not counting Clint Eastwood?


I'd completely forgotten about Eastwood but as dws said Eastwood has been a long established director who had worked years before his first nomination and barely seem to come up for air even in his 80s.
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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby Greg » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:53 pm

All these mentions of just Cuaron and Cooper for Best Director are ignoring the real possibility of a career Oscar to Lee.
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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby MaxWilder » Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:34 am

Precious Doll wrote:I know Cuaron is virtually considered a given for director but given he is also a given for Foreign Language Film & cinematography, does the Academy really want to give him a third award on the night for director.

The ballot will list Mexico as the FLF nominee and Roma as the directing nominee. Even though virtually everyone knows who made it, it could make a difference that they’re not voting for “Alfonso Cuarón” each time.

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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby Sabin » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:50 am

flipp525 wrote
I'm starting to think that Rami Malek could possibly win Best Actor and Bradley Cooper would then get Best Director, as crazy as that would have sounded a month ago and still kind of does. Cooper will get three nods for Picture, Director, and Actor (possibly a fourth for Screenplay) and Director would be his 'consolation prize,' since he had a great hand in that picture and it was a big success beyond everyone's expectations. Likewise, Bohemian Rhapsody has grossed more than half a billion dollars and Rami plays a beloved British singer, uses an accent and dons false teeth (Nicole Kidman factor) plus as a son of Egyptian immigrants he's considered a minority.

Just throwing that out there. Stranger things have happened. People seem a little too quick to be naming Cooper as a sure-thing Actor winner at the moment. To tie this in to the La Vie en Rose comparison made below, everyone thought Julie Christie was guaranteed a second Oscar at this point in the conversation. I know the metrics of the comparison don’t like up exactly, but it’s something worth considering. I think this could very well turn into a Cooper v. Malek race rather than the Cooper v. Bale one most people are envisioning.

I haven't even seen Bohemian Rhapsody, but I've seen Vice. Trust me. Christian Bale has almost no chance of winning. The film is a bitter pill. Even though Christian Bale is staggeringly convincing as Dick Cheney, he's not winning it. The film's biggest problem is it doesn't have a clear view of who Dick Cheney. This is literally a disclaimer at the start of the film.

It's Cooper v. Malek for sure. In the end, I think the likeliest scenario is that Cooper wins Best Actor* for two reasons:

1) Even though Bradley Cooper is a three-time acting nominee, it feels like people are only truly acknowledging him as an exceptional actor RIGHT NOW. I think that's because all three of his previous nominations were surprises, on the bubble, or so completely overshadowed by the competition that people forget he was nominated in the first place. His American Sniper nomination is the most memorable because A) nobody was expecting it, and B) the controversy surrounding the film. But even though this will easily be my least favorite of his nominated performances, it's his first "Look at me" tour de force.

2) As I've said elsewhere, the Best Actor races these days are pretty much "Front-Runner + Four Others = Front-Runner Wins." So... Malek has a shot. So did Denzel Washington. But I think even if Malek upsets, it's hard to argue against Bradley Cooper being the clear front-runner at this point.

Also, I just really don't think the Away from Her/La Vie En Rose comparison tracks.

* (and prob Director too, although I do see Cuaron winning another Best Pictureless-Best Director prize becoming the next Ang Lee, which makes a certain amount of sense).
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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby dws1982 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:23 am

anonymous1980 wrote:
Precious Doll wrote:
Its also been an awfully long time since an actor turned director won the best director award - Mel Gibson being the last for Braveheart. Its funny that in the 16 year period 4 actors turned directors won director and two of them (Redford & Costner) for directorial debuts. Beatty & Gibson won for their second directorial efforts.


Are you not counting Clint Eastwood?

He was such a well-established filmmaker when he won (had been directing for two decades) that I wouldn't put him alongside Gibson, Costner, et al.

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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:50 am

Precious Doll wrote:
Its also been an awfully long time since an actor turned director won the best director award - Mel Gibson being the last for Braveheart. Its funny that in the 16 year period 4 actors turned directors won director and two of them (Redford & Costner) for directorial debuts. Beatty & Gibson won for their second directorial efforts.


Are you not counting Clint Eastwood?

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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:14 am

Big Magilla wrote:Cuaron cannot be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, which is given to the country of origin, not the director although it is usually accepted by the director on behalf of the country.


Nevertheless, it will be seen as his 'win'.
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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Dec 29, 2018 7:53 am

Cuaron cannot be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, which is given to the country of origin, not the director although it is usually accepted by the director on behalf of the country.
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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Dec 29, 2018 7:22 am

Reza wrote:As much as Ramek is a serious threat to win Best Actor it will be Cooper who will most probably win. He has the Susan Hayward/Shirley MacLaine factor going for him - four previous nods without a win.

The directing prize will easily go to Cuaron.


Whilst that sounds about right things may play out very differently.

Cooper could be up for 4 awards (producer, director, actor, screenplay adaptation). However, Cuaron could be up for 6 awards (producer, director, screenplay, cinematography, editing & Foreign Language Film).

I know Cuaron is virtually considered a given for director but given he is also a given for Foreign Language Film & cinematography, does the Academy really want to give him a third award on the night for director.

With Roma locked out of the SAGs help makes for a potentially interesting award show for those viewing it.

Its also been an awfully long time since an actor turned director won the best director award - Mel Gibson being the last for Braveheart. Its funny that in the 16 year period 4 actors turned directors won director and two of them (Redford & Costner) for directorial debuts. Beatty & Gibson won for their second directorial efforts.
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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody

Postby Reza » Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:22 am

As much as Ramek is a serious threat to win Best Actor it will be Cooper who will most probably win. He has the Susan Hayward/Shirley MacLaine factor going for him - four previous nods without a win.

The directing prize will easily go to Cuaron.


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