Thanks to the magic of Redbox, Sidney and I were able to properly prepare ourselves for the 2019 Academy Awards. In preparation for Sunday night’s awards show, we watched the two movies we had wanted to see since they hit theaters. Although we would have liked to watch both of them on the big screen, viewing them in the comfort of our living room proved more than sufficient.
The films we watched? Best Picture nominee blockbusters “A Star is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Having already watched “Roma” a couple months earlier, I crossed my fingers that out of the Best Picture nominated films I watched that one would win the coveted Oscar. Although all three were denied the statue, they are still winners in my heart. In tonight’s blog post, I wanted to briefly review the movies we watched this weekend.
“A Star is Born” – The first thing that came to my mind when I started watching the first few minutes of the film? How nice Lady Gaga looks without her trademark stage makeup. She is a naturally beautiful woman without all the “Gaga” accessories. She is also a naturally talented actress! She delivered a tremendous performance but what Bradley Cooper did amazed me even more. Not only did he prove his acting versatility with his portrayal of Jackson Maine, but he did something that he had never done before…sing. Although his preparation for the role is well-documented, I was still blown away that he had no formal singing training until a couple years prior to the production of the film. Now that is talent!
The singing in the film is superb and has the power to bring you to tears. For a movie that runs over two hours, it goes fast. I personally think the film could have lasted for another 30 minutes and perhaps built up Ally’s rise to fame a little more OR chronicled the post-treatment relationship more in depth before Jackson’s sad ending. But that would be my only critique. Let me also go on record by saying I really enjoyed Sam Elliot’s supporting role!
One last thing to address…the undeniable chemistry between Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Obviously it comes across in the film (they are actors, right?) but how about the performance from Sunday night? There is no faking that. Also, listen to Gaga speak about “Bradley” (never Brad) on talk shows. There is definitely a spark there! If you have not seen “A Star is Born” or even if you already have (my student intern saw it three times in theater), make sure to watch it this week.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” – Let me start with this: Rami Malek didn’t win the Oscar for Best Actor for nothing. The way he portrayed Freddie Mercury was simply entertaining. Eccentric, arrogant, creative, and CRAZY talented, Malek emptied his soul to deliver a performance that captured the distinguishing traits of the Queen lead singer. I know the surviving members of the band had a lot of creative control with the project so you can bet that Malek’s portrayal of Mercury was as authentic as it gets.
The movie itself is a rock and roll singalong blast. It contained all of my favorite Queen songs along with a couple that I didn’t even know they performed. I loved it how the director incorporated scenes explaining the origin of the band’s major hits – if true, they are some real doozys. The actors portraying the band members did great and the wild and hard life of rock stardom was satisfactorily conveyed.
I think another strong point of the film is that there is an established “villain” who will make you want to pull your hair out. “Bohemian Rhapsody” explains the complicated personal life of Mercury but I wish it would have gone further showing the very end of his career when AIDS had taken over his body.
However, if that was to be the case, the triumphant Live Aid concert would not be the ending of the film. The whole movie leads up to Queen’s legendary performance in Wembley Stadium. Basically duplicating the entire set in real time, it was a satisfying ending, even if I wanted a little more.
The movie was good enough to inspire Sidney and I watch Queen videos on YouTube and listen to the band’s music on the way to and from Charleston. Trust me, you don’t need to be a rock and roll maniac to like “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Do I need to take the time to watch other films nominated for Best Picture in 2019? If so, let me know! Promise me you will watch “A Star is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” and then let me know what you think. Don’t Blink.