Tag Archives: Lucy Boynton

Bohemian Rhapsody

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.
Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see…

Bohemian Rhapsody is the story of Queen, although if we’re being honest, it favours front man Freddie Mercury quite heavily.

Freddie Mercury was a complicated, effervescent, talented, charismatic man. The film is much more straight-forward than that. He was also sexually flamboyant. While not exactly openly gay, at least not publicly, he did adopt a look that easily identified him as MV5BZjEwODQ3ZDAtYzM4Zi00YWQxLThmZDEtNzhjNGJhMzFkNThjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjc0NzQzNTM@._V1_such. But he was more than gay or straight; he was fluid. He could wear a unitard on stage so confidently that he made people forget to be so judgmental. He won them over with his energy and stage presence. But after the show, Freddie was his own man. He did not lead a PG-13 life, so the PG-13 movie that attempts to immortalize it is of course sanitized. There is not much in the way of sex or drugs but the rock and roll – oh man.

That’s the reason to watch this film. The music is great, and the scenes revolving around the music tend to be its best. The decision to recreate their Live Aid set, widely considered to be the greatest 20 minutes of love music ever, in its entirety is the best thing that ever happened to a music biopic. I felt tears pricking my eyes the minute they stepped onto the stage.

Rami Malek is great. It’ll take a few minutes to see beyond the fake horse teeth he’s wearing of course, those are regrettable, but Malek is a fun casting choice who does indeed bring an intense Freddie energy to the role. The whole cast is great, actually, although I see Mike Myers is determined to make a comeback and I’m really not here for it, though he does have a pretty epic line.

Lucy Boynton has a meaty role as Mary. Mary was Freddie’s lifelong friend; they stayed close until the day he died. In the movie she gets to be Freddie’s significant other, which is great for the actress but less great for an audience who values authenticity. Yes she was a part of his life but she wasn’t his whole life. Mercury would have had many partners of course, but he had a great love, Jim, who lived with him during the last 6 years of his life, and nursed him when he got sick. Freddie died wearing Jim’s wedding ring. But in the film we get only the briefest glimpse of Jim and double eyefuls of Mary. Have they straight-washed a gay icon?

At any rate, if you came for the music, you’ll stay for it, and struggle not to burst out singing. The movie is more of a greatest hits compilation that an intimate evening with Freddie, but when the hits are so good, it’s hard to complain too loudly.

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The Blackcoat’s Daughter

Enjoying a triumphant festival circuit, critics called this one “slow-building and atmospheric”; I call it long and boring.

Two Catholic schoolgirls (ugh), Kat (Kiernan Shipka) and Rose (Lucy Boynton), get left behind at their boarding school over winter break.  The nuns, rumored to be satanists, and to be naked and hairless (unnecessary details, perhaps?) under their ugly habits, feed them and watch them, but they’re not the ones we’re worried about.

MV5BZDliZTA3ZDYtOTI3Yi00MzAyLTgzODItN2NhNTQ2YzVhYWM4L2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjEwNTM2Mzc@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1500,1000_AL_Upping the creep factor is a third young girl some distance away, perhaps an escaped mental patient named Joan (Emma Roberts) who gets picked up by an older couple who just want to help. Her destination: the very same boarding school where the first two reside…

Then there’s some very slow, deliberate attempts to send chills up your spine, via demonic possession, gory beheadings, and fabulously, a teenage girl calling a nun a cunt. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meant to be funny, but it’s terrifically funny (though the nun would not agree).

I’m not sure if I was watching a different movie from anyone else, but this just didn’t make one tiny speck of sense to me. Plus the characters were so thinly drawn it took me a while to figure out there was a third, and then I was like: where did SHE come from (and not in a scary, haunting way, just a super confused but not really caring all that much way) (also, this movie so under-lit that it’s really not my fault and I bet not that uncommon). Now, the exorcisms and the buckets of blood demand that this film be classified as a horror and I don’t dispute it. I just didn’t find it scary. Like at all. And I’m a big, bawking chicken. Bawk, bawk, bawk. But I breezed right through this, not even a flinch.

It was filmed in Canada, sometimes pretty close to my own home, and for that I will apologize to Ms. Roberts. We were having the coldest winter on record when she was filming outdoor scenes. The foggy breath clouds are well earned. Which is why I felt compelled to watch a movie I would never normally sit through, but you know what? I’d rather take another 5 months of winter than snooze my way through this thing ever again, and I’m not just saying that because I’m currently sipping a daiquiri from the inflatable unicorn in my pool. Well, mostly not.

 

Sing Street

In 2007, writer-director-musician John Carney released one of those ronceare films that literally everyone loves. Sure, Once featured unprofessional actors and didn’t have much going  in the way of plot but the music and characters struck such a chord mostly because of the unpretentious sincerity that everyone involved seemed to bring to the project.

In 2014, Carney tried to top himself in the acoustic meet cute musical  genre with Begin Again, which had a considerably bigger budget and an all-star cast. Though not without its charms or hummable songs of its own, Carney’s second film about writing and recording songs just wasn’t nearly as relatable as his first effort, largely due to the presence of Keira Knightley and (worse still) Adam Levine.

sing street 3Carney does his best to get back to basics, returning to Ireland with mostly unknown actors, in Sing Street. Cosmo (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) has just started at a new school and, though he hasn’t made any friends yet, instantly falls for an older girl (Lucy Boynton) who aspires to be a model. Based in part on Carney’s own memories of the mid-80s, Cosmo decides to start a band inspired by The Cure, Duran Duran and Hall & Oates. For Cosmo, this project is mostly an excuse for him to film music videos starring his crush at first but the opportunity to write and play his own music soon becomes about much more. Music, he’ll soon learn, can be the perfect outlet to express his feelings about the tension between his parents, their financial troubles, and the restrictions at his strict Catholic school.

Sing Street is no Once.

Maybe that’s a good thing. While Once had a more improvised feel, Sing Street has a moresing street insightful and considerably funnier script. (I laughed myself into a coughing fit twice and I don’t even have a cold)..It is much better acted and more imaginative. The dream sequence of Cosmo’s ideal video for Drive It Like You Stole It is my favourite scene by far but there are so many perfect moments in Sing Street.

But it doesn’t always feel like a good thing.Ironically, for a movie about the agony and the ecstasy of first love, Sing Street underestimates the attachment that so many of us feel to Carney’s first attempt at the indie-rock musical. Once may not have been perfect but it felt real. Its dialogue never distracted from the story by being either too lame or too witty, it just felt natural. With more experience and a bigger budget, he has clearly made a more polished film with Sing Street. But I prefer the rawness of his first effort.