Podcast: My Reviews of Bohemian Rhapsody, Candyman, Beautiful Boy, & Widows

Feel free to listen to my podcast with reviews of 4 popular films: Bohemian Rhapsody, Candyman, Beautiful Boy, & Widows.

This post appeared first at my Podcast thedrpodcast.com

Transcript/Text below can be read easier at rileyonfilm.com

Bohemian Rhapsody
As far as realism goes, Brian May looks like himself. No other cast member resembles their character, especially not Rami Malik who plays Freddie Mercury. Besides that, when he talks he doesn’t sound like him. Rami is making a different voice but it isn’t the singer fans know of. But I’m only touching the tip of the iceberg, on several levels this film is a sellout mess.

MV5BNDg2NjIxMDUyNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzEzNTE1NTM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,629,1000_AL_
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) PG-13 | 2h 14min | Biography, Drama, Music | 2 November 2018 (USA) Bohemian Rhapsody Poster A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen’s legendary appearance at the Live Aid (1985) concert. Director: Bryan Singer Writers: Anthony McCarten (story by), Peter Morgan (story by) | 1 more credit » Stars: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee
The real McCoy:

Malik’s Mess (ignore the music, he lip syncs the original Queen):

Directing an Xmen movie apparently does not prepare you to do an effective biopic of a rock band. This film is proof that our director Bryan Singer lost his vision for this film.

The writing is fragmented at times. Suddenly the setting will change and there is no development as to why. It could have been a great time to show how they write but it didn’t happen. We are reduced to “Can you go higher?” as the genius for recording a signature part of BR.

Anyone who’s written or recorded will tell you it wouldn’t be said that way. Words like “play the middle note,” “the 3rd or the 5th” or “octave” would be used. As such they are insulting a trained musician and reducing him to an episode of “Wayne’s World.”

My understanding of Mercury’s marriage and his “endless” amount of lovers would not be portrayed this way. They should have shown what he was doing and the dark side he had. This is relevant! The songs were not new takes by new players, instead they were carbon copy stamps that appranetly 3 voices were spliced together in to sound more like Malik. Well, they don’t.

Two hours was way too long for my daughter and I. We left for home 45 minutes early. I cannot recommend this movie though I have respect for all opinions about it. This is nothing less that derivative, unsoulful cash grabbing. Hopefully someday we’ll get a good telling by a brave director, even a tv special of what Queen were really all about. 2/10.

POST VIEWS: 73
Share this:
Facebook3TwitterGoogleTumblrMore
Like this:
POSTED ONNOVEMBER 24, 2018EDIT “CANDYMAN”
Candyman
Candyman is a throwback 90’s horror, mystery, thriller written by the horror master Clive Barker. I’ve heard recently that producer Jordan Peele bought the rights to do a remake. We’ll have to see how good that project goes.

Candyman (1992)
R | 1h 39min | Horror, Thriller | 16 October 1992 (USA)
The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster’s myth.
Director: Bernard Rose
Writers: Clive Barker (based on “The Forbidden” by), Bernard Rose
Stars: Virginia Madsen, Xander Berkeley, Tony Todd
The legend here is that the son of a slave, having been mistreated and disfigured by his father has become a killer, immortalized in urban legend as “The Candyman.” The story is great, the kills are repulsive … everything I like in a horror movie. The creepiness is not really present but the soundtrack works like a calliope to give it just a bit of that.

Helen Lyle, played by Virginia Mardsen, does a foxy job chasing an urban legend. Being early in her career in 1992, it makes sense the director got her to reveal so much. It seems once they get really famous (as in the X-Files level) studios have to offer much more in the contract. Anyway, she’s a beautiful actress less skin or more. In this case, there happens to be more. She is researching “The Candyman” urban legend that states if a person looks in the mirror chanting “Candyman” 5 times, she/he will be slaughtered with a hook

Helen discovers that the Candyman sees her as a reincarnation of a past lover. This leads to a very satisfying closing act. The ffects are cheap looking and the kills are often not believable. Still, I found this film amazing and I look forward to the upcoming remake. 8/10.

POST VIEWS: 162
Share this:
Facebook1TwitterGoogleTumblrMore
Like this:
POSTED ONNOVEMBER 22, 2018EDIT “BEAUTIFUL BOY”
Beautiful Boy
A smartly made drama biopic about a father and son who face the son’s addiction. David Sheff wrote a memoir in 2008 of the same name. Nick Sheff wrote his too called “Tweak.” I was skeptical about this film at first. Luckily my daughter asked me to take her and it is now one of my favorite films of 2018.

Beautiful Boy (2018) R | 2h | Biography , Drama | 25 October 2018 (Israel) Beautiful Boy Poster Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years. Director: Felix van Groeningen Writers: Luke Davies (screenplay by), Felix van Groeningen (screenplay by) | 2 more credits » Stars: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney
Our director here is Felix van Groeningen, from Belgium. I haven’t seen any of his films besides this one however I have since put The Broken Circle Breakdown on my watchlist. Here’s the description:

Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight, in spite of their differences. He talks, she listens. He’s a romantic atheist, she’s a religious realist. When their daughter becomes seriously ill, their love is put on trial. IMDB

But back to Beautiful Boy: It almost seems more of a dry documentary than a film at first. It jumps around in time but not so much that it is confusing. The director paints a picture of a father and son relationship and how it burns due to the son’s addiction. He has the most problem with crystal meth but they say he has tried just about everything.

It’s about the father’s journey to understand addiction and the son’s journey to just be clean. That may not sound warm and touching but it really is. The director does a great job of showing how after a time we as parents are enablers if we continue to support our addict children.

The film is a true story based on the memoirs of the father and the son. I don’t think a film has ever been made that way before. It includes some of the best acting I’ve seen in a long time, certainly this year. I’m sad it is in limited release. This film would reach so may people in a wide one. 10/10.

POST VIEWS: 196
Share this:
Facebook1TwitterGoogleTumblrMore
Like this:
POSTED ONNOVEMBER 17, 2018EDIT “WIDOWS”
Widows
I went to see this film against my initial reactions to it. Metacritic and podcasters that up to now I truly respected were gushing over it with tweets like “SEE THIS FILM.” I won’t get fooled again. It was awful. Steve McQueen needs to take a step back after this one.

I understand that heist movies often contain a nuts and bolts planning section of the film. That’s why I tolerated the first 1/2 of this slow, uneventful film. I expected it to pick up the pace immensely, it didn’t. That isn’t my main gripe with this film.

Widows (2018)
R | 2h 9min | Crime , Drama , Romance | 16 November 2018 (USA)
Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.
Director: Steve McQueen
Writers: Gillian Flynn (screenplay by), Steve McQueen (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki
There are side stories everywhere in this movie. It seems that they are there as some sort of puzzle to be assembled later. In my opinion, they are discordant and do not serve the plot at all. This film tries to be like recent films where women are empowered against men who cheat and use them. It’s also tapping into racial inequality even though it is not an all black cast.

I just waited and waited for the heist and when it appeared it was muddled and sloppy. There were some cool camera angles and tricks but that is way less than this film was touted as. I think some podcasters I read on my Twitter have been floated gifts by the film studio. There is no explanation for these glowing reviews. I’ve never checked the time so much in a film. I wanted OUT quickly. This is not a good film. 2/10

Bohemian Rhapsody

As far as realism goes, Brian May looks like himself. No other cast member resembles their character, especially not Rami Malik who plays Freddie Mercury. Besides that, when he talks he doesn’t sound like him. Rami is making a different voice but it isn’t the singer fans know of. But I’m only touching the tip of the iceberg, on several levels this film is a sellout mess.

MV5BNDg2NjIxMDUyNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzEzNTE1NTM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,629,1000_AL_
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) PG-13 | 2h 14min | Biography, Drama, Music | 2 November 2018 (USA) Bohemian Rhapsody Poster A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen’s legendary appearance at the Live Aid (1985) concert. Director: Bryan Singer Writers: Anthony McCarten (story by), Peter Morgan (story by) | 1 more credit » Stars: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee

The real McCoy:

Malik’s Mess (ignore the music, he lip syncs the original Queen):

Directing an Xmen movie apparently does not prepare you to do an effective biopic of a rock band. This film is proof that our director Bryan Singer lost his vision for this film.

The writing is fragmented at times. Suddenly the setting will change and there is no development as to why. It could have been a great time to show how they write but it didn’t happen. We are reduced to “Can you go higher?” as the genius for recording a signature part of BR.

Anyone who’s written or recorded will tell you it wouldn’t be said that way. Words like “play the middle note,” “the 3rd or the 5th” or “octave” would be used. As such they are insulting a trained musician and reducing him to an episode of “Wayne’s World.”

My understanding of Mercury’s marriage and his “endless” amount of lovers would not be portrayed this way. They should have shown what he was doing and the dark side he had. This is relevant! The songs were not new takes by new players, instead they were carbon copy stamps that appranetly 3 voices were spliced together in to sound more like Malik. Well, they don’t.

Two hours was way too long for my daughter and I. We left for home 45 minutes early. I cannot recommend this movie though I have respect for all opinions about it. This is nothing less that derivative, unsoulful cash grabbing. Hopefully someday we’ll get a good telling by a brave director, even a tv special of what Queen were really all about. 2/10.

Candyman

Candyman is a throwback 90’s horror, mystery, thriller written by the horror master Clive Barker. I’ve heard recently that producer Jordan Peele bought the rights to do a remake. We’ll have to see how good that project goes.

Candyman (1992)
R | 1h 39min | Horror, Thriller | 16 October 1992 (USA)
The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster’s myth.
Director: Bernard Rose
Writers: Clive Barker (based on “The Forbidden” by), Bernard Rose
Stars: Virginia Madsen, Xander Berkeley, Tony Todd

The legend here is that the son of a slave, having been mistreated and disfigured by his father has become a killer, immortalized in urban legend as “The Candyman.” The story is great, the kills are repulsive … everything I like in a horror movie. The creepiness is not really present but the soundtrack works like a calliope to give it just a bit of that.

Helen Lyle, played by Virginia Mardsen, does a foxy job chasing an urban legend. Being early in her career in 1992, it makes sense the director got her to reveal so much.  It seems once they get really famous (as in the X-Files level) studios have to offer much more in the contract. Anyway, she’s a beautiful actress less skin or more. In this case, there happens to be more. She is researching “The Candyman” urban legend that states if a person looks in the mirror chanting “Candyman” 5 times, she/he will be slaughtered with a hook

Helen discovers that the Candyman sees her as a reincarnation of a past lover. This leads to a very satisfying closing act. The ffects are cheap looking and the kills are often not believable. Still, I found this film amazing and I look forward to the upcoming remake. 8/10.

Beautiful Boy

A smartly made drama biopic about a father and son who face the son’s addiction. David Sheff wrote a memoir in 2008 of the same name. Nick Sheff wrote his too called “Tweak.” I was skeptical about this film at first. Luckily my daughter asked me to take her and it is now one of my favorite films of 2018.

Beautiful Boy (2018) R | 2h | Biography , Drama | 25 October 2018 (Israel) Beautiful Boy Poster Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years. Director: Felix van Groeningen Writers: Luke Davies (screenplay by), Felix van Groeningen (screenplay by) | 2 more credits » Stars: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney

Our director here is Felix van Groeningen, from Belgium. I haven’t seen any of his films besides this one however I have since put The Broken Circle Breakdown on my watchlist. Here’s the description:

Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight, in spite of their differences. He talks, she listens. He’s a romantic atheist, she’s a religious realist. When their daughter becomes seriously ill, their love is put on trial. IMDB

But back to Beautiful Boy: It almost seems more of a dry documentary than a film at first. It jumps around in time but not so much that it is confusing. The director paints a picture of a father and son relationship and how it burns due to the son’s addiction. He has the most problem with crystal meth but they say he has tried just about everything.

It’s about the father’s journey to understand addiction and the son’s journey to just be clean. That may not sound warm and touching but it really is. The director does a great job of showing how after a time we as parents are enablers if we continue to support our addict children.

The film is a true story based on the memoirs of the father and the son. I don’t think a film has ever been made that way before. It includes some of the best acting I’ve seen in a long time, certainly this year. I’m sad it is in limited release. This film would reach so may people in a wide one. 10/10.

Widows

I went to see this film against my initial reactions to it. Metacritic and podcasters that up to now I truly respected were gushing over it with tweets like “SEE THIS FILM.” I won’t get fooled again. It was awful. Steve McQueen needs to take a step back after this one.

I understand that heist movies often contain a nuts and bolts planning section of the film. That’s why I tolerated the first 1/2 of this slow, uneventful film. I expected it to pick up the pace immensely, it didn’t. That isn’t my main gripe with this film.

Widows (2018)
R | 2h 9min | Crime , Drama , Romance | 16 November 2018 (USA)
Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.
Director: Steve McQueen
Writers: Gillian Flynn (screenplay by), Steve McQueen (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki

There are side stories everywhere in this movie. It seems that they are there as some sort of puzzle to be assembled later. In my opinion, they are discordant and do not serve the plot at all. This film tries to be like recent films where women are empowered against men who cheat and use them. It’s also tapping into racial inequality even though it is not an all black cast.

I just waited and waited for the heist and when it appeared it was muddled and sloppy. There were some cool camera angles and tricks but that is way less than this film was touted as. I think some podcasters I read on my Twitter have been floated gifts by the film studio. There is no explanation for these glowing reviews. I’ve never checked the time so much in a film. I wanted OUT quickly. This is not a good film. 2/10

A Separation (Podcast)

You know, we all should be thankful for the #Metoo movement because it has brought to the light rape and mistreatment of women all over the planet. I believe it has already brought about change through awareness. But what we don’t know and don’t think about it that men are often falsely accused and even imprisoned in some countries for alleged crimes against women that may have never occurred.

Watching this movie “A Separation” I saw a country that was so backward in the way it deals with justice but I also saw just how difficult it might be for a man in his 30’s to exist in these countries. This film takes place in Iran.

A Separation (2011)
Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (original title)
PG-13 | 2h 3min | Crime , Drama , Family | 16 March 2011 (Iran)
A Separation Poster
Trailer 2:04 | Trailer2 VIDEOS | 49 IMAGES
Watch Now
From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video
ON DISC
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision – to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Writer: Asghar Farhadi
Stars: Payman Maadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat

 

Overlord (Podcast)

Just like “Inglorious Bastards” gave free reign to kill and maim Nazis, so “Overlord” creates a green light for gore against those same bastards. On the face of it we have a reason to kill and do it with vengeance. It’s like a horror/vengeance director’s perfect setting. From the little ink blot blood paratroopers on the movie poster to the opening scenes fleshing out D-Day, this film a huge set up. The pay off is nothing to sneeze at either.

It does what you imagine it will do based on the clues and the stuff you may or may not read on the internet. I think solid films like this will find a huge world-wide audience in time but as I write this, the box office numbers are flat. “Overlord” is adored by critics but sadly isn’t paying for itself … just yet. I predict it will in time. Remember now there are other ways that the box office a film can pad its earnings: streaming comes to mind. Netflix is also often helpful. But let’ get into this film and examine its pieces. There is a lot to count here as amazing. But is the whole greater than the sum of its parts?

Overlord (2018)
R | 1h 49min | Action , Horror , Mystery | 9 November 2018 (USA)
A little squad of American soldiers find horror behind enemy lines on the eve of D-Day.
Director: Julius Avery
Writers: Billy Ray (screenplay by), Mark L. Smith (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Olivier

So, let’s start with the director. Julius Avery has one other film listed on his IMDB page, “Son of a Gun.” I have not seen it, it has a 6.3 rating on IMDB and over 20K ratings. That shows the 6.3 isn’t a fluke and is likely what the film really should rate. You get these films with 1k or less and it stands the chance of not being so accurate. 6.3 to me says: “This entertained about half the people that watched it.” Here is the IMDB synopsis: Locked up for a minor crime, 19 year old JR quickly learns the harsh realities of prison life. Protection, if you can get it, is paramount. JR soon finds himself under the watchful eye of Australia’s most notorious criminal, Brendan Lynch. But protection comes at a price. Lynch and his crew have plans for their young protegee. Upon release, JR must help secure Lynch’s freedom, staging a daring prison break. As a reward, he’s invited to join the crew as they plan a gold heist that promises to deliver millions. However, as things start to go wrong, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues. JR finds himself unsure of whom he can trust and on a collision course with his former mentor.

It sounds like a common crime story but again, I haven’t seen it. The only draw it might have would be that Ewan MacGregor is in it. It came out 2008 and I haven’t seen it yet. For me, that’s quite telling about my interest anyway.

I’m very surprised that the director has no information on his bio page except for his height. Please. You often get one chance at Hollywood success, I think it shows a lack of marketing and personal aspiration to not send IMDB SOMETHING to pt up about yourself. But hey, I won’t judge too much. I too often fail to do Twitter and social media correctly which in essence is what he has done with IMDB.

Before we get into the pieces of “Overlord” let’s have a listen to the trailer … (trailer)

The film “Overlord” (2018)
R | 1h 49min | Action , Horror , Mystery | 9 November 2018 (USA)
The very short and sweet description on IMDB is:
A little squad of American soldiers find horror behind enemy lines on the eve of D-Day.

It’s definitely action and horror. The film starts out full throttle and rarely slows its pace. It’s also very dark, in terms of lighting and setting. I struggled to see who the actors were through the first 1/4 or so of the film. This is understandably the case because they are paying homage to D-Day, in fact the film was released near Veteran’s Day in America. Purposeful? Probably but the box office isn’t showing the effect of it. I guess it didn’t work.

I am 100% a pacifist. I respect the armed forces but it would never be my hope for my family. Having said that, My grandpa was a bomber in this war and he shared stories with me of being shot down in Germany. He said there were horrors everywhere on the ground. Somehow he was released and made it back home but the war really messed him up. I don’t see how showing realistic portrayal of those horrors can do anyone any good.

There are some things in this film. One or two reminded me of Frankensteins. The Germans are up to something in the tower. That’s the mystery part. It isn’t limited to the things I have mentioned. It be scary, there be monsters.

It’s war personified in the tower and everywhere else. The Germans are shown to be pawns of the Overlord and they pillage, rape, destroy, and murder anyone not on their hateful, evil Nazi side. Pretty common concept for cinema and theater. But this is a well made action/horror ride and I didn’t want to get off! The turns are predictable but t doesn’t matter. There are some truly great scenes from a few actors but ultimately, it’s a dark pulp horror simplified and on that level never fails to please.

This is a great war/action/horror film but more war/action than horror I think.

While I recommend “Overlord” there are some out there in the same theme of war or Nazi or both horror or better. Let me list a few movies that achieve a similar effect in film plot and theme:

First, Ones I have seen:
Under the Shadow
Pan’s Labyrinth
Hell Boy

Ones I haven’t seen:
Dead Snow
Below
Blood Creek
Zombie Lake
Shock Waves
Frankenstein’s Army
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death
Puppet Master I
Puppet Master II
Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge
Horrors of War (Zombies of War)

In conclusion, while it was a very dark film in terms of lighting, I really enjoyed this latest addition to Nazi, War, Action filmmaking. I give this one a 9/10. Go see it! Let’s see if we can help out at the box office.

First Man – written review

Pay attention to the title and the movie will impress you more. Have you seen it yet? If you so will agree I think this is a film about one man and not America, space, the group called NASA (which is now privatized) pr any other entity. This is about the IRL character played by Ryan Gosling: Neil Armstrong. You should see it only if you can manage to not expect a dog and pony show with theatrical space effects (ie; “Gravity”). This one take us inward.

First Man (2018) PG-13 | 2h 21min | Biography , Drama , History | 12 October 2018 (USA)A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Director: Damien Chazelle Writers: Josh Singer (screenplay by), James R. Hansen (based on the book by) Stars: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke

Our director is my namesake “Damien” Chazelle. You may know his work “La La Land.” That is a musical, this has no music at all. It has disappointed some critics who say it’s slow and brooding. I agree it is, but that’s what makes it special. I can look at this one man and see my own struggles that I am never recognized for. He took a giant leap for mankind but along the way he was continuously challenged. This is an unexpectedly slow film that offers the viewer an internal study of Neil Armstrong. It’s also a reminder that we set our own goals for true success. There are scenes in this film I will never forget. I would have liked more development of Armstrong but that’s my only gripe. 8/10.

The Super, Incident in a Ghost Land, The Bar, Satan’s Slaves | The Damien Riley Podcast

Happy Halloween! In this episode I preview four horror movies: The Super, Incident in a Ghost Land, The Bar, and Satan’s Slaves. I liked some more than others. Have a listen and see if any so…

Source: The Super, Incident in a Ghost Land, The Bar, Satan’s Slaves | The Damien Riley Podcast

Satan’s Slaves

If creepiness you seek, look no further. An old Indonesian house, shady silhouettes, and a fairly good ghost story make this one work quite well. In the Halloween spirit? This is one way to get there. And, as was the case so much in the 70’s, we have a modernized satanic element that usually freaks audiences out.

Satan’s Slaves (2017)
Pengabdi Setan (original title)
Not Rated | 1h 47min | Drama , Horror , Mystery | 28 September 2017 (Indonesia)
Satan’s Slaves Poster
After dying from a strange illness that she suffered for 3 years, a mother returns home to pick up her children.
Director: Joko Anwar
Writers: Joko Anwar, Sisworo Gautama Putra (based on a movie written by) | 3 more credits »
Stars: Tara Basro, Bront Palarae, Dimas Aditya

Since this is an Indonesian film, I’m not familiar with the director. He has done a great job here though combining music and timing to create a spookiness that stays with you. The idea of another world so close to you is terrifying. I had a hard time feeling sorry for these kids because they couldn’t live off their mother anymore. They all seemed able-bodied. While taking care of “Mom,” as they call her, they may find out the answers to a mystery. What’s more, those answers may be more than they bargained for. This is a dark, creepy project that definitely got me in the mood for Halloween tomorrow! It’s a little slow for my usual horror preferences but it did the trick in giving me that feeling I just couldn’t shake. 7/10.

%d bloggers like this: