Month: October 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody (12a)
Running time: 134min

I don’t even know where to begin. I went in with only one wish, one expectation; that Joseph Mazzello’s British accent didn’t suck. I’ll save my gushing about Joe until later, but it’s safe to say that it was a winner and I wanted to watch it all over again the second it finished.

The media has been very unkind about this film. I always try and avoid reviews, but its hard when the puns lay it out with such brutality. One review makes sure you know their star rating regardless of whether you click or not.

The biggest criticism seems to be that the film ‘glosses over the seedier parts of Freddie’s life’. Certainly, from my perspective, the film not only addresses all parts of Mercury’s life, but it does it with class, respect and without sugar coating. For those who are criticising this film for what it misses out, I’ll remind you that I’ve yet to see a film about MLK that touches on his extramarital affairs.


The Good

From the opening bars to the final drum clash; it’s an epic biopic that the world has needed. It pulls no punches in setting up Freddie’s life as an outsider trying to shine.
Rami Malek has always been incredible; from his stint in the Night at the Museum films, to his staring role in Mr Robot he has always commanded your attention. Bohemian Rhapsody is no exception; his exotic charm and defiant nature will keep you hooked from start to finish. This wasn’t just an exercise in impersonation; Malek is deserving of an Oscar (read: ALL THE AWARDS) for his embodiment of the lead singer of Queen.

Both Ben Hardy and Gwilym Lee bring authenticity to their roles of original and current band members Roger Taylor and Brian May respectively. Each bringing warmth, Charisma and humour to the film. They work so well together, you’ll be wanting them to be announcing their own tour once the credits roll.

I can’t move on without talking a little bit more about the wonderful Joseph Mazzello. For those of you seeing that  smile and wondering where you’ve seen it before; he is one Tim Murphy from Jurassic Park. It just so happens that he is also my first ever celebrity crush. I would watch anything, and everything, he was in. It was great; he was in loads of things. Then he disappeared like many a child actor does. Can’t blame them; they want what everyone has, an education. He’d been off my radar for many years now.

However, here he is, all grown up and just like that; the crush is back. His acting, comic timing and charm are all spot on and pitch perfect for the role of John Deacon; the final member to join the band. The highlight of Mazzello’s performance being a scene in which his character dissolves the volatile tension between Freddie and Roger with a performance of John’s newly written song, Another One Bites the Dust. It is utterly brilliant; there’s comedy in their, but it also demonstrates John’s (and by extension, Joe’s) talent within the band. I know I’m bias, but he’s my favourite part of the film and I enjoyed every facial expression and bassist close up Bohemian Rhapsody could offer. Side bar; I want to listen to him talk in a British accent forever. I’m not one to tell you if it’s ‘good’. I thought Michael C Hall’s was alright in his Brit Thriller Safe, to then read a load of reviews calling it ‘shite’. I couldn’t tell you where in England John is from, but what I will say is; it was consistent, I bought it and it made me smile.

queen


The Bad

We can’t have a good biopic or a brilliant film without an antagonist. Allen Leech plays Paul Prenter; Freddie’s personal manager and occasional lover. He made my skin crawl, my heart ache and at times, I wanted to reach in and get Freddie out of harms way.

While I don’t know how much of the narrative relating to Pretner is true, it makes for an amazing story arch with the band and Freddie himself. We must expect some artistic licence with this medium of expression.

Other antagonists come in the form of Mike Myers. And what a joy it is to see him play Ray Foster, an EMI executive, hell bent on changing the released single on A Night at the Opera. Just wait for the Wayne’s World nod; it’s a nod and wink Easter egg that everyone needs.

mike m

Ugly

That has to be my tears. Oh I cried, and I ugly cried. From the inevitable signs of Freddie’s diagnosis, to the epically recreated LiveAid concert; I sobbed, I gasped, and I felt for Freddie Mercury. What an amazing man, who reached rock bottom, pulled himself back up only to be taken from the world.

There’s something about this film that hits an emotion raw spot. I’m glad we didn’t see his declining health and I was happy with the heavy suggestions of the life he delved into without plastering his personal life onto the screen. There’s something to be said about the changing attitude of society and it breaks my heart to think; if only society was so accepting of homosexuality, perhaps those like Freddie and Kenny Everett, who makes a brief appearance in the film, wouldn’t have felt the need to have their relationships in secret.

I also want to praise the film for having that upbeat ending without censoring Freddie’s condition. It’s a testament to British rock, to the men who have brought joy to anyone who has stood in a club come closing and swayed to the quintessential last song Don’t Stop Me Now. It’s a joy to watch, despite what the critics say, and I will be very disappointed if this film passes by without any award nominations.

Sunshine Blogger Award @Corazzz  @JennieLy  @northernwrites_ @Rachels_Reads  @olivia_gacka @cupofwonderland  @PewterWolf  @myatticlibrary  @FBooksAWTFT  @bibookishbabe  @Lou_Nettleton 

Thank you @AnAverageLife88 

Rules of the award:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate (at least) 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

*****

Questions I was asked:

1. What would your pen name be?

Han Hunter. Keeping it easy and as close to my own name as possible.

2. What song/track gets you motivated?

When I get into work of a morning, the first thing I do is crank up Youtube to get me going. It ranges from simply putting on the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack to singing along to Mr Big’s To Be With You.

3. Which chore do you hate most?

Preparing lunch. I LOVE salads and I’d eat them forever if only it didn’t involve the monotony of chopping. The time it takes to make, the mess… never worth it.

4. What’s the silliest thing you’ve done?

When I first moved to London, I went to see the play Blithe Spirit because Jemima Rooper was in it. I went to the stage door after and while waiting I got chatting to an older gentleman who was part of the cast.

Upon walking away I commented to my friend that his voice was familiar and I thought he was the man from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but it wasn’t listed in the programme. My friend pointed to the next page and I discovered that it was, indeed, Arthur Dent.

Being the expressive person I am, I expressed my sadness that I hadn’t realised and, swinging my arm out to point to the direction we came, I managed to hit said actor.

5. What’s your favourite smell?

Anything that includes cinnamon. That spicy and warm smell just gives me the hug I need.

6. If you could support only one charity, which would you choose?

I would support the charity programme run by Chester Zoo. The work they do on conservation and breeding is incredible. While I don’t condone zoos as a form of entertainment and if we were in a position to remove them from society I would support it, but as it stands, we’ve destroyed the animal kingdom and this really is the one thing we can do.

7. Name yer poison..

Rum and ginger or Gin and Rose Lemonade

8. Tell us something surprising about you..

 

9. Which Harry Potter book/film was best?

The answer for both is the same; Prisoner of Azakaban. It has such an amazing story, the characters are flawless and not to mention my favourite addition, Remus Lupin.

10. Name something you like that nobody else seems to..

Luis Litt from Suits. I think he’s adorable. I know he’s a dick and hard to love, but he really tries.

11. What are you most looking forward to?

For the first time in years, I’m looking forward to Christmas.

*****

Questions I ask of you:

  1. Which actor would you want to play you in a story of your life?
  2. Who would you want to co-write a book with?
  3. If JK Rowling could bring back one character, who would it be?
  4. Who was your childhood film star crush?
  5. Do you dunk your biscuits?
  6. Favourite meal to order at a restaurant?
  7. If you could have a super power, but it would only last for a week, what would you want?
  8. You can have a tea party with 5 fictional guests; who would you invite?
  9. How do you arrange your library?
  10. Ubereats have arrived at your door with a surprise order; what’s in the bag?

I nominate:

@Corazzz 
@JennieLy 
@northernwrites_
@Rachels_Reads 
@olivia_gacka
@cupofwonderland 
@PewterWolf 
@myatticlibrary 
@FBooksAWTFT 
@bibookishbabe 
@Lou_Nettleton 

The Flash S5 Ep1

And into Season 5 we go. While The Flash is a show that on the surface improves each season, I really didn’t enjoy season 4s antagonist; the phd and his wife. Season 5s opener, however, is a strong episode that reminds viewers of plot threads from last year along with some hints as to what’s to come.

The theme of responsibility is at large and I think will play a big role in this season and my favourite thing about the episode is the fact that we’re not introduced to what could be the season’s big bad until the post credit sequence.

Some highlights

Schunchie-do-hickie I do love Cisco and drunk Cisco is the awesome. But the best? Hungover Cisco is best! “Don’t drink and vibe”.

It really annoys me that this would have been a perfect time to get Tom Felton back! ‘we haven’t filled your position.’ – You used to have two people work the lab, how on earth do you not have someone in the lab. You have no idea how much I loved his chemistry with the team.

Awwwww the scene with Barry and his daughter. It was so sweet to see them interact and bond. Although I do fear she might be like Dawn in Buffy or the original annoying add on, Scrappy Do; the actress is adorable, but the character is annoying.

Ralph! I love his misunderstanding of time travel. I’m so happy the brought him back last season. The presence of Ralph also gives me hope in the sense that Ralph was the Scappy Do of Season 4 and he won me around so much that points have to be given to the actor for such a good job.

Nora and Iris bonding. I love that she is happy referring to Barry as Dad and embraces the role of “mom” like a duck to water. It’s an amazing parallel to Barry and how he’s uncomfortable he is calling Iris mom. Her scene near the end where she cries is just perfect. I’ve never been massively fond of Iris, for reason I can’t quite put into words, but this role of Mom really fits the character.

Cisco and his references. He’s my man! Damn, the ‘I am fortunes fool’ line; why don’t these guys exist in real life? Be still my hear, he knows Trek, Movies AND Shakespeare! Sigh! He’s too perfect.

There is a wonderful moment where Barry remembers a lesson from the wonderful Wells and it just reminded me; I can’t wait to see which incarnation we get next. Wells is my favourite plot point about the Multi-Verse! The fact that they have this brilliant actor who can bring these character to life… Gah, I just hope its not too long before he’s back

 

OtherEarth by @jasonsegel and @banksirregular

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What do you do when your first novel in the Otherworld trilogy is near perfect? Well, you up the stakes of course. And with Jason and Kirstin at the helm, boy do they amp up the pressure!
A year ago, I went on an adventure that surpassed all my expectations. This year, I feel as if my imagination has been hijacked, given an upgrade and thrown onto a high speed rollercoaster. I was a bit worried that we’d be spending too much time out of the simulated world, but it’s actually where the drama and tension can really be found.
Simon has a plan, and he can’t do alone. In what can only be described as a Bond on the run, Simon and his friends locate allies, makes deals with enemies and try to not get the rug pulled from under them too many times.
The plot is such a wonderful treat, its best kept a secret until you read it for yourself, but I will say that there is a gritty realism within the narrative that is a refreshing change from the nostalgia trips other books like this provide. Kristin and Jason are able to provide a commentary on some deep and serious topics, including addiction.
The final act brings a mental health sub plot to a head. It’s something that is so subtle and unobtrusive to the plot that don’t be hard on yourself for it blind siding you.
The only fault I can find it that there wasn’t more of the book to read. It ends in such a way that you’ll be screaming and shouting about it for weeks after. Then, just to escape the fact that there’s a year until OtherLife reaches us, you’ll head back to Otherworld for another trip with Simon.

Skyscraper 12a

Skyscraper
12a
1hr 42
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell.
Release date: 18th November 2018

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The Good

It’s a summer action film with the Rock at the helm; you pretty much get what you pay for in terms of expectations. You get the added bonus of Millennial Scream Queen Neve Campbell who works so well with Johnson that I really do wonder why they’ve never worked together before.

I adore the idea that the protagonist is someone with a disability and someone who is one half of a multi-racial couple. The characters, their relationships and the whole ‘people in peril’ plot has me sold from the beginning.

The Bad

There’s too much exposition for a film that should have an easy flow to it. Dwayne spends too much screen time alone and it makes the film a little clunky. Johnson works best when he has someone to bounce off, and what we have to remember is, even John McClane had a radio to communicate with his ‘partner’ and bad guy Hans. It’s the biggest thing that is missing from this.

The Ugly

It’s been done before in a much better format, with a much smoother plot. It’s bordering on a Epic/ Date Movie type spoof feel with the way in which it homages movies; from Cliffhanger, Die Hard and Towering Inferno to Poseidon Adventure, High Rise and even Jurassic Park.

 

It’ll make for an ideal Christmas present for any Rock lovers out there, but my advice is to rent it rather than buy.

The Wider Earth at The Natural History Museum

https://www.kxtickets.com/whats-on/the-wider-earth

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Something wonderful has transformed the Jerwood Gallery at the Natural History Museum. Not only are you transported to a world of inexplicable beauty, you travel in time to meet a 22 year old Charles Darwin on his epic journey of discovery.

Story

Written by David Morton, Wider Earth details Charles Darwin’s five year survey voyage upon the HMS Beagle. Today, Darwin’s theory is widely accepted and faces very little challenge. However, the journey Darwin takes is not simply one of discovery. Morton uses the play to emphasise the challenges Darwin faced, not only of his personal faith but the reaction of others as the diversity between Religion, faith and Science becomes a catalyst for potential social change.

The mystery, the awe inspiring vision and the violent opposition that Darwin faced is all within Morton’s commentary. Not only that, Morton seamlessly alludes to the slave trade and abolition within the realms of religion in order to pose undisputable arguments at to why we are all equal, despite our differences.

Production

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The set it quite simply breath taking. From the opening recitation of Genesis, to the final moments in which Darwin returns home from his voyage, every part of the set it utilised. The revolving centre piece is used throughout the 2 hour production as buildings, the Beagle and even the exotic island landscapes. The lighting and video backdrop only add to something that is already perfect. Between the recreations of Darwin’s scribbles and the blue wash the production uses to recreate the ocean, you will be transported and immersed in Darwin’s world.

I would not be able to write this review without mentioning the one thing that reduced me to tears. The puppetry is out of this world. from the smallest butterfly to the turtles, from the movements to the interactions; the only thing that could have rendered me more in awe would have been in they’d placed an actual new born hippo in my hands.

Casting

The cast of seven are who really sold this play to me. It’s nearly 40 minutes before the audience witness their first puppet animal. but they are the icing on the already beautifully constructed cake. The people on the stage allow me to have an emotional attachment and a connection with a historical figure that I’ve respected for so long.

Bradley Foster brings a curiosity and passion to the biologist and naturalist that everyone knows. There’s a joy and boyish charm in Foster’s role that breaks down the wall between the man and the theory. The conflict between Darwin’s faith and the questions his exploration raise is raw and unapologetic, and is only solidified by the relationships we experience. Notably those of his beloved Emma, played by the delightful Melissa Vaughn who helps bring life and character to many of the puppets we meet, and Captain Fitzroy, played by the incredible Jack Parry-Jones whose handsome frame brings a level of authority and passion to the Captain who dissolves throughout the play as his mission doesn’t quite go to plan. Marcello Cruz plays Jemmy and provides some of the most heart breaking scenes either side of the interval.

It is Matt Tait who held my attention throughout; with his husky Scottish tones that sooth the soul and bring authority to Fitzroy’s second in command, Wickham. He also has an amazing ability to bring to life the puppets he controls. The highlight is the bird that soars around the stage.

Andrew Bridgmont, and Ian Houghton round out the cast and play multiple roles on land and sea. Without them, we would not see the inspiration behind Darwin’s curiosity. They both bring charm, joy and humour to the play and ensure I’ll be coming back for another viewing.

City of Dust by @MKennyPR @HQDigitalUK

City of Dust_FINALCharacter
Talia is back on fighting form, with Max and her twin right at her side. The book jumps right back into Arafel life and brings with it a reunion of old friends and introduction of new players.
Talia continues to remain a character that will forever remain the perfect heroine that from the very start joined the ranks along with Katniss, Triss and Hermione. The impact of Book of Fire is clearly ingrained; she’s battle bruised and trying to keep her thoughts on track. It’s only really when she’s set on a new path that her strength is really propelled to the limelight.
While those who have given their hearts to August will have to wait patiently for his presence within the pages, it only gives you the opportunity to consider Max as a strong character and romantic partner for Talia. He’s Talia’s equal and not scared to show his annoyance. There was the briefest of minutes when I’d forgotten about August.

Story
The world building is as immersive as ever and will consume you completely. The description of the desolate streets are hauntingly beautiful. Aside from the characters, the world building is my favourite part of this series.
The story sees Tailia back in old territory and searching for a stolen item. However, it’s only the tip of the iceberg as the plot opens up to an exploration of eugenics of mythic proportions.
Readers will need to breath when they can, because as the story reaches its final act you won’t get opportunity to. It’s fast paced and epic showdown will leave your heart in your mouth. No one is safe and the fates of many will be left clinging to the edge of a shocking cliff when the final page comes around.

Writing
Just like meeting up with an old friend, the words envelope you in a comfortable hug. Just like Book of Fire, City of Dust contains a glossary for terms. However, the world is so beautifully written, and the action so carefully crafted that the words don’t need the glossary.
The only negative would be that it’s so good that it’s going to be a painful wait for the next instalment.