Rocketman is a biographical musical based on the life of Elton John. The film is directed by Dexter Fletcher and written by Lee Hall. The movie follows Elton from his early days as a child prodigy to his slightly older years at the Royal Academy of Music to his musical partnership and success with Bernie Taupin. The film is titled after John’s 1972 song called “Rocketman”. I wasn’t quite sure the film was going to be any good because the trailer appeared to show the movie a little on the silly side. To my surprise, not only is it a serious movie, I also found it to be really good.
As a very young child, Reginald “Reggie” Dwight (Matthew Illesley) is raised by his cold hearted mother, Sheila (Bryce Dallas Howard) and more caring grandmother Ivy (Gemma Jones), while his father Stanley (Steven Mackintoch), is away serving in the Royal Air Force. Young Reggie (Kit Connor) shows interest in playing the piano, and soon begins studying at the Royal Academy of Music. Reggie’s father Stanley, who has never shown any love towards his son, eventually abandons his family after Sheila has an affair with another man. An older Reggie (Taron Egerton) takes up an interest in rock music artists like Elvis Presley and begins performing in local pubs, before joining a band called Bluesology.
As an adult, Reggie changes his name to Elton John and tries to find success with Dick James’ (Stephen Graham) publishing company under the management of Ray Williams (Charlie Rowe). Williams introduces Elton to songwriter Bernie Taupin (James Bell) and the two quickly form a friendship, with Bernie accepting both Elton and the fact that he is homosexual. The duo impress Dick with the song “Your Song” so he sets up a performance for them at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. The audience loves Elton’s performance. At a party afterwards, Elton feels abandoned when Bernie leaves him to be with a woman. Elton is approached by a very attractive man named John Reid (Richard Madden), who is a music manager attracted to Elton. The two sleep together, being careful not to reunite until later, as Elton had not come out as gay yet.
Reid’s influence over Elton causes him to spiral into a life of debauchery as his career takes off and he becomes a successful musician, embracing a flamboyant stage persona. After Elton appoints Reid as his new manager, Reid starts to manipulate him and insists that he come out to his mother and father as gay so they can help hide Reid and Elton’s sexual relationship from the press. Elton’s mother bluntly informs Elton that she was already aware of his sexuality and doesn’t care, telling him that he’s facing a life of being alone forever. Elton finds his father but doesn’t tell him that he’s gay, upset by his father’s happiness with his new family and ignorance of his old one. Struggling with his parental issues, as well as Reid’s increasing abuse, Elton becomes addicted to alcohol, cocaine, cannabis, and sex. Making matters worse, Elton witnesses Reid cheating on him with another man, and at a house party later that day, consumes a dangerous amount of drugs and alcohol. Elton attempts suicide by jumping into his pool while drugged to the nth degree. He is rushed to the hospital and not long after is forced back on stage to continue his performances.
Rocketman is an extremely entertaining movie. It is well acted and Elton John’s music “rocks”. Elton John’s life was pretty complex and Rocketman revealed many aspects of his life. All three actors who portrayed Elton were brilliant. Between the very, very young Reggie and the oldest Elton, I can’t say who was the better actor. Before Elton John started wearing such flamboyant outfits, I don’t think a large amount of the population knew he was gay. I’m not sure his lousy upbringing and his depression was evident either. Despite the omission of the Queen of England Knighting Elton, the movie was pretty accurate and definitely exciting as well as entertaining. Rocketman sort of took on the flavor of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. However, Rocketman was released at a most inopportune time, amidst “Godzilla” and “Ma”, which were two anticipated films and one week after Walt Disney’s Aladdin, as well as two weeks after the very hot John Wick: Chapter 3. This meant box office sales would be shared between all four of these movies. None the less, I highly recommend “Rocketman” — Check It Out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged arthur, bernie taupin, bryce dallas howard, celinde schoenmaker, charlie rowe, dick james, doug weston, dr. maverick, elton john, elton's, fred, gemma jones, ivy, jamie bell, jason pennycooke, jimmy vee, john reid, kamil lemieszewski, kiki dee, kit connor, matthew illesley, rachel muldoon, ray williams, renate blauel, richard madden, sharon d. clarke, sheila eileen, stanley, stephen graham, steven mackintosh, taron egerton, Tate Donovan, tom bennett, wilson
I was pleasantly surprised when King Arthur: Legend of the Sword turned out to be a pretty descent movie. Lots of noise and lots of fuss over a legendary fictional sword that been planted permanently into the ground for decades. The story is a legend we’ve heard before but is always fun to revisit. While this was not the best remake I’ve seen, it was one of the better movies being featured at this time.
Mordred, (Rob Knighton) who is a warlock has an army that he plans to use in order to defeat Camelot, thereby ruling over all of mankind while wielding his magic and power with an iron fist. His plans were foiled only by his beheading thanks to Uther Pendragon, (Eric Bana) thus saving Camelot. But wait, Uther has a ruthless, evil brother, Vortigern (Jude Law) who continues Mordred’s plan of a take over of Camelot, killing Uther and his wife. However, in all the killing and excitement, he overlooks Uther’s baby son who is saved because he was hidden in a small boat and drifted down stream where he was found and raised by prostitutes in Londinium and renamed Arthur.
Arthur, Charlie Hunnam grew up as a commoner of the streets, well known and well liked. He is also quite skilled as a fighter as has 2 best friends, Sir Tristan “Wet Stick” (Kingsley Ben-Adir) and Backlack (Neil Maskell), as well as a mentor who is also a highly skilled fighter, Sir George, (Tom Wu). Of course Arthur has no knowledge of his true lineage and when forced along with other men of his age to try and pull the magic sword from its current resting place, he protested despite successfully retrieving the sword. To help Arthur, who is now in grave danger, is The Mage, (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey) a woman identified as an acolyte who works for Merlin and supports Arthur as well the resistance, which is lead by Sir Bedivere, (Djimon Hounsou) a former knight of Uther’s.
If you’re familiar with the story, you know that the sword holds special powers and ensures that the owner will rule the land but first he must be able to pull the sword from it’s resting place, which no one, until now, has been able to do since the only one who can, is the true royal heir to the throne.
I found this version, directed by Guy Ritchie, to have been exiting and well acted. I was thoroughly entertained and especially loved watching Djimon Hounsou who I’ve always thought of as “eye candy” run around fighting and flexing his muscles. Also, the special effects were spectacular, especially the sea witches who were a mass of several women. If you’re looking for a descent movie, check out King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged arthur, astrid berges-frisbey, backlack, camelot, charlie hunnam, Djimon Hounsou, eric bana, jude law, king arthur: legend of the sword, Kingsley ben-adir, londinum, mordred, neil maskell, rob knighton, sir bedivere, sir george, sir tristan "wet stick", the mage, tom wu, uther pendragon, vortigern
There’s no doubt in my mind, Jennifer Lawrence will go down as one of the greatest actresses of all time. She can make a crap script look good. Not that Passengers is a bad script, it was actually quite good. She made it look even better. The story was different and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Over 5,000 people, they call colonists, signed up to journey to a new planet called Homestead II, which is 120 years away. They are being transported by the Starship Avalon, to start a new life. That means, new family, new friends, new planet, new rules, new beginning. What a concept. In my opinion, that would be nice if you were not bringing the same old you with the same old baggage. You know the old but true saying, where ever you go, there you are. Anyway, the technology on this fascinating, well constructed vessel is suppose to be flawless. Everyone, including the crew, are programmed to stay asleep in hibernation pods for 118 years. No one is suppose to wake up until the 118th year of the trip. Of course that’s not what happened, or else there would be no movie.
1 passenger named Jim Preston, (Chris Pratt) due to a malfunction, was awakened after 30 years, which was 88 years too soon (The plan was to awaken everyone 2 years prior to reaching Homestead II). There are no other active humans (awake) on the vessel to help and any messages you might want to send out will take something like 29 years or more to reach anyone. Anything could happen under these circumstances, why would anyone want to box themselves into such a corner? This is just my take on the whole idea. I’m not sure I see the benefit in this but I’m sure someone might. I guess if your life is scrap or the world, as you know it, is scrap, you might go for it. In Passengers, the current world had become over crowded. The real catch here is that once awakened, you could not be put back to sleep. So now what? There are a few things you might do but would these things be feasible, acceptable or even moral? After a year of isolation, with no company except Arthur (Michael Sheen), an android bartender, Jim, despondent, contemplates suicide. One day he notices beautiful Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) in her pod. Her video profile reveals she is a writer with a humorous personality. Again, what do you do?
Of course, I’m not going to tell — I will say that I really liked Passengers and I highly recommend that you see it if you haven’t already. Laurence Fishburne also stars as Chief Gus Mancuso, the chief deck officer and Andy Garcia as Captain Norris but when did they make an appearance since no one else was awake? Check it out! Passengers is worth seeing.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged andy garcia, arthur, aurora lane, captain norris, chris pratt, gus mancuso, homestead ii, jennifer lawrence, jim preston, laurence fishburne, michael sheen, Passengers
The Water Diviner, directed by Russell Crowe, is an excellent movie. I didn’t think I would like it, boy was I wrong. The movie opens in 1919 right after WWI, with a farmer named Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe), using a diviner to find water on his property. When he does, he digs and builds a rather sophisticated well. Joshua has three sons, Arthur (Ryan Corr), Edward (James Fraser), and Henry (Ben O’Toole) who all served with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at the Battle of Gallipoli five years prior to the opening scene of the movie and are now presumed dead. Joshua’s wife, Eliza (Jacqueline McKenzie), is unable to come to grips with their loss and blames Joshua for not going out and finding the boys. Soon after, Eliza committed suicide by drowning. Joshua would have to lie to her priest so that she could be buried on consecrated ground. At her burial, he decided he would bring his boys back and bury them beside her.
Joshua then commits himself to finding exactly what happened to the boys, to whom he had incredibly close relationships. So he packed up and set out on a journey to Turkey where he meets Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko) and her son Orhan (Dylan Georgiades). Ayshe is a widow who has not accepted her husband’s death but warms up to Joshua and tries to help him get to Gallipoli where his sons were killed. There are some profound surprises on Joshua’s journey that make this movie worth every minute of your time watching it. The Water Diviner will pull more emotions out of you than you ever expected. Observing the audience around me, there was much laughter, tears and outburst. Aside from Russell Crowe, a Turkish officer by the name of Major Hasan (Yılmaz Erdoğan) will steal away your heart.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged 3 sons, anzac, arthur, australian, ayshe, edward, farmer, gallipoli, henry, joshua connor, new zealand, olga kurylenko, orhan, russell crowe, the water diviner, turkey, ww1