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Rocketman (2019) Blu-Ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson


Rocketman Review

Director: Dexter Fletcher
Writer: Lee Hall
Starring: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, Stephen Graham, Gemma Jones, Jason Pennycooke, Steven Mackintosh, Sharon D. Clarke, Tate Donovan, Kit Connor.

Since we all really liked Bohemian Rhapsody, I took my entire family to see Rocketman when it was released in theatres. I’ve always enjoyed music bios, and particularly interesting are those about artists I clearly remember at the height of their popularity. Like Queen, Elton John’s music was a big part of my childhood.

I tend to pay little attention to press or reviews of movies I’m already intent on seeing, so other than its subject, its star (Taron Egerton) and obviously the music, I knew relatively little about Rocketman going in. Considering his wild life and countless classic songs, any movie with Elton John as its subject would be inherently interesting.

But as the film opened, something unexpectedly wonderful happened. Decked-out in one of his trademark stage costumes, a worn and weary Elton John sits down with a support group and counts-off his numerous addictions. When the counsellor asks about his childhood, John begins to quietly sing. Though it sounds like a melancholy ballad, I recognised the lyrics to “The Bitch is Back.” The scene morphs into a huge production number taking place on the street of his childhood home, with dancers, back-up singers and a young Reggie Dwight (Elton’s real name) belting-out the sassy chorus.

My wife gasped in surprise. My musical-loving oldest daughter quickly clapped with joy. The unexpected rush I felt was the same as when I first saw that massive Imperial Star Destroyer enter the top of the frame in the opening scene from Star Wars. Rocketman wasn’t just a music bio…it was a full-blown musical.

With 20/20 hindsight, of course it is. How could any movie about rock & roll’s most fearlessly flamboyant frontman not be?

I suppose comparisons to Bohemian Rhapsody are inevitable, though not entirely fair. Both take dramatic liberties with the facts and timeline, but Rocketman is more than an episodic love letter to its subject. Elton’s life and songs are basically re-imagined, not only for dramatic purposes, but to turn his story into an epic musical fantasy with the glamour and audacity befitting of its subject. The film is filled with brilliantly-conceived musical numbers featuring his best-known songs. But they aren’t isolated pieces of gratuitous window dressing. The numbers are sequenced in a manner that they become part of the narrative and the songs themselves feel almost autobiographical, despite the varied lyrical subject matter.

Though only superficially resembling Elton John, Taron Egerton’s performance is every bit as remarkable as Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury, plus he does his own singing (as does the rest of the cast). As depicted in the film, John is a complicated character who is – by turns – insecure, lonely, egotistical, self-loathing, resentful, sensitive, petty and narcissistic. Egerton convincingly demonstrates all those traits, yet still keeps his character likeable. Otherwise, sequences featuring “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” “Crocodile Rock” and “Rocket Man” wouldn’t be nearly as engaging, nor would we care whether or not he wins the battle against his demons.

Regarding Elton John’s sexuality, Rocketman is certainly braver than Bohemian Rhapsody, but that’s not ultimately what makes it a better film. The narrative is more cohesive, the main character more complex and his story more vividly presented, enhanced by knock-out musical numbers. It’s as fun as Elton’s songs and – so far – the most purely entertaining movie of the year.

Rocketman (2019) Movie Review By The Moviie Couple

Rocketman Review

Director: Dexter Fletcher
Writer: Lee Hall
Stars: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden

Moviie Couple here!   We went to see Rocketman this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system. Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

Rocketman tells the life story of Elton John.  His rise to fame from his childhood home in the Pinner area of London to the world wide success as a mega star is covered in this bio-pic.  We see the  various relationships that formed who he was and more importantly who he grew to become.  The film focuses on his life from childhood to his sobriety years well into his fantastical (He was Captain Fantastic after all) career.  The film is directed by Dexter Fletcher of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Eddie The Eagle fame and stars Taron Egerton as Elton himself with Jamie Bell co starring as lifelong musical partner Bernie Taupin, a nearly unrecognisable Bryce Dallas Howard as his Mum, and Richard Madden as John Reid the infamous paramour and Music Manager.  As one would expect many of Sir Elton’s hit songs are spread throughout the film in expected and many unexpected ways.  Huge musical performances, drama, excess of alcohol, drugs, shopping and food and many ,many sequinned costume changes are met along the way!  Well the curtain rises, wrap your boa around your neck, throw on your bedazzled glasses and lets all say goodbye to the yellow brick road and get to the reviews!

So here we go!

Mr. Moviie Couple:  I was not expecting to be enthralled by a bio pic, I love true stories, but you sort of know what your getting going in.  I have to say Rocketman grabbed me early with its unorthodox start!  Right from the opening scene, this film pulled me in and let me know this was not going to be a by the numbers biography movie!  Even in a movie like this we don’t spoil, so that will be all I say about that.  As a fan of Elton John’s music (isn’t everyone?) I admit I was ignorant about much of his personal life.  This movie gave me all I needed to actually feel for young Reginald Dwight, the boy that would grow up to become Elton Hercules John.  The dramatic pieces hit me in all the right spots.  All the actors shine in this movie, but let’s be honest it swims or sinks on the performance of Taron Egerton.  I am pleased to tell you his portrayal of the Rocketman soars!  The pain and doubt he displays as Elton struggles through life, pre and post success, is seen all over his face.  He relays what Elton is feeling and words are not even necessary!  Bell and Madden seem to embody both Taupin and Reid as well.  Just captivating performances throughout really.  Dallas Bryce Howard also shines as a Mom not even a son could love.  The way this movie places Elton’s songs throughout the film maybe not be in order of release (I’m not knowledgeable enough to say), but shows up in times of Elton’s life where they relate the most and are placed perfectly.  As were the numbers!  Yes, I said musical numbers, not just performances (which again headdresses off to Mr. Egerton as he actually sings the songs himself).  The numbers break out in fantasy/imagination scenes as Elton remembers key moments of his life!   This is like a hybrid bio pic/Broadway musical and it’s all a hit!  I learned a lot about Sir Elton and enjoyed this film the entire time!

For a film that didn’t involve hammer wielding superheroes, radioactive lizards or invincible hitmen this movie blew me away!  I gave Rocketman a solid 5 Bills!  Great performances, full blown musical numbers!  Just a great time.

Mrs. Moviie Couple:  She was surprised by the unexpected format the movie took in telling its story!  She did not expect it to become a full blown musical, she was expecting something similar to Bohemian Rhapsody.  As a huge fan of Broadway, she was delighted!  She could easily see this film adapted to the Broadway stage and being even more successful.  She loved Taron Egerton’s acting!  She felt he actually was Elton John, his resemblance and performance took her breath away!  She commented on what a great actor he is and how he doesn’t get enough credit for his versatility.  How he can play both tough action hero in the Kingsman films and then vulnerable and sweet as seen in Eddie the Eagle and now Rocketman.  The film nearly brought her to tears at times.  She found the film full of emotions and left her with a deep sense of how a negative childhood could be overcome to bring out the best in a person.  She found the costumes and music all matched the flair that Elton had become famous for back in his younger years!  She loved the end credits as well, during them we are told how Elton is doing today and shown real life photos of the scenes Egerton recaptured so accurately.  She would see it again in a heartbeat and can’t wait to see if it really does go to Broadway!  Mrs. Moviie Couple gives Rocketman 6 Bills!!! Yes, I believe that is the first 6 Bills given out by the Mrs.!!!

On the way home, We talked the entire way home!  We discussed Egerton’s performance, his singing, the musical numbers!  We both loved the unique way the story was told.  Before we arrived home we were playing Elton John in the car, which is quite the endorsement.  I give it 5 Bills, just a great film with a unique vision.  The Mrs. gives it 6 Bills!  She wanted to see it again!  She was touched by the drama and absolutely loved the musical numbers!  So we’ll go with an average of 5.5 Wow!  Great time out, worth the money and highly recommended!

Till then, Hold your tiny dancers close and we’ll see you at the movies!  Be sure to check our facebook page for a clue to our next movie up for review!  Mr. & Mrs. Moviie Couple out!

Rocketman (2019) Movie Review By Philip Henry


Director: Dexter Fletcher
Screenwriter: Lee Hall
Stars: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden

I’m not a big Elton John fan. I like a lot of his 70s output and a few other songs here and there, so I come to this not knowing very much about his personal life.

The film starts with Elton in a rehab meeting, dressed a little more flamboyantly than anyone else, he begins to tell the story of what led him here. As a young boy growing up in post-war London young Reggie Dwight, for that is his real name, shows an aptitude for piano. His father is aloof and distant towards the boy and his mother – a barely recognisable Bryce Dallas Howard – is more concerned with chasing her own desires than her son’s future. So the only encouragement comes from his grandmother, who takes him to study at the Royal Academy of Music.

Young Reggie soon gets his first gig in his local pub and that is the catalyst for the film’s first big musical number, and it is impressive! Where this film differs from Bohemian Rhapsody, to which it will no doubt be compared, is this film is a musical in the true MGM sense of the word. During the narrative, people break into Elton’s back catalogue and start singing their feelings, and in the scene where we transition from young Reggie to teenage Reggie, it’s an all singing, all dancing extravaganza. These moments of musical fantasy happen throughout the film and it’s impossible not to have a big wide grin on your face when they do. They’re full of joy and energy and that’s something I think a lot of modern musicals lack.

Teenage Reggie gets a job in a backing band and hones his craft, and discovers his sexual leanings, but no matter how good a piano player he is, he’s unable to get a record deal without original songs. So they pair him up with lyricist Bernie Taupin and history is made. I must say a word about Jamie Bell at this point. I’ve never really liked him as an actor. He always came across as arrogant in interviews and I think he was over-rated by British critics when he did Hollywood movies. I remember a certain reviewer saying Bell ran rings around Hayden Christensen in Jumper, but I couldn’t see it. I thought they were both fine, but neither noticeably better than the other. Anyway, I will eat my words with this performance. Anyone who has ever heard Bernie Taupin interviewed will know he has a very strange accent, and Bell nails it perfectly. His whole restrained performance is the yang to Egerton’s manic yin, as Elton descends into alcoholism and drug addiction.

If you wondered how much Dexter Fletcher really contributed to Bohemian Rhapsody, this film will make you wonder how much Bryan Singer actually did on it. Fletcher seems more at home in this genre than Singer would ever be, maybe because he started his career long ago on the classic children’s musical Bugsy Malone – yes, he was Baby Face, remember?

This is easily Fletcher’s most confident and creatively interesting movie to date. The song and dance sequences are carried off with aplomb, and the recreations of Elton’s performance in Tommy and some of his music videos will make a lot of fans smile. It’s not all fun and games though, Elton’s destructive relationship with his manager John Reid (Richard Madden) will really make you feel for the kid who gets too much too soon, but Fletcher is just as accomplished with these small, emotional scenes as he is at recreating huge concerts.

Taron Egerton throws himself into the role wholeheartedly and captures the energy and excitement of Elton’s early live performances with the swagger and poise of the man himself. His cocaine and alcohol addiction isn’t lingered on as much as it probably should be, but even this serves to keep the film upbeat and entertaining.

I’m a much bigger Queen fan than I am an Elton fan, but I have to admit, this is the better movie. Its scale, invention and sheer exuberance elevate it way above your average biopic.

6 Days (2017) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

6 Days

Director: Toa Fraser
Writer: Glenn Standring
Stars: Jamie Bell, Mark Strong, Abbie Cornish

Plot: In April 1980, armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy in Princes Gate, London and took all inside hostage. Over the next six days a tense standoff took place, all the while a group of highly trained soldiers from the SAS prepared for a raid the world had never seen.

Running Time: 94 Minutes
IMDB Score: 6.2

Why I Watched It: Didn’t really know much about it but the trailer and the cast made up my mind.

Random Thoughts: This is based on a true story and I honestly don’t remember even hearing about it. Now that’s a good bad thing, on the good side I don’t know how it turns out but on the bad side I don’t know if they’re staying true to the events.

On a side note here I think Mark Strong is such an underrated actor, he’s caught in that grey area of character actor but sometime leading man, granted in mostly British films, but he’s always good I’m just waiting for that breakout role where more people know his name.

What I Liked: Not knowing about this really did help me with the tension and also how this all happened so I wasn’t bored with it at all. This comes down to being a hostage movie but it has many different moving parts and I think that what I liked about the film, it doesn’t focus on one thing. We have the hostage takers, the police who are negotiating with them, the press outside not only reporting but waiting, the government behind close doors deciding what to do and the team of SAS soldiers waiting to get called on.

My favorite part is with the SAS, cause we’ve seen hostage movies before but to get a chance to see the SAS getting ready and then have to wait to see if and when they go in was very interesting and different. Jamie Bell shines in this part as one of the SAS waiting, he’s quiet intense and says a lot with just looks and facial expressions, he’s tough without having to go over the top macho about it. The parts where you see them wait and then go over different ways of going in is very interesting.

Mark Strong is the best part about the hostage negotiating. He’s mostly on the phone, he plays the main Cop on site and he shows compassion and also helplessness, there isn’t much he can do except bide time. The reporters are the weakness part as their not given much screen time but Abie Cornish is good here, I wish she had more to do.

The film is for the most part mostly talking but the end we do get some action and it’s filmed and acted very well, they show the speed and precision that these men trained for.

What I Didn’t Like: For the most part the film lacked energy, it’s well done but it seems very workman like, not a lot of energy and the film takes on almost a documentary type feel to it, we’re on the outside looking in and I didn’t feel connected at times.

The weakest part is the actual hostage situation it’s acted well and shot well but it’s cliches after cliches, we’ve seen this a hundred times, there’s the one man “terrorist” who is calm and wants everyone to get out alive and then the other more hotheaded one who you know is going to make things harder and it just seemed mailed in, we don’t really learn much about them and we don’t even get to know the hostages that well either.

This is a case where I think the film needed maybe 15 minutes added on so we could flesh out the characters better so we got the sense of who they were. At the end of the film we get of course titles telling us of what happened to these people and commenting on them, we the reporter played by Abbie Cornish became a household name because of her reporting but we don’t really get to see much of that or get a feel for her. I think we dealt with too many behind the door meetings with politicians that really didn’t add much we hadn’t seem a hundred times before. I’m glad they didn’t cast someone as Margaret Thatcher, that would have been distracting, we do hear what she wants though.

I think in the end what I liked about the film hurt it a bit, by showing us all the different moving parts we didn’t get the focus some of them needed to make it a better film.

Final Thoughts: A well made and a very well acted film, it’s worth the watch.

Rating: 6/10

Snowpiercer (2013) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier


Director: Joon-ho Bong (as Bong Joon Ho)
Writers: Joon-ho Bong (screenplay) (as Joon Ho Bong), Kelly Masterson (screenplay)
Stars: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton

Plot: Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges.

Running time: 2 hours 6 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 95% Audience 72%

Why I watched it: The buzz and reviews were huge and the cast was great as well.

Random Thoughts: I find critics love the anti blockbuster, a film that has all the trappings of a Hollywood Epic but screws with the formula, usually these kind of films are made by a director from another country, critics love that. Now this film as you can see by Rotten Tomatoes has lots of followers that love it, I will say this going in I knew it was going to be different and by golly it was, it really was.

What I liked: The set up, the train looks great, I love films that create their own worlds this is an interesting looking film, dark and drape but kind of beautiful, the train feels lived in and all the different cars are amazing they’re each they’re own world. The cast is top notch, I miss John Hurt, he brought class and dignity to everything he did, he’s great here. Tilda Swinton is well, what can you say, another good but strange performance. Chris Evans is the lead and hero I guess, he underplays it and he plays a very weary and tired man, a man who’s done things he can’t undo and a man who knows things won’t end well. The set pieces, the fights and the whole uprising of the poor people of the train moving through these cars is gripping and really well filmed.

What I didn’t like: To say this film is heavy handed is a huge understatement, the metaphor of the train classes to the classes in real life is over done and really not subtle at all, we are beaten over the head with it. Now I won’t get into the whole thing where the train never stops and the world is frozen and if you leave the train you die, I’ll give it the premise but the people and how they are portrayed is silly. I’ll say this upfront, I didn’t love this film and I didn’t like it, I respect some of it but in the third act is completely falls apart for me. Man thins film feels long, and the last 30 minutes seem like a hour, some twists and reveals are almost laughable and disturbing, they make a big thing about finding out what they’re food is made out of but then we find out they ate people before that and babies, yes you read that right, this is one of these movies that want to make it clear that humanity and society are evil, when push comes to shove the worst in people come out, I get it but this film is so bleak and so determined to prove itself right that the film gets lost. Don’t even get me started on the ending, and yes there’s a few ending to get to till the last ending and it just gets more bleak as we go, it’s a dumb ending pure and simple.

Final thoughts: It’s different film, you haven’t seen anything like it but different doesn’t mean good, there’s images that are amazing and the film will have you talking no doubt but it not only left me cold but left me shaking my head cause I do feel there’s some good things in here but in the end I didn’t care for it and do feel it’s completely overrated.

Rating: 4/10