This Feeling Inside (Film Thoughts: Rocketman)

Rocketman-poster-2Elton John is a Rock Superstar, but my appreciation of him came later. My 70s music focused more on that other homosexual – Barry Manilow. But of course much later on, I started listening to Elton John’s music, and have a deep appreciation for his artistry. Then comes ‘Rocketman,’ his biopic. I had been looking forward to this, primarily because I was very disappointed with the Freddy Mercury one, and perhaps I may be in the minority on that one.

The good news – ‘Rocketman’ is better, even if it is sort of by the same Director, Dexter Fletcher. (He finished the last three week of shooting after Bryan Singer left)  It is certainly more creative, and the story more soulful, as opposed to BoRhap’s by-the-numbers storytelling. It is not a musical in the strictest definition, not even jukebox style. The songs don’t try to tell the story, although it sometimes does, but never feel shoehorned in the moment. The pace is fantastic, although I thought that at its length (a hairline north of two hours) it should have covered more.  And I wished there was more depth to the story, but I guess the film covers a very specific part of John’s early to mid life.

But all this quibble is drowned by Taron Egerton’s fantastic turn as Elton John. It is fully committed, and he gets to the core of the singer – he captures everything about the singer, even and up to his singing voice (Egerton sings all the vocals)  Very rarely does an actor capture a character’s soul, and Egerton nails that here. And I must also mention the great chemistry he has with Jamie Bell, who plays Bernie Taupin. Richard Madden does fine with his one-dimensional role, and much has been said about their sex scene – it’s chaste and inoffensive by any standard – you can take your Grandma to see this and she won’t even blink.

But above all, the movie is a lot of fun. I found myself remembering how much I appreciated the music. This may not be the most ideal Elton John bio pic for me, but it will more than suffice.

One For The Stars (Film Thoughts: Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool)

SDC_1401148_2018-11-1--15-28-32It’s Valentine’s Day and I am continuing my streak of desperately trying to find some romantic mood in my movie-viewing. I saved ‘Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool’ because, based on the trailer anyway, I thought it would be closest to a love story. It’s not, if I want to be real strict about it. But it’s a fairly good movie experience, thanks to great acting by Annette Bening and especially Jamie Bell.

I think I have mentioned before that I have been underwhelmed by the Best Actress front runners this year so I am quite dismayed that Annette Bening has not been in the conversation for her performance here. While she has been better, she gives a pretty solid performance here as Gloria Grahame, the aging silent-film actress who goes to London to do some stage work there. She is effective, and seems to have gotten the actress’ spirit here. I totally loved the earlier scenes when she first meets Peter, played by Jamie Bell. They have great chemistry together, and gave the film light and shine. And speaking of Bell, he is a bonafide leading man here- attractive and charming, and he gives his character huge depth. I know some critics have mentioned his performance here as very noteworthy and I do agree.

fstThe film, directed by Paul McGuigan, is just a bit too somber, though. I wish they showed more about Grahame, the actress, because, well, I don’t really know much about her and/or her career, aside from the fact that she won an Oscar in 1952 for ‘The Bad and The Beautiful.’

As for a Valentine’s Day movie choice, it’s good enough. The movie has a beating heart, and love is celebrated here in some kind of form. I could do worse.