Bohemian Rhapsody 2018 ****

A film about Freddie Mercury and Queen doesn’t have to be great to find an audience; there’s a built-in interest the world over that made the behind-the-scenes issues of Bohemian Rhapsody irrelevant. After the respectable adult drama of A Star is Born, Rhapsody is a full-blown pop-art fantasy, revising , re-arranging and completely fabricating elements of a true story to provide a fun, satisfying ride for audiences. With each member of Queen captured with amusing detail, Rami Malek does a remarkable job at making Mercury the driving force here, from an immigrant baggage handler at Heathrow to a full-on rock god in the final Live-Aid re-enactment. With wall-to-wall Queen songs, plenty of sentiment towards Mercury, a few in jokes via Mike Meyers and lots of  contemporary costuming misfires, there’s always something to enjoy here; critics may have scoffed, but audiences rightly made the most of this vivid, ludicrous biopic.

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54 1998 ***

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Writer/director Mark Christopher’s 1998 take on the legends of Studio 54 nightclub found little favour with audiences or critics, yet the presence of a plethora of hot talent from the time makes 54 an easy watch. Ryan Phillippe, Never Campbell, Selma Hayek and Sela Ward are all along for the ride, but the standout is Mike Meyers in a rare dramatic role as the destructive mogul behind the club, Steve Rubell. Rubell’s excessive behaviour is more interesting that the love triangle featuring nominal protagonist Shane O’Shea (Phillippe), presumably due to the cutting of 45 minutes of footage from the film, but Meyers makes something fascinating out of his role, playing up his bi-sexuality and drug-issues while also making something sympathetic about a rather monstrous character. 54 came too early to surf the wave of celebrity nostalgia for the late 70’s , but its worth a look for Meyers’ performance. And the soundtrack, featuring Chic, Odyssey and Candi Stanton, stands up well in this last days of disco story.

So I Married An Axe Murderer 1993 ***

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Mike Meyer’s could probably have made almost anything he wanted between Wayne’s World and Auston Powers; it’s delightful that he chose to make a film as off-beat, quirky and original as So I Married An Axe Murderer. Set against a sunny San Francisco vibe, Meyers plays Charlie Mackenzie, a poet who falls in love with Harriet (Nancy Travis), only to find out she has hidden and potentially deadly depths. Robbie Fox’s script appears to have been adapted to suit Meyer’s comic abilities, showcase beautifully in the hilarious beat-poetry scenes and in the evocation of Charlie’s Scottish family, red-haired, football loving abrasive characters who take the comedy beyond stereotypes to surreal levels. Great support from Alan Arkin and Anthony LaPaglia help make this a minor comic gem.