Movie Mondays ~ Monday, June 24, 2019

Movie Mondays ~ Monday, June 24, 2019

Life continues to be a little crazy right now, but I managed to squeeze in one film this week — and at the theaters, if you can believe that! I will admit that I wasn’t planning on seeing this one, but boy, am I glad that I did. I found something that didn’t give me predictable, surprised me at every turn, did not take the easy way out most of the time when it came to cinematography, costume or music, and best of all, entertained me. Please do continue… and as always, thanks for reading! ~ Chris K.

 

 

FILMS VIEWED WEEK OF 06/17/2019 – 06/23/2019

(click on images to enlarge on the screen!)

 

74. Rocketman

Drama, Musical (2019)
Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard

 

When I first saw coming attractions for this biography of the incredibly talented Elton John, I was scared. Oh no, please don’t try to tell the story of one of my favorite performers. I just know you’re going to blow it, look at that ad – it looks cheesy – the guy is singing his own songs and not using Elton’s versions, what are they…crazy? And who is that guy anyway? Was he even born when Elton still had hits on the radio? Blah, blah, blah. I was so opposed to the notion that anyone would do a biography on a living legend like Elton. And then I saw BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (2018), and along with my husband and it seems only a few other reviewers out there, was truly underwhelmed by that biography. I think it set my expectations so much lower after that, because if you can’t make a film about Freddie Mercury more interesting than a Lifetime TV movie of the week, then why bother? (And yes, I’m sure some of you are smacking me virtually right now because you loved the film and thought Rami Malek was terrific in it, but I had other people I was rooting for this year at the award shows. Click here if you want to read my actual review from BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY when I saw it earlier this year.)

 

We originally were going to see the latest X-MEN film, DARK PHOENIX but between unworkable showtimes and bad reviews seeping into my brain that led me to be less and less inclined to see it at the theaters, we opted for ROCKETMAN. And my opinion? I looooooooved it!! Can I tell you my first surprise? I had not read anything about the film beforehand, because frankly I didn’t care to see it. So other than learning that Taron Egerton of KINGSMEN was playing Elton, I knew nothing else. And that includes that I had NO IDEA that it was a musical in the traditional sense, that broke down the wall of realism and had a good time exploring the art of the musical with such extraordinary visual effects and camera work.

 

Here I was expecting a hohum, traditional music biography like BOHEMIAN. You know, tell me a story and use the music for performances and some storytelling of its own —  but I was not expecting people to break out into song in the middle of a room or a young boy to lead an orchestra hovering at his bedroom wall as music played in his head while he tried to sleep at night as we watch the musicians follow his lead him with loving looks and devotion as this sweet, lonely boy conducts them in the dark.

 

I adored the use of his vast collection of songs in such a creative way to tell the story. There is no logic to how the songs are laid out – it’s certainly not chronological, so don’t look to this as a biography in linear fashion. You can find that elsewhere in a good Behind the Music mini-documentary on YouTube somewhere, I’m sure. (Oh look, here you go… and you’re welcome.)

 

The acting is phenomenal – Egerton is masterful, I adored seeing Jamie Bell in the all-important role of his lyrical counterpart Bernie Taupin. Just as it was so important that we believe in Egerton, we as viewers had to believe in the friendship between these two people onscreen and the actors have tremendous chemistry. Bryce Dallas Howard always reminds me just how talented she is in the most beautifully subtle ways — but I must say, I do prefer to like her onscreen and you won’t be a big fan of her in the role as his rather cold and unfeeling mother. (But if the film is any indication of true life for Elton as a boy, she’s like an affectionate puppy compared to his callous father. Grrr…)

 

If you love music, see it. If you are thrilled that traditional musicals are becoming a ‘thing’ again with the success of recent hits like THE GREATEST SHOWMAN and LA LA LAND reviving the genre, see it. If you are an Elton John fan, duh, see it. If you want to see a good movie with good music, and yes, Egerton does do all of his own singing, as do the rest of the cast, and I thought this would bother me until I heard him — he’s terrific! I think it’s a far superior choice than him lip synching to the originals, so kudos for whomever finalized that decision.

 

Dare I write it? Oh hell, why not…  ROCKETMAN is outta this world!

 

 

Score: 90

 

Rocketman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.