Emily could have been just another biopic but luckily there are a handful of things the film does a bit differently. Emily is a part fictional portrait of English writer Emily Brontë, which really does sum up this film quite well.
For starters Emma Mackey is truly fantastic here, she gives so far one of the best performances of the year and truly hits it out of the park whenever given the opportunity. There’s these moments where the lines of fiction and reality are blurred, Mackey takes those moments and only makes them stronger with her incredible acting ability.
The cinematography is gorgeous and gives the film a more gothic period piece type aesthetic which is very pleasing to the eye and really compliments the film quite well, the attention to detail with the costumes, background and foreground is truly sharp and creative as well. There’s so much to look at in each scene even if there is just a shot of one person in frame.
When it comes to directing Frances O’Connor really nails it down, this is actually her directional debut which is quite impressive and really shows the upcoming talent really well, O’Connor creates a real but also fictional world. It has this playful atmosphere towards the beginning but at the same time has this dark atmosphere of tragedy which ultimately does come up in the film. It’s impressive to see how quickly O’Connor can capture so many different types of moods really well.
The only main flaw is the movie does go on for a bit too long towards the end, however that doesn’t stop Emily from being such an interesting film that is truly beautifully told and done.
I’ve thought about Weird: The Al Yankovic Story for a couple weeks now, quite honestly the more I thought about it the more I loved it. Which it helps since I already loved it when I first watched it. Anyway Weird is a biopic on the famous comedic and parody songwriter Weird Al, a music biopic on Weird Al was inevitable the music biopic genre is one that has grown quite rapidly over the last couple of years with films like Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman, Respect and even this year’s Elvis and Dance With Somebody (which is releasing in a couple weeks at the time this was written). The only question was how were they going to approach a music biopic about Weird Al? Luckily what they went with was a very clever decision and actually compliments Weird Al as a person and his career, for starters the cast here is truly brilliant. Daniel Radcliffe at this point in his career has been very diverse when it comes to selecting roles in each genre but his portrayal of Weird Al might just be one of his absolute best, he truly captures the mannerisms and singing voice that Weird Al has and truly turns this up to eleven, it also helps that Al Yankovic is one of the writers of the film so that only adds to Radcliffe’s performance, there’s tons of songs that Radcliffe truly nails but the one that truly stands out is “Like A Surgeon” there’s so much entertainment in that scene alone that makes the film a whole lot of fun and sums up Weird Al and his style quite well. Radcliffe gives one of those performances where the actor or actress in questions completely transforms into who they are portraying. Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna is truly mind blowing talk about a performance that completely nails every scene she’s in, she captures everything from the looks, to the voice and the energy it’s all there. She’s such a delight every time she’s on screen and really works well with Daniel Radcliffe, the two really compliment each other incredibly well and keeps the movie at a very strong pace. The cameo performances are a lot of fun such as Conan O’Brien as Andy Warhol, Jorma Taccone as Pee-wee Herman and Nina West (who is actually a drag queen) as Divine. Jack Black as Wolfman Jack is also a very fun performance. But now we are getting into what I hinted at earlier how they were going to approach this movie, easy make it a parody of the music biopic subgenre and go absolute bananas with it. Which given that like I mentioned earlier that Weird Al is one of the writers this was always going to be a very creative parody. It’s one of those parody type films that actually really works and is actually one of those cases where the parody is better than some of the films it’s parodying, it’s very cleverly written with tons of jokes, the performances are truly top notch and actually compliment the film, there’s a huge amount of entertainment value that really makes the film standout on it’s own. There’s even some genuine heartfelt scenes between Al and the people around him, overall Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is a a blast of fun. It succeeds as a parody and completely matches the style of Weird Al Yannkovic, if you are fan of Weird Al please be sure to check this one out!
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is available on Roku.
There really isn’t a whole lot to Rise, it’s a very decent sports drama film that really doesn’t do anything new. It has a very TV movie like feel to it but luckily that doesn’t take away from the acting which is genuinely pretty decent. Rise does a decent job at telling of NBA’s Giannis Antetokounmpo who is played by Uche Agada, Agada does a solid job in the role and brings a lot of powerful moments to it which is always welcome. Writing wise there are some strong moments but at times the script puts the movie at a complete halt that does hurt the movie in the long run, if you are a fan of sports drama movies you will most likely like this one. Just don’t go in expecting anything groundbreaking.
Rise is available on Disney+
Not much to say here Trevor The Musical is another one of those stage adaption films. It’s based on the 1994 short film Trevor, about a young boy who is a huge fan of Diana Ross and has a crush on his schoolmate Pinky Faraday. For what Trevor The Musical is it’s not bad at all, there’s some decent acting here plus Holden Hagelberger and the rest of the cast are very lovable. The major flaw that does hold this one back is mostly some of the songs, the Diana Ross songs are done quite well it’s the other songs that aren’t done very well. Hagelberger is a fun actor and dancer but his singing voice is not always great, in the more emotional moments it’s a bit better luckily. I definitely think this movie is going to appeal to kids and teens a lot more which is definitely not a bad thing, as the movie is harmless and has an overall solid message.
Baz Luhrman definitely does his thing with Elvis and it really works here, for starters let’s start with elephant in the room Austin Butler as Elvis was an incredible casting decision that led to incredible results. From the way he talked, moved and sung Butler completely transforms into Elvis to the point where it almost felt like you were watching Elvis. Butler does this at the age of 30 taking on such a huge role of being a highly regarded singer and masterfully perfecting the role is truly fantastic, the amount of styles Baz Luhrman includes is pretty insane but a very nice welcome as well, he does tend to do this with most of his films and while I do understand the argument how it can be annoying or sometimes breaks the movie. In this case it was very necessary when you make a film about Elvis you should definitely try to make something interesting and capture the spirit of his legacy. That’s what Luhrman did here, from the performances and dancing he really paints an interesting picture. There’s a lot of fast editing that makes a scene where it focuses on Elvis’s sex appeal really standout mostly due to how insane it really is, there’s plenty of more scenes like that as well! The supporting cast such as Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kelvin Harrison Jr and Helen Thomson were also pretty solid! There’s only two major flaws with the film the first one being the 2 hour and 39 minute running time, while I do get it was trying to tell as much about Elvis as possible, there is some stuff in here that was admittedly extra fluff that didn’t need to be included. But at the very least the movie does keep things entertaining and the running time does go by relatively quickly. The second flaw being mostly Tom Hanks, I’m not entirely sure if Tom Parker being used as the narrative device was very successful (Hank’s accent is very very strange). Luhrman makes sure to lay it on you of how scummy of a person Parker was and he’s pretty successful at doing that, overall Elvis is a really solid film that definitely strays far away from the usual biopic film, mostly due to just how transformative Austin Butler’s performance is and Baz Luhrman’s stylistic choices!
The Tender Bar is a movie where I have a hard time thinking of a lot to say about it, mostly due to how bare bones it feels. I will say that the first half of this movie was quite great, that’s mainly due to Ben Affleck bringing in a ton of charm and passion into the role. There were some genuinely nice moments with his character, Christopher Lloyd is always nice to see as well. After the first half the movie completely sinks from there, it starts to lose it’s identity and ends up having the exact same problems George Clooney’s last several movies had. Very generic writing that is surface level and doesn’t tell the viewer anything about the characters, very by the numbers biopic that really doesn’t not tell you a whole lot of information about J.R. Moehringer. Lastly there’s the writing that’s just not strong enough to bring in the viewer, plus the coming of age story aspect feels incredibly bare minimum. Overall The Tender Bar is very forgettable and doesn’t offer much outside of a very strong performance from Ben Affleck and a few moments.
The Tender Bar is available on Amazon Prime Video!
Being The Ricardos is what happens when a movie that is a very very below average gets constantly pushed to get spotlight. I was already dreading to watch Being The Ricardos after I heard how it’s a biopic that does nothing interesting, sadly that’s how I would sum up this movie. While Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem aren’t bad at all, they are not giving some of the best performances of the year that the movie and many sites are leading you to believe. Nicole Kidman was heavily miscast as Lucille Ball and it’s very easy to tell just by watching her performance for at least 10 minutes, the best performance was J.K. Simmons who gave this movie some sort of character. The writing felt like a huge drag, Sorkin’s writing this time around felt way too cluttered with so many ideas being thrown into the movie and proceeding to see what sticks. There’s a few interesting bits such as the camerawork which feels like it’s being filmed in a dressing room type of feel and it works actually pretty well considering the topic of the movie. What ultimately kills this movie is the 2 hours and 5 minute running time like a lot of biopics it over stays it’s welcome and goes on for far too long, it also starts to fall in typical biopic movie cliches and does absolutely nothing new. I really don’t know what else to say here, which is very concerning seeing how this might be a best picture nomination at the Oscars, in a year that I felt was a very strong year for film. The fact a below average biopic that has nothing to say and feels incredibly lifeless is being celebrated over Pig, The Green Knight, Nine Days and a few others is very sad. Give this one a skip.
Being The Ricardos is available on Amazon Prime Video!
King Richard is a biopic of Serena Williams and Venus Williams father Richard Williams, it shows how determined Richard was to make his vision a reality wanting Serena and Venus to succeed. Will Smith does a fantastic job as Richard Williams, he captures his soul and his mannerisms as well. It’s easily the best performance Will Smith has done in quite awhile it really brings the type of performance that I and so many other people have wanted to see from in quite some time. Will Smith not only captures Richard’s mannerisms but he also captures how much Richard wanted his vision to come true, how much he really wanted to reach that goal. The rest of the cast were quite fantastic Jon Bernthal, Demi Singleton, Saniyya Sidney and Aunjanue Ellis all do a really strong job in their roles! The writing is much better than expected, there are some incredibly powerful moments (such as the kitchen scene) that really drag you into the mind of Richard Williams. It makes you understand how much it means to him, which makes the build up for the end all the more powerful. Overall King Richard can feel like a formulaic biopic at times however those moments aren’t enough to stop it from being a really interesting film that goes beyond from being just a biopic film. It’s a film that showcases how someone was determined to make their vision a reality and would never give up until it did come true!!
The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain is another example of showing how Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the best actors working today, he does such a fantastic job of capturing the spirit of Louis Wain in so many different ways. For starters Cumberbatch does a great job of matching Wain’s mannerisms, it’s quite impressive to see and I’m really glad Cumberbatch was chosen for the role. The acting all around is quite fantastic, Claire Foy does a very solid job (even if she isn’t in most of the film), the filming combined with the score is quite beautiful. There’s certain scenes where the film itself does feel like a painting with a lot of bright colors that pop out really nicely, the film itself is also really wholesome at times and you just can’t help but smile. There’s also a lot of heartbreaking moments that I actually did cry during, which is to be expected when making a film about Louis Wain. The truth is Louis Wain did not have the best life like some other artists did and the film does a fantastic job of showing that perfectly. The cats are also present and yes are as cute as you would expect, it is very interesting to see how a simple drawings or paintings could turn into someone’s career and make a ton of people feel a tremendous amount of joy inside. Overall The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain is a beautiful film that I highly recommend!
The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain is available on Amazon Prime Video!
The Eyes Of Tammy Faye is interesting and sort of surprising, right from the beginning it gives this bizarre style to it that I had no idea what to make of it. There are very standard biopic bits during the first half that aren’t too exciting but not anything really bad, Jessica Chastain gives one of her best performances here and is more than likely going to get nominated when the award shows start. And as she should she becomes Tammy Faye, she nails every single thing about her from how she acted and spoke to her style of singing. Speaking of which the songs were very great, despite Christian music certainly not being my type of music I still found myself singing along and have actually listened to a few of the songs since I saw the film. Andrew Garfield is also pretty great as well, while he isn’t as good as Jessica Chastain he still delivers a fantastic performance and was very believable as Jim Bakker. There are moments when he even becomes Jim Bakker it gets pretty scary, Cherry Jones who plays Rachel LaValley deserves to be talked about more for her performance. She’s hilarious, she gives this sarcastic yet loving performance that really makes you smile. The major flaw with The Eyes Of Tammy Faye is skimming over certain subjects. Especially with her connection to the LGBT community sure it’s shown in the film a few times and it does show she genuinely cares about the community, however it doesn’t feel like it’s discussed very much. I would have also loved to see the film dive a bit deeper on the shadiness of televangelist, but for what the movie did talk about it did a solid job. The writing definitely improves as it goes on, it starts out good enough but just very strange for the sake of feeling strange, but as the movie reaches its 30 minute mark it improves quite well. Overall The Eyes Of Tammy Faye is quite great, it does feel like a very standard biopic at times but there is a lot to like about this one, I recommend watching this one solely because of the performances!
Respect is one of those films that should have been much stronger than it ended up being, let’s get the obvious out of the way Jennifer Hudson does an incredible job in her role as Aretha Franklin, she captures the spirit of Franklin and gives such a fantastic performance with all the songs. There’s other great bits here and there but it ultimately comes down to Hudson’s performance, while everything else isn’t bad it should have been so much stronger. The first hour of the movie is rough, it definitely has it’s moments but for the most part the writing really does not help at all. What Respect mostly struggles with is innovation and soul, there just seems to be not a whole of inspiration certain scenes. It’s like everyone settled with Respect being a standard biopic and nothing more. The performances are all well done thanks to Jennifer Hudson who brings as much energy and power to the songs due to her talent, I couldn’t help but feel that if the movie had more innovation that some of the performances would have been even stronger. Lastly there’s the running time which should not have been 2 hours and 35 minutes, they could have easily cut out a bunch of scenes and nothing would have really changed, overall Respect is not a bad movie at all. It has a ton of great moments plus Jennifer Hudson, but I do wish it was a much better movie.