Advertisements

Killer Queen: Sacha Baron Cohen to Write, Direct, and Star in Freddie Mercury Biopic

Mercury-Cohen-collage

The band was interested in a PG-version of the rock star’s life, while Cohen had hopes for a gritty R-rated tell-all.

A biopic starring Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury, the dynamic Queen frontman who died in 1991 at the age of 45 due to complications from AIDS, has been in the works for nearly seven years. It was confirmed as happening as early asSacha-Baron-Cohen 2010 and confirmed as not happening as recently as 2013—reportedly due to Cohen “not seeing eye to eye with the remaining members of Queen who have script and director approval.” Apparently the band was interested in a PG-version of the rock star’s life, while Cohen had hopes for a “gritty R-rated tell-all.”

During the project’s long gestational period, Cohen brought in the likes of Peter Morgan to write and David Fincher and Tom Hooper to direct the film, but all were rejected by the band. These differences appear to have been worked out, however, with Queen manager Jim Beach announcing that Cohen will depict the singer, as well as write, direct, and produce the film himself. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Notes on ‘American Sniper’

editor-commen-deskLike many movie goers I prefer to avoiding reading detailed reviews of movies before I see them, then enjoy reading a series of them right after. With the controversy surrounding American Sniper, it’s almost impossible to avoid exposure to what’s being said and written (and we’ve covered plenty of that controversy in the last few weeks) so it made even more of a challenge to stay away from reviews until I had an opportunity to see it myself.

Bradley Cooper American Sniper

A few hours ago, I finally saw American Sniper. I’ve only read a few reviews so far–and I plan add some of our own commentary soon–but this New Yorker review immediately struck me, because I prejudged the source. Admittedly unfair, but I don’t see the island of Manhattan as a place to expect anything but veiled score for Clint Eastwood, dislike of war films in general, and snarling distaste for this movie in particular. I’m happy to be completely wrong. Though it’s a short capsule double-movie review, given second-billing to Selma, all due credit to New Yorker film critic David Denby, for a positive, respectful, and insightful review of American Sniper.

american-sniper

Denby‘s first sentence nails it:

“Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper is both a devastating war movie and a devastating antiwar movie, a subdued celebration of a warrior’s skill and a sorrowful lament over his alienation and misery.”

The following comment is one of the most admiring things a critic can say about a filmmaker:

“Eastwood’s command of this material makes most directors look like beginners. As Kyle and his men ride through rubble-strewn Iraqi cities, smash down doors, and race up and down stairways, the camera records what it needs to fully dramatize a given event, and nothing more.”

And this characterization of Eastwood’s skill and talent as a director is perfectly summarized:

“There’s no waste, never a moment’s loss of concentration, definition, or speed. The general atmosphere of the cities, and the scattered life of the streets, gets packed into the action…” Read the rest of this entry »