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  • Bohemian Rhapsody PosterBohemian Rhapsody

    Starring: Rami Malek. Lucy Boynton. Bran Singer. Gwilym Lee

    Studio: 20th Century Fox, Initial Entertainment Group, and Regency Enterprises

    Review Date: November 6, 2018

     

    I remember clearly when Queen’s “Night at the Opera” came out in 1975. One of the classes I took as a Junior in high school was Mrs. Caldwell’s concert choir class. We were being educated in the classics. I didn’t see the appeal to it until Queen’s landmark album landed. 

    Suddenly, classical was cool and the reason was the song, Bohemian Rhapsody. Lead singer, Freddie Mercury, was mesmerizing both because of his stage presence as well as his amazing, operatic voice . . .. singing classical influenced rock. 

    My peers and I were thoroughly blown away.

    Fast-forward from 1975 to Fall 2018.

    The life of the late Freddie Mercury is commemorated in the new film, Bohemian Rhapsody.  As for accuracy, other reviews have called out some aspects of the film that are felt to be factually flawed in the strictest sense of accuracy. And, from what I’ve read, they make very good points.

    That all said, I feel that the film was good, entertaining, and covered the highlights of the history of Mercury and his band mates in Queen. Rami Malek does well portraying Freddie - albeit sometimes a bit more than needed - but does well overall. 

    The music? Bang on.

    Music performances? Phenomenal.

    All in all, an excellent film to watch and well worth the price of admission . . . and maybe even a bucket of popcorn, to boot.

    You will also want to order the “rockumentary”, Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender, that we reviewed six years ago (here).

  • freddiemercurythegreatpretendercoverFreddie Mercury: The Great Pretender
    Freddie Mercury
    Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
    Released: September 25, 2012
    Reviewed: September 30, 2012

    Freddie Mercury was one of the most charismatic, complex and fascinating characters in British rock music. A generous, caring, thoughtful man with a self-deprecating sense of humor and a genuine passion for music. Freddie Mercury touched the lives of millions through his career both with Queen and as a solo performer. The great folks at Eagle Rock Entertainment has released a new documentary about Freddie, The Great Pretender, and it is sure to delight and inform his legions of fans as never before.

    Created by the same team behind the widely acclaimed Queen: Days of Our Lives BBC documentary, The Great Pretender, in a similar vein, presents a compelling insight into its subject matter, unearthing previously undiscovered or rarely seen footage and is presented for the first time in High Definition.

    Produced and directed by Rhys Thomas, life-long Queen fan and expert (to the extent that Rhys famously broke the Mastermind all time record points score with a specialist subject of Queen), Rhys has this time turned his attention to the Freddie archive, going back as early as 1976 in search of vintage gems which reveal more than ever before the inside story of Freddie’s life and career and the solo projects he worked on outside of Queen.

    The extensive archive footage is drawn from rare interviews with Freddie, concerts, video shoots and personal material, much of it being seen for the first time, along with newly filmed contributions from fellow Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, Queen manager Jim Beach, soprano Montserrat Caballé, composers David Arnold and Mike Moran, lyricist Tim Rice, comedian and lifelong fan Matt Lucas and many more.

    From it emerges a portrait of a man who was very different to his flamboyant onstage public persona. Sometimes raw in language and content but always insightful and informative, Queen fans will love this DVD.

    Among the treasures fans can look forward to viewing, The Great Pretender includes for the first time ever Freddie and Rod Stewart singing their demo for Take Another Piece of My Heart, an unreleased song from 1984, a snippet of the unreleased Michael Jackson / Freddie Mercury collaboration There Must Be More To Life Than This, and Freddie with the Royal Ballet 1979 – never seen in full before.

    Rhys, whose extensive scouting for lost material turned up a copy of the band’s first TV appearance among the belongings of late comedian Dick Emery, brings to the light Freddie’s earliest filmed interview from 1976 unearthed in Australia and another unseen interview from 1976 filmed by NBC in the USA.

    There's another unseen interview from 1985 filmed on set of I Was Born To Love You. Very funny, Freddie tells us how Queen was in a lift when they found out they were no.1 with Bohemian Rhapsody, jumped for joy and the lift stopped. ‘We thought we'd all suffocate in the damned lift.’”

    Rhys also found 10 cans of Freddie’s 39th Black and White birthday party in Mrs. Henderson’s nightclub in Munich in 1985. Originally filmed for the video for Living On My Own, and promptly banned by Freddie’s record company because of its cross-dressing theme, there’s much to be enjoyed in watching Freddie and his friends go full out in their efforts to help Freddie celebrate his last birthday before turning 40.

    On top of this, The Great Pretender has a feast of outtakes from the video shoots for I Want To Break Free, One Vision, Days of Our Lives, I Want It All, A Kind Of Magic, Princes of the Universe, Living on My Own, Born To Love You, Great Pretender, Made In Heaven, and Who Wants to Live Forever.

    Bonus features [that will not make up part of the version to be broadcast by the BBC] include Freddie Mercury Goes Solo and an extended interview with Montserrat Caballé.

    The Great Pretender is a required addition of Queen or Freddie Mercury fan’s video library and is a great gift idea for the upcoming Christmas holidays.

  • Queen Bejart Ballet For Life coverQueen + Béjart Ballet Lausanne
    Eagle Vision
    DVD
    Release Date: September 6, 2019

    When Boomerocity was launched over ten years ago, never was it imagined that a ballet would be reviewed, let alone raved about. In fact, ballets never entered the Boomerocity mindset. Period.

    That all changed when a review copy of Queen + Béjart: Ballet for Life hit our mailbox.

    Wow. Just wow.

    Now, y’all who feel the same way I felt, learn from me and order your own copy of Queen + Béjart: Ballet for Life. It’s absolutely amazing! It prompted me to research to see if there are other “rock ballets” out there, and there are. However, as a ballet novice, I must say that this DVD is, well, the Queen of the crop (Sorry. I couln’t help myself).

    Queen + Béjart: Ballet for Life documents Queen’s music as the inspiration for a unique ballet that has endured for over twenty years, on DVD, Blu-ray & digital video. The DVD and Blu-ray will also be available as deluxe editions, packaged in a 36-page hardback photo book featuring photos from the Ballet for Life.

    Ballet for Life was a unique collaboration between three cultural brands: Queen, Versace and the late visionary choreographer Maurice Béjart, celebrating the life and talents of legendary performers, Freddie Mercury and Maurice Béjart’s former principal dancer, Jorge Donn, both of whom died of AIDS. It was first performed in the Théâtre de Chaillot in Paris, France, in January 1997 in the presence of Madame Chirac, Elton John and the three surviving members of Queen, John Deacon, Brian May and Roger Taylor.

    Queen + Béjart: Ballet for Life features two programs: the documentary by Lynne Wake and Simon Lupton, and a full 1997 performance of the ballet by the Béjart Ballet Lausanne. The documentary, edited by Emmy Award winner Christopher Bird, tells the story of the creation and success of the ballet featuring the great and the good of both rock and dance, including: Brian May, Roger Taylor, Gil Roman, Wayne Sleep and Arlene Phillips. The performance includes incredible archive footage of Freddie Mercury, Maurice Béjart, Queen and Gianni Versace, as well as featuring Versace’s stunning costume designs. The production continues to tour widely, but is captured here performing at Théâtre Métropole in beautiful and historic Lausanne, Switzerland, in June 1997.

    The Ballet For Life film is directed by Maurice Béjart and David Mallet, known specifically for directing live performance concerts of such megastars as Tina Turner, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, and numerous Queenvideos including “Bicycle Race”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “I Want to Break Free”, and Freddie’s classic “The Great Pretender” video.

    Maurice Béjart’s long-standing friend Gianni Versace was tragically killed in Miami shortly after the filming in Lausanne. Sadly, this departure into the world of ballet for Versace proved to be one of his last.

    " allowtransparency="no" width="120" height="240">The production marks the ultimate fusion of Queen’ssweeping emotional melodies, both live and studio tracks, and the timeless ethereal grace and movement of ballet. It is the first and only time a full-length ballet has been paired to rock music, albeit alongside some traditional pieces from Mozart. The theme of the choreography is about the cycle of life and life triumphing over death, which perfectly reflects the mood of the songs. Dancers fuse classical and modern ballet seamlessly to songs including, "It’s a Beautiful Day", "I Was Born to Love You," and "Radio Ga Ga", closing with the spectacular "The Show Must Go On". This release also includes a substantial segment of John Deacon’s final performance with Queen, taken from the Queen + Béjart Ballet for Life premiere performance with Elton John in Paris. 

    Béjart explained that with Ballet for Life he wanted to bring Freddie Mercury back to life, in doing so he created a delight for both Queen and ballet fans alike. Breaking with tradition, the packed audience applaud throughout the show. This is ballet as you’ve never seen it before, with the wild-eyed euphoria of a rock concert.

    Appropriately, Queen + Béjart: Ballet for Life will be released the day after the annual Freddie For A Day events, marking the birthday of the late, great Freddie Mercury. 100% of royalties payable by Eagle Rock Entertainment to Tonleigh Ltd will be donated to The Mercury Phoenix Trust fighting AIDS worldwide.

    About The Mercury Phoenix Trust
    The Mercury Phoenix Trust was founded in 1992 by Brian May, Roger Taylor and their manager Jim Beach in memory of rock band Queen’s iconic lead singer FREDDIE MERCURY who died in 1991 from AIDS related causes. In the last 27 years the Trust has given away over 16 million dollars in his name and funded over 1000 mainly grassroots projects in the global battle against HIV/AIDS. For more information on the Mercury Phoenix Trust visit: www.mercuryphoenixtrust.com.