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Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody is fun but entirely superficial, playing it safe rather than trying to be as bold or brazen as its larger-than-life subject. It ultimately relies on the magnetism of Rami Malek`s portrayal of Freddie Mercury and Queen`s bombastic, beloved music to make up for its narrative shortcomings and by-the-numbers direction. The movie never quite digs as deep into what made Freddie tick as it could have, focusing on how he made his music rather than on a deeper examination of his personal relationships.






Green Book
Green Book, so titled for the guidebook printed for `Negro motorists` hoping to avoid trouble in a region where lynchings weren`t a distant memory, is a much classier affair than any of Farrelly`s prior comedies. When it gets around to its dark side as well as a Mississippi Burning earnestness you`ll want to protectively hug its two leads. Concerts will be played and bigotry confronted, yet the most sophisticated aspect here are a pair of transformations so quiet, you might miss them. Don, the closeted artist, stymied in his classical aspirations and a joke to himself, knows he must go on Christmas Eve to the one person who sees him for who he is. And Tony, sitting at his kitchen table, can no longer tolerate any hurtful talk. The film believes in a better us, even if we`ve done our best to drive it away.




A Star is Born
Music plays a central role, of course, andthe songs performed by both stars are not just essential but sensational. Gaga`s goose-pimple-inducing grand slam of a showstopper, `I`ll Never Love Again,` and the duet Shallow are the standouts. (Gaga, Cooper and Lukas Nelson, Jason Isbell and Mark Ronson wrote the original songs). All are naturally anchored around the sharp screenplay by Eric Roth (Forrest Gump), Cooper and Will Fetters. This `Star` isn`t perfect. There`s a little too much of everything and the pacing falters every now and then. Even a few of the smaller moments spent with well-written supporting characters such as Ally`s proud father (Andrew Dice Clay), Jackson`s pal (Dave Chappelle) and Ally`s lovable friend (Anthony Ramos) might have been sacrificed. Somehow, though, the bloat is almost appropriate in a story about excesses, and the devastating pitfalls of fame. `A Star is Born` portrays both poignantly, movingly, well.




Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is another strong entry in J.K. Rowling`s Wizarding World saga. Rowling has improved upon the first Fantastic Beasts film by fleshing out her characters in a way that is engaging, though not everybody receives as much attention. Both Johnny Depp and Eddie Redmayne are - forgive the pun - fantastic in their respective roles.