This weekend at the movies, we’ve got a legendary singer (Bohemian Rhapsody, starring Rami Malek and Lucy Boynton), a classic fantasy retold (The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, starring Mackenzie Foy and Keira Knightley), and a tale of two sisters (Nobody’s Fool, starring Tiffany Haddish and Tika Sumpter). What are the critics saying?
For a certain segment of the moviegoing audience, the words “Bohemian Rhapsody” immediately invoke images of Wayne, Garth, and crew headbanging in an AMC Pacer. That memorable scene spawned a new generation of fans who would discover the music of Queen — and its charismatic frontman Freddie Mercury — for the first time, and this week, Bryan Singer‘s Bohemian Rhapsody seeks to do the same. Ostensibly centered on Mercury (played by Rami Malek), the film covers 15 years of the singer’s life, including the formation of the band and its spectacular rise, and culminates in the band’s legendary 1985 Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium. Critics say that although the film plays like an abridged biography and handles Mercury’s sexuality and drug issues with kid gloves, Malek is electric in the role, and the climactic performance is appropriately dazzling. Those expecting an in-depth character study may be disappointed, but Queen fans are likely to sing right along in their seats, particularly during the spectacular Live Aid sequence.
German writer E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King has been entertaining children in various forms for literally centuries since it was first published in 1816, most notably as a ballet scored by Tchaikovsky. In film, the story has been adapted either fully or in part several times, and we get the latest iteration in this week’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, directed by Lasse Hallström. Mackenzie Foy stars as the young girl who travels to a parallel world full of fantastical creatures where she must face off with a tyrannical Helen Mirren. Unfortunately, critics say Four Realms falters as a holiday tale and offers little in the way of compelling storytelling or sensational setpieces, even if it’s quite pretty to look at. It may make for a visual distraction for the kids, but it may also leave you scratching your head.
Tyler Perry hasn’t exactly been a critical darling over the last decade or so, but that hasn’t slowed him down one bit. This week, we get his latest offering, a comedy called Nobody’s Fool (not a remake of the 1994 Paul Newman movie) starring Tiffany Haddish and Tika Sumpter as two sisters whose lives have taken dramatically opposite directions. Wild child Tanya (Haddish) has just been released from a prison stint and reunites with her straight-laced sister Danica (Sumpter); as it turns out, Danica may be in over her head with her mysterious new boyfriend, and Tanya’s just the one to help. We’d love to tell you what critics thought of Nobody’s Fool, but it wasn’t screened for critics (or anyone, really). You know what that means: Guess that Tomatometer!
Also Opening This Week In Limited Release