Rocketman Movie Review

If you’ve always liked Elton John songs, recently discovered his music or have no clue as to who he is, you’ll enjoy the way this movie presents his life story. Most biopics tell you about the person using dialogue to describe them but since Elton John was such a big star, director Dexter Fletcher allows the songs to tell you who Elton, originally named Reggie Dwight, is. You may not realize what you’re in for when purchasing a ticket to see this, so I’ll inform you. The movie is similar in style to films such as, ‘Mama Mia,’ in that the narrative is largely told through musical numbers, complete with dancers. I wasn’t quite expecting that but enjoyed the way it went about telling the audience who ‘Reg’ (Egerton) became, through lyrics in his songs. Though the songs were written by his partner Bernie Taupin (Bell) and weren’t necessarily used in order of release date, the lyrics were meaningful and impactful, and you don’t question Fletcher’s decision to be part of the script; to have the lyrics chronicle Elton’s personal development, concentrating on the earlier years. At times, the film gets depressing, but if he hadn’t experienced heartbreak, he would never have become the musician he did.

The movie starts with Elton Hercules John going to therapy for the first time, telling everyone why he’s there. He’s a sex addict, a drug addict, an alcoholic and a shopaholic. When his childhood is brought up, a young Elton is singing on the streets of where he grew up. Adult Elton, dressed in one of the wild costumes that he wore to the therapy session, stands and watches the child. He’s invisible to the child, much as the child he once was is invisible to the parents in the scene… particularly to his father. Luckily for the little boy, and luckily for music fans everywhere, his grandmother Ivy (Jones), notices his talents on the piano. The boy can play by ear. She supports him and gets him piano and music lessons which then leads to a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. Once it’s clear how much talent the young boy has, it isn’t long before he’s playing backup for singers. Outside of his grandmother’s constant endorsement, he’s never had anyone really encourage him until he plays backup for a Soul tour from America. They’re more than happy to give him the advice he needs, which is to write some songs and let his inner musician out… stop hiding his true self. Since he can write music to a monologue, he takes that advice and finds a writer who needs music for his lyrics. That writer is Bernie Taupin. During this segment of the film, not only does Elton realize how talented he is but that he’s gay. Taupin supports him no matter who he is. They get on a record label and get booked in America at the famous West Hollywood nightclub called the Troubadour. The Troubadour has been hosting famous musicians since 1957.

Elton is excited for the chance to show America what he has until he finds out Neil Diamond is in the audience. He gets nervous but once that passes, he finds his strength and, consequently, this is where his unique style blossoms. He also meets John Reid (Madden) who becomes his new manager and lover. Scenes with Reid get rather steamy. This character and their time together aren’t exactly explained very well but go with it. You’ll figure out who he is and when their years together were. Reid is responsible for the young musician becoming the wealthiest musician in the world. Unfortunately, Elton is living proof that money can’t buy you happiness. His career couldn’t be better, but he still doesn’t have his fathers respect, something he has been trying to get since he was born. He tries to have thoughtful conversations with his mother several times throughout the film. The best she can do for him is to try and advise him that if he chooses homosexuality, he’ll never be loved.

Having mostly been disappointed by those closest to him, he eventually comes to the conclusion that, ‘Real love is hard to come by, so you find a way to cope without it.’ Soon after, he fights with Bernie and tries to end his own life in an underwater scene where wee Reggie makes another appearance. You’d think that her son trying to kill himself would soften his mother toward Elton but not Shelia (Howard). She gets worse. She likes his money, though. It’s hard to believe but she tells him that she should have ‘Never had kids.’

Next, comes the song, ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word,’ which has the lyrics,

‘What have I got to do to make you love me?
What have I got to do to make you care?
What do I do when lightning strikes me?
And I wake to find that you’re not there?’ 

By this time, you’re most certainly invested in the film and the characters. The acting by Egerton and the entire supporting cast surpasses expectations and the script is authentic and true to who Elton was and is inside. After watching, you can’t help but think about the fact that most biopics of this nature are made after the artist passes on.
Knowing we’re all going to be watching, Elton gets to observe his life story unfold on the big screen and not only relive his experiences but see how others have interpreted his actions. It must be daunting.
After seeing the finished product, I believe he has to be happy with how it was done. However, why they decided to insert Egerton into the original video for ‘I’m Still Standing’ makes little sense, particularly since it was at the end of the film. That would have been a good time to have allowed the audience to see the real Elton John having some fun so using Elton in his own video would have been a better choice in my humble opinion. Regardless, see this movie asap! Good luck getting his songs out of your head after.

*Stay during the credits for more information.        



New ROCKETMAN Featurette Available Now!


Experience these incredible creations on the big screen in
#Rocketman, in theatres May 31.

Get tickets:
Listen to “Rocket Man” from the album ‘Rocketman (Music From The Motion Picture)’:
Pre-order/Pre-save the album now… out May 24:…

‘Rocketman’ is an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years. The film follows the fantastical journey of transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John.

This inspirational story – set to Elton John’s most beloved songs and performed by star Taron Egerton – tells the universally relatable story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture.
ROCKETMAN also stars Jamie Bell as Elton’s longtime lyricist and writing partner Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as Elton’s first manager, John Reid, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother Sheila Farebrother.

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Fandango VIP Members Can Enjoy “Rocketman” on May 18 as Part of Fandango’s Early Access Screening Program at Hundreds of Locations Nationwide

Tickets on Sale Today

LOS ANGELES  May 2, 2019 – Fandango, the leading digital network for all things movies, is teaming up with Paramount Pictures to offer exclusive early access screenings on May 18 of “Rocketman,” the musical fantasy about the life of Elton John, directed by Dexter Fletcher, written by Lee Hall and starring Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden and Bryce Dallas Howard. Tickets for this limited engagement go on sale today, exclusive to Fandango.

Nearly two weeks before the film’s May 31 U.S. theatrical release date and just days following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, fans and members of Fandango VIP, Fandango’s free-to-join rewards program, can get a first look at the film at nearly 400 theaters nationwide. Participating theatre chains include AMC Theatres, Regal, Cinemark, Marcus Theatres, Arclight Cinemas/Pacific Theatres, Harkins Theatres, National Amusements, and many more.

Fandango’s Early Access Screening program is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to eventizing movies and delivering unparalleled moviegoing experiences to fans. Fandango has a long tradition of working with studios and filmmakers on programs to surprise and delight moviegoers, and this is the third of multiple advance screenings that Fandango has planned for 2019. In February, Fandango offered Early Access Screenings for DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” and, in March, for Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Shazam!”

“We’re proud to team up with Paramount Pictures to host Early Access Screenings for ‘Rocketman,’” says Fandango President Paul Yanover. “Our first two Early Access Screenings generated great buzz for ‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ and ‘Shazam!’ We think Fandango VIP members and fans will be delighted to have the opportunity to see this highly-anticipated Elton John musical fantasy two weeks before its release date.”

Tickets for the film’s May 31 wide release also go on sale today.
In Phoenix, get them at these locations:



About “Rocketman”

ROCKETMAN is an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years. The film follows the fantastical journey of transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John. This inspirational story – set to Elton John’s most beloved songs and performed by star Taron Egerton – tells the universally relatable story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture. ROCKETMAN also stars Jamie Bell as Elton’s longtime lyricist and writing partner Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as Elton’s first manager, John Reid, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother Sheila Farebrother.

About Fandango

Fandango is the ultimate digital network for all things movies, serving more than 60 million unique visitors per month, according to comScore, with best-in-class movie information, ticketing to 30,000 U.S. screens, trailers and original video and home entertainment. Its portfolio features leading online ticketers Fandango, and Flixster; world-renown movie review site Rotten Tomatoes; and Movieclips, the #1 movie trailers and content channel on YouTube. Fandango’s movie discovery and ticketing innovations can also be found on mobile, social, AI and voice platforms from Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and others.  Fandango’s video on-demand service, FandangoNOW offers new release and catalog movies and next-day TV shows to more than 200 million connected, over-the-top (OTT) and mobile devices. In Latin America, the company operates leading online ticketers and Fandango Latin America. 

About Paramount Pictures Corporation

Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. Paramount controls a collection of some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Television, and Paramount Players. PPC operations also include Paramount Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile Movie Review

If you head into this movie thinking, even hoping, you’re going to see a slasher film, you have to adjust your expectations. With this, director Joe Berlinger tells you the story of an evil man and what his evil mind allowed him to ultimately become. Since we don’t actually see the consequences of his actions, we are able to (much like the woman he was living with who was completely in the dark about him) put the murders he committed aside and instead see who he could have been. I feel compelled to mention that this movie does not glorify a serial killer! See more about that in my interview with the director.

Here’s the link.

Anyway, Ted Bundy had everything he could have wanted. Why was this the route he chose? As you watch, you can’t help but wonder what motivates someone to murder. Something drives him to commit the most unspeakable horrors one could think of. Why? The movie doesn’t focus on the acts of what Bundy did by showing us, but by allowing us, even forcing us, to think about them.

That he walked amongst us, lived a seemingly normal existence… and that you could know a Bundy, too, is a frightening thing to ponder but ponder you will. Berlinger, known for his true crime documentaries, one in particular called ‘Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,’ was certainly the best person to take on this task. He knew the subject and examines everything.

Ted Bundy is being played by Zac Efron. The actor wanted to shed some of his ‘High School Musical’ image and dig deeply into something against type. He certainly picked the right part for that. In my interview with him, Joe Berlinger said this of Zac getting the role, ‘…Zac wants to play with his teen heartthrob image in that way, I respect that. And, also, as a documentarian, it gives me a little piece of reality to break into the movie-making process. The fact that, in real life, he has this profile of teen heartthrob… that is very similar to the effect that Bundy had on women. I found that a nice piece of reality I could play with.’

While in character, Zac was appealing in all the ways that Bundy was. Not known for this sort of role but perfect for it, you can see the serial killer in his face. The way he gives off little hints of his condemnable actions, with just a simple mouth curl at the right moment, the use of his eyes… he proved himself here. With this performance, he gives you the man that Bundy’s girlfriend Liz (Lily Collins) saw but you also see underneath the mask. That’s what worked so brilliantly. At first, you’re obliged to see Ted as just a person, not as the monster you know he is. They do walk among us. We don’t know who they are. They could be who we’re with. Just contemplating that alone makes this a good crime film to see. It was important that we see a good portion of the film through Liz’s eyes.

With this approach, the audience was able to garner sympathy for her and see the larger picture. Eventually, the strikes against him can no longer be denied. However, his crimes don’t seem to matter to some. We move on from Liz to see Bundy’s point of view and through the lens of another woman. She is someone who clearly has a low opinion of herself.

Bundy takes advantage of both of these women, but you can tell that he loves one and is simply using the other. This is a fascinating look into his double life. He charms women, he charms his victims, he even charms the law. Scenes of what he does and the ultimate reason he’s getting away with things will surprise and enrage you. The film is slow paced but once you see what Berlinger is going for, it will engage you and you’ll walk away unable to get the movie and Zac’s performance out of your mind temporarily.

John Malkovich is superb as the judge in Florida who says the words the title is based on. His reverence for Bundy is strange to witness and hard to accept but his duty to the law holds up and he gives Bundy the sentence Bundy didn’t expect. Death. How we get to this moment, is worth seeing so I must recommend the film, as well as Berlinger’s documentary.

If you haven’t yet, join Netflix and watch ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile’ today. Watch the four-part series, too.

Red Joan Movie Review

Admittedly, as we go about our daily lives, national security isn’t something we tend to have to think about. Luckily, we’ve never had to truly worry we’re about to be invaded nor have we had to wonder about the ‘IF’S.’ ‘If that happened what would I do?’ ‘If that happened, could I do this?’ One of the biggest questions someone could face is, ‘What would you do for your country?’ ‘Red Joan’ examines the theme by telling us the story of the woman who was tasked with answering that question.

We haven’t heard of her in America, but she’s known, most certainly in the UK, as the ‘Granny Spy.’ Her real name was Melita Norwood, someone you may want to look up before or after the movie. In the film, she’s Joan Stanley (Dench). When we meet her, she’s in her 80’s, she’s friendly, unassuming and tending to her charming British garden. Quickly after she’s being introduced to us like this sweet, innocent, granny-like figure, there’s a knock on the door and she’s suddenly in handcuffs. We learn it’s alleged she was a KGB spy. Overwhelmed, but not sorry she had done it, she admitted she was guilty of giving, to the Russians, research the British government had done on the Atom bomb. There are a few clues before Joan opens the door, so pay attention to everything that’s going on… and continue throughout the film. When Joan’s arrested, it’s for twenty-seven breaches of the Official Secrets Act. Treason. They then take her away and interrogate her. We learn everything about her and what leads up to the moment at her front door through the use of flashbacks.

A file was started on Joan in 1938. The film travels back to see her then. No longer in her 80’s, Joan (Cookson) is now a physics student at Cambridge. While there, she meets new friends Leo (Hughes) and Sonya (Srbova) who, through words of hope, courage, action, and honor, compel her to join a group of young Communist who look good and speak well, selling to her their ideologies. Sonya is rowdy and fun but it’s Leo who intrigues Joan most. The audience is onto them right away. When she leaves school, she gets a job working on something very secretive. She has always wanted to change the world and is happy to know she’s working in her chosen field. When she finds out her work is to build a bomb, she’s deeply concerned she’s doing what’s right. After signing her life away to never give away the secret, her boss Max Davis (Moore) explains how they need to make a bomb before Germany does. They need the leverage.
By this time, she’s lost touch with Leo. He returns to fill her head with propaganda and tries to talk her into giving him everything she knows. She’s against the idea and gives him a firm, ‘No!’ However, while on a trip to Canada, she learns of America’s success with their bomb. This so shocks her that she decides to help even the playing field across the globe. She decides to get Leo the information he seeks. She later tells the world, at a press conference held in her front garden, that she wanted everyone to share the same knowledge to prevent a global catastrophe. When someone in the crowd shouts to her that she’s a traitor, she attacks the insult with force exclaiming that she loves and doesn’t believe in ‘working against one’s country.’ She did this to prevent another world war. She also says that when we look back at history, ‘you’ll see I was right.’

Judi Dench was perfect in this role. Underused in the ‘Granny Spy’ part of the story, you wish you could see more of her but what she does is essential and really isn’t needed beyond what you see. She’s passionate and with this performance, you know that in her heart she believes what she has to say. Cookson is impressive. Had they never added the eighty-year-old version of Joan, the film wouldn’t have lacked anything. Once she gave the secrets away, I would have liked to have seen more in that era but it was still a good movie and an interesting theory to ponder. Was she right in what she did? What if the Russians never received this information? Would they have gotten it another way or would the world be very different today? We’ll never know.

A24’s SKIN Official Trailer


Written & Directed By: Guy Nattiv
Starring: Jamie Bell, Danielle Macdonald, Mike Colter and Vera Farmiga

After a difficult childhood drives him into the grasps of a white supremacist gang, Bryon (Jamie Bell, delivering a visceral, explosive performance) tries to escape to a new life, all the while questioning whether he’s capable of undoing— and repenting for — the evil he’s done.

Filmmaker Guy Nattiv, whose short film of the same title won the Academy Award earlier this year, makes his English-language feature debut with this galvanizing story of transformation, inspired by actual events.

Produced By: Guy Nattiv, Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler, Jaime Ray Newman, Oren Moverman, Dillon D Jordan

Pavarotti Trailer

Simply, this is a look at the life and work of opera legend Luciano Pavarotti presented to you by the filmmaking team that also brought you the highly-acclaimed documentary, ‘The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years.’
‘PAVAROTTI,’ is a riveting film that lifts the curtain on the icon who brought opera to the people. Masterfully, Academy Award winner Ron Howard puts audiences front row center for an exploration of The Voice…The Man…The Legend.

Luciano Pavarotti gave his life to music and his voice to the world. This cinematic event features history-making performances and intimate interviews, including never-before-seen footage and cutting-edge Dolby Atmos technology.
A CBS Films Polygram Entertainment Brian Grazer presentation, ‘PAVAROTTI,’ an Imagine Entertainment and White Horse Pictures production.

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For more info:

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In Theaters June 7th



ROCKETMAN is an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years. The film follows the fantastical journey of transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John. This inspirational story – set to Elton John’s most beloved songs and performed by star Taron Egerton – tells the universally relatable story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture. ROCKETMAN also stars Jamie Bell as Elton’s longtime lyricist and writing partner Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as Elton’s first manager, John Reid, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother Sheila Farebrother.


Dexter Fletcher


Lee Hall


Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Gemma Jones and Bryce Dallas Howard


Matthew Vaughn, David Furnish, Adam Bohling, David Reid


Elton John, Steve Hamilton Shaw, Michael Gracey, Claudia Schiffer, Brian Oliver

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In Theaters MAY 31

Netflix film ‘The Dirt,’ co-written by members of Mötley Crüe, launches everywhere 3/22!!

A Netflix film


Launches Globally March 22

Based on the bestselling autobiography from Mötley Crüe, the film is an unflinching tale of success and excess as four misfits rise from the streets of Hollywood to the heights of international fame.

 Douglas Booth, Iwan Rheon, Colson Baker, Daniel Webber

Directed by Jeff Tremaine

Produced by Julie YornErik OlsenAllen Kovac

Executive produced by Rick YornChris NilssonSteve Kline, Ben OrmandMichelle Manning

Written by Rich Wilkes, Amanda Adelson

Based on the autobiography

The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band

Co-written by the band members of Mötley Crüe and Neil Strauss


TOLKIEN explores the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school. This takes him into the outbreak of World War I, which threatens to tear the “fellowship” apart. All of these experiences would inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-Earth novels.

Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, Anthony Boyle, Patrick Gibson, Tom Glynn-Carney, Craig Roberts, Laura Donnelly, Genevieve O’Reilly, Pam Ferris and Derek Jacobi

Directed by: Dome Karukoski
Written by: David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford
Produced by: Peter Chernin p.g.a., Jenno Topping p.g.a., David Ready p.g.a., Kris Thykier p.g.a. 

In Theaters May 10