and Ben Whishaw decided it was not for them. A brave move, and it pays off handsomely for him. He has the off- and on-stage presence of Mercury, with the singing voice supplied by the man himself.
May, Taylor and John Deacon (played by Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joseph Mazello) come across about as well as you might expect, given the project has been a labour of love and madness for May and Taylor, both producers on the film. May in particular comes across as the kind of decent cove who would one day become the country’s foremost defender of badgers. Taylor is amusingly blokeish while Deacon is likeably dull.
THE HATE U GIVE (12A)***
Dir: George Tillman Jr
With: Amandla Stenberg, Russell Hornsby, Anthony Mackie Runtime: 133 minutes
ANGIE Thomas’s young adult novel is given a loving big screen treatment by George Tillman Jr. The Hate U Give starts with “the talk” that black parents give to their children about what to do, and not do, if pulled over by the police. Young Starr (played as a teenager by rising star Amandla Stenberg) listens dutifully, not knowing what lies ahead in her life, divided as it is between living in a poor black area but going to school in a white, middle-class district. Tillman’s film gets its Black Lives Matter points across while delivering a funny, poignant teen drama, even if it does take an age to do so.
AN EVENING WITH BEVERLY LUFF LINN (15)***
Dir: Jim Hosking
With: Aubrey Plaza, Jemaine Clement, Craig Robinson Runtime: 108 minutes
IMAGINE if David Lynch directed a crime comedy starring Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement with Aubrey Plaza as a vamp called Lulu, then take several more turns into weirdness, and you have some idea of Jim Hoskign’s bizarro caper. The BLL of the title is a mysterious cabaret performer who communicates in grunts and says he hails from Aberdeenshire. What is his connection to Lulu Danger, and will she live up to her surname? The joke starts to wear off around the hour mark, and the humour is strictly aimed at the student crowd, but Plaza and company are a hoot for a surprisingly long stretch.
While the picture takes a rosy view of Mercury and matters overall, it is a long way from hagiography. Audiences are left with the impression that Mercury could be cruel and selfish as well as loving and generous. Elsewhere there is a sense of scores being settled, sometimes gleefully, as when lousy reviews of Bohemian Rhapsody scroll across the screen.
There are some lovely Spinal Tap moments, particularly during the recording of the title song. “Who even is Galileo?” shouts an exasperated Taylor being asked to sing higher and higher. But the screenplay understands what made the band tick. Why are you
Whitney (Cert 15), £9.99
The whole world danced with Whitney Houston in the summer of 1987, propelling her to the top of the charts in numerous countries including the UK. Staccato bursts of her rousing dancefloor anthem open Kevin Macdonald’s revealing documentary, which arrives one year after Nick Broomfield and Rudi Dolezal’s poignant film Whitney: Can I Be Me. The two portraits of doomed musical genius share some narrative threads including the importance of best friend Robyn Crawford to Houston’s well-being and the spiral of self-destruction that followed her marriage to bad-boy singer Bobby Brown. Macdonald’s heartbreaking film is the only account of Houston’s life and career officially supported by her estate and includes original studio recordings and never-before-seen footage alongside live performances recorded by the late singer. The Scottish director of One Day in September has been granted unrivalled access to the family’s archives and he lovingly assembles personal home movie footage, which reveals the humour and the anguish behind the polished stage persona. Whitney shows boundless affection for its luminous subject but Macdonald’s absorbing film is by no means a hagiography: unflattering images of Houston in a stupor are juxtaposed with one of her later performances when she failed to hit the high notes in her cover version of I Will Always Love You.
Snatch, Season One (Cert 15), £24.99
A group of twenty-something hustlers stumble upon the biggest score of their careers in this TV series based on the 2000 film directed by Guy Ritchie. Albert Hill (Luke Pasqualino) is the son of legendary bank robber Vic Hill (Dougray Scott), who still manages a criminal empire from behind bars. Aided by his wellheeled buddy Charlie Cavendish-Scott (Rupert Grint), Albert hopes to keep debtors at bay by wagering a small fortune on traveller and boxer Billy Ayres (Lucien Laviscourt). The plan brings Albert and Charlie to the attention of corrupt cop DI Bob Fink (Marc Warren), who allows crime to flourish on his beat if it lines his pockets. Meanwhile, Vic introduces his boy to Jewish local jeweller Saul Gold to steal back diamonds from crime lord Sonny Castillo.
The More You Ignore Me (Cert 15), £19.99
Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Jo Brand, The More You Ignore Me is a dark, funny tale of dysfunctional family life set in the 1980s with a nostalgic soundtrack courtesy of The Smiths. The film centres on mother Gina (Sheridan Smith), whose declining mental health impacts on her ability to take care of her brood including her daughter Alice (Ella Hunt). While Alice contends with growing pains, Gina nurtures a burgeoning obsession with a local weatherman, which isolates her from the people who care the most.
Rami Malek gives a star-making performance as Freddie Mercury