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Watch 'Bohemian Rhapsody' at home before the Oscars

Matt Shiverdecker Special to the American-Statesman
Rami Malek stars as Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody." [Contributed by Twentieth Century Fox]

Here is an interesting new release available now from cable and digital providers as well as a title that has recently become available for streaming.

Video on Demand

"Bohemian Rhapsody": Nominated for five Academy Awards including best picture and best actor, this film charts the rise of British rock band Queen. Embraced by audiences while simultaneously being embroiled in controversy, it's been kind of an incredible road to award season watching it go from unlikely curiosity to full-blown contender in a matter of weeks (especially after winning the Golden Globe for best motion picture - drama). If you have somehow managed to avoid the movie so far, what can you expect? For starters, "Mr. Robot" star Rami Malek is unquestionably outstanding as the band's lead singer, Freddie Mercury. He powers through every scene and, if the stories are true, even managed to get problematic director Bryan Singer fired during the production. Singer still contractually lands the on-screen credit for directing, but Dexter Fletcher stepped in to complete the film before going on to direct the Elton John biopic "Rocketman," which will surface later this year. This is important to note because anybody paying attention will feel the haphazard nature in which the movie was finished.

Despite a great lead performance and a bevy of songs that we all know and love, "Bohemian Rhapsody" goes to great lengths to rearrange history in order to deliver a more audience-friendly tone and timeline. Perhaps most egregiously, the movie abandons any effort to wrap the story up and instead just chooses to recreate the band's historic performance at Live Aid. Instead of dramatic exposition, the filmmakers just threw Rami Malek onto a soundstage (in front of an awfully fake, digitally created crowd) and forced him to mimic something that anybody with a computer and access to YouTube could already have watched for themselves. The final cut squanders so much potential and makes me wonder what a Freddie Mercury biopic without so many cooks in the kitchen would actually look like. A film more concerned with the actual facts as opposed to how much it pleases the surviving members of Queen? That's the movie I would like to see. Unfortunately, all we're stuck with at the moment is this. (Cable and digital VOD, 4K Ultra HD available)

Also on streaming services

"Joan Jett: Bad Reputation": Acclaimed music video director Kevin Kerslake takes a dive into the career of rock legend Joan Jett with this entertaining documentary. From her early days as a founding member of the Runaways into her battle to launch a solo career, we're given a lot of firsthand accounts from Joan, producer Kenny Laguna and many of the musicians who played with her over the years. (Hulu)