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Why critics are wrong about Bohemian Rhapsody

Related Story: Bohemian Rhapsody: Generous on the rock'n'roll, stingy on the sex and drugs

When I went to an 11am session of Bohemian Rhapsody this week in Melbourne, my expectations were low.

I'd been looking forward to a movie about one of my all-time heroes, Freddie Mercury, but after reading the negative reviews, I worried it'd be a huge let down.

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” wrote Pitchfork, “is not so much a film as it is a dramatization of a Wikipedia entry, watered down and over-edited.”

Yet the film-going public had another view. Google users were rating the film at 98 per cent while Rotten Tomatoes users gave it 94 per cent approval.

Meanwhile, critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it just 60 per cent, while top reviewers offered a paltry 45 per cent.

How could the critics be so out of step with audiences?

External Link: YOUTUBE Bohemian Rhapsody trailer

Why I loved it and you should too
To my surprise, I found myself engrossed from the first frame.

I was ..

Related Story: Bohemian Rhapsody: Generous on the rock'n'roll, stingy on the sex and drugs

When I went to an 11am session of Bohemian Rhapsody this week in Melbourne, my expectations were low.

I'd been looking forward to a movie about one of my all-time heroes, Freddie Mercury, but after reading the negative reviews, I worried it'd be a huge let down.

"Bohemian Rhapsody," wrote Pitchfork, "is not so much a film as it is a dramatization of a Wikipedia entry, watered down and over-edited."

Yet the film-going public had another view. Google users were rating the film at 98 per cent while Rotten Tomatoes users gave it 94 per cent approval.

Meanwhile, critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it just 60 per cent, while top reviewers offered a paltry 45 per cent.

How could the critics be so out of step with audiences?

External Link: YOUTUBE Bohemian Rhapsody trailer

Why I loved it and you should too

To my surprise, I found myself engrossed from the first frame.

I was astounded by Rami Malek, who seems to fully inhabit the enigmatic and flamboyant Freddie Mercury. I was amused by the sibling-like dynamic of the band and moved to tears by the finale — a dazzling re-enactment of the Live AID concert.

External Link: Queen at Live Aid 1985

Along the way, I discovered Mercury's family origins as ethnic Parsi, descendants of the Zoroastrians who fled Persia for India in the 8th century.

I also learnt about his former female partner (played by Lucy Boynton) and how he eventually came out to her about his emerging sexuality.

Yes, there were more details I would have liked about Mercury's journey to becoming a gay man — but how much can you pack into a movie that already runs over two hours and provides a toe-tapping repertoire of Queen's greatest hits?

Colour still of Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury and Lucy Boynton as Mary Austin in 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody.

Besides, the film doesn't set out to be a comprehensive overview of Mercury's life — it is more about his career as lead singer for Queen. Mercury left behind such a legacy of music and showmanship that it's a near impossible task to do justice to such a larger-than-life figure.

As it stands, the film is both an enlightening and highly entertaining portrait of a man who lived large on the world stage.

Some critics have complained that Mercury's sexuality and later AIDS diagnosis is brushed over — but in fact the film is unambiguous about his sexuality and one of the most tender scenes shows him telling his bandmates about his life-threatening diagnosis before it becomes tabloid fodder.

Audiences are on board

Clearly, audiences have taken to the film with gusto, despite the overwhelmingly negative reception from critics.

The film was released on 510 Australian screens last week and averaged $13,255 per screen, making it a huge success. Globally, it has already earned $US141 million at the box office, when it cost $US72 million to make.

Other recent movies have been panned by critics only to become box office hits, including the 2016 film Warcraft, which averaged just 4.2/10 among reviewers but earned close to $US450 million.

Spiderman spin-off, Venom, showed a similar disparity.

Colour still of Joseph Mazzello, Rami Malek and Gwilym Lee on stage in 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody.

The irony is…

The response the movie is generating mirrors the critical reception Queen experienced. They have always been a "fans' band", thriving in the face of media derision.

As the movie shows, Queen's early record, Night at the Opera was canned in the UK on release. The single Bohemian Rhapsody was derided as pretentious rubbish by the British music press.

External Link: Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody features in the iconic opening scene of 1992 film Wayne's World.

Yet the song went on to be one of the most popular of all time and twice reached number one in the UK pop charts.

At one point in the film, when asked what sets Queen apart from other bands, Mercury says he is playing "for the outcasts in the back".

The film shows that as a gay, ethnically-diverse performer (early in the film, he's teased as a "Paki") rock music provided a refuge where he could be himself and be accepted.

Let the audience decide

At its core, the film is musical entertainment on an epic scale.

Most negative reviews also acknowledge the remarkable leading performance from Rami Malek, who not only captures Mercury's spirit but imaginatively enhances it.

As the box office figures show — despite the sniping — these elements are enough for most cinema-goers.

James Norman is a Melbourne-based writer.

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Bitcoin overtakes iTunes vouchers as most common payment demanded by tax scammers

Australians have reported more than 28,000 'scam' attempts to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), since July 1, and paid almost $1 million to scammers, the ATO says.

The agency said payments through Bitcoin ATMs had overtaken iTunes vouchers as the most common method of scam payment reported to the ATO.

A Bitcoin ATM is a method of transferring cash into and out of the cryptocurrency.

“November is a prime time for scammers as they know lots of people have tax bills to pay,” Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said in a statement.

She said scammers were becoming more sophisticated and exploiting vulnerable people, often using aggressive tactics to swindle people out of their money or personal information. They were known to impersonate tax agents too.

“Be wary if someone contacts you demanding payment of a tax debt you didn't know you owed,” Ms Anderson said.

“Your identifying information like tax file numbers, bank account numbers or your date of birth are the keys t..

Australians have reported more than 28,000 'scam' attempts to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), since July 1, and paid almost $1 million to scammers, the ATO says.

The agency said payments through Bitcoin ATMs had overtaken iTunes vouchers as the most common method of scam payment reported to the ATO.

A Bitcoin ATM is a method of transferring cash into and out of the cryptocurrency.

"November is a prime time for scammers as they know lots of people have tax bills to pay," Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said in a statement.

She said scammers were becoming more sophisticated and exploiting vulnerable people, often using aggressive tactics to swindle people out of their money or personal information. They were known to impersonate tax agents too.

"Be wary if someone contacts you demanding payment of a tax debt you didn't know you owed," Ms Anderson said.

"Your identifying information like tax file numbers, bank account numbers or your date of birth are the keys to your identity, and can be used by scammers to break into your life if they are compromised," she added.

External Link: ATO scam audio

The ATO would never ask a taxpayer to make a payment into an ATM or via gift or pre-paid cards such as iTunes and Visa cards, or direct credit to be paid to a personal bank account, Ms Anderson said.

But since July 1, the ATO had seen almost 6,000 taxpayers give away their personal or financial information to scammers through things like phishing scams.

"If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a call, hang up and call us on 1800 008 540," Ms Anderson said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has also reported more scams by people impersonating well-known businesses and the police.

In August, the ACCC said its Scamwatch website had recorded a significant spike in remote-access scams, with more than 8,000 reports recorded in 2018 (to August) and losses totalling $4.4 million.

Australian Taxation Office assistant commissioner Kath Anderson on the phone

The ACCCs Targeting Scams report said more than 200,000 scam reports were submitted to the ACCC, Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) and other federal and state-based government agencies in 2017.

Australians lost $340 million – a $40 million increase compared to 2016, and more than in any other year since the ACCC began reporting on scam activity, it said.

ATOs tips to spot a scammer:

  • Scammers are often aggressive or abusive
  • They will often threaten you with immediate arrest
  • They request payment via unusual methods such as iTunes gift cards or other prepaid cards
  • They request personal security information such as your tax file number or bank details via email or SMS or social media sites
  • They ask for money in order to process a refund or other payment

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Get your childs immunisation history or else face risk of exclusion: health authority

Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is encouraging parents and carers to download their childs immunisation history statement before the start of primary and secondary schools in 2019.

A WNSWLHD spokesperson said principals of primary and secondary schools must request an immunisation history statement when children enroll.

“If children do not have an immunisation certificate on file, or whose certificate shows they are incompletely vaccinated, they may be excluded from school in the event of a serious vaccine preventable disease outbreak, for example, measles,” the spokesperson said.

However, parents are not required to show the certificate if their children are transferring straight from a public primary to a public secondary school.

“The immunisation history will transfer with their other records, so parents do not need to show the certificate again,” the spokesperson said.

Parents of other students are encouraged to download their childs statement from the Australian I..

Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is encouraging parents and carers to download their childs immunisation history statement before the start of primary and secondary schools in 2019.

A WNSWLHD spokesperson said principals of primary and secondary schools must request an immunisation history statement when children enroll.

“If children do not have an immunisation certificate on file, or whose certificate shows they are incompletely vaccinated, they may be excluded from school in the event of a serious vaccine preventable disease outbreak, for example, measles,” the spokesperson said.

However, parents are not required to show the certificate if their children are transferring straight from a public primary to a public secondary school.

“The immunisation history will transfer with their other records, so parents do not need to show the certificate again,” the spokesperson said.

Parents of other students are encouraged to download their childs statement from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

Read also:

WNSWLHD provides health services in most of the Central West cities, including the Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo local government areas.

NSW Health director of communicable diseases, Vicky Sheppeard, said the new requirements are crucial in stopping the spread of diseases.

“It's important for schools to have an immunisation history statement for each enrolled student to help manage disease outbreaks,” Ms Sheppeard said.

The immunisation history statement includes all vaccines given to the child and reported by the provider to the AIR.

All children registered with Medicare can obtain their immunisation history statements, including those who have had no vaccines, or those who have medical exemptions to certain vaccines.

Parents and carers can obtain their childs immunisation history statement by:

• using their Medicare online account through myGov

• using the Medicare Express Plus App

• calling the AIR General Enquiries Line on 1800 653 809.

NSW Health said it has achieved its highest vaccination rates through the immunisation programs.

It will spend a record $22.75 million on state-wide immunisation programs in 2018-19.

This story Get your childs immunisation history or else face risk of exclusion: health authority first appeared on Western Advocate.

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West Busselton public house left trashed

West Busselton public house left trashed
A public housing home in West Busselton was left trashed after tenants vacated the property several weeks ago leaving the home in disarray.

An old mattress, doors, junk, and rubbish littered the property with items sprawled across the front lawn and backyard, including a destroyed bicycle which had been hung from a tree out the front of the home.

Neighbour Steve Sewell said it was unacceptable the tenants were allowed to live in the home in such an unkept state and it was frustrating the Department of Communities did not conduct more regular inspections.

“It is a typical case of the department not doing their job, it is the only house which has not been looked after in the whole street, as you can see,” he said.

Mr Sewell said several complaints had been made to the department against the tenants including the number of people who lived at the home.

“If they were having regular house inspections, which we pay for, it would not be the way i..

West Busselton public house left trashed

A public housing home in West Busselton was left trashed after tenants vacated the property several weeks ago leaving the home in disarray.

An old mattress, doors, junk, and rubbish littered the property with items sprawled across the front lawn and backyard, including a destroyed bicycle which had been hung from a tree out the front of the home.

Neighbour Steve Sewell said it was unacceptable the tenants were allowed to live in the home in such an unkept state and it was frustrating the Department of Communities did not conduct more regular inspections.

“It is a typical case of the department not doing their job, it is the only house which has not been looked after in the whole street, as you can see,” he said.

Mr Sewell said several complaints had been made to the department against the tenants including the number of people who lived at the home.

“If they were having regular house inspections, which we pay for, it would not be the way it is today.”

In a letter, obtained by the Mail, from the Minister for Housings office about the property it stated that the department expected public housing tenants to maintain properties to a standard consistent with the community.

The letter, dated July 13, stated routine inspections were conducted at the property from 2016 to 2018 and the department found the property to be neat, tidy and undamaged with no cause for concern.

“The department does not consider that the property would require significant maintenance work that is beyond general wear and tear should it become vacant in the future,” the letter stated.

Department of Communities acting assistant director general regional and remove service delivery Brad Jolly said inspections for public housing were conducted annually or more frequently if a problem was identified.

“Where a tenant vacates a property, inspections are conducted shortly after and any cleaning and maintenance works will generally be completed within 28 days,” he said.

“The department does not condone tenants damaging properties. Where damage can be attributed to the actions of tenants, they are billed for repairs and carry that liability even after they vacate a property.”

Mr Jolly said terminating was a last resort and was decided by a Magistrate.

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