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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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Relive days two and one at the Parkes Elvis Festival in our live blog!

Are you ready to Rock and Roll? Were all shook up this year over the 2019 Parkes Elvis Festival. Theres a program full of non-stop entertainment, competitions, dancing and a lot of black leather, and were going to be following it from the trains, to the Wall of Fame and much more. During each day of the festival the Parkes Champion Post will bring you the best content – if you cant be here in Parkes we will make you feel like you are part of the crowd, and if you are make sure you keep an eye out for your photo and details from the days events. READ MORE Want to know whats coming up next? Find the program below!

Are you ready to Rock and Roll?

Theres a program full of non-stop entertainment, competitions, dancing and a lot of black leather, and were going to be following it from the trains, to the Wall of Fame and much more.

During each day of the festival the Parkes Champion Post will bring you the best content – if you cant be here in Parkes we will make you feel like you are pa..

Are you ready to Rock and Roll? Were all shook up this year over the 2019 Parkes Elvis Festival. Theres a program full of non-stop entertainment, competitions, dancing and a lot of black leather, and were going to be following it from the trains, to the Wall of Fame and much more. During each day of the festival the Parkes Champion Post will bring you the best content – if you cant be here in Parkes we will make you feel like you are part of the crowd, and if you are make sure you keep an eye out for your photo and details from the days events. READ MORE Want to know whats coming up next? Find the program below!

Are you ready to Rock and Roll?

Theres a program full of non-stop entertainment, competitions, dancing and a lot of black leather, and were going to be following it from the trains, to the Wall of Fame and much more.

During each day of the festival the Parkes Champion Post will bring you the best content – if you cant be here in Parkes we will make you feel like you are part of the crowd, and if you are make sure you keep an eye out for your photo and details from the days events.

Want to know whats coming up next? Find the program below!

This story Relive days two and one at the Parkes Elvis Festival in our live blog! first appeared on Parkes Champion-Post.

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Cotton Australia, irrigators hit back at criticism over fish kill

IRRIGATORS and cotton growers have hit back at suggestions they, in combination with government policy, were somehow responsible for the fish kill that took out as many as a million fish early this week near Menindee Lakes. NSW Irrigators Council chief executive Luke Simpkins and Cotton Australia general manager Michael Murray have both defended their respective organisations water use, while lamenting the fact such a disaster occurred. Both blamed drought for the fish kill. “What has happened is as a result of the drought and no water flowing into the rivers. This drought is a devastating time for all of us. This is not about diversions, but about inflows,” said Mr Simpkins. “Without inflows, blue-green algae events will continue to kill fish. This was predicted in December in an ABC report and algal blooms have killed fish before,” he said. “It should be remembered that irrigation farmers on the Upper Darling have not been allocated any water from the system for 18 months because of ..

IRRIGATORS and cotton growers have hit back at suggestions they, in combination with government policy, were somehow responsible for the fish kill that took out as many as a million fish early this week near Menindee Lakes. NSW Irrigators Council chief executive Luke Simpkins and Cotton Australia general manager Michael Murray have both defended their respective organisations water use, while lamenting the fact such a disaster occurred. Both blamed drought for the fish kill. “What has happened is as a result of the drought and no water flowing into the rivers. This drought is a devastating time for all of us. This is not about diversions, but about inflows,” said Mr Simpkins. “Without inflows, blue-green algae events will continue to kill fish. This was predicted in December in an ABC report and algal blooms have killed fish before,” he said. “It should be remembered that irrigation farmers on the Upper Darling have not been allocated any water from the system for 18 months because of the drought.” He said general security allocations (meaning the percentage of a water licence farmers are able to use) have been at zero per cent in both the Gwydir and Lower Namoi valleys. “The water simply isnt there for anyone. “As we approach the state election in March and the federal election in May, it is understandable that MPs seeking re-election and candidates seeking election will want to raise their profiles by allocating blame. “Ultimately it is their credibility that will evaporate when they seek to deny the existence of the drought and the lack of rainfall/inflows,” said Mr Simpkins. Cotton Australia general manager Michael Murray said cotton growers should not be blamed for this weeks fish kill, nor those last month. “New South Wales is in the grip of a long and devastating drought. This drought is impacting all agricultural sectors, including the cotton industry where this seasons crop is forecast to be at least half of last seasons,” he said.. “On the Barwon-Darling, the impact on cotton production is even more devastating with no cotton being grown in Bourke this season, down from 4000 hectares the year before. “Further upstream at Dirranbandi (home of Cubbie Cotton), just 300 hectares of cotton has been planted, which is 1pc of what can be planted in a very good season. “Cotton Australia is very proud of our industry that produces a quality fibre that is in demand both here at home and around the world, but as an industry we are tired of being the whipping boy for all the problems that are being brought on by this crippling drought. “About 18 months ago, 2000 gigalitres of water was in the Menindee Lakes before the Murray-Darling Basin Authority took the deliberate decision to accelerate releases from Menindee to meet downstream requirements and reduce overall evaporation losses from the lakes. “In hindsight, this was probably a poor decision, but it does highlight the incredibly difficult task of managing flows in a manner that minimise losses, but ensures enough water is available for communities and the environment during extended severe droughts. “Since July 1, 2017, irrigators have extracted just 16 gigalitres out of the Barwon-Darling – an amount that would have evaporated out of Menindee in just 16 days. “Coupled with the extensive drought and the simple fact there has been little to no rain, the release of water from the lakes has exacerbated the conditions leading to these fish deaths,” said Mr Murray. “What this issue highlights is how difficult the management of the Menindee Lakes is.” You can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Daily Liberal. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up to our free or subscriber only newsletters below:

NSW Irrigators Council chief executive Luke Simpkins and Cotton Australia general manager Michael Murray have both defended their respective organisations water use, while lamenting the fact such a disaster occurred.

Both blamed drought for the fish kill.

“What has happened is as a result of the drought and no water flowing into the rivers. This drought is a devastating time for all of us. This is not about diversions, but about inflows,” said Mr Simpkins.

“Without inflows, blue-green algae events will continue to kill fish. This was predicted in December in an ABC report and algal blooms have killed fish before,” he said.

“It should be remembered that irrigation farmers on the Upper Darling have not been allocated any water from the system for 18 months because of the drought.”

He said general security allocations (meaning the percentage of a water licence farmers are able to use) have been at zero per cent in both the Gwydir and Lower Namoi valleys.

“The water simply isnt there for anyone.

“As we approach the state election in March and the federal election in May, it is understandable that MPs seeking re-election and candidates seeking election will want to raise their profiles by allocating blame.

“Ultimately it is their credibility that will evaporate when they seek to deny the existence of the drought and the lack of rainfall/inflows,” said Mr Simpkins.

Cotton Australia general manager Michael Murray said cotton growers should not be blamed for this weeks fish kill, nor those last month.

“New South Wales is in the grip of a long and devastating drought. This drought is impacting all agricultural sectors, including the cotton industry where this seasons crop is forecast to be at least half of last seasons,” he said..

“On the Barwon-Darling, the impact on cotton production is even more devastating with no cotton being grown in Bourke this season, down from 4000 hectares the year before.

“Further upstream at Dirranbandi (home of Cubbie Cotton), just 300 hectares of cotton has been planted, which is 1pc of what can be planted in a very good season.

“Cotton Australia is very proud of our industry that produces a quality fibre that is in demand both here at home and around the world, but as an industry we are tired of being the whipping boy for all the problems that are being brought on by this crippling drought.

“About 18 months ago, 2000 gigalitres of water was in the Menindee Lakes before the Murray-Darling Basin Authority took the deliberate decision to accelerate releases from Menindee to meet downstream requirements and reduce overall evaporation losses from the lakes.

“In hindsight, this was probably a poor decision, but it does highlight the incredibly difficult task of managing flows in a manner that minimise losses, but ensures enough water is available for communities and the environment during extended severe droughts.

“Since July 1, 2017, irrigators have extracted just 16 gigalitres out of the Barwon-Darling – an amount that would have evaporated out of Menindee in just 16 days.

“Coupled with the extensive drought and the simple fact there has been little to no rain, the release of water from the lakes has exacerbated the conditions leading to these fish deaths,” said Mr Murray.

“What this issue highlights is how difficult the management of the Menindee Lakes is.”

Would you like more Dubbo and regional news?

You can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Daily Liberal. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up to our free or subscriber only newsletters below:

This story Cotton Australia, irrigators hit back at criticism over fish kill first appeared on Daily Liberal.

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Marise Payne declines to put timeframe on Rahaf Alqunun’s asylum claim

Marise Payne has declined to put a timeframe on how soon Australian authorities will be able to reach a decision on whether to offer asylum to Saudi teenager Rahaf Alqunun.

Key points:

The Foreign Minister said Australia was accessing Rahaf Alqunun's claim for asylum
Ms Payne said there were “a number of steps” still to be taken in the assessment process
She said she had also spoken to Thai government officials about the detention of Hakeem AlAraibi

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, who was speaking in Thailand after talks with Thai Government officials, said Australia was engaged in the process of assessing Ms Alqunun's claim for asylum.

But she stopped short of saying how long the claim would take to be processed.

“There are, as I have just said, a number of steps in the process, including in terms of that assessment,” Ms Payne said.

“They are required to be taken and they will be completed within due course and then that matter will be resolved.”

The Department o..

Marise Payne has declined to put a timeframe on how soon Australian authorities will be able to reach a decision on whether to offer asylum to Saudi teenager Rahaf Alqunun.

Key points:

  • The Foreign Minister said Australia was accessing Rahaf Alqunun's claim for asylum
  • Ms Payne said there were "a number of steps" still to be taken in the assessment process
  • She said she had also spoken to Thai government officials about the detention of Hakeem AlAraibi

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, who was speaking in Thailand after talks with Thai Government officials, said Australia was engaged in the process of assessing Ms Alqunun's claim for asylum.

But she stopped short of saying how long the claim would take to be processed.

"There are, as I have just said, a number of steps in the process, including in terms of that assessment," Ms Payne said.

"They are required to be taken and they will be completed within due course and then that matter will be resolved."

The Department of Home Affairs confirmed on Wednesday that the United Nations refugee agency had referred Ms Alqunun's case to Australia for consideration.

Ms Alqunun's asylum application was fast-tracked, partly because of security concerns, after the young woman's father and brother arrived in Bangkok and asked Thai police to see her.

Ms Alqunun, 18, flew into Thailand from Kuwait on the weekend, saying she had a ticket onwards to Australia where she had hoped to seek asylum over fears her family would kill her for renouncing Islam.

But when she arrived in Bangkok she said a Saudi diplomat met her at the airport and tricked her into handing over her passport and ticket, saying he would secure a visa.

The teenager then barricaded herself inside her room at an airport hotel, and requested to speak to the United Nations refugee office.

Ms Payne said she had also spoken to Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister about the detention of Hakeen AlAraibi, and his possible return to Bahrain.

She said Mr AlAraibi had been visited by officials from the Australian embassy on a number of occasions and the Australian Government was engaging with his legal team.

"We are, as I've said, very concerned about his detention, very concerned about any potential for return of Mr Araibi to Bahrain," she said.

"I have reiterated those concerns to both ministers."

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