‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ rocks box offices, if not critics

Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek stars as the charismatic Freddie Mercury. (Getty Images / AFP)
Updated 05 November 2018
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‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ rocks box offices, if not critics

  • Bohemian Rhapsody logged one of the best openings ever for a music biopic
  • Vox.com dismissed it ‘a crashingly dull movie about ... one of the least drab humans who ever lived’

LOS ANGELES: Proving again that audiences matter more than critics, Fox’s Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” rocked North American box offices this weekend with a solid $50 million take, industry tracker Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.
The film’s unexpectedly strong launch put it well ahead of Disney’s new “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” at $20 million, and “Paramount’s “Nobody’s Fool,” with $14 million in estimated ticket sales for the three-day weekend.
“Rhapsody,” with Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek starring as the charismatic Mercury, thus logged one of the best openings ever for a music biopic.
The movie has received decidedly mixed reviews, however. Vox.com dismissed it “a crashingly dull movie about ... one of the least drab humans who ever lived,” while the Washington Post called it a “bad movie that works, even when it shouldn’t.” But Malek, a Primetime Emmy winner for his role in TV’s “Mr. Robot,” has won mostly high praise.
While Fox essentially paid the $50 million production cost of “Rhapsody” with the film’s opening-weekend take, Disney was not faring as well with “Nutcracker,” which cost $125 million to make. The studio hopes the classic Christmas tale will hold on through the holidays, Variety said.
But like “Rhapsody,” the Keira Knightley film got some less-than-glowing reviews. “Tchaikovsky,” said Rolling Stone, “is rolling in his grave.”
Nor did “Nobody’s Fool,” Tyler Perry’s first R-rated comedy, do much better on the critic’s couch, with HollywoodReporter.com deploring its “clumsy, misshapen script.” It stars the popular Tiffany Haddish as a newly paroled woman who tries to help her sister get revenge on a man who deceived her.
In fourth place, Warner Bros’ “A Star Is Born” earned a solid $11.1 million in its fifth week out. Bradley Cooper, in his directorial debut, plays a hard-drinking musician who has a star-crossed love affair with a talented young singer (Lady Gaga).
Not far behind in fifth was Universal’s “Halloween,” at $11 million. The low-budget horror film has Laurie Strode (played again by Jamie Lee Curtis) in a final confrontation with a masked homicidal maniac decades after she survived his first killing spree.
Rounding out the weekend’s top 10 were:
“Venom” ($7.9 million)
“Smallfoot” ($3.8 million)
“Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” ($3.7 million)
“Hunter Killer” ($3.5 million)
“The Hate U Give” ($3.4 million)


Emirati artist Farah Al-Qasimi’s first solo US show set to open

Farah Al-Qasimi’s ‘Living Room Vape’ (2017). (Supplied)
Updated 16 July 2019
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Emirati artist Farah Al-Qasimi’s first solo US show set to open

DUBAI: Emirati artist Farah Al-Qasimi’s first solo exhibition at a US institution is set to open on July 30 at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Working in photography, video, and performance, Al-Qasimi’s work explores themes of gender, nationality and class. Her photographs subvert ingrained expectations of how images are constructed and understood and she is known for borrowing conventions from various sources, including documentary photography and Renaissance paintings.

Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire) (still), 2019. (Supplied)

Camouflage and concealment play a central role in the artist’s work. In a recent series of portraits, Al-Qasimi obscures the faces of her subjects while capturing intimate images, despite the lack of a clear, engaging face. Various compositional strategies hide identifying features — behind plumes of smoke, a well-placed hand, or sumptuously patterned textiles and drapery — while she still manages to accentuate the opulent interiors her subjects inhabit.

Alongside a group of recent photographs, the exhibition will include a screening of Al-Qasimi’s new film, “Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire)” (2019), which was recently unveiled at Art Basel Statements.

M Napping on Carpet, 2016. (Supplied)

The 40-minute video is structured like a television documentary following a jinn — a ghost-like entity in Islamic tradition. Delivering a confessional, reality TV-style monologue, the jinn appears on camera beneath a patterned sheet. The video interweaves her thoughts on centuries of Portuguese and British colonial meddling in the modern-day emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah in the UAE. The video also explores the influence of the European presence in the region and the use of Euro-centric practices for the display of historical artifacts.

Curated by Henriette Huldisch, the director of exhibitions at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, the exhibition marks the first time Al-Qasimi’s work has been shown in a solo exhibition in the US — it is set to wrap up on Oct. 20.  

The artist lives and works between New York and Dubai and has seen her work exhibited in The Third Line gallery in Dubai, Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai and the San Francisco Arts Commission, among other locations.

Al-Qasimi received her MFA from the Yale School of Art and has participated in residencies at the Delfina Foundation in London; the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine; and is a recipient of the New York NADA Artadia Prize and the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship.