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Few cinematic subgenres are as predictable as the musical biopic. We’ve grown accustomed to watching the lives of famous musicians broken down into beats that have been repeated so many times as to become rote – it’s a sort of rock-and-roll lifestyle shorthand. We know how these goes.

That said, that formulaicness hasn’t necessarily prevented these films from succeeding both critically and commercially. Heck, last year’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” made $900 million at the box office and netted Rami Malek a Best Actor Oscar for playing Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury.

After that kind of run, it’s no surprise that Hollywood would return to the well again, this time with “Rocketman” starring Taron Egerton as Elton John. What is surprising is this: “Rocketman” is a better movie than “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Egerton’s performance as Elton John is better than Malek’s as Freddie Mercury.

Seriously. The movie won’t do nearly the same box office numbers and Egerton won’t get a sniff of the awards-show attention that Malek received, but that doesn’t change the fact that both are better.

They’re better because “Rocketman” – directed by Dexter Fletcher (the same guy who cleaned up Bryan Singer’s mess on “Bohemian Rhapsody”) – leans into the inherent weirdness of rock stardom in a way we don’t often see, embracing the flamboyance of its subject through a liberal dusting of full-blown musical numbers and magical realism. When you’re telling the story of a provocatively stylish and over-the-top icon, you’ve got to do it in a provocatively stylish and over-the-top fashion.

(Oh, and it doesn’t hurt if in a movie about a singer, your lead performer, you know … sings.)

Published in Movies

BANGOR – Captain Fantastic tripped the light fantastic in Bangor last weekend.

Published in Music
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 14:15

Celebrity Slam - Aug. 8, 2012

An old-school feud

There are few things we here at Celebrity Slam enjoy more than a good old-fashioned celebrity beef. Watching the veneer drop and the claws come out is just delightful. And every once in a while, when the legends step to the plate we're talking the uberfamous - you get a really epic p---ing match.

Our sincerest thanks to Sir Elton John. In an interview recently given to an Australian television station, Mr. John took the Material Girl herself to task.

That's right he started taking shots at Madonna. You know this is going to be good.

Published in Celebrity Slam
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 11:42

'Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust'

Ken Scott on recording The Beatles, Bowie, Elton and more

On the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' first recording at EMI Studios and the 40th anniversary of Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust,' engineer and producer Ken Scott shares all in new book.

More than 48 years on from the job interview that forever altered his course, legendary recording producer and engineer Ken Scott recalls his nervousness as he climbed the steps outside EMI Studios to meet with the assistant studio manager. 'I had never had a job before, so I was panic-stricken going for this interview,' he remembers.

Only five days previous, after a particularly grueling Friday at school, Scott sat down and penned approximately 10 letters addressed to various London-based record labels, television and radio studios in hopes of landing a position as a recording engineer. Exactly one week later, he received some news that stopped him in his tracks. 'I was offered a job and left school that day,' Scott told me. 'I started at EMI the next Monday. There were nine days between school and starting work at the greatest recording studio in the world.' Ken Scott was 16 years old.

Published in Cover Story

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