Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams, a King, a Genie, a Great Human Being, and so Much More

Many years ago, I remember being obsessed with saying “Good Morning, Vietnam” as a young kid.  I was probably five or six, but I remember this loud boisterous guy bringing humor and joy with this phrase.
Then came the re-runs of Mork and Mindy, was this the same guy from that movie?  This was different, he was funnier, his physical humor, and presence on screen was undeniable; he was a star.

As a young boy most of the Disney movies were about princess but I found solace in the story of a poor outcast named Aladdin.  I know boys have a lot of stories, but I loved this one, in the end Aladdin just needed to be himself with the Princess.  Most of these lessons would never have been learned without the Genie.  Williams’s voice work as the Genie is probably the only time I would have awarded an Oscar to animated voice performer.
 I also remember my parents fighting a lot as a kid, and Mrs. Doubtfire helped sooth my soul, Williams had the heart and soul to bring humor to life, but to add a deeper layer, a deeper meaning to everything he did.
I am in education (in some capacity) today because of Dead Poet’s Society.  The phrase “O Captain, my Captain” may get thrown out a lot within the next few days, but it has continued to mean something to me throughout my years as I have grown up.  The same can be said for the actual suicide in the film, and the impact it had on me.

The first person I knew who committed suicide was my first grade teacher, I was 14 fourteen and I was crushed.  I was in a small private, religious K-12 school; a nun came in to inform us, rather bluntly about her passing.  I remember my mom stayed behind and I ran out of the sobbing, almost having a panic attack, it was an emotional experience.  While I did not know Mr. Williams personally, yesterday felt similar in a sense.  While people may not understand this feeling, losing a person who enters your home on a regular, or touches your life in a specific way is tough, and this death is one of the toughest I have experienced.  Williams was such a magnetic performer, and person.

In his later career Williams took on some darker roles like One Hour Photo, and Insomnia, these two performances were some of his strongest.  Williams was walking away from the humor and showing a layered view into his life, and his talent as an actor.  As you look at these two roles specifically along with the rest of his career you see the talent this man had.

This talent was awarded, and honored throughout his whole career.  Williams was nominated for 11 Golden Globes, and won 5.  Williams was also given the Cecille B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Honor in 2005.  Williams was also nominated 4 times for the Academy Award, and won with his last nomination for Good Will Hunting.  In his speech, he stated “For once I am speechless.”  This was the first Academy Award ceremony I remember where I had seen all the films, and I remember rooting for his win.  William’s was a well-respected and talent man in his craft; he was also a great human being.

Throughout his time Williams not only made people laugh, but he made them smile with his work for countless charities.  Williams is a face you would see every time you went to the movies if there was a commercial for St. Jude.  Williams was good friends with Christopher Reeves in the 80s, and after Reeves tragic horse riding accident his good friend was always by his side fighting tirelessly.   In the 1980s Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and Whoopi Goldberg helped put the charity Comic Relief on the map, a charity set up to help the homeless.  These are just a few of the almost 100 different charities Williams was involved with. 

Williams was also a voice for struggling with addiction, and mental health problems.  He used his voice to help others.  As I sit back and think about this person, this funny, kind, warm hearted man, I find myself struggling to find no better words to close this out than his own, “You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”  Williams was a friend to many, and his voice will be missed.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August Movies to See and Skip

August 1st 

Guardians of the Galaxy

The most fun you will have at the movies all summer, this is what action/comic book movies should be all about.

My review: http://eternalthoughtsofkevinsmind.blogspot.com/2014/08/guardians-of-galaxy-may-be-most-fun-you.html

Get on Up

Bio-Pics have become a dime a dozen, the reviews for this have been middle of the road, but Chadwick Boseman is getting excellent write ups for this film, in a crowded Best Actor year he will probably be forgotten, but this film may be worth your time.

August 8th 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

They aren't aliens, whew, but April O'Neil is still Meaghan Fox, and I am hesitant about this film on multiple levels.  Two words, Michael Bay.  With Michael Bay's involvement the CGI will be great but the story will suffer, the price you pay.  I will watch this on the small screen.

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Lasse Hallstrom film's are a bit too saccharine at times from Chocolat, to Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, but there is alway some charm, this could fit into the middle ground because of the talen involved.

Into the Storm

Shouldn't this just be called Twister (2014)

About Alex

The Big Chill for 2014, the talent is there, but will this be too millennial?

August 15th

The Expendables 3 

The poster almost can't fit the entire cast, this looks like a train wreck that Han Solo/Indiana Jones can't save.

The Giver 

This was one of my favorite books growing up.  I remember reading this in fourth grade, and starting to fall in love with reading even more with this book.  I feel like adapting books like this can be tricky, the trailer is pretty solid, and it has Streep and Bridges in great roles.  Use your gut on this one.

Let's Be Cops

Two stars on the rise, Damon Wayans Jr., and Jake Johnson, both from the television series New Girl in a film with an absurd premise that looks hilarious, let's just hope all the funniest jokes are not in the trailer like with Neighbors.

Life After Beth

Aubrey Plaza is the star of the month, in her own words this zom-rom-com takes a the genre to a whole new level, but the real point is that if you love Plaza this film will be something you should be all over.  I am excited to see her career continue this growth.

August 22nd 

Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For

I loved the first Sin City, but Dame looks like it lacks the energy of the first film. which was released almost 10 years ago.  There were so many casting rumors including Angelina Jolie, but most of the cast from the first are returning with a few new folks.

When the Game Stands Tall

The most emotionally manipulative film of the year, just watch the trailer.

Movies to See: Guardians of the Galaxy, Get On Up, Let's Be Cops
Movies to Skip: When the Game Stands Tall, Into the Storm, Sin City 2

Friday, August 1, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy may be the Most Fun you will have at the Movies all Summer, and is Everything a Comic Book Movie should be, and More!

Guardians of the Galaxy (4 out of 5 Stars)
Directed by: James Gunn (Slither)
Written by: James Gunn (Dawn of the Dead),  and Nicole Perlman
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, and voice work from Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel

Marvel's Comic Con panel may have been a bit of disappointment with announcing new projects, really just Guardians of the Galaxy 2?  The big question is can a film about  a bunch of "losers" who not many people have heard about continue their success.  Captain America: Winter Solider is the highest grossing domestic film of the year, can the Guardians set an August box office record, and let's put it out there, is the film any good? Yes to both!

Guardians starts off with a young Peter Quill at the side of his mother dying bed, as he bursts out from her hospital room and into an open field he is immediately captured on a space ship.  The films jumps 26 years later where Quill aka Starlord (Pratt) is on the hunt for an orb to sell to the highest bidder.  While encountering the orb Quill is met by minions of Ronan the Accuser (Pace) from the Kree Empire.  Ronan is after this orb because it contains one of the Infinity Stones.  The Infinity Stones are the different elements from the Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World.  They are things Thanos, is trying to collect in order to control the Universe.

While on his way to exchange the orb Starlord is attacked by three people with two sets of intentions Gamora (Saldana) step daughter of Thanos, who wants to bring the stone to The Collector (Benicio del Torro), and Rocket, and Groot who want to trade Quill in for the 40,000 unit bounty on his head.  The four are arrested on Xandar by the Nova Corps. and taken to prison where they meet Drax the Destoryer (Bautista), and they form an unlikely alliance/friendship to save the Galaxy.

Sounds confusing, lots of new characters, none familiar, to non-comic fans, but this film succeeds on all levels.  There is great character development, in fact everyone was perfectly cast.  Pratt is a true comedic genius, and he brings Starlord to life, with such great humor and depth.  Saldana is impressive as Gamora, and gives life to another badass female super hero in the Marvel universe.  Cooper is magnificent as Rocket's voice, and the best part is that you get lost in the character.  Batista was the scene stealer of the group, funny, well acted performance, and fantastic in this role.  You could not ask for a better cast.

People seem to want Marvel to fail, but this is another impressive addition to their continued live action story development.  Gunn who has not done much in the major motion picture world holds his own, creating the humor and heart this film needs to succeed.  First time screen writer Nicole Perlman and Gunn created a script that captured each element of the Universe and characters so well.  Even if you do not know the mythos behind all of what's going on the duo have put together an impactful/funny script that allows you care about a group of "losers" from a wise cracking raccoon looking being to an tree that barely speaks.  Guardians is at times, silly but the action is incredible, the music is great, and the film is just plain fun.  This may be the most fun I have at the movies all summer.