Funnyman Steve Martin has led tributes to his pal Robin Williams, following the Mrs. Doubtfire star's death on Monday (11Aug14). Williams was found dead in his home in Marin County, California. He was 63. Reports suggest he committed suicide.
Martin took to Twitter.com on Monday afternoon, shortly after the sad news broke and wrote, "I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul."
David Steinberg, Williams' manager for 35 years, said in a statement: "Nobody made the world laugh like Robin Williams. My brother, my friend, my soul mate, I will miss you."
Cher added, "Oh Robin... He was Sweet LOVELY,Man. He ran high voltage,Mind Always Going, It was who he was.I Know Well..Many X's from High There is Only Low.So Sad", while Williams' Mrs. Doubtfire co-star Mara Wilson writes, "Very sad, very upset, very glad I did not have to hear about this though Twitter. Probably going to be taking some time off it for a while."
Genie. You're free. pic.twitter.com/FWQWPDPP42
— Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) August 11, 2014
Other Twitter tributes have come from Johnny Depp, Michael J. Fox, Rihanna, Rita Wilson, Steve Carell, Jared Leto, Morgan Freeman, Kristin Chenoweth, Jon Cryer, John Cusack, Jenny McCarthy, Logan Lerman, Evan Rachel Wood, Sharon & Jack Osbourne, Pink, Ellen DeGeneres, Rose McGowan, Shannen Doherty, Josh Groban, Eddie Izzard, Eric Idle, Ashley Tisdale, Marlee Matlin, Mandy Moore, John Krasinski, and Mia Farrow, who posted, "No! Robin Williams you were so loved."
Miley Cyrus never met Williams, but admits the news of his death hit her hard: "I can't take the Robin Williams news. I've never cried over someone I've never met but I can't stop."
And Lindsay Lohan adds, "Mr. Williams visited me the first day of filming The Parent Trap. I will never forget his kindness. What an enormous loss. My condolences."
His former co-stars Henry Winkler and Minnie Driver were also among the first celebrities to pay tribute to Williams. Happy Days star Winkler wrote, "To watch him create on the spot was a privilege to behold... Robin you are an angel now !!! REST IN PEACE", while his Good Will Hunting castmate Driver added, "My Heart's broken. Robin was a beautiful, kind soul. Can't bear that he's gone. So incredibly sorry for his family."
One of the late funnyman's final co-stars, Joel McHale, states, "RIP @robinwilliams. You were one of the very best that ever was. You were one of my heroes."
And Williams' Mork & Mindy co-star Pam Dawber, who recently reteamed with Williams in U.S. TV comedy The Crazy Ones, has revealed she's "devastated" by the sad news of her longtime friend's death. The actor's The Crazy Ones co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar simply posted nine photos of herself with Williams on Twitter.com.
Other thoughtful words came from Glee stars Chord Overstreet and Lea Michele, who wrote, "So heartbreaking to hear the terribly sad news about the amazing Robin Williams, thank you for bringing so much laughter and joy to us all", and Kevin Spacey, who added, "Robin Williams made the world laugh & think. I will remember & honor that. A great man, artist and friend. I will miss him beyond measure."
He made us laugh. He made us cry. He ended up touching every element of the human spirit. #RIPRobinWilliams pic.twitter.com/kbEq7OwPOf
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 12, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama also acknowledged the entertainer's impact to people all over the world in a statement which reads: "Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan and everything in between. "But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien - but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most - from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalised on our own streets. "The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin's family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams."
Meanwhile, a tribute has been posted on a billboard outside Los Angeles' Laugh Factory, where Williams often performed. It reads: "Robin Williams. Rest in Peace. Make God laugh."
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
While watching Salt, the new spy thriller from Clear and Present Danger director Phillip Noyce and Equilibrium scribe Kurt Wimmer, I couldn’t help but think how nothing about the film was plausible. From stem to stern, Salt is a masterclass in the absurd. The only thing remotely realistic about the entire production is that it is set on the planet Earth -- and even that is suspect considering the sheer amount of inhuman things Angelina Jolie’s character, Evelyn Salt, does throughout the movie. She performs acrobatic feats that would make Spider-Man jealous while taking beatings brutal enough to make Superman bruise. But no matter what happens to her, Salt gets right back on her espionage horse like it was little more than a mild day at the gym.
Now there’s nothing wrong with the characters of action movies being able to do things no ordinary person would be capable of -- that’s the entire allure of action movies, after all -- but the stars who are tasked with bringing those characters to life need to look just remotely capable of doing a tenth of the things they do on screen. And as talented of an actress she is, Angelina Jolie just does not scream "action ass-kicker" to me these days. She’s still gorgeous, sure, but she’s also still in the waif-like state she was in for Wanted, another action movie in which she was required to shoot guns that looked as though they’d break every bone in her arms as soon as she pulled the trigger. Until she looks like a stiff breeze won’t shatter her wrists, Jolie is just too unbelievable as an action star. And that got me thinking: What other femmes just do not belong in the movies in which they’re cast?
Kristin Kreuk - Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li is a bad movie no matter how you cut the deck. That said, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have cast anyone other then Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk as Chun Li. Not only does she look nothing like the part -- she’s too tiny; Chun Li’s thighs alone have more muscle than Kreuk has in her entire body -- but she’s also just a bad actress. Her cuteness may cut it on the CW, but not on the big screen; not when she sports the exact same look of consternation in every single shot. Plus, on a physical level alone, Kreuk is about as threatening as a sleeping kitten.
So who should've played Chun Li in the latest Street Fighter? I’d have gone with Kelly Hu. Sure, she doesn’t strictly look Chinese, but she more than makes up for it with a commanding screen presence. I think she caught the eye of many a fanboy when she played Lady Deathstrike in X2: X-Men United, but the one film that really shows off how much ass she can believably kick is The Tournament. It sadly went straight to DVD here in the States, but that movie is brutal as hell and Hu holds her own as a martial artist throughout the entire thing -- something I doubt will ever be said of Kreuk.
Denise Richards - The World Is Not Enough
Okay, so Denise Richards’ character, Dr. Christmas Jones, in The World is Not Enough isn’t exactly an action star -- she plays a scientist-cum-Bond girl -- but she is still required to run from explosions, shoot at bad guys, and pretend she understands everything that’s going on while the villain tries to destroy the world. Thing is, every time the Wild Things and Starship Troopers hottie opens her mouth, it sounds like she’s reciting her dialogue for the first time ever. This isn’t just a case of an actress being too dainty for her physically demanding role, either (she’s fine in Starship Troopers). This is just a case of a bad performance.
Who else could have taken up the Bond-girl mantle in 1999 instead of Richards? Just about anyone, really. The franchise had more or less devolved into a series of one-liners by that point, so it’s not as though it needed to have a super-serious Bond girl; it just needed a hottie of the times capable of acting like anything but a deer in headlights. I’d have gone for Rose McGowan.
Tara Reid - Alone in the Dark
Granted Alone in the Dark only half counts as an action movie, but it also only half counts as a movie at all. This is Uwe Boll at his drinking-game worse, taking a recognizable survival horror video game and turning it into a barely competent jumble of gunfire and occupying dark spaces while bad CGI looms all around. But even though it’s just a bad movie, the worst part of it has got to be Tara Reid as the most brilliant anthropologist in the world. Sure, she could also go on a list of Miscast Professions, but here she looks just as alien trying to hold an action pose as she does trying to read a book.
There are a ton of actresses I’d have rather seen in the part, but we also have to be realistic about it. Even before he became a punchline, a role in Uwe Boll film wasn’t exactly something to be coveted, so that rules out a bunch of possibilities. Doesn’t matter, though, because my favorite B-movie starlett of that era, Kari Wuhrer, probably would have been happy to take the gig. She’s a great looking gal and a charming actress, but most importantly she actually looks like she could run for more than 90 seconds before calling for a PA to bring her cigarettes and vodka.
Mila Kunis - Max Payne
I like Mila Kunis, I really do. Not just because she’s a gorgeous geek girl, either. She’s actually a fun, talented actress with great comedic chops. She’s just not an action star. She’s too teenytiny for it to ever look badass. I actually prefer her casting even less in Book of Eli than in Max Payne, but at least in the former she can get a pass because the character isn’t supposed to be a ruthless killer. But in Max Payne she plays Mona Sax, a leather-coat twirling, dual-machine gun wielding assassin who is supposed to be even tougher than the dude the movie is titled after. Unfortunately she’s just too adorable to make it work.
A role like this needs to go to someone with a bit more physical presence. Kunis isn’t a bad actresses, she’s just physically wrong for these kind of roles. Someone with a bit more height and a bit more muscle should have been cast. It was a perfect role for a gal like Famke Janssen. Not only is she a dead ringer for Sax as depicted in the game, but she can do the whole spray-the-machine gun face with the best of them (as evidenced by Goldeneye).
Halle Berry - Catwoman
I know I should not go against whatever God saw fit to put Halle Berry in a shredded leather outfit, but she just does not belong in Catwoman. I know a big reason she took the role was because she wanted to play a comic book character who got her own movie, but I just wish it was any role but Catwoman. That’s a character that needs to be fiercely sexual and inherently strong when she’s in the suite (which was hideous and didn’t do any favors for her stale performance), but that edge was just completely absent in Berry. It’s almost as though you can see her regret for having taken the role the entire team. She never lets loose, never completely gives in to the personality she’s supposed to be bringing to life.
If it had been 10 years earlier, I’d actually suggest that that film’s villain, Sharon Stone, would have made for a great Catwoman. Not so much in 2004, though, which is why I’d opt to go for someone like Keira Knightley. She’s got an almost cat-like beauty to her to begin with, but she also has proven she is an actress who is completely willing to dive into tight outfits and start kicking the crap out of some men. Now if only we could have also done something about the Catwoman outfit, which is about as unsexy as a comic-based character’s outfit can get.