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."
After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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There is something particularly unnerving about demon possession. It's the idea of something you can't see or control creeping into your body and taking up residence eventually obliterating all you once were and turning you into nothing more than a sack of meat to be manipulated. Then there's also the shrouded ritual around exorcisms: the Latin chants the flesh-sizzling crucifixes and the burning Holy Water. As it turns out exorcism isn't just the domain of Catholics.
The myths and legends of the Jews aren't nearly as well known but their creepy dybbuk goes toe-to-toe with anything other world religions come up with. There are various interpretations of what a dybbuk is or where it comes from — is it a ghost a demon a soul of a sinner? — but in any case it's looking for a body to hang out in for a while. Especially according to the solemn Hasidic Jews in The Possession an innocent young person and even better a young girl.
The central idea in The Possession is that a fancy-looking wooden box bought at a garage sale was specifically created to house a dybbuk that was tormenting its previous owner. Unfortunately it caught the eye of young Emily (Natasha Calis) a sensitive artistic girl who persuades her freshly divorced dad Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Watchmen and Grey's Anatomy) to buy it for her. Never mind the odd carvings on it — that would be Hebrew — or how it's created without seams so it would be difficult to open or why it's an object of fascination for a young girl; Clyde is trying really hard to please his disaffected daughters and do the typical freshly divorced parent dance of trying to please them no matter the cost.
Soon enough the creepy voices calling to Emily from the box convince her to open it up; inside are even creepier personal objects that are just harbingers of what's to come for her her older sister Hannah (Madison Davenport) her mom Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) and even Stephanie's annoying new boyfriend Brett (Grant Show). Clyde and Stephanie squabble over things like pizza for dinner and try to convince each other and themselves that Emily's increasingly odd behavior is that of a troubled adolescent. It's not of course and eventually Clyde enlists the help of the son of a Hasidic rabbi a young man named Tzadok played by the former Hasidic reggae musician Matisyahu to help them perform an exorcism on Emily.
The Possession is not going to join the ranks of The Exorcist in the horror pantheon but it does do a remarkable job of making its characters intelligent and even occasionally droll and it offers up plenty of chills despite a PG-13 rating. Perhaps it's because of that rating that The Possession is so effective; the filmmakers are forced to make the benign scary. Giant moths and flying Torahs take the place of little Reagan violently masturbating with a crucifix in The Exorcist. Gagging and binging on food is also an indicator of Emily's possession — an interesting twist given the anxieties of becoming a woman a girl Emily's age would face. There is something inside her controlling her and she knows it and she is fighting it. The most impressive part of Calis's performance is how she communicates Emily's torment with a few simple tears rolling down her face as the dybbuk's control grows. The camerawork adds to the anxiety; one particularly scary scene uses ordinary glass kitchenware to great effect.
The Possession is a short 92 minutes and it does dawdle in places. It seems as though some of the scenes were juggled around to make the PG-13 cut; the moth infestation scene would have made more sense later in the movie. Some of the problems are solved too quickly or simply and yet it also takes a while for Clyde's character to get with it. Stephanie is a fairly bland character; she makes jewelry and yells at Clyde for not being present in their marriage a lot and then there's a thing with a restraining order that's pretty silly. Emily is occasionally dressed up like your typical horror movie spooky girl with shadowed eyes an over-powdered face and dark clothes; it's much more disturbing when she just looks like an ordinary though ill young girl. The scenes in the heavily Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn look oddly fake and while it's hard to think of who else could have played Tzadok an observant Hasidic Jew who is also an outsider willing to take risks the others will not Matisyahu is not a very good actor. Still the filmmakers should be commended for authenticity insofar as Matisyahu has studied and lived as a Hasidic Jew.
It would be cool if Lionsgate and Ghost House Pictures were to release the R-rated version of the movie on DVD. What the filmmakers have done within the confines of a PG-13 rating is creepy enough to make me curious to see the more adult version. The Possession is no horror superstar and its name is all too forgettable in a summer full of long-gestating horror movies quickly pushed out the door. It's entertaining enough and could even find a broader audience on DVD. Jeffrey Dean Morgan can read the Old Testament to me any time.
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.
My friends and I wanted to see Marilyn Manson, plain and simple.
And if our instinct was anything to go by, so were most of the cell-phone-toting set gathered at THE ... GALLERY in Hollywood for the (invite only, woo hoo!) Monday night opening of "Holy Wood" -- an exhibit of photo artwork conceived by the shock rocker and his collaborator P.R. Brown.
Being an art thing, we arrived a requisite hour and a half late at the Hollywood spot, each and every minute of the way mulling in our heads who (celebs!) and what (weirdos) awaited our entrance.
After passing the door guy and the door, we set foot into a commonplace tableau -- by Los Angeles standard -- where people of largely similar hairdos and hipness (besides a couple of Goth kids) crowded the space, drinking wine and rubbing elbows to see and be seen.
And unless he was going incognito in a baseball cap and khakis, there was neither Marilyn Manson nor his galpal Rose McGowan nor anyone recognizable at the event.
And rather than the rock provocateur, we had to settle instead for his art.
And the art ...
Now we don't claim any expertise in the area of art history or anything, but to our untrained eyes at least, the photos -- with titles such as "Evolution 1," "Holywood," "Cruci-Fiction In Space" -- were visual knock-offs of artist-photographer Joel-Peter Witkin mixed with long, and no doubt laborious, hours of Photoshop slave work.
According to the press release, the photos -- with Manson looking gothically freakish over and over again in almost every one of them -- are a comment on America's obsession with celebrity.
And it was only upon leaving the gallery that the irony of this whole thing became apparent to us: Isn't that the only reason why everyone (OK, including us) were there in the first place.
Holy Wood, indeed.