Stars including Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and Stevie Wonder headed to San Francisco, California on Saturday (27Sep14) to pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams following his death in August (14). The Good Will Hunting star committed suicide in his adopted home of San Francisco last month (Aug14) and was laid to rest at a private funeral a week later.
His daughter Zelda organised a memorial service at the Curran Theatre on Saturday so his life could be celebrated by his famous friends.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, hundreds of guests attended while others sent in music and video tributes. Billy Crystal, who gave a speech in Williams' honour at the Emmy Awards last month (Aug14), paid another emotional farewell to his friend while Goldberg, comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, Bonnie Hunt, Eric Idle and Williams' three children and wife Susan also addressed the audience.
Stevie Wonder helmed the musical section of the memorial with the Glide Ensemble and Change Band from the Glide Memorial Church, where Williams' funeral was held.
Following the service, the guests headed to the nearby Westin St. Francis Hotel for a reception.
Other attendees include the actor's Mork & Mindy co-star Pam Dawber, Bette Midler, Ben Stiller, George Lucas, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jeff Bridges, Minnie Driver, Josh Groban, Seth Green and Eddie Izzard.
Police in the U.K. have launched an appeal for information after a 21-year-old music fan was brutally attacked at Britain's Sonisphere festival over the weekend (05-06Jul14). George Cook, from Surrey, England, was hospitalised and underwent a five-hour operation to fix a metal plate to his jaw after he was beaten by a group of three men at the rock festival on Friday night (04Jul14).
Cook is now recovering at home, and police have launched a hunt to find those responsible.
A Hertfordshire Police spokesman says, "One serious incident occurred which saw a 21-year-old man from Surrey suffering serious injuries following an assault in the Red 2 campsite on Friday night, July 4. He received injuries to his face and jaw which require surgery. It is believed three offenders were involved in this assault."
The event was headlined by Iron Maiden and Metallica.
Actor Sam Riley turned his back on his dreams to become a rock star after one critic suggested his band was perhaps the worst in Britain. The 34 year old and his brother George formed British band 10,000 Things, and the siblings felt sure they had made it big when they landed a record deal in 2003, but the critics hated them and the band was dropped after one scathing review.
Riley, who is about to appear on the big screen as Angelina Jolie's sidekick in Maleficent, says, "I really wanted to be a rock star. I did that for five or six years and then we got one of the worst reviews of all time in the New Musical Express. The review was bad enough that they (record label bosses) dropped us within two weeks of the review.
"We were touted as the worst band in Britain. I know who wrote it; I can still remember his name!"
The bad review prompted Riley to hunt down an agent who once offered him encouragement as an actor.
He adds, "I did National Youth theatre as a summer course when I was 17. Then I did a play when I was 19, replacing the lead actor in London and Paris for some weeks. I got an agent who saw me do that play and then I told her I didn't want to be an actor, I wanted to be a rock star.
"After we were dropped I rang this agent up and the first thing she sent me for was to play a singer in (the film) Control!"
Riley landed the role of tragic Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis in the film, and he has since made a handful of other films.
ABC Television Network
The worst kept secret on this season of Grey's Anatomy finally finished up: Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) left Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. But how would she exit? And would she make it out alive?
Season finales of Grey's have a way of scaring the hell out of fans as cast members have been killed off with little or no notice. In the past, a gunman invaded the hospital, a plane crash turned numerous lives asunder and last season a bus accident and blackout threatened the future of many. Season 10's major threat was a potential terrorist attack at a local mall. Yang narrated the beginning and end of this episode, a task usually reserved for best friend Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo). We all knew it was Yang's last day there, yet her narration hinted at the worst: what if she got hit by a bus? Considering that her good pal George O’Malley (T.R. Knight) died in Season 6 by this fate, that wouldn't seem too far fetched.
Yang's final episode wasn't sudden. Her exit was milked by Grey's this entire month. Commercials and teasers on ABC gave us the hint: "Hey, you better tune in, Cristina is leaving." Finally, Yang, the surgeon with the elite skills and even better potential, earned the exit necessary for someone of her talents: she zipped off to Switzerland to run a hospital, at last becoming the cardiothoracic surgeon god she had longed to be even as an intern.
Thankfully, Yang made it through the finale, but not before too-brief goodbyes with her co-workers. The most difficult of all was with Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd), Yang's on again-off again lover. This couple never really had a chance; Hunt wanted to settle down while Yang yearned to climb whatever ladder she could to become the best surgeon possible. Their last encounter wasn't a strong hug or deep kiss. Hunt was busy operating and all Yang could do was watch from the viewing room, waving and saying goodbye in the easiest way possible, kind of like ripping a Band-Aid off. Before officially leaving, Yang had to dance it out with Grey, her closet friend. "You're my person," they would always say. They hadn't called each other that in a while as their lives took different routes, but that final dance was a proper sendoff for the best friends, who may or may not see each other again.
The Season 10 finale tied up some story lines and brought some cliffhangers for next season. Here are the biggest questions for Season 11:
Grey vs. Shepherd: Who Wins?
All of Derek Shepherd's (Patrick Dempsey) neurosurgeon work paid off as the White House had asked for his help. Shepherd had been consumed with work so family life and normal hospital duties sometime suffered. The solution? Move to Washington D.C.
Grey, however, realized she didn't want to move across the country. Her life, friends and work were in Seattle. This stalemate looks to be ugly next season, especially since Shepherd had accepted the job and even got his wife a position too. They won't move. They can't; how could Grey's take place in two locations?
Who Gets the Empty Board Seat?
Yang's exit leaves an opening on the board of directors. Initially, Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.) told Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) that it would be a done deal and she would take that seat. But wait, what wrinkle do we get at the end? Yang left Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) a package, which basically gave him the empty seat. Can she do that? Bailey needs that seat to continue her research, which will get cut because of budget issues. Karev doesn't need it, however, he does thrive when added responsibility comes his way.
How's the Baby?
The entire hospital now knows that April Kepner (Sarah Drew) is pregnant. She had kept it a secret for some time. She had kept her marriage to Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) a secret too. What other secrets does she have? Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) and Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) plan to have a baby, but which one of them will carry? Or will they use a surrogate? Anytime a baby is expected, dramatic events are bound to unfold.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
HOLLYWOOD SHOULD STOP MAKING HOLOCAUST MOVIES
If the recent release of The Monuments Men proves anything, it's that Hollywood should stop making Holocaust movies.
There's no denying that The Holocaust was a horrific event, and that we should make every effort to remind young generations that terrible tragedies can occur when individuals become corrupted by power. However, just as disturbing is Hollywood's endless need to exploit this tragedy for the pursuit of profit.
It was Theodor Adorno who once said, "To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric." Adorno's point is especially relevant when we consider the constant circulation of Holocaust movies like The Monuments Men. In order to understand the problem, it's important to realize that George Clooney and his co-stars are cashing in on this movie, as are the major Hollywood studies that produce it. Hollywood is a business after all, and we all know that there's no better way to attract moviegoers than to release another "important" story about the Holocaust. In this particular case, we follow a group of American soldiers who are sent to rescue artwork from the Nazis, because apparently artwork is more important than people.
There was a time when it was necessary for Hollywood to make Holocaust movies. Film is popular entertainment, and it has the potential to enlighten the masses about this brutal event in history. However, we already have Schindler's List (1993) and The Pianist (2002), and there are hundreds of excellent, important documentaries worth renting. What we don't need, and what Hollywood keeps giving us, is American movie stars like Clooney and Matt Damon engaging in witty banter through World War II rubble. We aren't going to benefit from Kate Winslet hanging herself at the end of the The Reader (2008). And we especially aren't going to be moved by Brad Pitt's collection of Nazi scalps in Inglorious Basterds (2009). It appears that Hollywood failed to understand that they were only supposed to make one or two important movies about the Holocaust. Instead, they've unleashed a genre.
Hollywood has made movie after movie about the Holocaust to the point where audiences become so distant from the real event that they only think about it in terms of cinematic conventions. Last year, for example, critics and audiences panned The Book Thief (2013) for being too "sappy" and "precious." And maybe it was, but we've gone too far if we're judging Holocaust movies by the same standards that we judge a Nicholas Sparks adaptation.
The Holocaust was a horrific, brutal event, and we must remember and honor its victims. To do this, Hollywood must stop making Holocaust movies.
HOLLYWOOD SHOULDN'T STOP MAKING HOLOCAUST MOVIES
If the recent release of George Clooney's film The Monuments Men — based on Robert M. Edsel’s book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History — proves anything, it’s that Hollywood can still create emotional and compelling films about the Holocaust.
Though World War II is a dark time in the world’s history that many would like to forget, we shouldn't. Of course, many fans of cinema will tell you that we have enough movies focusing on this period of time. Some might even say Hollywood should have stopped after creating Schindler’s List. However, the Holocaust will never stop being part of the world’s history, and Hollywood should never be told to stop creating films based on the subject.
History shouldn’t just be taught by school teachers or textbooks; history can be taught by survivors, by those choosing to tell the survivors' story. History can be learned through any medium whether it's a factual first account or a fictional retelling, like Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.
Perhaps some moviegoers see mentions of the Holocaust as cheap plays on sentimentality, but it also shouldn't be a topic Hollywood wholly avoids — especially in non-historical films. Two specific movies come to mind: The Avengers makes a brief allusion to the World War II and Magneto’s revenge story in X-Men: First Class deals with a survivor’s story — a very fictional survivor who can control metal with his mind, but still.
However, both these films are impactful in different ways. The scene in The Avengers that references the Holocaust is amazing. An old man stands up to Loki, who presumes to be Earth’s one true ruler, and tells him he is nothing special; there will always be men who wish to subjugate humankind and they will always be defeated. Similarly, Magneto’s storyline in X-Men gives the character agency so that he is not simply a one-dimensional victim archetype.
The fact that we can still be moved by the Holocaust — whether it’s in a superhero flick or a serious drama like The Monuments Men — is an important factor to respecting and immortalizing history. Holocaust films should not be disregarded simply because someone is tired of remembering something uncomfortable.
Tribeca Film via Everett Collection
For a film that involves a love triangle, mental illness, a Bohemian colony of free-spirits, an impending war and several important historical figures, the most exciting elements of Summer in February are the stunning shots of the English country and Cornish seaside. The rest of the film never quite lives up to the crashing waves and sun-dappled meadows that are used to bookend the scenes, as the entertaining opening never manages to coalesce into a story that lives up the the cinematography, let alone the lives of the people that inspired it.
Set in an Edwardian artist’s colony in Cornwall, Summer in February tells the story of A.J. Munnings (Dominic Cooper), who went on to become one of the most famous painters of his day and head of the Royal Academy of Art, his best friend, estate agent and part-time soldier Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens), and the woman whom they both loved, aspiring artist Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning). Her marriage to Munnings was an extremely unhappy one, and she attempted suicide on their honeymoon, before killing herself in 1914. According to his journals, Gilbert and Florence were madly in love, although her marriage and his service in the army kept them apart.
When the film begins, Munnings is the center of attention in the Lamorna Artist's Colony, dramatically reciting poetry at parties and charming his way out of his bar tab while everyone around him proclaims him to be a genius. When he’s not drinking or painting, he’s riding horses with Gilbert, who has the relatively thankless task of keeping this group of Bohemians in line. Their idyllic existence is disrupted by the arrival of Florence, who has run away from her overbearing father and the fiancé he had picked out for her in order to become a painter.
Stevens and Browning both start the film solidly, with enough chemistry between them to make their infatuation interesting. He manages to give Gilbert enough dependable charm to win over both Florence and the audience, and she presents Florence as someone with enough spunk and self-possession to go after what she wants. Browning’s scenes with Munnings are equally entertaining in the first third of the film, as she can clearly see straight through all of his bravado and he is intrigued by her and how difficult she is to impress. Unfortunately, while the basis of the love triangle is well-established and entertaining, it takes a sudden turn into nothing with a surprise proposal from Munnings.
Neither the film nor Browning ever make it clear why Florence accepts his proposal, especially when they have both taken great pains to establish that she doesn’t care much for him. But once she does, the films stalls, and both Stevens and Browning spend the rest of the film doing little more than staring moodily and longingly at the people around them. The real-life Florence was plagued by depression and mental instability, but neither the film nor Browning’s performance ever manage to do more than give the subtlest hint at that darkness. On a few occasions, Browning does manage to portray a genuine anguish, but rather than producing any sympathy from the audience, it simply conjures up images of a different film, one that focused more on Florence, and the difficulties of being a woman with a mental illness at a time when both were ignored or misunderstood.
Stevens is fine, and Gilbert starts out with the same kind of good-guy appeal the won the heart of Mary Crawley and Downton Abbey fans the world over. However, once the film stalls, so does his performance, and he quickly drops everything that made the character attractive or interesting in favor of longing looks and long stretches of inactivity. He does portray a convincing amount of adoration for Florence, although that's about the only real emotion that Gilbert expresses for the vast majority of the film, and even during his love scene, he never manages to give him any amount of passion.
Cooper does his best with what he’s given, and tries his hardest to imbue the film with some substance and drama. His Munnings is by turns charming, brash, and brooding, the kind of person who has been told all of their life that they are special, and believes it. He even manages to give the character some depth, and even though he and Browning have very little chemistry, he manages to convey a genuine affection for her. It’s a shame that Munnings becomes such a deeply unlikable character, because Cooper is the only thing giving Summer in February a jolt of life – even if it comes via bursts of thinly-explained hostility. It's hard to watch just how hard he's working to connect with his co-stars and add some excitement to a lifeless script and not wish that he had a better film to show off his talents in.
Unfortunately, by the time Florence and Gilbert are finally spurred into activity, the film has dragged on for so long that you’re no longer invested in the characters, their pain, or their love story, even if you want to be. Which is the real disappointment of Summer in February; underneath the stalled plot and the relatively one-note acting, there are glimmers of a fascinating and compelling story that’s never allowed to come to the forefront.
Several shows are premiering new seasons this week, while J.J. Abrams returns to TV with Almost Human. Here's what else you need to be watching.
The GoldbergsWhatever happened to Jeff Garlin, the former sidekick to Larry David's slightly more misanthropic version of himself on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm? He's starring on The Goldbergs, the most sitcom-y new sitcom to debut on network TV this year. Despite coming off a slow start, the show is gradually finding its voice, which is why ABC renewed it for a full season. It's not quite as laugh-out-loud funny as Curb, but thanks to Garlin and Patton Oswalt, who narrates the show, it's still good for a few chuckles. A new episode of The Goldbergs airs Tuesday at 9PM ET on ABC.
Finding BigfootFor three seasons (and counting!), a rag-tag group of cryptic zoologists have been on the hunt for that ever-elusive creature known as Sasquatch. Spoiler alert: they still haven't found him! Will the mysterious ape-like being ever be located when the fourth season of Finding Bigfoot premieres on Sunday night? I'm guessing not. Finding Bigfoot airs Sunday nights at 7PM ET on Animal Planet.
ScandalFresh off her hilarious hosting job on Saturday Night Live, Kerry Washington returns to her hit political series with a brand new episode. No comedy here, unfortunately, unless you consider the show's intricate plotlines involving various lies and backstabbing among Washington's political elite as topical humor. But then we already have Fox News for that, now don't we? A new episode of Scandal airs at 10PM ET this Thursday on ABC.
Almost HumanA futuristic detective must save the modern world from its many corrupting forces. Sound like a done-before concept for a TV show? Factor in that his partner is an android and you have Almost Human, the new sci-fi series from J.J. Abrams. Hey, I'll watch that! Almost Human debuts this Sunday at 8PM ET on FOX.
Unique SweetsEver wonder what pie would taste like as a butterscotch cocktail? The good folks over at Unique Sweets have, which is why they've focused an entire episode on developing the tasty new drink, as well as some oddball ice cream flavors. Let's face it, there's just no way you can have a show about dessert mash-ups and not have people watch it. Unique Sweets kicks off its season four this Sunday at 7PM ET on the Cooking Channel.
Star Wars fans will be given a second chance to audition for a role in the franchise's new reboot by sending in an online application. Thousands of wannabe movie stars queued for hours in Bristol, England on Saturday (09Nov13) in a bid to get in front of casting directors from Lucasfilm after it was reported producers behind the new sci-fi sequel are on the hunt for a male and female star.
However, due to the huge number of people who turned up, organisers were forced to turn hundreds of hopefuls away, but now a representative for the production company has confirmed fans will be able to send in video applications online.
Barbara Gamlen, a publicist for Lucasfilm, also reveals dozens of hopefuls who managed to audition in front of casting bosses have already been called back.
She tells the Bristol Post, "We saw about 1,000 people on Saturday with 75 call backs. Star Wars is a real fans favourite, so we always expected a large crowd for the auditions especially as Star Wars is known for casting unknown talent.
"The film has such a dedicated fan base and that's what makes it so special."
Open casting calls to find two unknowns are taking place around the U.K., as well as in the U.S.
Disney bosses took over the film series after buying George Lucas' LucasFilm company last year (12), and the seventh installment of the sci-fi blockbuster franchise will hit cinemas on 18 December, 2015.
The job of a romantic comedy best friend may look easy. But these ladies (and dudes) have the difficult gig of supporting every scheme, participating in every song and dance number, and occasionally ending up with the romantic hero's less dashing compatriot, all while doing their best not to steal the leading lady's spotlight. Here are a few of the BFF performances that are a credit to the genre.
Kit in Pretty Woman
Vivan gets all the "hooker with a heart of gold" credit. But what about Kit (Laura San Giacomo) who, instead of being jealous of her best friend's luck, encourages her to go live her fairy tale?
Becky in Sleepless in Seattle
Becky (Rosie O'Donnell) gives Annie a reality check when she expects her real life to play out like a movie, but will still be sitting next to her for every hundreth viewing of An Affair to Remember, sharing a box of tissues.
Marie in When Harry Met Sally
Sometimes the role of the rom-com sidekick is to make the heroine feel more together by comparison. Before getting together with Harry's best friend, Marie (Carrie Fisher) is stuck on a married guy who she, Sally, and pretty much everyone knows is never going to leave his wife.
Kate in Only You
It's helpful for a leading lady to have the kind of friend who has no qualms about making snap decisions that most normal people would find insane, like when Kate (Bonnie Hunt) drops her entire life to tag along with Faith on an impromptu trip to Italy.
Penny in The Wedding Planner
Cute, spunky, and high-strung, Penny (Judy Greer) is there to take care of business when Mary runs off in search of love, or whatever.
George in My Best Friend's Wedding
George (Rupert Everett) doesn't know he's the sidekick and steals every scene he's in. But all is forgiven when he shows up at Michael's wedding and quite literally sweeps a defeated Jules off her feet.
More:Pixar Pushes Back 'Good Dino' and 'Finding Dory'5 Incredibly Underrated Ron Howard MoviesHot for Teacher: Hollywood's Hottest Educators
From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)