It’s hard to think of many actors from the past few decades who were one of a kind, but Robin Williams was truly a performing force unlike anything that’s ever existed. No one will ever be able to fill his now sadly empty shoes. The fact that his life was taken in such a lonely, horrific fashion after a long struggle with depression only makes this loss more tragic. For now, however, let’s focus on how Williams lived as apposed to how he died. What a life he lived and what an unparalleled career full of laughs, inspiration, and flubber he’s left behind. In honor of this great talent, here are my five personal choices for his best performances in film.
What do Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, have in common? Besides the fact that they are both splendid, waterfront communities, probably not much. Except this: Seventy-five years ago this week, these towns were the first public release points for one of the greatest films ever. “The Wizard of Oz.”
“Lucy” is a completely inconsequential movie. You watch it, shrug your shoulders with a “meh,” walk away, and forget about it the next day. That’d be all well and good if “Lucy” was simply aspiring to be another run-of-the-mill blockbuster. The film actually seems to have greater ambitions, though, trying hard to tackle a number of complex ideas and theories. On one hand, the film’s ambition at least makes it more admirable than mindless entertainment. On the other hand, the fact that the film can’t deliver on its ambition ultimately makes it more disappointing.
DreamWorks Animation has always been great at being timely, but hasn’t always been that great at being timeless. Some of their films have stricken a decent balance between timely and timeless, like “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda.” Several of their films, however, feel very much like products of the time that probably won’t hold up phenomenally in another 20 years. Chris Sanders’ “How to Train Your Dragon” was a different kind of film from DreamWorks, being one half action/adventure and another half heartwarming tale between a boy and animal. In some respects, it was like a few of their earlier 2-D animated features, but done a million times better. It was the first DreamWorks film since “The Prince of Egypt” that felt completely timeless with no pop culture references and little modern talk, even rivaling some of the best efforts from Disney and Pixar.
When the trailer for “Edge of Tomorrow” hit awhile back, everyone seemed to have the same reaction. “So what, it’s like ‘Groundhog Day’ meets ‘Transformers?’” In a nutshell, yeah, that’s exactly what the film is. The good news is that “Edge of Tomorrow” is also one of the summer’s more surprising blockbusters. As an action picture, it’s infinitely smarter and more entertaining than any of the “Transformers” movies. While not as funny or heartfelt as “Groundhog Day,” it does have a very welcome sense of humor and genuine affection for its characters. It’s kind of a shame that this $178 million blockbuster is likely destined to get lost in the shuffle of summer movies as it’s really worth checking out.
I usually don’t expect much from books or movies geared towards the “young adult” crowd, so I was shocked by how much I enjoyed The Fault in our Stars, a film about two teenage cancer patients fighting death and falling in love. This is one of the best romance stories I’ve ever seen and it is as smart and inspiring as it is heart-breaking.
It’s always been my personal opinion that Walt Disney’s 1959 “Sleeping Beauty” should have been titled, “Maleficent.” After all, she gets more screen time than Princess Aurora, she’s a more interesting character, and she’s the one you want to dress up as for Halloween. So why does Sleeping Blandness get the title role? It’s nice to see Maleficent finally get top billing in a movie after all these years, even if the movie itself is only so-so.
An English teacher from Desert Vista High School, Dr. Cicely Cobb, and civil rights advocate, the Rev. Jarrett Maupin, hosted a press conference outside of the Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Court Building in downtown Phoenix on Thursday morning to highlight alleged physical, verbal and emotional abuse she has experienced at the school.
Jude Law has always been a good actor, but he has never had a really great role until this quirky new film, Dom Hemingway, where he plays a cockney safecracker trying to repair his self-inflicted shattered life while still retaining his cocky swagger.
“The Muppets” was just about a perfect movie, tapping into our nostalgia while also offering something new and innovative. There’s no way director James Bobin and screenwriter Nicholas Stoller could ever top it. Kermit and friends acknowledge this fact in the opening number of “Muppets Most Wanted,” singing about how the sequel is never as good as the original. This second film, which is technically the eighth film in the franchise, might not be on par with its predecessor. It is, however, a fun, self-aware satire well worthy of the Muppet name.
A few weeks ago we got “The LEGO Movie,” an animated feature that looked like a disaster waiting to happen. Since its release, however, the film has become a box office hit and received praise from virtually every human being on the planet, myself included. “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” is another family movie that seemed destined to flop at first glance. A modern day 3-D extravaganza based on a 1960s cartoon that was never even so great to begin with? I smell another “Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.”
A few weeks ago we got “The Lego Movie,” an animated feature that looked like a disaster waiting to happen. Since its release, however, the film has become a box office hit and received praise from virtually every human being on the planet, myself included. “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” is another family movie that seemed destined to flop at first glance. A modern day 3D extravaganza based on a 1960’s cartoon that was never even so great to begin with? I smell another “Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.”
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but few could justifiably question the beauty of a Hayao Miyazaki film. A revered master of animation, the Oscar-winning director/writer makes something as simple as a hazy sky so ravishing, it can take your breath away.
LOS ANGELES — With less than a week to go before the Academy Awards, the Dolby Theatre in the heart of Hollywood is on lockdown. Guards stand at every door, and handlers with walkie-talkies keep a close eye on any visitors.
FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2014 file photo, Pink performs at the 56th annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center, in Los Angeles. Producers of the 86th Academy Awards announced Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, that Pink will appear on the Oscar show on March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer joins a lineup already set to include performances from U2, Pharrell Williams, Bette Midler, rocker Karen O and Broadway star Idina Menzel. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, file)
FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2007 file photo, Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres opens the 79th Academy Awards telecast, in Los Angeles. DeGeneres is returning as host at the 86th Academy Awards on March 2, 2014, after making her Oscar debut in 2007 and she’s had a close hand in the writing process, Neil Meron said. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, file)
FILE - This Nov. 15, 2007 file photo shows Craig Zadan, left, and Neil Meron, producers of the film "Hairspray" at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's in Santa Barbara, Calif. Meron, who is producing the Oscar show for the second time with partner Craig Zadan, hopes a careful blend of secrecy and teasing, topped with some of the tightest races in recent Oscar memory, makes the 86th Academy Awards a lure for viewers far and wide. The Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael A. Mariant, File)