This Weekend in the Nerdverse – August 15th-16th


This weekend at the box office the N.W.A. biopic proved to be a hot commodity, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. made a decent while perhaps surprising showing, and Fantastic Four was almost entirely erased from the hearts and minds of the human race.

  1. Straight Outta Compton with $56.1 million
  2. Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation with $17 million
  3. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with $13.5 million
  4. Fantastic Four with $8 million
  5. The Gift with $6.5 million

Also, the D23 expo happened over the weekend. You may have heard of it, or you may not have to be honest. It is an expo for Disney super fans and has really taken off now that Disney owns Marvel and Star Wars. While Star Wars was allowed to be at SDCC 2015, many fans noticed an unbelievable lack of a Marvel presence. Disney wanted them to save all of their big announcements and stars for their own convention. And that they did over the weekend.

Benedict Cumberbatch appeared via video at the Doctor Strange panel to talk about what he plans to bring to the role and then he oozed enigmatic charm all over the damn place. God dammit I love that man. The panel also revealed and talked about plans for the film as well as concept art.

Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie flew all the way from Germany to attend the Captain America: Civil War presentation and panel, where the first ever footage from the highly anticipated film was released.

Kingdom Hearts will be teaming up with Disney Infinity in the third version of them game where you will have the chance to use none other than The Keyblade during combat.

The Star Wars presentation is where it was really at for D23. The cast of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was there, including Harrison Ford, and the cast of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was announced as well as the news that Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) will be directing Star Wars Episode IX. Boom.

In other news, Donald Trump, that lying sack of racist misogynistic psychotic shit, claimed he was Batman. I get it, if a little boy asks you if you’re Batman you say yes because it’s cute and all but Trump really sullied the name of a good man and hero by keeping that kid’s dreams alive. Twitter

New “The Good Dinosaur” Trailer Released

Disney Pixar’s newest project The Good Dinosaur has released a new trailer. In an alternate timeline, dinosaurs were not wiped out before human life began on Earth and after being orphaned, a lovable dinosaur (Raymond Ochoa) and a little boy (Jack Bright) engage on an epic adventure.

From the same creators as Finding Nemo and Inside Out, this movie looks very cute. My inner scientist is happy that finally a movie that involves both humans and dinosaurs is aware of the fact that these two creatures didn’t exist as the same time, hence the alternate timeline scenario. However, the main dinosaur looks super dopey. Pixar is so well known for their stunning animation, that it surprises me how much this doesn’t meet their standard. The rest of the characters are designed fairly well, but seeing as Ochoa’s character is the focus, you’d think he’d look a little nicer.

Visual aesthetic aside, this looks like a good kids movie and with Jurassic World being a little too violent for little kids (though it doesn’t seem to stop parents from dragging their screaming children into movie theaters anyway), The Good Dinosaur will be a good way to spark their interest in archaeology.

The Good Dinosaur comes out on Thanksgiving.

“Inside Out” is Pixar’s Most Important Film

Note: This is not a spoiler free article. Sussing out your emotions can be a incredibly difficult thing to do. So often our instinct is to suppress our sadness, fear, anger and disgust because our lives are busy and it’s more convenient to deal with unpleasant emotions later on. We tell ourselves and other to “just be happy,” “suck it up,” or “be a man!” Children especially are told so often to “stop crying” rather than really accept their feelings. This might save some time, but the damage we’re doing by pushing these emotions to the side takes a major toll on us. What Pixar’s newest film “Inside Out” does is bring this damage to the forefront and advocates for being emotionally honest with ourselves and others. “Inside Out” takes place primarily inside the mind of 11 year old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), a girl who has just moved to San Francisco with her family and is grappling with the major change in her life. Riley is controlled by her five major emotions, Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). Each emotion operates Riley’s reactions through a control board and Joy tends to lead the group’s decisions. This usually means Sadness doesn’t get much time at the wheel, as Joy loves Riley so much she just wants her to be happy. Up until the move, Riley has had a pretty good life. She loves hockey, has a strong relationship with her friends and family, has an honest but goofy disposition and is described by her mother (Diane Lane) as their “happy girl.” Most of Riley’s memories are happy and represented by yellow orbs, yellow standing for joy rather than blue (sadness), red (anger),  purple (fear), or green (disgust). Joy is very proud of this fact. However, once Riley starts to realize how much her life is changing because of the move, things get a little hectic for the emotions inside her head. After a scuffle over Riley’s long term memories, Joy and Sadness are accidentally sucked out of Headquarters and into Riley’s long term memory bank along with all of Riley’s core memories, the ones that make Riley, Riley. With Riley in major distress, Joy and Sadness must find a way back to headquarters or she may never be happy again. What makes “Inside Out” such an important film is that it shows just how important actually talking about one’s emotions is. There is such a huge stigma on mental health that we often don’t want to talk about or listen to anything but what makes us joyful. We see Riley’s mother compliment her daughter on being so happy despite the difficult time their family is going through, and while the sentiment is well intentioned, it ends up making Riley feel like she can’t be sad around them. With Joy and Sadness stuck in long term memory, guiding Riley’s actions falls to Anger, Fear and Disgust, showing how children so often lash out during difficult times and how depression isn’t just about being sad. The longer Riley isn’t able to feel Joy or Sadness, the harder her life becomes. Unable to express what she’s truly feeling, she starts to lose her favorite parts of herself. She drops Hockey. She dumps her best friend back home. The strong bond she has with her family starts to crumble and she begins to lie to get what she wants. By the end of the movie, Riley is about to run away.

Anger isn’t always the best leader.

What’s more interesting than what’s happening to Riley on the outside, is what’s going on between Joy and Sadness inside the young girl’s head. While Joy is a kindhearted character at first, it slowly becomes apparent that she isn’t the greatest leader when it comes to Riley’s best interest. She is constantly pushing Sadness out of the way, determined to make only happy memories for Riley. She even draws a circle on the floor and tells Sadness to stay inside it on Riley’s first day of school to keep her from ruining things for the little girl. What Joy doesn’t realize is that sadness is just as important in life. When Joy and Sadness run into Riley’s old imaginary friend Bing Bong (Richard Kind), he leads them to Riley’s Imagination, which is under demolition. When Bing Bong’s rocket is tossed into the forgotten memories pit, he is incredibly upset. As one of Riley’s less used memories, he feels as though he’s becoming obsolete and the loss of the rocket just further drives in that idea. Joy tries to cheer him up by acting goofy and telling jokes, but Bing Bong isn’t hearing any of it. He continues to be upset until Sadness walks over and sits next to him. “I’m sorry about your rocket,” she tells him and finally Bing Bong opens up about his fears and grief; how he misses being a part of Riley’s life and all the memories they used to have together. Instead of trying to force Bing Bong to be happy, Sadness validates his feelings. “That must of been really hard,” she tells him and after a good cry, the imaginary friend is able to pick himself up and continue to lead them back to Headquarters. Joy is baffled by Sadness’ success.

Joy and Sadness work together.

The biggest message in this film is, “Embrace your emotions.” It’s great to feel joyful, but it’s also okay to feel sad, angry, fearful or disgusted. What’s wonderful about “Inside Out” is that it isn’t until Sadness is accepted by the other characters that any of them really find any solace. When Joy finally gives up being the leader and gives Sadness free reign over the control board, Riley is able to leave what would have been a dangerous run-away and goes back to her family. Once there, she opens up to her parents about how she wants to be happy for their sake but misses her life back home. The memories that used to bring her joy are now just sad. When she finally allows herself to be upset and her parents are there for her, a new core memory rolls into headquarters. Instead of being one color, it’s part blue and yellow; equal parts sad and joyful. It’s this new memory that fixes “Family Island,” the part of Riley’s personality that stands for her supportive familial bond. It isn’t until Riley accepts the fact that her life is complicated with a mix of different emotions, that she’s able to feel okay again. Afterwards, we see Riley thriving in her new environment. She’s playing Hockey again with her parents cheering her on. Inside of Riley’s head, we see the five emotions working together to help Riley score a goal. Along the walls are dozens of multicolored memories. The emotions have finally learned that each of them have value in Riley’s life. With the major stigma on mental health, this film might be Pixar’s most important project to date. It can be hard to open up a dialogue about our emotions and for children, being emotionally honest is an incredibly important message to instill. “Inside Out” serves as a good example and spring board for parents to talk to their children about the importance of letting yourself feel. Not to mention, it’s an incredibly well crafted story that both kids and adults will enjoy. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much during a children’s film. Films like “Inside Out” spread the message that it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling. Depression isn’t something anyone should be ashamed of. Emotions are something we should be talking in depth about, even at a young age. “Inside Out” provides the resources to do that, making it an incredibly profound and important film in today’s society.

Photos by Disney Pixar.

‘Maleficent 2’ Announced


Disney fans rejoice! The much loved Maleficent franchise is not over yet. In an exclusive article, Deadline announced that a sequel to the blockbuster hit is in the works. The original film cost a whopping $180 million, but seeing as it brought in $760 million worldwide, it’s no wonder Disney is taking another crack at it. Not to mention it was just a really incredible film.

While little information has been released about the film, a script penned by Linda Woolverton is in the works and Angelina Jolie is rumored to reprise her role. This is a big deal given that the actress typically has a “no-sequel” rule attributed to the Tomb Raider franchise. She hasn’t signed onto the project yet but was once quoted saying, “there might be an opportunity to play [Maleficent] again.” The character was a childhood favorite for her.

There’s nothing to point toward Elle Fanning being involved with the project but Joe Roth will produce again. There is also no word on whether Robert Stromberg will be back directing.

If you ask me, it’s way too soon to release this news. The way things work in Hollywood, nothing is set in stone until the script is locked and that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Fingers crossed this thing actually gets off the ground.

Photo by Disney.

Source: Deadline

‘Night on Bald Mountain’ Scene from ‘Fantasia’ to be a Live-Action Film

One of the most famous scenes from the 1941 Disney film Fantasia, “Night on Bald Mountain”, is going to be a live-action film, the studio announced.

The 11 minute scene was undoubtedly one of the scariest, particularly from the earliest Disney films. The skeletons, goblins, and winged creatures who whirl around the screen certainly terrified me, and I know I wasn’t alone.

The film will surely be terrifying. It is hard to imagine it becoming live-action; my guess is that there will still be quite a bit of CG incorporated.

Disney has tapped Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless to co-write the project. The two writers also worked on Dracula Untold and The Last Witch Hunter together. It makes me a bit nervous, but I think under the direction of Disney, the movie will be worth the watch.

You can see the whole “Night on Bad Mountain” scene below.

Source: THR

Best of 2014: Movies

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

This year’s nominations are…

Best Comic Book Film

  • Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past

Results here.

Best Straight-to-Video Movie

  • Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher
  • Batman: Assault on Arkham
  • Justice League: War
  • Mudbloods
  • Son of Batman

Results here.

Film of the Year

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Interstellar
  • Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
  • LEGO Movie

Results here.

Best Drama of the Year

  • Birdman
  • The Fault in Our Stars
  • Fury
  • Noah
  • The Normal Heart

Results here.

Best Horror/Thriller of the Year

  • Gone Girl
  • Horns
  • Nightcrawler
  • The Purge: Anarchy
  • Under the Skin

Results here.

Best Comedy of the Year

  • 22 Jump Street
  • A Million Ways to Die in the West
  • Knights of Badassdom
  • Neighbors
  • Sex Tape

Results here.

Best Sci-Fi/Action of the Year

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Godzilla
  • Interstellar
  • Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction

Results here.

Best Family Flick

  • Big Hero 6
  • Book of Life
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • LEGO Movie
  • Maleficent

Results here.

Best Independent Film

  • Chef
  • Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Hector and the Search for Happiness
  • Snowpiercer
  • Wish I Was Here

Results here.

Onto: Best of 2014 – Television

Star Wars Rebels – “Empire Day” S1E8


Star Wars Rebels has reached a pivotal point.  All the basics have been covered.  Who are the rebels?  How do they work as a team?  What are their biggest strengths and weaknesses?  What challenges lie ahead?  We now know the answer to those questions.  So, now begins the true test for Rebels.  Where will Weisman and his team take this series from here?  It’s a defining time for Rebels.  This week’s episode, “Empire Day,” did a lot to give me confidence that the direction this show is headed is a good one.

The Empire may be evil, but they've got style!
The Empire may be evil, but they’ve got style! 

Before the beginning of the episode I thought to myself, “I wonder how Ezra’s Jedi training is progressing?”  Almost as if bending to my exact desires, the opening sequence brought us Kanan instructing Ezra in the ways of The Force.  This scene was well done.  Kanan is turning out to be an excellent mentor.  His insight to The Force is impressive and watching him use that insight in action is consistently cool.

As the training continues it’s obvious that Ezra is struggling and distracted.  We learn that this day in particular is “Empire Day.”  Empire Day is an Imperial celebratory occasion that marks the day the Imperial Empire was established throughout the galaxy.  It is the 15th Empire Day on record, meaning (finally) we have a bit of time-reference.  15 years have passed since Order 66 and the downfall of the Old Republic – a good amount of time has passed since Episode III!

Empire Day is a tough day for Ezra
Empire Day is a tough day for Ezra

What better day to rebel than Empire Day?!  Our heroes feel the same way.  They’ve picked up a new mission to sabotage a brand new type of TIE fighter to be presented at the Empire Day parade on Lothal.  This new line of TIE is similar to Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced X1 – it looks sweet!  It’s almost a shame that the rebels have to blow it to bits.  Watching Kanan and crew carry out their mission jogged my memory of the plot in the episode prior – who is giving the rebels their missions?  The name we got last episode was Fulcrum.  I held out all episode long hoping there would be some mention of what happened to him.  I’m very frustrated to say that I did not get my wish.  I’ve said it before and I’ll continue saying it until it’s fixed: The primary hurdle in making Rebels great (as opposed to just “good”) is continuity!!!  So far the continuity has been decent, though verging on mediocre.  So much is to be gained by simply stringing these episodes together in a clear and simple fashion.

The rebels have a new ally - Tseebo!
The rebels have a new ally – Tseebo!

In the midst of the rebel’s destructive scheming both Agent Kallus and The Inquisitor are on Lothal working an assignment.  Surprisingly enough, their mission has nothing to do with Ezra, Zeb or any of the rebels.  They’re looking for a Rodian named Tseebo.  What’s so important about a single Rodian that would warrant the attention of BOTH Kallus and The Inquisitor?!  More on that in a bit.

After successfully carrying out their mission the rebels search for a place to lay low.  Ezra offers to take them all to a location where they’ll be safe for a while.  We come to find that this place is Ezra’s old home.  We get major insight to Ezra’s past this episode.  He used to live here with both his parents who were outspoken anti-Imperialists.  “Used to” being the key words.  Ezra’s parents were abducted by the Empire for hosting a secret, rebel radio show on Lothal.  We also learn that Empire Day is Ezra’s birthday!  By way of chance (or perhaps The Force!!), on-the-run Tseebo has also chosen to hide in Ezra’s old home.  We learn that Tseebo was a good family friend of the Bridgers and that he has joined the intelligence branch of the Empire.  Only now he is on the run.  It’s unclear why he’s running, but that’s mostly because he’s a little unstable and incoherent due to the faulty cybernetic headpiece attached to his skull.  All this could be the lead into the defining event of Rebels.

Kanan defending his team from the persistent Agent Kallus
Kanan defending his team from the persistent Agent Kallus

With historic ties to Ezra and potential for obtaining valuable Imperial secrets, the rebels opt to help Tseebo escape off world.  An exciting chase takes place as Kallus, The Inquisitor and numerous Imperial troops team up to try and thwart the getaway.  I can’t get over how awesome The Inquisitor looks.  This week he dons a flight suit with a bad ass helmet and it took all I had to not drool all over the remote.

Darth Vader could pick up a few style tips from The Inquisitor!
Darth Vader could pick up a few style tips from The Inquisitor!

The extraction is just barely successful and the rebels shoot out into space.  But not before Tseebo encounters a brief moment of lucidity and realizes where he and who he is with.  He recognizes Ezra and excitedly exclaims that he knows what’s happened to his parents!  That’s where the episode ends – a true-blue cliffhanger!  What I like most about this is now Weisman is forced to deliver continuity.  Maybe this is a statement from the Rebels production team that they understand what this series needs and that they plan to deliver.  In any case the trajectory is positive.

“Empire Day” scores an A this week.  The entire episode felt deeply rooted in the themes of the original trilogy.  This was an episode that focused on a story and an upcoming journey.  It was accentuated with action and suspense and it left me wanting more.  We’re getting close to the home stretch for season 1 – fingers crossed for a worthy buildup and conclusion!

Robin Williams: The Legacy

“He has been battling severe depression of late.” Doesn’t seem like these should be some of the last words we hear about the legendary Robin Williams. Yet there was always something underneath his performances that let you know there was something melancholy hiding there. Some selfless thing that wanted to make the world a better place, to heal the system one person at a time.  His characters were the catalyst for bringing out the best in people around him. Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting put aside his own demons to help Will. Genie in Aladdin was there to serve, yet deeply saddened by his own captivity. Whether it was Mork from Ork, Patch Adams or Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams poked fun at the human condition to make us feel better -often at his own expense.

Yesterday, the world lost a friend in Robin Williams. As we have talked about his life with our friends, we have realized how much Williams touched them;  he was more than an actor, he was a teacher. He allowed people he never met to see the best in themselves, and along the way, we got to laugh, which made all this words, actions, impressions, roles, and stand-ups all the more memorable. Today, we celebrate the life of the legendary Robin Williams by recounting our experiences with his different works. Rest in Peace.

Mork and Mindy (1978-1982)

Role: Mork from Ork

Na-nu Na-nu! Mork and Mindy was Robin Williams breakout role from 1978 and ran for four seasons. The show was a spin-off from Happy Days, where Mork made his first appearance and created to showcase Williams’ comedic genius. Mork was from Ork, a planet where humor was forbidden on the premise of observing human behavior and reporting back to his superior, Orson. Mork was a total innocent, technically advanced original geek living with a girl in Boulder, Colorado – long before it was cool. The first season the show was more about Mork discovering human and specifically American ways. Subsequent seasons became more about his romantic relationship with Mindy eventually introducing Jonathan Winters as their son hatched from an egg Mork laid (as Orkans age backwards). The show always ended with  insightful exchanges as Mork reported to Orson. One such exchange was Mork trying to explain loneliness: “when children are young, they’re told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they’re told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally, when they’re very old, they’re told not to talk to themselves. Who’s left?” — Kathy

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

Role: Adrian Cronauer

Good Morning Vietnam is loosely based on the life of Adrian Cronauer a DJ with the Armed Forces Radio Network stationed in Saigon in 1965. He is charged with improving morale among the troops in Nam. He shakes things up at the station with his irreverent comedy and hip music (the soundtrack is pretty good, too). The troops love him and his superior hates him. The film came out in 1987, it took about that long before anyone could look back at Vietnam with anything resembling humor and it is a way funny film thanks to Williams mostly ad-libbing  his DJ spiel. Aside from stirring up things at the radio station he starts teaching American slang at an English language class for Vietnamese, falls for a local girl but gets nowhere except becoming friends with her brother who is consorting with the enemy. In the end, he leaves ’em smiling, making war a little less hell. — Kathy

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)

Role: King of the Moon

This may be a very short role and Williams was not even credited as himself for the role, but it was iconic to me as a massive Terry Gilliam fan for quite some time. Imagine that I turn on a film, I remember not understanding, but being fascinated with when I saw clips as a younger man. Once I grew up and watched the film again I was surprised to see the face of a man, literally just his face, that I had also grown to love and had seen most of his roles but this one. Immediately it made 100% sense to see Robin Williams in a Terry Gilliam film and that, on top of the fact that the movie is brilliant, made it an instant classic, which led into another Terry Gilliam film, The Fisher King, which also is an amazing performance by Robin Williams. — Jacob

Dead Poet’s Society (1989)

Role: John Keating

I find it very difficult to write about my feelings for the movie Dead Poet’s Society because they are so strong.  I first watched the film when I was a senior in High School.  My favorite English teacher showed the movie in his class, which was dedicated to the study of rebels.  That teacher, Mr. Moe, taught me that rebels didn’t have to do bad things to be rebellious; they just had to think for themselves.  Robin Williams character, John Keating, is a teacher who also taught his students at an all-boys prep school in the 50’s how to think for themselves.  Upon graduating, I, along with my classmates stood on our desks, saluted Mr. Moe, and declared “Oh Captain, My Captain” in honor of everything he taught us that year.  Today, I stand to Robin Williams and declare the same.  Thank you for teaching me, and the rest of the world, how to think for ourselves, work hard, and laugh. — Adrian

The Fisher King (1991)

Role: Parry

Another Terry Gilliam film except now Robin Williams was a main character along side Jeff Bridges. The story is of a broken down depressed DJ named Jack (Jeff Bridges) who ended up  influencing a madman to kill a large group of people in a bar. Jack ends up meeting a homeless man named Parry (Robin Williams) who he takes under his wing and finds out Parry used to be a professor and went a bit crazy when his wife died in the shooting he had influenced. This is a great comedic and dramatic film combining both in a fantasy that only Terry Gilliam could envision. This is definitely an underrated film and is a testament to the talent of Robin Williams as an actor as he plays Parry in a way that makes you love, hate, and always be completely fascinated. This film also shows the true horrors that depression can do to people and sometimes what it takes to get them the help they need. — Jacob

Hook (1991)

Role: Peter Banning (Pan)

This film holds a very special place in my heart not only because it has been a favorite of mine since I was a child, but also because I was honored to have my first acting experience as a Lost Boy in my High School’s production based on the film. As a young boy, Peter Pan was one of my idols because I have never wanted to grow up, and some may say I never really have. But Hook was a magical film, one of those types that can embody a childhood in shorter than 2 hours. The fact that this film can not only give me good memories of my childhood, but teen years as well, guarantees this as a classic film for me. Robin Williams as Peter Pan is perfect To this day it is hard to envision anyone else whether young or old as Peter Pan. Bangarang! — Jacob

Aladdin (1992)

Role: Genie

You ain’t never had a friend like him. Genie easily stole the spotlight in Disney’s Aladdin and became the best wingman in history as he helps his master, Aladdin, get the girl of his dreams. Genie goes far beyond his listed job requirements, and asks for nothing in return but for Aladdin to consider setting Genie free with his last wish. What made Genie so lovable, aside from his devotion to his friends, was his frantic improvs. I mean, who could blame the guy from going off the handle? He’d had no contact in hundreds of years! Robin actually ad-libbed most of the film, too, so most of those lines are pure Williams gold. In the end, when Genie is granted his freedom, he still chooses to stick around with his loved ones, even with his semi-phenomenal, nearly cosmic power. — Sherif

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Role: Daniel Hillard / Mrs. Doubtfire

Mrs. Doubtfire is one of Robin’s most iconic roles, especially for anyone born in the 80’s. His face covered in pie frosting is fairly well engraved into anyone old enough to have seen this film in 1993. To me, it was more than the great film everyone else saw, but it was a film that really hit home as most stories with good fathers do.  Mrs. Doubtfire came out at a time when my dad was starting to really disappear from my life. But on top, of that Robin’s character of Daniel Hillard worked in animation, and ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be an animator. So to see him not only working in animation but also a Chuck Jones cartoon blew my mind as a child. It seriously impacted me in a huge way and made me look forward to being what he becomes by the end of the film to my own children, if I have any in the future.  I want to make sure and never abandon them or anyone as he did initially in the film and my own father did. But of course, Robin Williams turns out being a much better father, and overall person than almost any man I have come across. — Jacob

Jumanji (1995)

Role: Alan Parrish

Jumanji was a film that, as a child, held my imagination the whole time and made me think up so many great ideas. On top of that fact it may have made me a bit scared of turning into a monkey. Despite the craziness and death defying things that happen, you know you still wanted to play that board game more than anything in the world when you watched it, if not, that is sad. Robin Williams as the boy who turned old crazy jungle man who was trapped in the game for years is great. The character development from being a long bearded crazy man to an all together family man is one of the best performances of the time despite the non blockbuster children’s film.  But every role of Robin’s is a testament to his talents, despite whatever the subject and whatever the film he made, you enjoy it by him just being there.  This one just happens to be filled with great animals and some of the best graphics for the time. — Jacob

Jack (1996)

Role: Jack Powell

A far-fetched theme along the line of Tom Hanks’ Big, Jack is the story about a boy born with a disease that makes him age four times as quickly as a normal child. The movie is sold as a comedy, but there’s a good chance you will do just as much sobbing as you will laughing. As a ten year-old, the middle-aged Robin Williams is able to channel the innocence of a child, but still teach us more about growing up than puberty ever did. Outcast by kids for being different, Jack uses his unique skills as a pseudo-adult to woo the kids, but it is his kind heart that really made him loved. At the tender age of his tween years, Jack begins to face his own mortality – and does so with such maturity and grace, showing that our time on this Earth is precious. — Sherif

The Birdcage (1996)

Role: Armand Goldman

The Birdcage was released in the mid-90’s, but this was still a time when “out” gay characters were not often found, much less the starring roles.   Williams played Armand, the Jewish owner of a gay nightclub, The Birdcage.  He and Nathan Lane, who played his partner, Albert, play the comedic roles to perfection.  Perhaps more importantly, the film his highly acclaimed for not only portraying homosexual characters, but not making them caricatures.  I remember watching this movie with my grandmother when I was little and knowing that movie, especially because of Williams and Lane, were ahead of the time. — Adrian

Great Minds Think for Themselves (1997)

Role: Genie

Although this technically this is still his Genie character from Aladdin, the context of this Disney Channel featurette was far different. A play of words from the old saying “great minds think alike,” this mini-segment that aired during the commercials in the late 1990’s. Edutainment in its purest form, each episode of “Great Minds Think For Themselves” focused on a new revolutionary mind of the 20th century. The episodes ranged from the United States founding fathers Tomas Jefferson to musical pioneers like Louis Armstrong. His blend of improvisation and passion exuded into each segment, and made learning about historic figures without boring his audience – and on a Saturday morning, that is saying something. — Sherif

Flubber (1997)

Role: Professor Philip Brainard

Flubber was one of those movies that every kid in the 90’s loved.  It also made life easier for teachers because they could show the movie, and then afterwards the class got to actually make Flubber.  Best day of “science” class ever.  A remake of the 1961 film The Absent-Minded ProfessorFlubber follows Robin Williams, who played Professor Philip Brainard, a professor who is trying to save the college he works for and his engagement to his fiancee.  The film is very slap-sticky, but no doubt was of the most memorable movies for fans of Williams in my generation. — Adrian

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Role: Dr. Sean Maguire

Robin’s performance as Will Hunting’s psychiatrist is wildly the only role to win him an Academy Award – that is, until he receives his posthumous Lifetime Award (damn well better). As a widowed shrink charged with Matt Damon’s Will Hunting, Sean Maguire is taken aback when Hunting dissects Maguire’s life after seeing a painting in his office. The result is one of film’s greatest monologues, centered around showing Hunting that he may be a genius, but there is so much more to life than what we can presume about others. This becomes the turning point in the movie, because Hunting realizes that he must take charge of his life and utilize his gifts as a math genius. Maguire took so much abuse from Hunting, the amount of courage needed to keep caring for him was just inspiring. It’s not your fault, Robin. – Sherif

Patch Adams (1998)

Role: Patch Adams

Robin’s performance as the unorthodox doctor, Patch Adams resonated in me more than any of his other films. After enrolling in medical school, Adams rubs all his classmates the wrong way – none more so than the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Adams challenges the establishment to see that treatment is just as much a social science as it is a medical one, and challenges his colleagues to put prestige aside and pursue a degree in medicine for the love of helping people. This movie has become more relevant than ever when looking at today’s prescription drug-heavy society. Even after suffering great loss, the drive to help others drove Patch Adams back into the light and back into the fight. — Sherif

What Dreams May Come (1998)

Role: Dr. Christopher (Christy) Nielsen

This film went by largely unnoticed, but in light of his death, I imagine film buffs and Robin Williams fans alike will fall in love with this movie. The story follows Christy Nielsen’s tragic journey into the afterlife. After a car crash kills both of his children, he himself dies by a similar fate. In a morbid twist of fate, Christy’s wife commits suicide, and is sent to hell. The main story involves Christy’s journey to literally save his wife from the depths of hell and reunite his family in heaven. When Dreams May Come is an introspective look at the afterlife, and a love that transcends the boundaries of heaven and hell. — Sherif

Happy Feet (2006)

Role: Ramón and Lovelace

Happy Feet is one of those special movies that makes everyone happy; I mean it is in the title.  The story follows Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood), a penguin who can’t sing like all the other penguins, but he can tap dance.  Robin Williams voiced two roles.  Ramón is a penguin who is a part of the “Amigos” penguin group, and the only penguins to accept Mumble as a dancer rather than a singer.  It is Ramón who helps Mumble try to woo a female penguin (voiced by Brittany Murphy) in a scene reminiscent of Cyrano de Bergerac, singing for Mumble.  Williams also voiced Lovelace, a penguin who has a plastic rings stuck around his neck.  He is the wise penguin who knows the most about humans.  In both these roles, Williams conveyed through his voice how important it is to be accepting of other no matter their differences. — Adrian

Night at the Museum (2006)

Role: Teddy Roosevelt

This may not be the best film of Robin Williams career, but it is by far one of my favorites, if not my favorite performance of his as far as quality. I never would have thought it, but if Robin Williams was given this role in a biopic of Teddy Roosevelt, you better believe he would have gotten a bunch of awards for it. In the Museum films everyone, does a great job with the character or actual historical person, and they are all a blast to watch. Robin Williams, though, takes on this role wholeheartedly and creates something that completely proves that this series is more than just a fun little history lesson, with immature humor and a very family friendly adventure kind of film. His portrayal to me is as accurate as you can get to one of the best presidents, and of course, the true definition of the bad ass we know as Teddy Roosevelt. Obviously, this isn’t the actual Teddy Roosevelt in the film and just a wax model, but Robin sure could have fooled me. — Jacob

Man of the Year (2006)

Role: Tom Dobbs

Right before the reign of the Bush administration was at an end, a wide margin of people had become fed up with both parties, and it seemed like the only logical choice was Daily Show host, Jon Stewart. Man of the Year is a fair portrayal of what it would be like if the people actually had a representative of the people to represent them. More than anything, Tom Dobbs had the winning spirit, but it all meant nothing if we cannot win the right way.  — Sherif

World’s Greatest Dad (2009)

Role: Lance Clayton

This is by no means the best movie of Robin Williams’ career – even his best work in the last decade. Very morose in nature, World’s Greatest Dad tells the tale of Lance Clayton, a high school English teacher who finds his son dead, via autoerotic asphyxiation. Instead of leaving the scene, Lance stages his son’s death as a soul whose cry for help was never answered. Lance then brandishes a series of suicide notes to make all the children at school feel as though he was a kindred spirit, which attracts major publishers to get a hold of the work. World’s Greatest Dad is one father’s desperate attempt to save the image of his son, but at the cost of his own soul. It is especially morbid after Williams’ own death. — Sherif


A Science Fictional Year: Avatar, John Carter, Prometheus

I chose these three significantly different movies for some pretty similar reasons. My primary reason was that all three were touted as something special or standout by their studios: Avatar was some kind of revelation of cinematic technology; Prometheus was to be a new benchmark in dramatic sci-fi storytelling; John Carter was to signal some bold new creative direction for Disney. Also, these three are probably the biggest sci-fi movies that have come out for some time previous to their release in that all three were big on world building. This is a similarity I hadn’t really noticed until after I watched them. The fact that big revolutionary science fiction seems to be a grand venture in world building seems to indicate something about the nature of transcendence: we go from being rote experiencers of the world to integral makers. The thing that is bound by the experiences determined for it is not yet transcendent, or the more we can fashion our realities the more ascendent we become.

Avatar (2009)

I watched Avatar first, so we’ll start there.

Cards on the table: I don’t like Avatar. It’s as big and dumb and spectacle driven as the reputation of a blockbuster would indicate. And this is the world’s blockblusterest movie in that it’s made two billion dollars worldwide and is the world’s most expensive movie with estimates somewhere between 237 and 310 million, with an additional 150 million in marketing dollars. Taking those numbers (after marketing, this movie nearly cost half a billion dollars to make) in context with my assumption in my first post about movies having something to say, you’d expect a half billion dollar revelation. But… not.

Before anything else, I’m impressed with how well the CGI looks five years later. There are moments where the Na’vi look almost human, and the movie never veers into the uncanny valley. Though: a lot of the native animals have that weird sheen common to 1998 PSX cutscenes. And there were some times in which I felt like things were floating above the ground as opposed to moving across it. District 9’s prawns are the only other thing in the world of CGI I can think of that holds up like this.

I saw the movie on opening night with my best friend, in 3D (what a waste of an attempt at innovation), with little knowledge about the movie, only knowing for sure that I was bummed out by the seemingly oversimple cat-alien designs. I mean, come on: it’s too easy. Want an alien? Oh, it’s totally an anthropomorphic human thing. Bam, you got your alien. The best part of the night being, before the start of the movie, periodically putting on my 3D glasses and staring dumbstruck at another part of the theater and remarking, “Whoa! It’s like I’m really sitting in a theater! It’s like I’m really sitting next to people!” There might be a reason I don’t get asked to see many movies in theaters.

The story is obvious: Fern Gully and Pocahontas get married and have a Dances With Wolves story, but in space. And this is where I get confused about why it cost half of a billion dollars to tell me this message (knowing full well it cost that to animate the CGI). It’s oddly colonialist even in its anti-colonialism and trades transcendence for the mostly mundane. It really is a movie of opportunity not taken. If this movie were made with the actors behind the cat sex-aliens, it would be loudly proclaimed as racist. Of the human cast, all but two are white. Of the entire Na’vi race, only four get speaking parts, of those four, three are black, and one is native Indian. With that in mind, this becomes a movie about a white guy who is so good at going native, that he out natives the natives. And good thing too, because without the white guy, they would have all died. He is so talented at being native, that he’s able to tame the giant flying lizard that evades and overpowers everyone else.

I could easily spend a college essay’s worth complaining about the things that get under my skin about this movie: the choice of unobtainium naming (yes, I know it’s a thing scientists say, but not trillion dollar corporations that have to sell shit to investors); the Snidley Whiplashness of the mining company contrasted to the painful Dudley Dooright scientists (Hitler had scientists too); how the world, while pretty, seems like a world that’s just meant to be pretty and not functional; the alien sex scene whose sexiness is proportionate to how needed it was (i.e. not); how this movie isn’t considered a cartoon; how it looks like everyone member of the Na’vi looks like they’ve had minor hairlip surgery. How the word Na’vi is an inversion of the word naive complete with an apostrophe to indicate a missing letter.

The biggest bother of this movie, however, is it’s inability to challenge a viewer in even small ways in the midst of a very predictable and probably soothing story. This is, inherently, a movie about literally changing how you see the world. The central conceit is a technology that allows people to leave their God-given body for a lab created body to be able to see the world in a totally novel way. And then this body has the ability to interface its brain with that of another living wholly independent being, and, AND, the dominant life form of this planet has the ability to hook into some kind of world goddess tree. Yet the only way this movie communicates any of this is montage. I don’t know how, exactly, I would recommend James Cameron go about this a different way, but the lack of any substantial difference in presentation makes being a nine foot tall blue cat alien seem no different than being a meathead industrialist in a machine.

I think the easiest method would simply be a first person view. When Jake wakes up in his new body, it becomes as disorienting for the audience as it was for Jake. Apply some fish lens, and his arms seem grotesque and too far away from the central mass. His gangly legs seem to flail in all parts of our peripheral vision as he learns to run, and sometimes we catch distracting glimpses of a tail. It wouldn’t have to be more than a few scenes. Maybe when he merges minds with another animal, for a moment the world takes on a Predator style hue while his mind incorporates the new state of being. And since the world tree is essentially some kind of Buddhist metaphor, the first time his brain hops on in that tribal scene, he experiences a disorienting taste of total enlightenment that shows him the planet from the planet’s biggest brain. And then instead of his goal being to murder the industrialists before they murder him, maybe he’d want to show them this enlightenment and that’d be his motivation, but instead his hand is forced in favor of defense.

Instead we get a big, dumb, obvious action scene that goes on for way too long. Perhaps it’s meta-commentary on what it’s like to be American right now.

click page 2 below to see my thoughts on John Carter…


Monthly Movie Preview: July 2014

 After a relatively quiet June, the summer really heats up with a slew of sci-fi thrillers, as well as a few comedies and independent films sprinkled in. If you’re a movie buff, you won’t be bored this month. Check out what we have to say about July’s films:


July 2 – Earth to Echo

Starring: Teo Halm, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Reese C. Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt

There is no way anyone can watch this preview and not feel a bit of a squeal emerge from their throats.  There could be a way, but you have no heart.  Earth to Echo follows a group of tweens who find “Echo,” an alien who looks like the cutest owl ever, and just happens to be the target of some things the group of kids aren’t ready for.  The kids are sure to learn some lessons about themselves and about life.  Earth to Echo may be this generation’s E.T. and is sure to be the family movie of the Summer. – Adrian

July 2 – Tammy

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Dan Aykroyd

O.K., I’ll admit it.  As soon as I saw Melissa McCarthy walking through a parking lot to “Gangsta’s Paradise,” I immediately spat out whatever I was drinking and simultaneously snorted.  While the teaser shows her sticking up a fast-food joint with her finger, the movie is about a woman caught between a rock and hard place.  She just lost her job and her husband has been cheating on her.  What better time than now to road trip with her grandmother, played by Susan Sarandon?  Tammy looks hysterical.  I just hope the film lives up to the hype of the trailer. – Adrian

July 11 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell

The much-anticipated sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes is finally here! We pick up years after the last film and Caesar and the apes have made a city for their own but a virus wiped out a ton of humans, which will ultimately create a ton of enemies through out time. After a while of peace between Apes and Humans, a war starts to begin that will ultimately reveal whether or not Humans are actually more powerful than Apes – or if it is the other way around. The Planet of the Apes films of past and present have always intrigued me because of how realistic they can be, even though the idea is far-fetched, much like zombies. It obviously is not a film for most kids as you may never be able to take them to the zoo again, but ultimately, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is going to be one of the most popular films this summer and there is already a sequel being planned, which usually disappoints me when a film has not even been released, but is definitely awesome to me. – Jacob

July 11 – A Long Way Down

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collete, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul

A Long Way Down is based on the best selling novel by Nick Hornby, which follows the story of a band of four suicidal individuals coming from all walks of life. There’s Martin, the middle-aged, newly divorced celebrity, Maureen, the 51-year-old single mother, politician’s daughter Jess, and American immigrant JJ, all which meet on top a building one night, ready to jump. Deciding not to jump, they make a pact to keep living until Valentine’s Day. When the story is picked up by the media, they decide to put their own twist on what happened. Being the daughter of a therapist and having dealt with mental illness for several years, this intrigues me. I only hope they don’t romanticize suicide, but rather tell a story that shows how people with depression can find solace in one another. Knowing Nick Hornby, this dark comedy will probably do just that. I’m excited for this movie and will try to squeeze in time to read the book beforehand so I can get more out of it. – Charlotte

July 18 – Jupiter Ascending

Starring: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean

Jupiter Jones (Kunis) is a unfortunate janitor until she discovers her previously unknown genealogy destines her to greater things beyond Earth. Alongside genetically engineered interplanetary warrior Caine Wise (Tatum), she battles her way across the galaxy to take her rightful place at the throne of the House of Abrasax. This movie marks The Wachowskis’return of original screenplays and the science fiction genre. This movie looks to take place in a very complex world, the details of which aren’t likely to be skimmed. Douglas Booth, who plays a supporting role in the film, describes it as a cross between Star Wars and The Matrix. This makes the film seem promising and I’m interested to see how it will be received. My only fear is that it may be rather predictable, but the trailer leaves much to the imagination, so it’s hard to really say. – Charlotte

July 18 – Planes: Fire and Rescue

Starring: Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Stacy Keach, Julie Bowen

Last year, Disney/Pixar tried their best to capitalize on their success with the 2006 hit Cars by basically giving all of the characters wings and making them fly. Planes  was not nearly as well-received as Cars, so for whatever the reason, they decided to make a sequel, Planes: Fire & Rescue. In this continuation, Dusty Crophopper, played by Dane Cook (that should be a red flag for most people) realizes he cannot race anymore, so he chooses to pursue more noble endeavors to become a firefighter, helping to put out forest fires with the help of a rescue helicopter named Blade Ranger (Ed Harris). Unless you have kids that really enjoyed the first Planes, you probably won’t be seeing this one. I’m sure that it has appeal to the much younger crowd, and like every other Disney/Pixar movie, there will be bones thrown to the adults and parents who happen to be taking their children,  With veteran voice actors like Patrick Warburton, Regina King, and Brad Garret filling in the gaps in casting, there is at least some assurance that some of it will be funny. In the end, I’m not exactly chomping on the bit to buy a ticket to Planes: Fire and Rescue. But I also don’t have a kid who would be old enough to enjoy such a film. Although if you saw the first Planes and enjoyed it, there is no reason you shouldn’t head out and take this one in as well. – Scott


July 18 – Sex Tape

Starring: Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz

Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz star as a couple who, in an attempt to reignite their love life, decide to make a sex tape. However, instead of deleting this video, they unknowingly upload it to the Cloud. They make a desperate attempt to try and get the video off the internet. Apparently nobody told them that there is no way to get something off the net after it has been uploaded. Watching this preview kind of reminded me of Road Trip. I also wondered what the point of trying to get this video off the net after the majority of the people they know have already seen it or why they didn’t make it on an actual video recorder. But this is a movie and there is no room for logic here.  This should be a pretty funny movie and definitely looks like it would be worth seeing. – Robert


July 18 – The Purge: Anarchy

Starring: Frank Gillo, Carmen Ejogo, Michael K Williams

Even though the reviews for the first Purge were mixed, they still managed to surpass their budget by a very large margin. This time around instead of one story, we are given three separate stories that have people from all over the city coming together to try and survive the night. I was genuinely surprised when I saw that there was going to be a sequel to the original, I hadn’t realized that it had done that well sales wise. I can’t honestly see this being that great but I guess there is a market for these types of movies. I still haven’t seen the first one, so maybe I will rent that…….. and then wait for this to come out on Blu-Ray and rent it. – Robert

July 18 – Aftermath

Starring: People

Have you heard of this movie? Neither have I. But do not despair, according to the movie we are all going to die anyway, from what I’m not too sure. It could be some infection, a nuclear explosion, crazy people out in the world; our death is still somewhat unclear. Based off the trailer I really can’t give an accurate description of what we all need to start training for. This film seems to be one that you movie hop over to if the times fit with your first or second movie. I can’t really judge this movie though (I’m totally judging) because I am not a horror film kind of person. Director Peter Engert pulls together Edward Furlong (where the hell has that guy been the past ten years?), Monica Keena, Andre Royo (who played Bubbles in The Wire), and several other starts to create this horror film. With all the characters being stuck together in a barn or cellar, and just trying to survive, things are probably going to get a little crazy and bloody. Survive what, I’m not too sure still. This low-budget, post-apocalyptic film seems to have all the qualities of an good “B film”. So if any of you out there know exactly how were are supposed to die based of this movie, be kind and let the rest of us know. – Evan


July 25 – Hercules

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Rebecca Ferguson

IF YOU SMEEEEELLLLLL… WHAT HERCULES… IS COOKING, get your butt down to your local movie theater on July 25th because he is serving up some giant lion mane, some giant warthog meat, and a healthy dose of awesome. This film, directed by Brett Ratner, looks really cool. At first, I was skeptical of another Hercules movie; however, once I heard that Dwayne Johnson was going to be playing our very own demigod, I was on board. Hercules looks as though it is going to be a thrill-ride of non-stop mythological madness, and I am completely okay with that. This action also seems that it will have a darker side to it that fits perfectly in with the story of Hercules. After enduring the 12 labours and losing his family, Hercules seeks only the pleasure of battle. Being praised for his battle skills, the King of Tharce hires the demigod to trains his warriors to be just as rootless. Is it possibly that this may lead to some deep insight and perspective? I’m confident that this movie is going to lay the smackdown on the box office’s candy ass! (3 Rock references. Yes. I. Did.) – Evan

July 25 – Lucy

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Analeigh Tipton

This film is probably going to be categorized as a super hero film as it is a about a person with super human powers, but this film is so much more than that. It is set in a world that is run by criminals of all kinds and Lucy (Johansson) is a woman in Taipei, Taiwan who is used by these criminals as a drug mule for one of the mobs. But this is where everything goes bad for anyone who considers themselves a bad guy as the drug get released into Lucy’s system which opens up her mind to use more than just 10% of it at a time which gives her incredible memory, the power to move objects with her mind and she feels no pain and she obviously uses these powers to take down the mob and everyone in her way. Although the film could definitely be good I feel with the amount of advertising and word of mouth around the film it will likely be forgotten like Hancock, the last original super hero film I remember. – Jacob

July 25 – Wish I Was Here

Starring: Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Kate Hudson, Ashley Greene, Jim Parsons

A year and some change after Zach Braff became the poster boy for Kickstarter, Wish I Was Here is finally coming out in theaters. Reaching its goal of a $2 budget in three short days, it’s clear that this is a movie that plenty of other people want to see. Those unfamiliar with Braff’s work need only look at Garden State. Braff’s latest film is guaranteed to fill you with warm fuzzies, but not without a few tears along the way. The story revolves around Aidan (Braff), a mid-thirties dad who is trying to figure life out, while trying to keep his family afloat financially. To avoid the terrors of public school, Aidan home-schools his children – and in an attempt to teach them, he learns even more about life. Unless the genre is a no-go for you, this movie should be a sure thing. – Sherif