REVIEW: THE BUTLER

CAST

Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)
Oprah Winfrey (Before Women Had Wings)
David Oyelowo (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Elijah Kelley (Take The Lead)
Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four)
David Banner (Black Snake Moan)
Mariah Carey (Glitter)
Terrence Howard (Iron Man)
Adriane Lenox (The Blind Side)
Yaya DaCosta (Ugly Betty)
Vanessa Redgrave (Mission: Impossible)
Clarence Williams III (Puprple Rain)
Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Jerry Maguire)
Lenny Kravitz (The Hunger Games)
Colman Domingo (Freedomland)
Robin Williams (The Crazy Ones)
James Marsden (Westworld
Minka Kelly (The Roommate)
Liev Schreiber (The 5th Wave)
Alan Rickman (Dogma)
John Cusack (Identity)
Jane Fonda (Barbarella)
Stephen Rider (Daredevil)
Danny Strong (Buffy)
Jesse Williams  (The Cabin In The Woods)
Nelsan Ellis (True Blood)

In 2009, an elderly Cecil Gaines recounts his life story, while waiting at the White House to meet the newly inaugurated president. In 1926, at the age of seven, Gaines is raised on a cotton plantation in Macon, Georgia, by his sharecropping parents. One day, the farm’s owner, Thomas Westfall, rapes Cecil’s mother, Hattie Pearl. Cecil’s father confronts Westfall, and is shot dead. Cecil is taken in by Annabeth Westfall, the estate’s caretaker and owner’s grandmother, who trains Cecil as a house servant.In 1937, at age eighteen, he leaves the plantation and his mother, who has been mute since the incident and presumably dies of old age by the time the plantation shuts down. In desperation from hunger, Cecil breaks into a hotel pastry shop, elects sympathy in the elderly master servant, Maynard, asks for a job and is, unexpectedly, hired. He learns advanced serving and mostly interpersonal skills from Maynard, who, after several years, recommends Cecil for a position in a Washington, D.C. hotel. While working at the D.C. hotel, Cecil meets and marries Gloria, and the couple has two sons: Louis and Charlie. In 1957, Cecil is hired by the White House during Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration. White House maître d’hôtel Freddie Fallows shows Cecil around, introducing him to head butler Carter Wilson and co-worker James Holloway. At the White House, Cecil witnesses Eisenhower’s reluctance to use troops to enforce school desegregation in the South, then his resolve to uphold the law by racially integrating Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas.The Gaines family celebrates Cecil’s new occupation with their neighbors, Howard and Gina. Louis, the elder son, becomes a first generation university student at Fisk University in Tennessee, although Cecil feels that the South is too volatile; he wanted Louis to enroll at Howard University instead. Louis joins a student program led by Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) activist James Lawson, which leads to a nonviolent sit-in at a segregated diner, where he is arrested. Furious, Cecil confronts Louis for disobeying him. Gloria, who feels that Cecil puts his job ahead of her, descends into alcoholism and an affair with the Gaines’s neighbor, Howard.In 1961, after John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, Louis and a dozen others are attacked by members of the Ku Klux Klan while on a freedom ride to Birmingham, Alabama. Louis is shown participating in the 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade, where dogs and water cannons were used to stop the marchers, one of the movement’s actions which inspired Kennedy to deliver a national address proposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Several months after the speech, Kennedy is assassinated. His successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, enacts the transformative legislation into law. As a goodwill gesture, Jackie Kennedy gives Cecil one of the former president’s neckties before she leaves the White House.Louis is later shown participating in the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement, which inspired Johnson to demand that Congress enact the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. Johnson also gives Cecil a tie bar. In the late 1960s, after civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, Louis visits and tells his family that he has joined the Black Panthers. Outraged, Cecil orders Louis and his girlfriend, Carol, to leave his house. Louis is soon arrested, and Carter bails him out. Cecil becomes aware of President Richard Nixon’s plans to suppress the movement.The Gaines’ other son, Charlie, confides to Louis that he plans to join the Army in the war in Vietnam. Louis announces that he won’t attend Charlie’s funeral if he is killed there because while Louis sees Americans as multiple races, Charlie sees the country as one race. A few months later, Charlie is killed and buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Louis does not attend. However, when the Black Panthers resort to violence in response to racial confrontations, Louis leaves the organization and returns to college, earning his master’s degree in political science and eventually running for a seat in Congress.Cecil repeatedly confronts his supervisor at the White House over the unequal pay and career advancement provided to the black White House staff. With President Ronald Reagan’s eventual support, Cecil prevails and his professional reputation grows to the point that he and his wife are invited by President and Nancy Reagan to be guests at a state dinner. At the dinner and afterwards, Cecil becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the class divisions in the White House. Finally, after witnessing Reagan’s refusal to support economic sanctions against Apartheid South Africa, Cecil resigns. Cecil and Gloria visit the defunct, abandoned Georgia plantation where he was raised. Gloria agitates for Cecil to mend his relationship with Louis. Realizing his son’s actions are heroic, Cecil joins Louis at a Free South Africa Movement protest against South African apartheid, and they are arrested and jailed together.In 2008, Gloria dies shortly before Barack Obama is elected as the nation’s first African-American president, a milestone which leaves Cecil and Louis in awe. Two months, two weeks and one day later, Cecil prepares to meet the newly inaugurated President at the White House, wearing the articles he had received from presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Stephen W. Rochon approaches Cecil and tells him the president is ready and prepares to show him the way to the Oval Office. Cecil tells him that he knows the way, and, as he walks down the hallway, the voices of presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson are heard, then President Barack Obama’s famous “Yes we can” quote is heard as Cecil walks through the doors of the Oval Office.Some superb performances here noteably from Forrest Whittaker giving one of his best performances as The Butler himself and Operah Winfrey giving her best performance ever as his loyal wife with excellent support from Terrance Howard and John Cusack, Robin Williams, James Marsden and Alan Rickman give good cameo appearances as presidents Nixon, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan respectively with Jane Fonda also appearing as Nancy Reagan. Yes it gets very sentimental but this is ultimately a powerful piece of filmmaking from Lee Daniels the director of Precious.

 

 

Advertisements

REVIEW: INSOMNIA (2002)

CAST

Al Pacino (The Devil’s Advocate)
Robin Williams (One Hour Photo)
Hilary Swank (The Reaping)
Maura Tierney (Liar Liar)
Martin Donovan (Legends of Tomorrow)
Nicky Katt (School of Rock)
Paul Dooley (The Player)
Crystal Lowe (Final Destination 3)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Ian Tracey (Man of Steel)

In the small fishing town of Nightmute, Alaska, 17-year-old Kay Connell (Crystal Lowe) is found murdered. LAPD detectives Will Dormer (Al Pacino) and Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan) are sent to assist the local police with their investigation, at the request of police chief Nyback (Paul Dooley), an old colleague of Will’s. Also, an intense Internal Affairs investigation in Los Angeles is about to put Dormer under the microscope. Eckhart reveals that Internal Affairs has offered him an immunity deal in exchange for his testimony regarding one of Dormer’s past cases. Eckhart says that he has no choice but to accept the deal, to Dormer’s frustration.

Dormer comes up with a plan to lure the murderer back to the scene of the crime. The attempt fails, however, and the suspect flees into the fog. The police chase, and the suspect shoots one through the leg. Dormer soon fires at a figure in the fog. On his way to the fallen figure, he picks up a .38 pistol the suspect has dropped. He then discovers that he has shot Eckhart. As he dies, Eckhart accuses Dormer of murdering him. Because of Eckhart’s pending testimony against Dormer, Dormer knows that Internal Affairs will never believe the shooting was an accident. He tells his colleagues Eckhart was shot by the suspect. He doesn’t mention he has the .38 pistol. Ellie Burr (Hilary Swank), a young police officer, is put in charge of the investigation of Eckhart’s shooting. Police find the bullet that sliced the first officer’s leg, a .38 caliber. That night, Dormer walks to an alley and fires the .38 pistol into an animal carcass. He retrieves the bullet and cleans it, then visits the morgue. The staffer hands him the bagged bullet retrieved from Eckhart’s body. She is unfamiliar with its type. He leaves and switches the bullet with one from the .38.

Over the next few days, Dormer is plagued by insomnia, brought on by his guilt over killing Eckhart and further exacerbated by the perpetual daylight. He then starts receiving anonymous phone calls from the suspect, who claims to have witnessed Dormer kill his partner. After looking through her belongings, the police learn that Kay was a fan of a local crime writer named Walter Finch (Robin Williams). Dormer looks up his address and breaks into his apartment. Finch soon comes home, realizes the police have arrived, and evades Dormer after a chase.

Dormer returns to Finch’s apartment. While there, he plants the .38 to frame Finch. Finch later contacts him and arranges a meeting on a ferry. Finch wants help in shifting suspicion to Kay’s abusive boyfriend Randy Stetz (Jonathan Jackson) and will stay silent about Dormer’s role in the Eckhart shooting in return. Dormer gives advice on handling police questioning. After Finch leaves Dormer on the ferry, he shows the detective a tape recorder he used to record the conversation.

Finch calls Dormer and tells him that Kay’s death was “an accident” — he beat her to death in a fit of rage after she rejected his advances. The next day, Finch gives false testimony at the police station. When Finch claims Randy had a gun, Dormer realizes Finch has discovered his plant, and has hidden it at Randy’s home. He races to Randy’s house to find the gun before other officers, but is unsuccessful, and Randy is arrested. Finch offers to give Burr letters indicating that Randy abused Kay, and asks her to come and collect evidence from his summer home the next day.
Burr finds a 9mm shell casing at the scene, which conflicts with the bullet type found in Eckhart’s body. She reads old case files from investigations Dormer was involved in and learns he has carried a 9mm, suspecting he has been lying about who shot Eckhart. Dormer confides in the hotel owner, Rachel Clement (Maura Tierney) about the Internal Affairs investigation: He fabricated evidence to help convict a pedophile he was certain was guilty of murdering a child.
Dormer searches Finch’s apartment for an address for his lake house, and realizes Finch intends to kill Burr after finding Kay’s letters in the apartment. As Burr and Finch move through his house, Finch knocks Burr unconscious. Dormer reaches the cabin, but is too disoriented from lack of sleep to fight off Finch. Burr revives and saves Dormer, while Finch escapes. Burr reveals she knows Dormer shot Eckhart. He admits it, but says he is no longer certain if it was an accident. From his shed, Finch shoots at them, and Burr returns fire, allowing Dormer to sneak around to Finch’s location. Finch and Dormer shoot each other, killing Finch and fatally wounding Dormer. Burr rushes to Dormer’s aid and comforts him by affirming that Eckhart’s shooting was accidental, then moves to throw away the shell casing to preserve Dormer’s secret. Before he dies, he stops Burr, telling her not to lose her way.With three Oscar winners in the cast Nolan had some serious quality to direct, that Pacino, Williams and Swank deliver excellence is high praise for the British director. Pacino actually gives one of his finest late career performances, utterly compelling as Dormer, his haggard face tells of a thousand sorrows, his sleep deprived gait befits a man staring into the abyss. Wally Pfister’s photography is on the money, the blend of snow whites and green tinges sparkle from the vistas and the soft brown hues inside the hotel provide the rare moments of tranquillity available to Will Dormer. Across the board Insomnia is a cracker of a movie, a film that goes into the murky depths of the genre to reveal one of the best movies of 2002.

REVIEW: JUMANJI (1995)

CAST

Robin Williams (One Hour Photo)
Bonnie Hunt (Cheaper By The Dozen)
Kirsten Dunst (Bring It On)
Bradley Pierce (The Borrowers)
Jonathan Hyde (The Strain)
Bebe Neuwirth (Cheers)
David Alan Grier (The Woodsman)
Patricia Clarkson (Lars and The Real Girl)
James Handy (Alias)
Laura Bell Bundy (Scream Queens)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)

In 1869, near Brantford, New Hampshire, two brothers bury a chest, hoping that no one will ever find it. One hundred years later in 1969, 12-year-old Alan Parrish visits a shoe factory owned by his father, Samuel. He visits his friend Carl Bentley, an employee, who reveals a new shoe prototype he made by himself. Alan misplaces the shoe and damages an important machine, but Carl takes responsibility and loses his job. After being attacked by several bullies, who also steal his bicycle, Alan follows the sound of tribal drumbeats to a construction site. He finds the chest containing a board game called Jumanji, and brings it home.

At home, after an argument with Samuel about attending a boarding school, Alan plans to run away. Sarah Whittle, his friend, arrives to return his bicycle, and they begin playing Jumanji. With each roll of the dice, the player piece moves by itself and a cryptic message describing the roll’s outcome appears in the crystal ball at the center of the board. Sarah rolls the dice but nothing happens. Alan rolls the dice; a message tells him to wait in a jungle until someone rolls 5 or 8, and he is sucked into the game. Afterwards, a swarm of bats appears and chases Sarah out of the mansion.

Twenty-six years later, Judy and Peter Shepherd move into the vacant Parrish house with their aunt Nora, their parents having died in an accident on a ski trip in Canada. The next day Judy and Peter find Jumanji in the attic and begin playing it. Their rolls summon giant mosquitoes and a group of monkeys. The game rules state that everything will be restored when the game ends, so they continue playing. Peter’s next roll releases a lion and an adult Alan, who rushes to his father’s factory. On the way, he meets Carl, who is now working as a police officer. In the now-abandoned factory, a homeless man tells Alan that after his disappearance, Sam abandoned the business and searched for his son, until his death four years earlier. The factory’s closure has devastated the town’s economy.

Realizing that they need Sarah to finish the game, the three locate Sarah — now suffering mental trauma from Jumanji and Alan’s disappearance — and persuade her to join them. Sarah’s move releases fast-growing man-eating vines, and Alan’s next roll releases a big game hunter named Van Pelt, who has been hunting Alan in the jungle. The next roll summons a herd of various animals, causing a stampede, and a pelican steals the game. Peter retrieves it, but Alan is arrested by Carl, and Van Pelt steals the game. Peter, Sarah, and Judy track Van Pelt to a department store where they set booby traps to deter him and retrieve the game, while Alan escapes from Carl’s car. When the four return to the mansion — now completely overrun by jungle wildlife — they release one calamity after another, until an earthquake destroys the mansion. As Van Pelt corners Alan and prepares to kill him, Alan finally makes the winning roll, causing everything that happened as a result of the game to be reversed.

Back in 1969, Alan and Sarah are children once again, but have full memories of the game’s events. Alan reconciles with his father and admits that he damaged the factory’s machine. Carl is rehired, and Sam tells his son that he does not have to attend boarding school. Alan and Sarah throw Jumanji into a river, then share a kiss.
Image result for JUMANJI 1995
In the present, Alan has taken over his father’s business. Alan and Sarah are married and expecting their first child. They meet Judy, Peter, and their parents Jim and Martha for the first time at a Christmas party. Alan offers Jim a job, and convinces them to cancel their upcoming ski trip, averting their deaths.
Image result for JUMANJI 1995
On a beach in France, two young girls hear drumbeats while walking, as Jumanji lies buried in the sand.Image result for JUMANJI 1995The special effects in this movie, in there day were excellent. It really is an excellent film and most of the family can enjoy the solid entertainment.

REVIEW: HOOK

CAST
Robin Williams (Jumanji)
Julia Roberts (Mirror, Mirror)
Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Bob Hoskins (Snow White and The huntsman)
Maggie Smith (Clash of The Titans)
Caroline Goodall (Schlinders List)
Phil Collins (Buster)
Don S. Davis (Stargate – Sg.1)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Glenn Close (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
MV5BMTUwMDMwNjkyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTk2NjI5MDE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1524,1000_AL_
Peter Banning is a successful, middle-aged corporate lawyer living in San Francisco but spends more time at work in the office with his fellow coworkers than at home with his wife Moira and two young children Jack and Maggie. Although Peter is able to see Maggie’s school play production of Peter Pan, he misses Jack’s baseball game, breaking his promise. The Bannings fly to London to visit Moira’s grandmother, Wendy Darling, to celebrate her charity work for orphans, which once included Peter. During the visit, Peter is distracted by phone calls from his business partner. On one occasion, he shouts at his children when they interrupt him and in frustration, Moira throws his cellphone out a window.
Later, while Peter, Moira, and Wendy attend a banquet ceremony hosted by Great Ormond Street Hospital, a strange presence abducts Jack and Maggie from their beds in the nursery. The senile Tootles, another one of Wendy’s orphans who lives at her house, insists that Captain Hook has kidnapped the children as revenge and has taken them back to Neverland. Peter dismisses Tootles’ warning and calls the police instead. Late that night Wendy tells Peter that the stories about Neverland are all true and he is actually the real Peter Pan but has lost all his childhood memories when he decided to stay in London with her several decades ago. In a state of denial, Peter gets drunk in the nursery where Tinker Bell arrives. After failing to convince Peter about Neverland, she knocks him unconscious and carries him into the night sky and towards the second star to the right.
Confused and disoriented, Peter wakes up in Neverland with a hangover where he encounters Captain Hook and his pirates, who are holding his children hostage. Hook is disgusted by Peter’s adult self and becomes disillusioned by his foe who is no longer capable of providing a good fight. Tinker Bell and Hook make a deal to give Peter three days to be trained to his former self for a climactic battle. After a brief encounter with a group of mermaids in the lagoon, Tinker Bell takes Peter to meet the new generation of Lost Boys, led by a new leader, Rufio. Tinker Bell convinces the boys to give Peter a chance and they agree to train him. During this process Peter begins to rediscover his inner child and sense of imagination. Meanwhile, Mr. Smee suggests to Hook that he manipulate Jack and Maggie into loving him in order to break Peter’s spirit. Maggie despises Hook, but Jack begins to see Hook as a father figure.
In a disguise, Peter sadly witnesses Jack playing baseball with Hook, who treats him as a son. Knowing that he must learn how to fly again to prove himself and retrieve his children, Peter unsuccessfully tries to remember how until he encounters his own shadow, which leads him to the old tree home of the original Lost Boys. He reunites with Tinker Bell and remembers his past, recalling how he came to Neverland as an infant, how he met Wendy and how he fell in love with Wendy’s granddaughter Moira and chose to grow up. Realizing being a father is his new happy thought, Peter rises up in the sky and dons his childhood outfit. He regains leadership of the lost boys who launch an attack on Hook and the pirates on the third day. During the battle, Peter rescues Maggie and promises to be a better father to Jack.
When Hook slays Rufio, Peter and Hook face off in a final duel, ending in Peter’s victory. Refusing to leave honorably, Hook attempts to attack Peter when his back is turned, but the stuffed crocodile that once tormented him comes back to life one final time and consumes him. Peter gives the lost boy called Thud Butt his sword, asking him to look after the other boys. He then departs from Neverland with his children, waking up in Kensington Gardens, where he says a final goodbye to Tinker Bell who confesses her unrequited love for him. Returning to Wendy’s house, Peter reunites with his family and hands a bag of marbles to Tootles, who discovers they contain pixie dust and flies off out the window to return to Neverland. Wendy asks Peter if his adventures are over, but Peter replies, “To live would be an awfully big adventure.”
MV5BMTQ4Njc4NTMwM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjk2NjI5MDE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1524,1000_AL_
This film is a true classic that everyone should have the pleaure of watching. It doesn’t take anything away from J.M Barrie, it just extends his great ideas onto a new and modern level.

REVIEW: THE CRAZY ONES

Untitled

CAST
Robin Williams (Jumanji)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
James Wolk (For a Good Time Call…)
Hamish Linklater (Pushing Daisies)
Amanda Setton (Beauty and the Beast 2012)
NOTABLE GUEST CAST / RECURRING CAST
Kelly Clarkson (American Dreams)
Gail O’Grady (Superboy)
J.D. Walsh (Two and A Half Men)
Saffron Burrows (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Josh Groban (The Muppets)
Brooke Lyons (2 Broke Girls)
Brad Garrett (Garfield)
Ashley Tisdale (Scary Movie 5)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Kurt Fuller (Superhero Movie)
Sarah Baker (Mike & Molly)
Marilu Henner (Vamps)
Joshua Gomez (Chuck)
Robin Williams was finally back to doing what he’s always done best — off-the-cuff riffing on whatever subject you put in front of him. He’s brilliant. While America’s sense of humor has changed a bit since Mrs. Doubtfire, Williams’ ability to turn his incredible sense of humor into a source of drama  shows that as an actor, he’s gone from silly to serious and come back out the other side with a remarkable ability to showcase the two simultaneously and sensitively.
Sarah Michelle Gellar is perfectly cast in her role, as a foil for Williams. Her ability to  see the serious and important sides of absurd and silly situations is exactly what Williams’ character needed to have the truth of his tragicomic situation highlighted.
This show isn’t going to appeal to everyone — it’s paced like Scandal, has the emotional volatility of the Newsroom, and the pop culture references of Franklin & Bash. The problem is that it’s billed as a zany comedy/Mad Men with Robin Williams, but the truth is that it’s actually a very dramatic story hidden beneath zaniness, and a lot of people are going to have a problem with that.
Sadly the show lasted one season and not long after we lost Robin Williams. It’s a good show to see just how good he was as an actor.

REVIEW: LICENSE TO WED

CAST
Robin Williams (The Crazy Ones)
Mandy Moore (The Princess Diaries)
John Krasinski (Jarhead)
Eric Christian Olsen (Tru Calling)
Christine Taylor (Zoolander)
John Flitter (Hide and Seek)
DeRay Davis (Scary Movie 4)
Peter Strauss (XXX 2)
Grace Zabriskie (Norma Rae)
Roxanne Hart (Highlander)
Rachael Harris (Evan almighty)
Wanda Sykes (Clerks 2)
Mindy Kaling (The Office)
Rachael Harris (The Hangover)
Sadie Jones (Mandy Moore) has always longed to marry the man of her dreams in her family church. Though she has found her lifetime companion in Ben Murphy (John Krasinski), Sadie is distressed to learn that St. Augustine’s has only one wedding slot available over the next two years, though after re-checking their planning book, they find that the wedding can be held in three weeks.
While Sadie and Ben do qualify for the slot, the church’s eccentric minister, Reverend Frank (Robin Williams), will not wed the couple until they agree to attend his prenuptial course (shortened, due to the new date, from three months to three weeks). As their wedding date draws near, Sadie and Ben must now follow all of Reverend Frank’s rules, attend his unusual classes, and complete a series of homework assignments designed specifically to irritate one another — in order to get past puppy love and ensure that their union will have a sound foundation.
In one part of the course, the couple has to care for twin “creepy robot” babies. They get on Ben’s last nerve and he destroys one, to the horror of bystanders in a department store. To Ben’s dismay, one of Frank’s rules is no pre-marital sex. On behalf of Frank, his young assistant (Josh Flitter) breaks into the couple’s house and bugs it. Thus, Frank and his assistant can listen to all conversations, though Frank does not let his assistant listen to the adult parts. Ben discovers the microphone/transmitter but does not tell Sadie, for fear she will accuse him of lying and planting the bug himself.
Problems gradually begin to develop between the couple due to the course. Ben begins an investigation into Frank, and eventually discovers that he was once married to a Maria Gonzalez. Shortly before the wedding, Sadie becomes reluctant to have the wedding, among other things because Ben has not prepared marriage vows as Frank instructed them to do, but instead drew a flip cartoon of a truck. Ben then confronts Frank over Maria Gonzalez, believing him to be a hypocrite. Frank reveals that the marriage was done to allow Maria, then an immigrant, and a member of Frank’s congregation, to stay in the U.S. Upset that Ben would waste his time on a “stupid investigation”, Sadie calls off the wedding. On Frank’s advice, Sadie goes on vacation to Jamaica, their slated honeymoon destination.
Ben seeks advice from his friend Joel, who advises him to give up on Sadie, saying that there are other women like her out there. Ben however disagrees with this, and decides to go to Jamaica. Frank and his assistant travel there too. He attempts to call Sadie, but she refuses to listen. Her parents assure her that all marriages have problems, and her friend Carlisle tells her that Ben may just want someone who relies on him, allowing her to forgive Ben more easily. Ben writes his vows on the sands of the beach to impress Sadie and they reconcile, and Frank marries them there
What’s not to like about Robin Williams in comedies like this one

REVIEW: ONE HOUR PHOTO

CAST

Robin Williams (Hook)
Connie Nielsen (Gladiator)
Michael Vartan (Alias)
Dylan Smith (Re-Animated)
Erin Daniels (The L Word)
Gary Cole (Chuck)
Lee Garlington (Ameircan Pie 2)
Jim Rash (That 70s Show)
Clark Gregg (Agents of SHIELD)
Eriq La Salle (ER)

Mark Romanek’s under-appreciated One Hour Photo came about during a transition period in the mainstream photography scene, a point addressed early on in the film. Before the age of digital cameras — where people take thousands of shots nobody ever sees, duplicate them at home, and wipe them away with a few clicks — snapshots either needed to be processed in a dark room or entrusted with a lab for developing. That meant a person doing the developing would see , and possible remember, every single candid shot and glimpse at one’s private affairs. Romanek saw that suspicion as an opportunity, framed in a sterile department store and centered on the seeming trustworthy clerk whom you’d give those rolls of memories. Could that person have been Sy Parrish (Robin Williams), the bespectacled, clean-cut employee who obsesses over a repeat-customer family. The strength in Romanek’s thriller, a comment on blind trust and valuing the family dynamic, lies in how eerily possible that might be.

Should it be reassuring or alarming that the first image of Sy is of his in-custody interrogation? That’s the direction Romanek takes the audience, down the path of misgiving from the moment Sy offers his perspective on his time as a SavMart photo-lab manager, a job he takes very seriously; he calibrates and measures prints with the utmost care, diligently remembering repeat shoppers. The most important of all his customers, though, is the Yorkin family: an unpretentiously beautiful mother, Nina (Connie Nielsen, The Devil’s Advocate); the busy bread-winner father, Will (Michael Vartan, Alias); and their young, caring son, Jake (Dylan Smith). Sy knows these people in ways most don’t, from memorizing their address and the size of their home to the idyllic appearance of their domestic situation, adorned with birthday parties and little-league games. What’s also shown, though, are the moments when he returns to his home, a sparse apartment full of the Yorkin’s photographs.

Romanek could’ve easily forced Sy into a caricature of a stalker or an unashamedly disturbed villain, but instead he takes a more complex route: he’s interested in bringing this man as close to “normal” as the thriller’s setting and purposes will allow, until the situation no longer allows it. Constant narration — Sy’s interrogation — beckons the audience into the space of his mind, revealing his tolerant and often rewarding outlook on his customers. When he discusses unsavory people, they’re neutral observations with a twang of judgment, not unlike the musings of regular Joes. When he discusses the family dynamic, his outlook is almost admirably idealistic, as if he only knows of the families depicted in perfect photos. Navigating the intricacy of his mind becomes a sharp, disturbing experience as the knowledge of his police custody crosses our minds, and Romanek plays with that idea as Sy uses his job to cross boundaries in ways the general public would rather not consider. He’s the worst kind of monster: the one you really couldn’t foresee as being one.

One Hour Photo’s success, both in terms of intensity and dramatic potency, hinges on the utterly chilling performance from Robin Williams. While Good Will Hunting and Insomnia unveiled a comeback in his serious dramatic side, presenting him as physically intimidating and apt at carrying a dark past, Sy takes his talent in a more cunning, sinister direction than previously seen from the animated comedic actor. From behind large-framed glasses and under a peculiar blonde haircut, the intense eyes that Williams gives the photo-lab manager hide a disturbed man with a void in his life. The psychosis and obsession he conveys through nuanced facial reactions can be pretty remarkable, where the stillness in his gazes and the calmness in his voice often send chills down the spine when he interacts with families, co-workers, and children. The performances around him create a “safe” mid-sized town atmosphere — Connie Nielsen’s honest warmth lures in our attention as she drops off film and eats at a mall — proving ideal for Sy’s under-the-radar fixation.

Romanek explores a mesmerizing visual tone that becomes crucial as we’re making heads and tails of Sy’s mind, where the cinematography of Jeff Cronenweth (Fight Club and The Social Network) switches between sterile, void sparseness and multihued vivacity for some clever jarring effects. He bathes scenes in the Yorkin’s lush upper-scale home with overbearingly warm oranges and browns, emphasizing a false sense of safety and perfection, while the stark-white aisles of SavMart almost convey a sense of blinding clarity through the eyes of Sy. The film very much filters through his point-of-view as his narration guides the audience within his psychosis, where the few impartial glimpses at his life blow the notion of privacy open by a mosaic of photos on his apartment’s wall. Backed by Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek’s pulsating, haunting score, this is a striking sensory experience that lulls the audience into a bizarre combo of sensations between ill-omened fear and cautious sympathy.

That’s the nature of a beast like One Hour Photo, a Hitchcock-esque exploration of the underbelly of the mundane ad the family dynamic, not unlike a twisted combination of Cape Fear and American Beauty. Romanek’s film is, admittedly, far more interesting during Sy’s descent into mania than when he’s finally pushed over the edge though, driven by circumstances that come across more as overstated developments to elevate suspense instead of a natural progression of his mental instability. Romanek undeniably goes for bizarre shock value as his punctuation, which waters down the organic human properties that he’s worked so hard to develop. Yet, even when he takes Sy into the world of the truly demented, the reason he’s locked in cuffs and answering questions, Robin Williams and Mark Romanek still generates a disturbingly authentic perspective on idealistic relativism, and how the mind of “The Photo Guy” who yearns for the family in those snapshots is truly calibrated.