WHAT ELSE I'M WATCHING #2

It's been longer than I anticipated between entries in this series and due to that much has happened and much entertainment has been consumed, some of which I have already forgotten the details of, others that I've started and haven't finished, but more than anything most of it has been outside the realm of feature films. I would like to say I've been proactively searching out new movie experiences and taking them in, but the truth is things have been crazy and outside of the new releases I've seen and reviewed I haven't watched much at home besides the television shows I'm currently hooked on. That currently includes How I Met Your Mother and finishing up the summer season of the guilty pleasure that is Pretty Little Liars (don't judge me). I also recently started Revenge as I've heard nothing but good things about the first season and as the third was just recently added to Netflix I thought I might look into it. The first four episodes grabbed me and I look forward to digging in further once I have a little more room on the schedule. I imagine HIMYM's final season will be making its way to the streaming service soon though, so that will be priority number one. As I haven't seen as much as I would like to fill out this article a lot of it will be a list of things I'd like to get to in order to touch on in the next installment. So, here we go...

Before I get around to those I'd like to make time for a few titles I have watched over the past month a half. We start with Kiss the Girls which came about when I needed a solid Dateline story/Lifetime movie kind of night, but with a higher caliber of delivery and the fact I'd never seen any of Morgan Freeman's Alex Cross interpretations was intriguing. While the film wasn't as by the numbers as I expected (which is always nice) it also didn't strike me as anything too unconventional and in that regard it was both exactly what I was looking for while being able to satisfy without excelling. Next up are a couple of off the wall rom-coms that I could have done without, but one was a rental on a Sunday night and the other was a throwback the wife remembered fondly that maybe didn't translate as well as she expected. Walk of Shame is the vehicle Elizabeth Banks needed, but not the one she deserved. The lady is hilarious and more than anything I'm looking forward to what she does with a big directorial debut like Pitch Perfect 2, but I do wish she would get a major comedic starring vehicle that she steers to commercial and critical success, though I imagine she doesn't mind getting paid for The LEGO Movie and chewing the scenery in The Hunger Games films. Still, it should happen one day. Finally, Forces of Nature is an odd one for sure. Director Bronwen Hughes applies an almost distracting visual sense to the film, but happens to take us out of the time period in which it was made at the same time. The story can be rather clunky throughout, but the ending is appreciated and if anything it was interesting to see Ben Affleck play the distant romantic searching himself to see if he was ready for the commitment he was about to make. Almost like a precursor to that of his character in the upcoming Gone Girl. I only bring this up because I'm reading the book right now in anticipation and it is excellent.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that during the interval time between the previous article and this one Robin Williams passed away. The guy was more of a presence in my childhood than I could have ever imagined and the impact of his death hit me harder than I thought it would. The moment I clicked on Facebook after receiving a few texts asking if the reports of his death were real and read the articles from credible news outlets the memories began to rush back. Those that were the most easily accessible: him dressed in drag and miming "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" in Mrs. Doubtfire or coming to realize who he once was and how far he'd strayed in Hook, the haunting reality of what he'd lost in Jumanji made light by the fact the premise centered on a board game. There is of course his whirlwind performance as the voice of Genie in Aladdin while other, more under-appreciated turns in the likes of Patch Adams, Jack and Bicentennial Man all sprinkle my childhood with wonderful memories, some I knew I didn't fully understand at the time, but knew they meant something significant I'd come to appreciate later. As I got older and became more of an adamant film-goer I was thrilled to see Williams evolve as he aged making turns in films like One Hour Photo and Insomnia. Since his death I have watched both 1996's The Birdcage and 2009's World's Greatest Dad neither of which I'd seen previously. Both films display the full range of Williams' talent in going from broad comedy to more personal, affecting moments that require a tenderness we never expected from the blown out comedic personality he often resorted to, but always managed to grab us with and make his endeavors all the more involving. To begin the list of films I'd like to see before the next installment of this article would be to add a few more Williams flicks to the list. I, regrettably, have never seen Good Will Hunting and will rectify that before next writing. I started watching The Fisher King, but haven't finished it yet and will do so as well as adding at least one more that I could probably narrow down to either Dead Poets Society or Toys. I will eventually watch both and a refresher of something like Good Morning Vietnam probably isn't a bad idea either.



So...what else is there to see? To begin there are several home video releases I'd like to catch up on over the next few months and others coming out that I may or may not review before the next installment of this article. Of the ones I can recall off the top of my head the one that comes to the forefront is Belle, the Amma Asante film about the mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral who is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle in 18th century England, starring Gugu Mbatha Raw in the titular role with supporting players including Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson and Matthew Goode. This past week included several new releases on home video that I'd like to get to including Palo Alto, God's Pocket and Ida as well as the documentary Fed Up that I expect I will be able to stream on Netflix soon. Upcoming home video releases including The Signal, Are You Here and Cold in July aren't necessarily high profile, but have intrigued me for one reason or another and I would like to at least give each a fair shot. Lastly, we'll talk some TV as I've been knee-deep in HIMYM lately and as for what show I will tackle next I've already set my eyes on Revenge, but will be trying to keep up with Gotham after it premieres this fall as well as making it through the second season of Arrow and the fourth season of The Walking Dead once they hit Netflix. One series I know won't be hitting Netflix anytime soon, but will likely be available to rent in the coming months is HBO's The Leftovers (watch the trailer for Season 1 above) which I've heard mixed things about as a whole, but great things about its finale and the premise interests me regardless so I hope I am able to make time whenever it decides to arrive on rental shelves.