Movie Review: King Richard

While watching the new movie “King Richard” I wondered what it must feel like to be either Venus or Serena Williams, with their many titles, huge wealth and fame and realize every moment that were it not for their father Richard Williams, played by Will Smith in this film, none of what they have would have been remotely possible.

Richard Williams was not a perfect husband and father(he actually had other children with several other women), but as parent raising hugely successful daughters, its impossible to imagine anyone doing a better job than he did. You cannot help but be impressed by this story of a poor man holding onto a bad security job at night and spending his entire life devoted to making sure his 5 daughters were extremely successful. Richard Williams was beaten up several times in this story by thugs and criminals in the neighborhood, most of the time trying to protect and defend either Serena or Venus when they played Tennis on run down Tennis courts in dangerous neighborhoods in Compton California.

Most of this story has to do with the early successful Tennis career of Venus Williams who is one year older than Serena. Richard’s obsession with protecting Venus from the vultures and coaches in the Tennis world is the center storyline throughout this film. At times it seemed that his obsession was helping his daughter at other times it seemed that he was hurting her career. There are many Tennis scenes in this film that showed the rise of Venus Tennis career and the two young girls in this movie Demi Singleton and Aunjanue Ellis both do an excellent job protraying Serena and Venus.

In 2015 the movie “Concussion” with Will Smith playing the doctor who discovered the rampant brain injuries of so many NFL players was released. What followed was a huge controversy when Smith was not even nominated for an Oscar after his outstanding performance. This time around, Will Smith just might win his first Oscar as his performance in this movie is the best of his career, even surpassing his role in “The Pursuit of Happyness” released in 2006.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for King Richard are an accurate and extremely high 92% and I view this movie as one of the best of 2021.

Movie Review: Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Just like all movie franchises, its all about the money and not screwing up what made the original movies as good as they were. Ghostbusters was released in 1984, Ghostbusters 2 was released in 1989. One of the best things about these two movies was their humor, mostly from the deadpan comments and subtle comedy of Bill Murray. Unfortunately, the new “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is almost bereft of all humor, once again in favor of special effects, mostly at the end. I was surprised at how slow and boring this movie was in too many areas, aside from missing the most important comedy ingredient. In 2016 a new idea in the Ghostbusters franchise was attempted with an all female cast starring Kate McKinnon and Melissa McCarthy. At least this movie did not forget to at least try to continue the comedy tradition, but was only at best an average film.

This story starts in the present day, with Callie, the daughter of  Dr. Egon Spengler, played by the late Harold Ramis, broke and evicted from her home with her 2 kids, Phoebe and Trevor. Spengler’s daughter Callie then inherits the about to-fall down-farm of her late father, starting the story of a scientist who for over 30 years was still trying to trap ghosts rather than being a farmer.

One possible source of humor that was missed in this story was Paul Rudd, who plays the science teacher of Phoebe played by Mckenna Grace. Rudd has no funny scenes in this movie, none. Considering Rudd has always been funny in just about all his movies, it must have taken some doing to squelch out any sign of humor in all of his scenes. We all know that the science behind this Ghostbusters idea is ridiculous, so in order to make this all work, the audience needs comedy to make fun of the whole insane idea of trapping dangerous ghosts into tiny boxes using laser guns.

The other idea here was to use young kids to continue this franchise, with one of the actors from the Netflix “Stranger Things” series, Finn Wolfhard along with Mckenna Grace and newcomer
Logan Kim – who calls himself podcast, for reasons that make no sense and not really funny. This idea of this new young cast, might save this franchise but only if the next one in the series is much better than this installment. The original Ghostbuster cast, Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd and Ernie Hudson does make an appearance at the end of this movie, along with a visage of Harold Ramis – but this is not nearly enough to save what is a below average film.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Ghostbusters: Afterlife are a low 61% and this time around I agree with the critics and cannot recommend this movie.

Movie Review: Tick Tick Boom

A better question to ask anyone who is looking to spend their lives in some form of show business would be, “are you willing to endure years of misery, rejection, horrendous jobs, failed relationships, malnutrition and frustration” just so you might have some small ray of hope, some miracle break in the future? Are you willing to have other people’s critical and fickle opinions not stop you from continuing to write, to act to never give up?

The new movie “Tick Tick Boom” is also the title of one of the Broadway musicals written by the late Jonathan Larson, played extremely well by Andrew Garfield, who tragically died of an aortic aneurism days before the debut of his hit musical “Rent” that ran on Broadway for 10 years. The fact that Larson slaved writing plays and musical for years all to miss the debut of his big hit, is also part of the mission of trying to make it when the odds are so long. Then add the vicious and so often dead wrong critics who go out of their way to try and destroy someone who has worked so hard for success.

The best line in this movie was from Judith Light who plays Larson’s agent, when he asked her, “what do I do now”, after his latest musical got great reviews but did not sell. She says, “you just write another one, and then another one. That is the reality of this business.” Unfortunately nothing in show business comes without great suffering, no matter what your talent might be. We all see the ones who make it, never the ones who try for years, and even for decades and just never get that one lucky break.

From Andrew Garfield’s past movies, especially “Hacksaw Ridge”, released in 2016, we all know that he is an outstanding actor. From this new film, we also know that he is an outstanding singer. Tick Tick Boom is a musical and for those who hate musicals, this film is tolerable enough, mainly because of the singing talent of Garfield, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexandra Shipp and Gizel Jimenez which is all outstanding throughout.

This movie marks the directorial debut of Lin-Manuel Miranda who is the creator of the huge Broadway hit “Hamilton”. As for Andrew Garfield, his performance in this movie is so strong, he will probably be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar.

The ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB are a very high 87 and 85% and I agree with these numbers and highly recommend this movie that will debut on Netflix on November 19th.