Why You Have to See "Bill W." -- New Documentary About Alcoholics Anonymous Founder. Read My Review!
William G. Wilson, the iconic driving force behind Alcoholics Anonymous, is the subject of the new documentary “Bill W.” from directors Kevin Hanlon and Dan Carracino. It’s a fitting homage to a man who went to great lengths to help fellow alcoholics.
“Bill W.” would have been a tawdry and salacious look at Wilson’s life if not for the caring, well-researched work by the filmmakers. Talks of his infidelity, experimentation with LSD, and depression helped shape Wilson as a respectable albeit flawed hero.
Told in a chronological fashion, “Bill W.” covers the life and times of Wilson. In 1999, he was named one of TIME Magazine’s Top 20 Heroes and Icons of the 20th Century for his work as A.A.’s co-founder. What made him start the 12 Step recovery of the program?
Born William Griffith Wilson in 1895 in East Dorset, Vermont, Wilson grew up to be a determined young man, setting his sights on his goals and doing everything to achieve them. As a teenager, he wanted to be the best violinist in the world and took extra steps to reach that goal.
Both Hanlon and Carracino are not practicing AA members but “Bill W.” is sensitive with its subject. The documentary is interspersed with Alcoholics Anonymous members who have succeeded in being sober for years. Each of their stories is used to support Wilson’s own experiences.
The man’s self sacrifice is also evident throughout the documentary. He gave up his career for his passion to help. For the most part, even his marriage to the supportive Lois Burnham was put in the back burner for his greater calling.
“Bill W.” tremendously benefited from the meticulous research conducted by the filmmakers. The extensive use of some never-before-seen archival footage helped shine a light on Wilson’s fruitful life.
Understandably, it took eight years of full-time work to complete “Bill W.” Besides conducting research in dozens of archives and private collections, Hanlon and Carracino also interviewed A.A. members and historians in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
“Bill W.” is interesting enough that you will not find yourself bored. The film moves at a brisk pace in order to cover Bill Wilson’s expansive life. Some of the “supporting actors” in his quest to help alcoholics were dropped for the sake of moving the story forward. I wished the filmmakers gave us proper endings for each of the real-life characters introduced for clarity reasons.
The tone of “Bill W.” hews closer to a congratulatory manner. Most of the interviewees have nothing but praises for Wilson but can you blame them? Here was a man who singlehandedly gave alcoholics hope while fighting his own demons.
In 1989, James Woods won an Emmy for his portrayal of Bill Wilson in the CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie “My Name is Bill W.” But that well-praised movie was not able to create a fully realized portrait of Wilson better than what “Bill W.” has achieved. This documentary is an eye-opening experience about Bill Wilson and his legacy.
RATING: “BILL W” GETS 3 ½ KISSES
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And just watching the trailer brings back memories of the book, so that's a really good sign! For me at least! Produced by Tim Burton, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" tells the tale of our beloved President, and how his problems with the Civil War mirror the drama surrounding the increasing number of dangerous vampires!
Benjamin Walker plays Lincoln, Dominic Cooper is Henry Sturgess, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Mary Todd Lincoln, Rufus Sewell is Adam, and Anthony Mackie is William Johnson. The script is co-written by Grahame-Smith (another good sign) and Simon Kinberg (2009's "Sherlock Holmes" and the upcoming "This Means War").
Twentieth Century Fox is releasing "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" in 3D on June 22nd. I can't wait but I can skip the 3D part!
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For the first and second TV spots that premiered during American Idol season finale, click here.
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It took the sunglass-decked Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones to finally unseat Marvel's "The Avengers." ("Men in Black 3" movie review)
"MIB 3" took in $70 million in the U.S. over the four-day Memorial Day weekend but it's below the $80 million that Sony Pictures was expecting, or Hollywood's projection of $90 million. Overseas, "Men in Black 3" sold $133.2 million worth of box-office tickets but since the threequel was so expensive to make (estimates ranged from $225 million to $300 million), it will take a while for Smith and Jones and their trusty Neuralyzer to recoup their money. (Win "MIB 3" exclusive prizes from Sony Pictures)
Disney's "The Avengers" slipped to No. 2 with $46.9 million becoming the 3rd biggest movie of all time right after "Avatar" and "Titanic."
Yes, "Men in Black 3" had a good start and "The Avengers" proved box-office prowess but this past Memorial Day weekend was the slowest at theaters in more than a decade with overall box-office total of $190 million, the lowest since Memorial Day weekend in 2001 when revenues totaled $185.3 million.
Meanwhile, "Battleship" continued to sink. Based on a Hasbro board game, the action adventure managed $13.8 million for the No. 3 spot. That's a far cry from its $200 million plus budget. Speaking of, all the Top 3 movies were budgeted at more than $200 million each. Yup, it's summer at the movies indeed!
The other big release this past weekend was Warner Bros. found footage flick "Chernobyl Diaries" from producer Oren Peli ("Paranormal Activity" franchise). The film also failed to attract viewers and debuted at No. 6 with just $9.3 million. And that's for four days!
The good news of the weekend belonged to Focus Features' comic drama "Moonrise Kingdom" from director Wes Anderson. Released in just four theaters, the film had an eye-popping average of $167,371 per screening! I can't wait to interview the cast and crew this weekend, and of course, I'll give you updates!
Here's the estimated Top 10 Box-Office Films for Memorial Day weekend of 2012:
1. "Men in Black 3," $70 million ($133.2 million international).
2. "The Avengers," $46.9 million ($26.3 million international).
3. "Battleship," $13.8 million ($2.9 million international).
4. "The Dictator," $11.8 million ($11.8 million international).
5. "Dark Shadows," $9.4 million ($13.1 million international).
6. "Chernobyl Diaries," $9.3 million.
7. "What to Expect When You're Expecting," $8.9 million ($1.5 million international).
8. "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," $8.2 million ($853,000 international).
9. "The Hunger Games," $2.9 million ($800,000 international).
10. "Think Like a Man," $1.8 million.
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If you were hoping that an American entry would take home the big prize, the Palme d'Or much like last year's "The Tree of Life," hope again. The only American winner of the bunch was the Sundance darling, Benh Zeitlin's "Beast of the Southern Wild." Fox Searchlight, the studio behind the film, will now push the New Orleans delta water-adventure for upcoming awards.
Here's the complete list of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival winners:
AMOUR (LOVE) directed by Michael HANEKE
REALITY directed by Matteo GARRONE
Award for Best Director
Carlos REYGADAS for POST TENEBRAS LUX
Award for Best Screenplay
Cristian MUNGIU for DUPÃ DEALURI (BEYOND THE HILLS)
Award for Best Actress
Cristina FLUTUR in DUPÃ DEALURI (BEYOND THE HILLS) directed by Cristian MUNGIUCosmina STRATAN in DUPÃ DEALURI (BEYOND THE HILLS) directed by Cristian MUNGIU
Award for Best Actor
Mads MIKKELSEN in JAGTEN (THE HUNT) directed by Thomas VINTERBERG
THE ANGELS' SHARE directed by Ken LOACH
Palme d'Or - Short Film
SESSIZ-BE DENG (SILENT) directed by L.Rezan YESILBAS
Un Certain Regard
Un Certain Regard Special Distinction
DJECA (CHILDREN OF SARAJEVO) directed by Aida BEGIC
Un Certain Regard Award for Best Actress
À PERDRE LA RAISON played by Emilie DEQUENNE
LAURENCE ANYWAYS played by Suzanne CLÉMENT
Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize
LE GRAND SOIR directed by Gustave KERVERN, Benoît DELÉPINE
Prize of Un Certain Regard
DESPUÉS DE LUCIA directed by Michel FRANCO
1st Prize Cinéfondation
DOROGA NA (THE ROAD TO) directed by Taisia IGUMENTSEVA
2nd Prize - Cinéfondation
ABIGAIL directed by Matthew James REILLY
3rd Prize Cinéfondation
LOS ANFITRIONES (THE HOSTS) directed by Miguel Angel MOULET
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD directed by Benh ZEITLIN
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