Movie Beat – 02.14.14

About Last Night – Two guys (Kevin Hart & Michael Ealy) and two gals (Regina Hall & Joy Bryant) are living in Los Angeles and trying to find love and companionship. The guys are best friends, the gals are roommates, and their lives will become inseparably tangled when they start dating. First Bernie and Joan start dating, then Danny and Debbie hook-up. Then Debbie and Danny break it off, so that means Bernie and Joan need to spend sometime apart as well. Love sure can be complicated. Written by Leslye Headland based on the play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” by … Continue reading Movie Beat – 02.14.14

LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER

Lee Daniels' The Butler - Poster

It opens with an image of two dead black men, lynched, with an American flag flapping in the breeze. A quote from Martin Luther King appears. It’s clear from the start, Lee Daniels’ The Butler is a political movie, but Jean-Luc Godard reminded us, “All art is political”. It has a very clear opinion and point of view, and I give it a lot of credit for embracing it. Far too often a movie tries to hedge its bets and not offend this side of the aisle or that. They attempt to cloak the story in a suicidal mission of historical accuracy, making people believe that what they see on the screen was true to how it happened in real life. Who can be offended by history? Nothing seen on the screen is how it happened in real life. All movies based on true events, inspired by real accounts, and from a true story are in essence historical fictions because they reconstruct history. That is fine, that is what they need to be, but as long as we are reconstructing history, can’t we go ahead and comment? Can’t we view these events through a prism of one’s own point of view? Isn’t that why we go to the movies in the first place? To see someone else’s story unfold for us, to see and understand his or her viewpoint? Atticus Fitch taught Scout that, “you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them”. We may not be able to walk around in Cecil Gain’s well-worn dress shoes, but thanks to director Lee Daniels and screenwriter Danny Strong, we can see the world through the eyes of Cecil Gains. From the cotton fields of the Jim Crow south to a White House butler for eight Presidents. The great American myth is that of Horatio Alger, a country where anyone can become more than the place of their birth, from rags to riches. Cecil is that myth incarnate. He shows that hard work opens the door, luck takes you through, but humility is what keeps you there.

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2012: A Year At The Movies

2012 was a magnificent year for the movies. They are more diverse, more personal, and more magical than ever. Yes, there was the onslaught of the usual blockbuster fare, sequels left and right, and the mighty flops that were John Carter and Battleship, but there was so much more to discover in theaters this year. It is quite possible that 2012 was one of the best years for the cinema, maybe not on par with 1939 or 1960, but time will tell which of these stories permeate the collective consciousness and hang around and continue to inform our experiences. 2012 also saw a great amount of cinema history as … Continue reading 2012: A Year At The Movies