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.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) is trying to get back to the love of his life, Ruth (Rooney Mara). While he’s been away in prison, Sheriff Patrick Wheeler (Ben Foster) has been keeping an eye on Ruth, and now that Muldoon is out, Wheeler has to go looking for him. Ruth has plans of her own, and when people stand between you and your beloved, they don’t amount to a hill of beans. Sometimes it doesn’t matter which side of the law you are on, what matters are your intentions. Cue the shootout. Written and directed by … Continue reading Movie Beat – 08.16.13