Movie Beat – 03.07.14

300: Rise of an Empire – The Greeks and Persians are at war again in Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel, Xerese. The battle has moved from land to the sea, and the warriors have increased from 300 to a hell of a lot more. Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) is leading the Greek army against mortal turned God, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and the fierce general of the Persian Army, Artemisia (Eva Green) who has a score to settle. Supporting cast includes, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Andrew Tiernan and a horde of digital fodder all moving in varying speeds of dramatic slow motion. … Continue reading Movie Beat – 03.07.14

Movie Beat – 02.28.14

The Bag Man – The role of a Bag Man is a time-honored tradition. Heartless, ruthless and cold, the Bag Man kills for money and is hired because he kills. This Bag Man (John Cusack) has been hired by this mobster (Robert De Niro) to transport the bag to this rundown motel loaded with these shady people (Rebecca Da Costa, Crispin Glover, Dominic Purcell). Why bring all these characters under one roof? You’ll have to watch to find that out, but one thing we can be certain of, it will not end without a fair amount of bloodshed. Directed by … Continue reading Movie Beat – 02.28.14

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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Movie Beat – 04.26.13

Arthur Newman – Wallace (Colin Firth) is tired of his life and decides to start over again. This time with someone else’s identity, completely fabricated, a new man: Arthur Newman (a bit on the nose if you ask me). He meets Michaela, or Mike, (Emily Blunt) and they take off together, having all sorts of adventures and romps that poor old Wallace could only dream of. But when fiction becomes so desirable, there is a point where we must turn it into a fact. That means taking the crap along with the fun. Two characters in search of an identity, two great actors in search of a … Continue reading Movie Beat – 04.26.13

Movie Beat – 10.05.12

Butter – It was Julia Child’s favorite ingredient, it is the best thing to use when sauteing, and everyone is terrified of what it does to our arteries: butter. Here I was spreading it on my toast all this time! I had no idea that butter sculptures were a thing, but that is why we go to the movies, to learn something new. Butter is about a local butter sculpting contest, dominated by the local housewives, and a youngster who discovers her hidden talent. How wonderful it is to realize one’s true potential. Stars Jennifer Gardner, Ty Burrell, Oliva Wilde, … Continue reading Movie Beat – 10.05.12