Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013)
The movie should have just been called The Butler, but director Lee Daniels somehow felt that he had to put his name in the title. I’m not sure if there is a real reason for his name being in the title, but to me, it just seems a little narcissistic.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler is very, very lightly based on the life of Eugene Allen. The film changed Allen’s name to Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker). The film paints a pretty disturbing picture of the struggles and pain that Gaines and his family faced during his childhood and throughout his life as a butler at the White House for 34 years. The movie showed how the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement had a major impact on his life.
The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Cuba Gooding Jr., David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, John Cusack, James Marsden, Robin Williams, Liev Schreiber, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey, Clarence Williams III, John P. Fertitta, Colman Domingo, Yaya Alafia, Minka Kelly, and Nelsan Ellis.
The movie modifies many of the facts about Allen’s life in order to make it more entertaining and therefore less true.
I left the film wondering just how much of it was true. After doing a little bit of research, I found out a number of things about the movie that are completely fiction. It’s a little upsetting to me how this film tries to pass itself off as based on a true story. I don’t want to spoil anything about the movie for anybody, but let me just say that a lot of it is pure fiction.
I really felt for the main characters after seeing what they went through, and thinking how terrible things were for them. After finding out that a lot of the details in the movie are made up, I question just how honest the rest of the movie is. I feel like I was a little duped. I felt bad for Cecil Gaines, but that was not even his real name. I felt bad for some of the things that Gaines went through, but found out that some of those things didn’t even happen. Because the writers and director played so fast and loose with the facts and tried to pass it all off as truth, they succeeded in ruining the movie for me.
The film was very slow and dragged on at times.
There were so many big names in this movie that a few of them were underused. A lot of the supporting characters do not get fully developed. They are in the film in almost cameo-like roles, and then they are gone.
Forest Whitaker is superb in the lead role. His performance alone is enough to make the film worth watching. Even at the film’s slowest and almost boring parts when the movie seems like it is unraveling, Whitaker is enough to bring everything back together again.
Oprah Winfrey was miscast. Her character hardly seemed believable and this took away from my enjoyment of the film. The rest of the supporting cast all did a fine job.
Overall, I felt like the movie was too slow at times. If they had trimmed some of the fat and gotten rid of a few scenes, the film could have been better. I am a little annoyed at how many facts were changed as they are trying to pass this movie off as inspired by a true story. Most people read “true story” and think that it is true. If they dressed this movie up to make it more entertaining, I cannot imagine how slow it would have been if they had stuck more to the facts.
Setting all of the things about this film that I did not like aside, Whitaker and most of the rest of the cast all do a great job. It’s fun to see all of these big names in the same movie even if some of them are not in it long enough. The film does an excellent job of showing people overcome hatred and violence and that is always a good shot to the arm for the human spirit.
I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
2 Guns (2013)
Director Baltasar Kormakur pulled out the big guns for his new Action/Comedy 2 Guns. With a cast that includes Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Bill Paxton, James Marsden, and Paula Patton, how could you go wrong? This is the question that I asked myself. My answer was that you most likely can’t go wrong. I was very excited to see this film, so I caught one of the first showings.
The film is about an undercover DEA agent (Washington) and an undercover Special Forces officer (Wahlberg) that team up to get close to a drug cartel. The catch: each man is unaware that the other is a cop.
2 Guns is a high caliber adventure that is fully loaded with twists and turns, plenty of action, an amazing cast of edgy characters, lots of laughs, and a whole lot of fun.
Denzel Washington is one actor that has never really disappointed me. He has always acted his heart out in every role that I have seen him in. He is certainly one of the greats. He is one of the most consistently solid actors of our time. His role in 2 Guns is evidence that he has no intention of changing his ways or slowing down. His character is suave and in control. He lets his presence be known on screen. If he were a Jedi, the force would be strong with this one.
Mark Wahlberg’s acting ability has noticeably improved over the years. It was never bad by any means, but he has definitely found his niche. He has always taken a no-nonsense approach to his acting. This has given his movies more intensity and energy. Over time, he has learned to develop a different personality to each of the characters that he plays. He has become very versatile. In 2 Guns, he somehow managed to be funny and a badass.
The witty banter exchanged between Washington and Wahlberg was hilarious. That, mixed with each man’s physical ability for violence made the movie very entertaining. Their characters played off of each other wonderfully.
Besides Haywire (2011), I have not seen Paxton in anything great for a while. This is his best film movie Frailty (2001). He played a good tough-guy in this film.
There was never a dull moment in this movie. If you are looking for a lot of action, some good laughs, great acting, and an overall awesome film experience, look no further than 2 Guns. This movie has everything. It’s the best Action/Comedy film so far this year, and will probably be the best of the year.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you enjoyed 2 Guns, then you will most likely enjoy:
2 Guns (2013)
Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg teamed up together and against each other in an action/drama. This movie sounds good and looks even better. Great title. Great cast that also, most notably, includes James Marsden, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos, Robert John Burke, Patrick Fischler, and Fred Ward. It is directed by Baltasar Kormakur.
I think that it is basically guaranteed to be a big hit. I will definitely check it out in the theatre.
The film is set to release on 8/2/13.
Robot & Frank (2012)
In the near future an aging retired thief (Frank Langella) receives a robot from his son (James Marsden) that can help assist him with cooking, cleaning, and chores around the house. The thief decides to come out of retirement when he realizes that the robot can assist him in other things like stealing.
The casting of Marsden, Liv Tyler, and Susan Surandon are all pretty much after thoughts in Robot & Frank. The true stars of the show are in fact, the giant Lego man-like Robot and Frank Langella. The movie is witty and original. The interaction between Langella and the Robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) is priceless.
The advancement of robot technology that is depicted in the film makes me wish that I had a robot to help me with my everyday chores around the house. The robots that are in the movie seem so real that they make me believe that this could one day be a possibility.
Obviously if robots were truly capable of what is seen in the movie, then everybody and their mother would own one by now. They would be flying off of shelves like bottled water after forecasted news of impending doom from an upcoming natural disaster. The fact that Robot & Frank takes place in the future is a contributing factor in why the viewer is able to suspend their disbelief that robots are not able to do what is seen on screen. We do not know what the future holds and therefore cannot question technological advances in robotic technology that is portrayed in the film. In fact, the movie itself plays on the excitement of guessing what robots of the future could be like.
I hope that the improvements of technology in general that are shown in the film are one day possible. This would make the world a better and more fun place to live.
Bravo to this truly unique film. It was a little slow at times, but amusing to watch. I had a blast!
I rate this movie a 7.5 out of 10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.