Movie Review: Lee Daniels’ The Butler ****

movie the butler

Based on a true story, Lee Daniels’ The Butler is a movie about the civil rights of blacks in America throughout the 20th century as seen through the eyes of a black butler. Cecil Gaines’ life begins working in the cotton fields of the deep South. He becomes the plantation’s house nigger and moves on to become a server at a fine hotel until he is noticed and is chosen to work as a butler in the White House. He serves several Presidents, and must remain invisible in his job during the civil rights era. The job takes its toll on his family. His children get involved in the issues in which he remains silent. Turmoil and conflict in his personal and professional life are endured until the final chapter.

An all star cast including Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and  Cuba Gooding Jr.  tell the history of the civil rights movement though the eyes of people affected and involved in it. The acting is very good and the story is very good. If I hadn’t lived through it, it would be hard to believe how horribly our country treated blacks in the not-so-distant past. The ‘N” word is used a lot in this movie. There is a lot of violence.  A good education and a good movie worth of 4 out of 5 stars.

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Published in: on February 28, 2014 at 6:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa **

movie bad grandpa

Bad Grandpa is a JackAss movie about a grandfather who takes his grandson on a road trip half way across the United States. The mother goes to jail and the goal is to take the child to live with his father. However, the father only wants him because he will get child support money. The entire trip is a series of JackAss set ups that pit the actors against unsuspecting people in hilarious situations. The story is told through a series of vignettes. Lots of sexual innuendo and socially unacceptable situations are pranked while telling the story.

Johnny Knoxville is classic as the bad grandpa. His makeup is outstanding and deserving of an academy award nomination for makeup and hair styling. As a movie, there is not much story, but some of the pranks made me squirm and laugh out loud. So the movie gets 2 out of 5 stars, but the entertainment value gets 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Published in: on February 26, 2014 at 11:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Blue Jasmine **

movie blue jasmine

Blue Jasmine is a Woody Allen movie about lying and cheating. 2 sisters are reunited and have trouble with the men in their lives. Rich sister relies on her good looks and style. She has always lived an extravagant care-free 5 star life and has a tendency to look the other way when she sees questionable things being done by the rich and powerful men in her life. The poor sister has an average life in a menial job and is very kind hearted towards people who have done her wrong–even her sister who was complicit in her losing her chance at a successful endeavor. She is comfortable with blue collar men and is easily influenced by her sister. Their separation and reuniting is analyzed.

Familiar cast include Cate Blanchett, Alec Balwin, and Andrew Dice Clay, along with new-comer Sally Hawkins. All of them gave a very good performance. Best Actress and supporting actress are warranted. The story is just alright and the way it is told isn’t much better. I wouldn’t understand giving an academy award to an actor in a bad movie. I didn’t hate it, but only 2 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on February 26, 2014 at 10:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Nebraska **

movie nebraska

Nebraska is a black and white film about an old alcoholic Korean War vet who thinks he won a million dollars in a sweepstakes. One of his sons stops his continued attempts to walk from Montana to Nebraska by driving him there to claim his prize in person. Along the way, they have problems and end up in the town they left years ago. Estranged family members are reunited and old friendships are renewed. Word leaks out that he is about to become rich, and everybody’s attitude towards him changes. 

The movie moves very slowly. Best picture? HAH! Bruce Dern was good in the lead role, but not great. His elderly wife, played by June Squibb, was loaded with great lines, but I thought many actresses could have delivered them just as well. I was satisfied with the ending, but it took too long to get there. 2 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on February 26, 2014 at 8:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: 3 Days to Kill **

 

movie 3 days to kill

3 Days to Kill is an assassin movie. In this one, Kevin Costner is a ready-to-retire life-long government agent who is very good at killing people for a living. He finds out he’s dying and goes to Paris to try to build a relationship with his estranged teen-aged daughter. He quits his job, but his need for an experimental drug is the bait that gets him to work on one last job to get him a little more time. He meets up with his daughter when her mother (his ex-wife) is called out-of-town on business. He volunteers to become a dad for the first time. The father and daughter now have 3 days to kill until the mom returns. They try to reestablish a relationship while she experiences teenage angst, and he seeks his target while struggling with the side-effects of his medication. Things become complicated before the final showdown in the presence of his ex-wife and daughter.

The background scenes of Paris are very cool–especially the tattoo parlor. There is a really good chase scene, a lot of gunfire, and some very interesting characters in minor roles. The assassin story is pretty good, but the family story in the middle almost turns the suspense drama into a comedy. The package was just good enough to keep me from walking out. 2 out of 5 stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on February 24, 2014 at 12:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Robocop ****

movie robocop

Robocop is a remake of the 1987 classic movie about a human that gets robotic features to become a super cop. In this version, the US military occupies foreign war zones with robotic drones that scan for explosives, patrol troubled areas, and keep the peace. But in America, politics prevent the use of robots in major cities with crime problems. To enter the lucrative US market, a new robot must be created that merges a human with robotic features. A critically injured policeman from Detroit becomes the prototype that could earn billions of dollars for the shareholders. The Robocop is created and immediately tries to solve the crime that cost him his previous life. He is able to access all live security cameras and archived news reports that assist him in locating suspects. Corruption is discovered that leads to his rebellion against the company that created him.

I loved the original Robocop and put it near the top of my all time favorite movies. This Roboc0p is more stylish, has a believable modern story, and lets him ride a cool motorcycle. I like the way the robotic future of the military is depicted. I like the controversy of incorporating the trust of robots in military and police work. I like the enhanced use of technology to do police work. I thought the Robocop could have spent more time interacting with the public and solving smaller crime. The new Robocop had no cool lines or memorable modern catch phrases. I liked the story and the updated character. 4 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on February 16, 2014 at 11:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Ride Along **

movie ride along

Ride Along is a cop movie. A video game playing adult works as a security guard at a school and thinks he is ready to become a real policeman. He schedules a ride along with his girlfriend’s brother who happens to be a detective. These guys do not get along. The real cop wants to discourage the security guard’s pursuit in a law enforcement career and takes him on a ride-along designed to discourage his enlistment in the police academy. When the security guard finds out he is being set up to fail, he becomes adamant that no one will get the best of him and tries to turn the tables on the detective. A serious situation ensues with unexpected results.

A fun movie that is portrayed as a comedy drama. The drama is better than the comedy. The story is better than the jokes. Ice Cube and Kevin Hart do a good job with the script they are given. The movie is just alright. 2 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on February 12, 2014 at 7:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: The Monuments Men *****

movie monuments men

Monuments Men is a movie about saving artwork during World War II. Nazi Germany was expanding their territory and looting works of art as part of their conquest. The treasures were taken and stored at unknown locations until they could be moved to the site of a massive Fuehrer Art Museum that was being planned. A group of men are assigned the task of finding the paintings and sculptures, and to return them to their rightful owners. Intercepted messages alert the Allies that should Adolph Hitler be killed or if the Third Reich were to fall, orders were given that all of the loot was to be destroyed. Further communications told that when the Russians made their way through Germany, any recovered art would be kept as reparations for the Nazi aggression. A race to find the locations of the stolen artwork ensues before it can be destroyed or taken.

Because this story is based on a true story, it contains significant information about the unintended consequences of war. An all-star cast and an interesting plot makes this an important movie to see. Culture must be preserved and respected, even if the makers of the culture are the enemy. Actual photos of the found treasure accompanies the closing credits to verify the authenticity of the show. Great story with very good actors including George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray, and Cate Blanchett. 5 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on February 11, 2014 at 4:39 pm  Comments (1)  
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