Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lee Daniel's The Butler movie review

Every now and again you get to see a movie that has everything. Lee Daniel's The Butler is it. It contains everything, education, emotion, plus great acting. This is the movie of the year. The cast was phenomenal.  Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gains the Butler, whose life we follow is his usual superb self. Oprah Winfrey, who you forget is Oprah, as she becomes Gloria Gaines Cecil's wife. She portrays the different stages and what she as a wife of a Butler in the White House, plus raising two sons goes through. 

David Banner who plays son Earl, who joins the freedom rides and even the Black Panthers is also great. Then comes the actors who play the Presidents, John Cuscak as Richard Nixon, Robin Williams as a great Dwight D Eisenhower, James Marsden as John F Kennedy, Liev Schreiber  does a great job as Lyndon B Johnson and Alan Rickman makes a wonderful Ronald Regan. They were all great selections for their roles.  You learn a lot about the Presidents and the affect having Black Butlers played in their awareness of equality.

In fact the whole cast was so well cast that there was not one person you thought, wow, this is miscast, in fact, for the over 2 hour movie, you hardly recognize the time. The movie moves through the years, with ease, and with each character being so well played, you get caught up in the story quickly as it touches you emotionally, and you go for the ride. At the end, I found my self sitting there digesting it all. Let us hope we do not forget what people went through in order to have equality - even though in some ways it still on going.

I'm sure you have heard the story line, of how this share croppers son, who is taken in and trained to be a 'house nigger' ends up as a Butler in the White House. As you follow this tale you begin to identify with the 'struggle' as the White Staff of the white house receive 40% more monies than the Black staff. It appears it was Ronald Reagan who changed that so they all received the same.

Also through the movie comments were made by the Presidents which showed that having  Black Butlers, whom they trusted and came to 'know', did make a difference.  Nelsan Ellis who plays Martin Luther King, Jr. makes a statement during the movie of not to demean the Black Help, but due to their work ethic (can't remember it all, but it was another great statement during the movie) advising Earl, to recognize the contribution his father was doing.

There were so many wonderful moments, so many wonderful actors playing their parts that I can't possibly mention them all. All I can say, if you want to see a movie of the year, then go see this one.
5 out of 5.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Company You Keep - movie review

Sitting recuperating from all the driving I have done lately, I decided to take a look at what was showing on my Cable company's Movie on Demand.  Within a few minutes of looking I was watching The Company You Keep with Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, with supporting actors Stanley Tucci and Nick Nolte, Julie Christie and the ever wonderful Susan SarandanChris Cooper and Terrance Howard as the FBI agent.  I could keep going with names, as you recognize people as the film goes along. 

Robert Redford directed, as well as starred in this movie, and I'm sure got all his 'friends' or people he wanted to work with somehow involved.  A great cast. The story of an old 'waterman' woman played by Susan Sarandan, turns herself in after 30odd years.  This puts a young newshound played by Shia LaBeouf, very well I might add, and he runs across Robert Redford as a lawyer, Jim Grant.  He soons determines that he is Nick Sloan, another of the 'waterman' wanted.

The movie then follows Jim Grant's journey as he leaves his young daughter with his brother, goes and finds other 'old' friends until he locates Mimi (Julie Christie - still looking wonderful). All the way Shia's character is poking, looking, putting two and two together until the story reaches its conclusion. 

I thought the premise, the acting and the unfolding of the story on the whole was good.  Robert Redford was at his usual best, and I was impressed that he could 'run' so well at his age (when I don't). It was fairly long (over 2 hours), and some scenes seemed to drag, but on the whole a good story. One in which kept me entertained while I rested.
3 out of 5.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Elysium - movie review

I went to see Elysium - at 10.10pm show - because I wanted to see Matt Damon in this role. After all I had seen him with his bald head for many months quite a while back.  Unfortunately, I felt the movie missed its mark. It did not emotionally engage me.

The story line should have.  The poor in future earth trying to get to the 'land of milk and honey' Elysium, (the international space station 100,000 times larger with a landscape like prosperous L.A.  The aspirations of the poor, to get where all illness is miraculously healed, so you don't get old, you don't get sick, you live this wondrous life. Or at least a few do.

The rest, well they live in an overpopulated, crime-ridden, rubble-covered Earth (filmed in a garbage dump in Mexico where a couple of thousand people actually do live).  Matt is Max who receives an overdose of radiation and then is made into a machine-man, who downloads a program into his head, and he needs to get to Elysium (which is heavily guarded - blowing unauthorized transports out of the sky).

The movie sets up as to how Max gets radiated, made into a machine-man, and how he gets to Elysium. Of course there is the emotional quotient as well. His childhood friend has a little girl who is dying and needs what Elysium has in order to get well.

There is some good support actors with Jodie Foster playing the going for power in Elysium, Sharlto Copley as the 'bad, bad guy', Alice Braga as Max's childhood friend grown up. Also Diego Luna, Wagner Moura and William Fichtner (he seems to be popping up a lot - still love his Crossing Lines TV show). 

I'm not sure what makes this movie miss the mark, but for all the guns, the fighting, the human heart tugging, it did not touch me, or my friend who came with me. We both sat at the end and said, what's not right with this movie. I was disappointed.  I like action movies, I like movies which have human heart strings, but somehow the director Neil Blomkamp missed the mark.  Mind you, I was one of the many who did not overly enjoy District 9, so should have known.   I understand I'm not alone in my estimation of this movie.  I'm disappointed in that, because Matt Damon deserves a better movie.
2 out of 5  (the lowest I think I've given maybe ever, but for a long long time.).

PS  Neil Blomkamp is south African, and I delighted in seeing the South African Flag on the side of Sharlto Copley's air transport plus he spoke with his South African accent.  Look for the flag if you go see this movie.  My friend missed it but you don't want to as it brought a smile to my face.

2 Guns Movie Review

I thoroughly enjoyed 2 Guns with Densel Washington and Mark Walberg. I found myself laughing and enjoying the antics of these two great actors, obviously having fun.

These two 'bank robbers' who discover they are both agents of different forces who are being pursued by the CIA, drug runners and the pursuit and antics which follow is done in a humorous way. You will recognize several of the support players, and that was also fun, saying oh look whose playing this role.  Won't tell you, because that's the fun of going to see it.

This is not a movie to go see if you want intellectual though, or some great concept. But, if you want to spend a couple of hours entertained by the antics of two actors having fun, then this is it.

I really don't have much to say about it.
3 out of 5.