August 24, 2013 |
"Lee Daniels' The Butler" continued its strong showing at the box office on Friday, taking in an estimated $4.7 million on its way to an expected second weekend atop the chart. Starring Forest Whitaker as a White House employee who served under eight U.S. presidents, the Lee Daniels-directed film opened with $24.6 million last week, and is expected to earn in the vicinity of $12 million this weekend. Among this week's new movies, the Edgar Wright-directed comedy "The World's End" opened ahead of the disappointing "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" on Friday with an estimated $3.4 million.
August 16, 2013 |
The year's first serving of Oscar bait has arrived on a silver platter in the form of "Lee Daniels' The Butler," a star-studded historical drama starring Forest Whitaker as an African American butler working at the White House through multiple administrations, set against the arc of the civil rights movement. Thus far the film has earned positive, if somewhat ambivalent reviews, with critics praising the strong ensemble cast for helping to ground writer-director Daniels' melodramatic flair.
September 18, 2013 |
In "The Butler," director Lee Daniels sets the table with a great deal of care, especially because it unfolds during the volatile years of desegregation. It stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a White House butler privy by sheer proximity to a series of presidents during the contentious Civil Rights era. Wife Gloria (Oprah Winfrey) keeps the home fires burning, while the irony in her observations is stinging. The film tackles the big picture of changing race relations, a time awash in protests and flames.
August 15, 2013 |
After the coffee. Before remembering to smile. Well, it's worth a shot! The Skinny: Are the Dodgers ever going to lose? Serves me right for turning the game off when the Mets were up 4-0 and watching "Scarface" on AMC. Thursday's headlines include a preview of Al Jazeera America, which launches next week, and a look at why "Lee Daniels' The Butler" has more producers than I have plates. Also, Daniel Loeb buys some Disney stock. Daily Dose: Fox Sports 1 will be available on Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Dish Network when it launches Saturday.
December 12, 2013 |
For the second time this year, the brothers Weinstein are in a legal dispute with the brothers Warner. Harvey and Bob Weinstein and Miramax, the studio they founded and later sold, have sued Warner Bros., saying they are entitled to a share of the revenue from the second and third films in the "Hobbit" series, based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien. This comes after the two companies came to blows this year over the title of the historical drama that was eventually dubbed "Lee Daniels' The Butler.
August 15, 2013 |
One of the intriguing aspects of “Lee Daniels' The Butler” is that it straddles the line between father-son tale and race-relations epic. On the one hand, of course, it's about a man (Forest Whitaker's Cecil Gaines) who witnessed some of the great moments in civil rights history from his perch as a server in the White House. On the other hand, it's about what was happening in that man's own family, and the rift between his own ruffle-no-feathers approach and his activist son Louis, who dabbled in the world of the Black Panthers as well as less radical ideologies.
May 8, 2013 |
Moviegoers well-acquainted with Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels' eyebrow-raising filmic oeuvre may be shocked to learn that his latest movie, “The Butler,” seems, at first blush, rather short on salacious surprises. This from the guy who had Nicole Kidman urinate on Zac Effron's face in last year's lurid drama “The Paperboy” and had Mo'Nique hurl a frying pan at Gabourey Sidibe's head (en route to claiming an Academy Award) in 2009's “Precious.” "The Butler" centers on Cecil Bates (Forrest Whitaker)
August 17, 2013 |
"Lee Daniels' The Butler" will be the No. 1 movie at the box office this weekend after taking in about $9 million in ticket sales last night. That puts the historical drama on track for a $27-million weekend, significantly more than The Weinstein Company's initial lowball estimate of $15 million. It also means "The Butler" will open to roughly the same weekend take as DreamWorks' 2011 civil rights drama "The Help," which also debuted in August and brought in $26 million on its way to a $169.7-million domestic gross.
December 5, 2013 |
"12 Years a Slave" and "Gravity" became the best picture front-runners after flooring audiences at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals, and little has changed in the ensuing weeks. Naturally, then, given their estimable craft, both movies are also leading the way in the director and cinematographer races. The key category to watch: original screenplay. If "Gravity's" outer-space tale of spiritual rebirth can land a nomination in that competitive group, it will signal the movie has the kind of broad appeal needed to carry it to a best picture win. Here's how the races for director, cinematography and original and adapted screenplay are shaping up on the eve of the L.A. unveiling of the season's final puzzle piece, Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street.
August 23, 2013 |
After the coffee. Before catching up with Affleck-as-Batman tweets. The Skinny: This weekend I'm headed to KCON, the K-pop convention here in Los Angeles, which should be quite an energetic scene. Today, I'll be bracing myself while listening to Neko Case's new album, streaming at NPR . Today's headlines include ESPN's exit from "Frontline's" documentary and our box office preview. Daily Dose: Discovery is calling for submissions. Discovery Channel U.S. and Discovery Networks International have launched a new $500,000 fund to invest in its next big programs from producers around the world.