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 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.
December 19, 2013 |
"Lee Daniels' The Butler” tells the story of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), a White House butler who serves eight presidents and is caught up in the tumultuous civil rights movement. But, for Daniels, the heart of the story lies with the transcendent love between a father and son. That, and a moment shared with his mother, attracted Daniels to the project. As a youth, Daniels teased his mother about her missing tooth. The reason behind it remained hidden until one year she told him that she lost it while she was protesting voter injustice.
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.
July 16, 2013 |
In David Boies, the Weinstein Co. has a powerful weapon at its disposal in its legal fight with Warner Bros. over the title of race-themed pic “The Butler.” But on Tuesday it was touting a less well-known name: a Michigan teen named Katy Butler. Butler, as hard-core followers of goings-on in Weinsteinland will recall, was the young woman who in the spring of 2012 sponsored the Change.org petition in favor of lowering the rating for “Bully” from an R, citing bullying she's faced herself.
December 6, 2013 |
Nelson Mandela was revered around the world, but the South African leader also enjoyed a particularly passionate following in Hollywood. The movie business' interest in Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, yielded a number of documentaries and, just this year, two feature films about Mandela and his wife: "Winnie Mandela," which opened Sept. 6, and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," which debuted Nov. 29. Following Mandela's death, several filmmakers, executives and actors reflected on Mandela's life and work, and shared their memories about his influence and having met him. FULL COVERAGE: Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
July 3, 2013 |
Harvey Weinstein loves a good fight -- especially if it helps him promote one of his company's movies. So when the MPAA's title registration bureau decided this week that the Weinstein Co. couldn't use the title "The Butler" on Lee Daniels' upcoming biopic about the life of a longtime White House butler because it's also the title of a 1916 short film owned by Warner Bros., Weinstein immediately went into outrage mode. Today, he announced the hiring of prominent attorney David Boies, who represented Al Gore in the 2000 recount fight and gay marriage advocates in the recent Supreme Court challenge to California's same-sex marriage ban, as well as filmmaker Michael Moore when he ran afoul of the Treasury Department after visiting Cuba for the Weinstein Co. film "Sicko.
August 13, 2013 |
Oprah Winfrey has said that taking a role in "The Butler" -- her first big-screen turn in 15 years -- was a scary prospect. But after being engulfed by a media mob at her new movie's premiere in Los Angeles on Monday night, Winfrey might be thinking that acting is the least frightening part of her return to film. Following an emotional screening at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live, moviegoers headed across the street to an after-party at WP24 -- Wolfgang Puck's trendy restaurant with a sweeping view of the downtown skyline.
December 18, 2013 |
"Lee Daniels' The Butler" opened in mid-August, and, in the ensuing months, its namesake director has participated in countless Q&As and receptions both to promote the movie and to keep it alive in the Oscar conversation. But Daniels had never been involved in an event quite like the one hosted last night by actor Denzel Washington at the Motion Picture Academy's Goldwyn Theater. Six members of the Freedom Riders, the civil rights activists who defied Jim Crow laws and rode interstate buses into the Deep South in the early '60s, attended the screening and shared their memories during a Q&A following the film.