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Movie Review: Lee Daniels’ The Butler
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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The Butler PosterLee Daniels’ The Butler
Director: Lee Daniels
Screenwriter: Danny Strong, Lee Daniels
Cast: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, David Oyelowo, Robin Williams, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, John Cusack
The Weinstein Company
Rated PG-13 | 113 Minutes
Release Date: August 16, 2013

Directed by Lee Daniels (Precious), The Butler stars Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a White House butler who serves eight U.S. presidents from 1952 to 1986. Over the course of 30 years, he witnesses — and becomes involved in — the political and social turmoil of the times.

Inspired by Wil Haygood‘s Washington Post article, Lee Daniels’ The Butler is based on the true story of White House butler Eugene Allen and his family, portrayed in the film by Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, and Elijah Kelley. The film also stars Robin Williams as Dwight D. Eisenhower, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, and Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan.

The Butler feels like a Greatest Hits of Best Picture winners like Driving Miss Daisy, Forrest Gump, and The King’s Speech that borrows bits and pieces from similar films like The Help and Lee Daniels’ own 2009 film, Precious. Sentimental, melodramatic, and just a tad heavy-handed, Lee Daniels’ The Butler is run-of-the-mill Oscar bait, a period piece biopic that takes the audience on a crash course through American history, focusing on an underdog who interacts with historical figures and lives through all the things we read about in Social Studies class.

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Disney In Depth: 21 Reasons Why Genie from ‘Aladdin’ Is The Best
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Brett Nachman   |  @   |  
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Disney In Depth banner

“Bee yourself.” One of Disney’s funniest animated features – and arguably with some of the most recognizable and practiced quotes – possesses a massive fanbase. Just take a look at how many individuals engaged with my last Aladdin-focused piece, and it becomes clear that Aladdin‘s enthusiasts are a plenty.

If you have not checked out the original adventure, its direct-to-video sequels, or even the live stage show at Disney California Adventure Park in a long time, here are 21 reasons why the ever-hilarious Genie is the best! Why 21 reasons? Well, if you must ask, then you must not know how many candles the 1992 classic celebrates on its anniversary cake this year. If you did know, then yes, you are an Aladdin aficionado.

...continue reading »
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Disney In Depth: 20 ‘Aladdin’ Fun Facts You May Not Have Known
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Brett Nachman   |  @   |  
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Can you believe it has been 20 years since Aladdin first entered our lives? The film was an absolute sensation, garnering much critical and financial success. After two decades I thought it would be “soaring good fun” to review the influence of this brand in the Disney universe.

This edition of Disney In Depth will highlight 20 fun facts about everything you ever wanted to know about Prince Ali and company.

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Watch Now: Josh Duhamel & Megan Fox Search For Long-Lost Billy Crystal In Oscars Trailer
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The Movie God   |  @   |  
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Billy Crystal

A trailer has been released for the upcoming 84th annual Academy Awards ceremony.

In the trailer, which was made with Funny or Die, Transformers co-stars Josh Duhamel and Megan Fox are special agents working for William Fichtner (Armageddon, Black Hawk Down), who sends them out to find the long-lost Billy Crystal (City Slickers, The Princess Bride), known only as the one they call “The Host.” Along the way they get a little help from Vinnie Jones (Snatch, Midnight Meat Train) and Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire), as well.

You can check out the trailer for the Oscars by clicking on over to the other side now.

...continue reading »
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Blu-ray Review: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
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Empress Eve   |  @   |  
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night at the museum: battle of the smithsonianNight at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Blu-ray Edition
Directed by Shawn Levy
Starring Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria, Christopher Guest
Fox Home Entertainment
Release Date: December 1, 2009

I’ll be honest, when I found out the exhibits at the Museum of Natural History would be coming to life on screen once more in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian I wasn’t all that enthusiastic. I figured the “magic” was already revealed in the first movie and that this sequel would just be more of the same. Let’s face it, the first film, which starred Ben Stiller as Larry Daley, a night guard at the Museum of Natural History in New York, was a hit, so why mess with a perfect formula? That’s why screenwriters Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant were smart enough to stick with what drew audiences in initially — the inanimate exhibit figures coming to life at sundown and Larry fighting villains attempting to gain control of a powerful object — while making it much more than just a simple repeat of its predecessor.

The sequel finds Larry out of his museum night guard duds and into the role of CEO of Daley Devices, the company founded to sell his inventions, like the The Glow-In-The-Dark Flashlight and The Unloseable Keyring. The successful Larry decides to visit his old place of employment, the Museum of Natural History, the setting of 2006’s Night at the Museum, which is now closed for renovations and its famous exhibits packed away in crates to be sent to permanent storage at the Smithsonian Institute’s Federal Archives in Washington DC. After hours, the figures come to life and Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) explains that the Pharaoh Ahkmenrah’s Tablet, which is what animates the figures at sundown, won’t be going to the Archives with everyone else. While the situation is dire for his friends, Larry is distracted by his phone’s incoming messages and all of his business ventures to do anything about it.

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