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What You Missed in the Summer of ’15

Dear Readers, Remember me? No worries if you don’t. It has been a slow summer of criticism for me, and for a variety of reasons. First and foremost is that, as I get older, I have less and less patience for the slew of commercial crapola that Hollywood spews out during the warmer months, and so I’ve…

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The Trailer for “The Butler” is Out, and it Looks Kinda Lame

The trailer for The Butler is out. Having criticized the casting on several occasions already, I thought I should weigh in. First, watch the trailer:   So this is one of those “Magical Negro” stories, huh? For the uninitiated, the Magical Negro is a stock black American character in film who exists only to help out…

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(Re)Casting Call: “The Butler” – Pt. 1

A few months ago, I questioned the wisdom of casting Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan in the upcoming Lee Daniels film, “The Butler.” Fonda is a fine actress and, all things being equal, is up to the challenge of playing Reagan, but it seems clear that her personal politics will be distracting. As the film’s…

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Was the Worst Robin Williams Movie Just Ahead of its Time?

It’s difficult enough to make a successful commercial movie that affects the way we think about political or social issues. In general, people go to the movies to escape the stresses of the modern world, not be confronted with a reflection of them. But if you are going to make a movie that pushes political…