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Caryn James

Oprah and Forest Whitaker in 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

  • By Caryn James
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  • August 26, 2013 10:27 PM
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Lee Daniels' The Butler is some serious, probably effective Oscar bait. It is also -- these things so often go together -- audience-pandering History Lite. Forest Whitaker, as a butler who serves at the White House through eight Presidents, from Eisenhower to Reagan, gives a dazzling performance; he is by far the film's greatest strength. But even he can't make up for a movie calculated to spoon feed viewers a civil rights lesson that lets us feel good about the country's progress, without adding much substance or nuance to the conversation.

Jane Fonda Brings Back the 60's in 'Peace, Love & Misunderstanding'

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 7, 2012 9:05 AM
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Please don’t take this as an endorsement of the film, but Jane Fonda’s casting and witty performance add a clever layer of history to the otherwise dismal Peace, Love & Misunderstanding. This clunky, obvious comedy about a fractured family is ludicrous from its premise on.

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