The Playlist

Review: 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey

  • By Kimber Myers
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  • August 9, 2013 8:59 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The Butler Forest Whitaker Cuba Gooding Jr.
“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” is nothing if not full of sincerity and effort. Which is why it’s so entirely confusing why they cast former teen heartthrob John Cusack as hangdog Richard Nixon. He’s fallen from his “Say Anything” days (and even the highs of “High Fidelity”), but this is maybe the worst casting we’ve seen in a major Hollywood film since Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist. Having Robin Williams play Dwight Eisenhower comes a close second, and Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson isn’t much better. The decades-spanning drama tries so hard to create a moving, seemingly accurate look at the titular character’s time spent on the staff at the White House during turbulent times that these missteps stand out particularly strongly, especially when compared to lookalike contest winners James Marsden’s JFK and Alan Rickman’s Ronald Reagan.

Watch: Travel Through History With 5 Clips From 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 5, 2013 2:11 PM
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  • 0 Comments
The summer movie season generally isn't a place known for edifying dramas covering a wide sweep of American history, but The Weinstein Company believes it's the perfect time to release "Lee Daniels' The Butler." Based on a true story of a White House servant who served through eight presidencies, the picture is bringing with it star power and thus far, some positive advance buzz too. But up against sequels and blockbusters, a little extra effort will need to be made to get audiences out and buying tickets, so five new clips have landed to give folks a preview.

Watch: 2 Clips & 30-Minute Q&A For 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Plus Lots Of New Pics From The Film

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 2, 2013 9:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments
From an assassin drama in "Shadowboxer," to a grim tale of inner city life with "Precious," to a swampy Southern potboiler with "The Paperboy," Lee Daniels hasn't been one to stick to a traditional path. However, his forthcoming "Lee Daniels' The Butler" does find his ambitions reaching a whole new height with probably his biggest story to date. And with the movie coming to theaters, a few new peeks have arrived for the film.

Watch: First Clip From 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Stars Jane Fonda As Nancy Reagan Plus New Pics From The Film

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 29, 2013 9:22 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Well, the legal battle is over and Warner Brothers has won the day (kind of). The Weinstein Company have been forced to change the title of "The Butler" to "Lee Daniels' The Butler," allowing Warner Bros. archivists and lawyers to finally get some rest, worried as they were that audiences might walk into upcoming movie expecting to see a silent film from 1916. PHEW! With all that legal nonsense behind them, Harvey and co. can start marketing this movie again and they've got the ball rolling.

The Weinstein Company Loses 'The Butler' Battle, Faces Heavy Fines & Must Amend Title

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 22, 2013 12:37 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Call it The Movie Formerly Known As "The Butler." With just a few weeks to go before the ensemble, historical drama hits theaters, The Weinstein Company is being forced to toss out their marketing materials, change the name of the movie, and pay some heavy fines after they've now (mostly) lost their battle with Warner Bros. over the title.

New Pics From 'The Butler' As Warner Bros. & The Weinstein Company Fight Over Title Rights

  • By Cain Rodriguez
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  • July 2, 2013 9:24 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The Butler Forest Whitaker Oprah Winfrey
For all the cash and capital that flows through Hollywood, it’s still very much an industry prone to pettiness. With all those egos, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise when one studio decides to screw over another. And yet, the news of Warner Bros. beef with The Weinstein Company over the title of the latter’s upcoming period-drama “The Butler” still feels random.

Watch: Teaser Trailer For 'Black Nativity' Starring Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Forest Whitaker & More

  • By Edward Davis
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  • July 1, 2013 3:41 PM
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  • 0 Comments
 BLACK NATIVITY, Mary J. Blige
With films generally aimed at the smart indie crowd - "Trance," "Stoker," "The Way Way Back," "The East" are just a few released in 2013 -- it's easy to box in Fox Searchlight as mini major film studio aimed 20-something white college kids with disposable income but the studio is actually branching out this year. The romantic comedy "Baggage Claim" starring Paula Patton will be the first African-American-aimed release of the year for the studio in September and arriving two months later will be the musical drama, "Black Nativity."

Forest Whitaker To Play Martin Luther King Jr. In Paul Greengrass' Revived Biopic 'Memphis'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 30, 2013 7:53 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It has been a long journey for Paul Greengrass' "Memphis." Originally greenlit by Universal and slated for a February 2012 release on Martin Luther King Jr weekend, the movie was scuttled in the spring of 2011, as the studio grew nervous when the estate of the late civil rights leader became critical of the project, upset by portions of screenplay which touched upon MLK's rumored infidelity, including one scene that had someone procuring a hotel room for one of his trysts. It wouldn't be until November 2012 when foreign backers Wild Bunch came on board to finance the movie, and now with Abu Dhabi-based Veritas Films in the mix as well, it's full steam ahead as the movie looks to be Greengrass' next. And a leading man has been found.

Watch: Cannes Clips Including 'Zulu' With Orlando Bloom & Forest Whitaker, Claire Denis' 'Bastards,' Jia Zhangke's 'A Touch of Sin' & More

  • By Edward Davis
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  • May 23, 2013 6:31 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Zulu, Orlando Bloom
To the outsider, the Cannes Film Festival can be a nebulous thing. Even if you know the filmmaker or the cast, sometimes you need more context than a review to give you a sort of firmer grasp of the shape, texture and tone of a movie. Clips from the festival are landing left and right, so we thought we'd grab a smattering and ground you a little deeper than some of the reviews and pictures your may or may not have seen. So here we go.

New Pics From Cannes Closer 'Zulu' Starring Orlando Bloom & Forest Whitaker

  • By Ken Guidry
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  • May 14, 2013 10:47 AM
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  • 3 Comments
We may not be head over heels excited about Jérôme Salle’s “Zulu,” which will be the closing film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, but what’s great about Cannes are all the hidden possibilities. A greatly anticipated film might get booed at, while a film under everyone’s radar can be the talk of the town. “Zulu” might not fall under either category, but it’s at least fun to entertain the idea. Now two clips from the film have arrived, giving you an opportunity to get a better sense of what the movie’s all about.

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