September 26th, 2013

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Oprah Winfrey’s The Butler

Oprah Winfrey’s The Butler oops, I mean Lee Daniel s’ The Butler broke through the August box office doldrums with a $25 box office gross. As the title character, Forest Whitaker leads an ensemble cast with offbeat casting, most notably Robin Williams as President Eisenhower, John Cusack as President Nixon and Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan. There are moments of domestic struggles mixed with family tension of the times. The matinee screening was well-received and people applauded at the end of the film, so expect some Oscar buzz. As a sharecropper’s son working in the cotton fields of Georgia, Cecil Gaines (Whitaker) witnesses the rape of his mother and the murder of his father by a white trash overseer. The plantation owner (Vanessa Redgrave) sympathizes with the boy and trains him to be a house servant. By paying attention to detail, Gaines grows up, leaves the plantation and eventually gets hired by the White House during the Eisenhower Administration. Gaines serves seven presidents, and, during this time, he raises two boys; the oldest becomes a community organizer with the Black Panthersand the youngest goes to Vietnam. His wife, Gloria (Oprah), has issues with sex, drugs and soul music. While being honored by President Reagan (Alan Rickman), Gaines has a crisis of identity and questions his whole life. Gaines retires from his job and eventually votes for Barack Obama.

While being advertised as a slice of history, this film is actually a fictional piece of rhetoric. Some moments are historical fact, while many fictional elements are created for artistic license … or, dare we say, political propaganda? There is enough information on the Internet to research the balance between fantasy and reality regarding this motion picture. Yet, as one learns in English composition classes, the final words spoken often reveal the author’s perspective.

While 15 minutes too long for its own good, The Butler is an entertaining movie. Oprah is likely to be Oscar nominated again. She and Whitaker share true chemistry. The celebrity/presidential cameos are an actor’s dream and the soundtrack is an effective toe tapper. Yet, the film feels like a manufactured Oscar contender.

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"The Artist and the Model" compliments "Renoir"

The Artist and the Model is in a limited engagement. It is a pure “art house” movie, shot in black & white with English subtitles, and features a struggling artist who paints a nude model during war time. It ends the summer art house season as Renoir began, both films complement each other.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

2010 anno domini - Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

With very little fanfare, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief opened in 2010 and earned a respectable box office gross. Based on a series of novels written by Rick Riordan, the film boasted a fine supporting cast, including Uma Thurman, Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean.

As the "Harry Potter" series reaches it's conclusion in the next two years, "Percy Jackson" has the potential to do for Greek Mythology what "Harry Potter" has done for wizards.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" waited too long

Fans eagerly awaited the sequel, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, which has now been released; but three years is a long time for a sequel based on juvenile fiction. The young leads Logan Lerman (as Percy) and Alexandra Daddario (as Annabeth) return, but the cost-cutting is very apparent.

In the first movie, Percy is a dyslexic kid who discovers that he has an affinity for water. Labeled a freak by the “cool” kids, Percy attends a Special Educational program and learns that his father is a god on Mount Olympus. At the school, Percy meets other “freaks,” who are actually “half bloods.”

After saving the world in the first movie, Percy and Annabeth learn that their school is in danger of being destroyed by an ornery Cyclopes (Derek Mears). The shield that protects the school is crumbling and it is up to Percy and his friends to find the Golden Fleece that was originally obtained by Jason and the Argonauts.

Despite the budgetary restrictions, this is an enjoyable film with clever moments. We eventually find out about a West Palm Beach connection and learn that the Sea of Monsters is another name for the dreaded Bermuda Triangle. Since the young cast is so likeable, it would be silly not to sit back and enjoy the ride, for this is a good family film.

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Metallica: Through the Never" is EPIC Midnight Madness from 1970s weekend cinema

Growing up, local movie theaters like Wometco Deerfield Ultravision used to have a cool thing called "Midnight Shows" on Friday & Saturday nights. These "Midnight Shows" featured either Grindhouse movies or live concert documentaries like **Wings Over America** or **It's Good to see you again Alice Cooper.** With the advent of **Saturday Night Live** and home video, **Midnight Movies** joined the endangered species list of entrepreneurship.
Leave it to producer Charlotte Huggins to bring back nostalgia for a time gone buy. A veteran of 3 D family entertainment, Huggins has produced **Metallica: Through the Never,** a concert video with a surreal visual narrative thread. **Metallica: Through the Never** will not appease the **Lawrence Welk Show** program, but Heavy Metal heads my age and younger will want to experience it.
As the band Metallica (James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Urlich, Robert Trujillo) begin performing their sold out apocalyptic concert, Trip the roadie (Dane DeHaan) is sent on an errand to retrieve a leather bag. Much like "Rosebud" from **Citizen Kane** or the briefcase from **Pulp Fiction,** the leather bag is the plot's "MacGuffin" and Trip's quest to retrieve the bag takes on epic proportions.
Deep thinkers and fans of the band will enjoy **Metallica: Through the Never.** There are some fantastic visuals of Trip the roadie confronting a vicious van accident, a street battle between anarchy & order with drops of apocalyptic terror mixed into the film. The unrelenting guitar shreds the viewer's nerves, but there is a soothing denouement that one leaves the film refreshed.
The beauty of seeing this concert in 3 D is that one can study the details. Monster Maven Kirk Hammett's blistering guitar solos are enhanced by his movie poster tributes to Vincent Price & Boris Karloff that can be found on his guitars. With this attention to detail, one can appreciate the depth of **Metallica: Through the Never.**
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery & Science IMAX Theater presents "The Laser Light Experience"

For those seeking to continue the concert experience on the big screen, the **Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery & Science IMAX Theater** will be presenting **The Laser Light Experience** on the five story screen on 15,000 watt, 6 channel Dolby speakers. The museum is offering four experiences, two by Pink Floyd (**Dark Side of the Moon,** **The Wall**), **Laser Zepelin** and **Laser Vinyl Classics.**
In 45 minutes, **Laser Vinyl Classics** contains 9 anthems of Rock 'n Roll with laser visualization through out the IMAX theater. Look around the theater, for there are laser activities bouncing around the auditorium, from the big screen to the exit doors. Van Halen, KISS and Aerosmith are highlights, but Queen's **Bohemian Rhapsody** steals the show. Both **Metallica: Through the Never** and **The Laser Light Experience** should be a field trip for the Buck's Class of '83 reunion next month.