It’s with a heavy heart that we hear of the passing of one of the screen’s brightest and funniest stars in Cloris Leachman : for me her more memorable roles came with playing the likes of Ruth in The Last Picture Show for which she won the Academy Award, the hilarious Maw Maw in Raising Hope, her scene stealing film debut in Kiss Me Deadly, Madame Defarge in History of the World, Part I and of course my personal favorite Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein : Cloris had a wonderful and varied career including eight Primetime Emmy Awards from 22 nominations, making her the most nominated awarded actress in Emmy history : she will be sorely missed down here, but up there a party is about to begin….
the gravelly voice, handsome looks and steely gut driven performances is what I think of when someone mentions SAM SHEPARD yet this guy had so much more in his locker, a talented playwright, a veteran of the stage and writing credits that include the sublime film Paris, Texas – in recent times we had the pleasure of Sam’s acting talent as papa Rayburn in the brilliant Bloodline and although his screen time was limited his quality in each scene shone through – for me my favourite Sam Shepard roles include Thunderheart, The Assassination of Jesse James and of course the brilliant The Right Stuff – he will be missed down here but I’m pretty darn sure that he’ entertaining the masses up there….
utterly stunned at this news !! actor Nelsan Ellis has died aged 39 – what a tragic crime for one so talented to be taken so young – Ellis was the life and soul of the hit vampire show True Blood where he played the cook Lafayette, such was his impact on the show and the audience that watched his role was extended as in the books he was killed off pretty early on – Ellis also played Martin Luther King, Jr. in Lee Daniels The Butler, Henry the Waiter in The Help and was last seen in Elementary alongside Jonny Lee Miller where he played Shinwell Johnson a gang member turned informant – it’s so sad that the world of entertainment has lost such a bright star oh so young….
LEE DANIEL’S THE BUTLER (2013) – Movie Review ★★★★
Cast – Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terence Howard, Jane Fonda, Lenny Kravitz and Robin Williams – The true story of Eugene Allen a man who served eight presidents during his time as a butler at the White House, he not only had to bring up a family during the racist trauma that occurred during the 50’s and 60’s but also contended with the civil rights movement, the war of Vietnam and other such events that happened during his lifetime – Eugene Allen’s name was changed in Lee Daniel’s movie to Cecil Gaines – VERDICT Being a big fan of Lee Daniel’s work that have included 2009’s Precious and last years superb The Paperboy I was excited to finally watch his latest movie The Butler – this was a heartbreaking but at times uplifting story of a man’s journey that started as a child working on the cotton fields, witnessing his dad being murdered and his mum raped to his life working in a hotel and then becoming a Butler in the White House – one of the things I love about a Lee Daniel’s picture is that he manages to not only tell a good story, that’s really engaging but his films are often surprisingly funny and are always extremely well acted – The Butler is no exception, there are some gut wrenching moments in the movie with scenes such as the one in the cafe with the black & white segregation areas, the aftermath of the assassination of JFK with his wife Jackie Kennedy sat alone in the White House with her clothes splattered with her husbands blood and the scary scenes of the fire bombing of a bus by the Ku Klux Klan these are all terrifying moments in our history that are captured superbly well by Lee Daniels – I also enjoyed the way Daniel’s showed us through the eye’s of Cecil Gaines each President he had served for, Cusack’s Nixon and Schreiber’s Johnson were my picks but they were all portrayed well, the movie at times reminding me of 94’s Forrest Gump – the performances of Forest Whitaker who played Gaines and his onscreen son played by David Oyelowo contributed greatly to making The Butler such an effective, compelling movie to watch, the relationship between the two often strained with Cecil not understanding his son’s actions until the films finale when he realized that his son was in fact the true hero for fighting for what he believed in and joined him on a protest – overall Lee Daniel’s The Butler is a powerful, moving and at times uplifting picture that deserves your attention – a must watch!!!!
Since making his movie debut opposite Barbara Stanwyck in 1946’s The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Kirk Douglas was destined to become a Hollywood Great – in his wonderful career Kirk appeared in over 70 movies, was nominated for 3 Academy Awards and in 1968 was the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award – he appeared alongside his friend Burt Lancaster on 7 different occasions and 3 times alongside John Wayne – some of my favorite movies include: Spartacus, War Wagon, The Vikings, Lust for Life, Ace in the Hole and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral – In my opinion he is the greatest actor of his generation – Happy Birthday 97 year old Kirk Douglas