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The Stanford Prison Experiment Review

Excellent

Based on real events, this sharply well-made film shifts from a rather light-hearted comedy into a horrific thriller. And it feels unnervingly natural as it does so. Where this goes is a bit relentless in its exploration of the darkest aspects of human capabilities, but it's also bracingly truthful. At the same time, it shows the enduring value of an experiment that seemed to go perilously wrong.

In Northern California in 1971, a group of 24 university students respond to a newspaper advert asking for participants in a psychological experiment. On the toss of a coin, organiser Dr Zimbardo (Billy Crudup) divides the young men into guards and inmates, and places them in a makeshift prison where they can be observed. And things start to turn nasty very quickly, as guard Christopher (Michael Angarano) targets snarky prisoner 8612 (Ezra Miller) for extra punishment. The guards also turn on the especially vulnerable 819 (Tye Sheridan). And when the inmates revolt, Zimbardo allows the guards to carry on with their increasingly harsh discipline. But Zimbardo's girlfriend Christina (Olivia Thirlby), herself a psychologist, worries that the situation has gone too far.

It's intriguing, and perhaps obvious, that it had to be a woman who saw through a scenario that had become little more than an out-of-control expression of masculinity. Even more telling, Zimbardo and his team became part of the experiment themselves, as they allowed and were fascinated by the abuse heaped on the prisoners by play-acting guards who let the power go to their heads. Director Kyle Patrick Alvarez (C.O.G.) shoots this in an unusually stripped-down style that gives the film a documentary tone. This low key approach means that the pacing sometimes feels draggy, as the intensely internalised suspense cycles around and around again. But what this is revealing about human behaviour is invaluable, and seriously terrifying.

Continue reading: The Stanford Prison Experiment Review

The Butler - Clips


Cecil Gaines is a modest and dedicated butler at the White House who manages to make for himself a respectable career despite his underprivileged upbringing and cotton farm roots. Starting out as a regular kitchen worker, Cecil soon proves himself to be extremely proficient and works his way up to be the head butler for eight different US presidents. Some of them prove to be discriminatory, treating Cecil with little respect and holding massively differing views to him, but he always remains polite and does everything within his power to care for his employers while keeping any top secret information that he might hear firmly to himself. Meanwhile, he struggles at home with his son; a Black Panther with aggressive views on racial equality who is less than grateful to have a father working for the people that he believes are causing racial oppression. 

This story of loyalty and unconditional dedication is based on the true story of Eugene Allen; a butler who similarly lived through years of racial inequality before finally seeing, in his retirement, the election of the first black President, Barack Obama. His story was documented in the article 'A Butler Well Served by This Election' written by Wil Haygood. 'The Butler' has been directed by Lee Daniels ('The Paperboy', 'Precious', 'Shadowboxer') and co-written by Danny Strong ('Game Change', 'Recount') and will be released in the US on August 16th 2013.

Click here to read The Butler Movie Review

True Blood Episode 6 Recap: There'll Be More 'Dead Meat' Next Week


Anna Paquin Alexander Skarsgard Stephen Moyer Ryan Kwanten Robert Kazinsky Lucy Griffiths Sam Trammell Kelly Overton Joe Manganiello Anna Camp Carrie Preston Todd Lowe Nelsan Ellis Deborah Ann Woll

True Blood season 6, episode 6 entitled 'Dead Meat' aired last night (Sunday 4th August). There was more trouble for the imprisoned vampires and, as usual, Sookie was being hankered after by a handsome and intense vampire. Here's a quick recap:

Stephen Moyer, Anna Pacquin and Alexander Skarsgard
Stephen Moyer, Anna Pacquin and Alexander Skarsgard at the premiere of True Blood season 6, held at the ArcLight Cinema in Hollywood.

Eric's (Alexander Skarsgard) on the rampage again. Just to make a change from his usual happy, chirpy demeanour. He's still reeling from last week's incident when Bill (Stephen Moyer) didn't have any of Warlow's (Rob Kazinsky) blood to save Nora (Lucy Griffiths).

Continue reading: True Blood Episode 6 Recap: There'll Be More 'Dead Meat' Next Week

The Butler Trailer


Cecil Gains is a devoted White House butler who grew up on a simple cotton farm where he and other black workers were not treated with any respect by their white counterparts. From a simple kitchen worker, he rises to be top butler to eight different presidents over the course of more than 30 years. Sworn to secrecy over the goings on at the White House, he serves the likes of Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson with all the care that he has in spite of their differing policies and the suppression of his race across the country. He rejects his freedom fighter son's distaste at Cecil's job and never once wavers in his respect for his government. He merely stands back, silver platter in hand and watches the progression of racial equality until the day the country's first black president is finally inaugurated.  

This is a story about loyalty and commitment based on the article by Wil Haygood, 'A Butler Well Served by This Election', about Eugene Allen; a real butler who showed his devotion to his job over the course of three decades while he and his fellow black civilians went from being the underdogs to top dog as he lives to see the election of President Barack Obama. It has been directed by Lee Daniels ('The Paperboy', 'Precious', 'Shadowboxer') and co-written by Danny Strong ('Game Change', 'Recount'), and has an incredible all-star ensemble cast. 'The Butler' is set to his theatres in the US on August 16th 2013.

Click here to read The Butler Movie Review

The Reluctant Fundamentalist Review


Good

A terrific story is compromised by the demands of commercial filmmaking, adding action-thriller scenes to what should be an introspective drama while distractingly beefing up side-roles for American stars. But at the centre is another superb performance from Riz Ahmed (Four Lions), who again takes a complex, challenging approach to the subject of terrorism.

The narrative is fragmented into flashbacks as Changez (Ahmed) tells his story to an American journalist (Schreiber) in Pakistan while a tense hostage situation swirls all around them. Years earlier, Changez was a high-flying Pakistani student, graduating from Princeton and landing a prestigious job on Wall Street when an executive (Sutherland) recognises his talent. He also has a sexy artist girlfriend (Hudson). But all of this is shaken after the 9/11 attacks, when he is harassed by police and immigration officials. Fundamentally changed, he returns to Lahore to become a lecturer in violent uprisings. But this makes the CIA think that he's become a terrorist himself. Perhaps he has.

The various strands of the story are intriguing, and the actors are all watchable as they add layers to Changez's overall story. But the jumbled structure of the film reduces the narrative to a series of seemingly unrelated scenes. Hudson and Sutherland are solid but add little beyond their characters' stereotypical American reactions to Changez's decisions. The always superb Schreiber is better used as a more shady figure. But other characters vanish just when they get interesting, such as Changez's parents, played by acting legends Puri and Azmi.

Continue reading: The Reluctant Fundamentalist Review

Secretariat Trailer


Penny Chenery never really thought she would take over the family racing stables but as her fathers health started to deteriorate, Penny found herself in just that position. In recent years the team at Meadow Stables found themselves on somewhat of a loosing streak but all that was about to change when a bit of luck started to come their way.

Starting to operate in a male dominated business, Penny and her small team including her loyal and well known trainer Lucien Laurin began to make waves on the racing circuit mainly because their determination and a beautiful chestnut colt named Secretariat which Penny found herself owner of purely by chance.

Continue: Secretariat Trailer

Nelsan Ellis

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Nelsan Ellis Movies

The Stanford Prison Experiment Movie Review

The Stanford Prison Experiment Movie Review

Based on real events, this sharply well-made film shifts from a rather light-hearted comedy into...

The Stanford Prison Experiment Trailer

The Stanford Prison Experiment Trailer

It's 1971 and University professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo wants to try a new social and...

Get On Up Movie Review

Get On Up Movie Review

With an appropriately jarring sense of energy, this James Brown biopic acutely captures the Godfather...

Get On Up Trailer

Get On Up Trailer

Since he was a child, he knew he'd become a star. He may not have...

Get On Up Trailer

Get On Up Trailer

The stars of the upcoming James Brown biopic 'Get On Up', Viola Davis, Nelsan Ellis...

Get On Up Trailer

Get On Up Trailer

James Brown didn't have the easiest childhood being born to two young parents who were...

The Butler Movie Review

The Butler Movie Review

This is an strangely slushy movie from Lee Daniels, whose last two films (Precious and...

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The Butler Trailer

The Butler Trailer

Cecil Gaines is a modest and dedicated butler at the White House who manages to...

The Butler Trailer

The Butler Trailer

Cecil Gains is a devoted White House butler who grew up on a simple cotton...

The Reluctant Fundamentalist Movie Review

The Reluctant Fundamentalist Movie Review

A terrific story is compromised by the demands of commercial filmmaking, adding action-thriller scenes to...

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