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.
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.
By focussing on the emotional bleakness in this story, writer-director Williams manages to find some interesting moments in a film that otherwise seems contrived to reach fans of heartwarming fare like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Quartet. And while this film sometimes feels like a geriatric episode of Glee, it at least finds authenticity in the characters' emotions, thanks to clever acting and filmmaking.
It opens with an ageing couple: the perpetually cheery Marion (Redgrave) and her relentless grump of a husband Arthur (Stamp). "You know how I feel about enjoying things," he scowls as she chirps about him coming along to cheer for her singing club at an upcoming competition. But Marion has cancer, and she's trying to make sure that he doesn't shut down when she dies, cutting off contact with his single-dad son (Eccleston). Sure enough, he reacts to her death with cruelty and isolation. But Marion's relentlessly upbeat choir leader Elizabeth (Arterton) won't give up on him, and when she discovers that he can sing, she urges him to take Marion's place at the competition.
After the strikingly original thrillers London to Brighton and Cherry Tree Lane, this is not the kind of film we expect from Williams, but if we look closely we can see him constantly undermining expectations. This film isn't quite as heartwarming as it seems, allowing its characters to be rather startlingly awful at times even though the story is punctuated by uplifting sequences. And of course the veteran cast members are excellent. Redgrave is luminous as Marion, holding the film's emotional centre even after her character is gone. And Stamp quietly reveals a hidden tenderness under Arthur's rough exterior.
Continue reading: Song For Marion Review
We Take A Look At The Biggest Oscar Upsets Over The Years
We here at Contactmusic.com really hope there's a massive upset at the Oscars on Sunday (February 24, 2013), for no other reason than it's fun to watch the actor who should have won sink into their chair and try and look happy for the surprise recipient, who is dancing in the aisle somewhere. Sometimes, you can pin-point the exact moment when the realisation of absolute failure kicks in. "I lost. I actually lost. I didn't win. Someone else won. I didn't win. I do not need to stand up."
Ok, so it looks unlikely that the 85th Academy Awards will throw up TOO many huge shocks, though should Daniel Day-Lewis miss out on Best Actor, that would certainly represent one of the biggest surprises in Oscar history. Then again, Tom Hanks was nailed on for Saving Private Ryan, and looked what happened there. We thought we'd take a look back at five unbelievable results at the Academy Awards, proving it's not always a done deal.
James Coburn Beats Ed Harris (Academy Awards, 1999)
Continue reading: Oscars 2013: Five People ROBBED Of An Academy Award
Sex and the City actress Kim Cattrall is to return to the stage for the Old Vic's forthcoming production of Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird Of Young. The Liverpool-born actress will play a failing Hollywood star who quits the movie business when her anticipated comeback is a flop, reports the Press Association.
A noted theatre actress, Cattrall appeared as Cleopatra in the Chichester revival of Janet Suzman's production of Antony and Cleopatra last summer. She's spent increasingly more time in the UK since the last Sex and the City movie and told The Independent in June, "After Sex and the City ended I was exhausted and needed time out. My marriage was coming to an end and my job was finished and my father had just been diagnosed with dementia. I thought I just needed to stop...I needed to go home. For me that was England and Canada, and England was where I started working again and I'm so glad I did, I feel replenished and strong. Sometimes you really do need to go home again." The Old Vic's spring schedule is awash with high profile names as artistic director Kevin Spacey steps up his programme at the historic venue. It includes a version of Terence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy as well as Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing with stage legends James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave. "The Old Vic has always been first and foremost an actors' theatre, a home for great talent and memorable performances," said Spacey, "I am delighted to welcome Lindsay Posner back to our theatre with The Winslow Boy and I know that audiences will be thrilled at the prospect of Kim Cattrall taking on Sweet Bird Of Youth directed by Marianne Elliott, whom we are so excited to welcome for the first time."
Currently showing at the Old Vic is the Trevor Nunn directed Kiss Me Kate, with Alex Bourne, David Burt and Adam Garcia.
Continue reading: Kim Cattrall Returns Home To Play Hollywood Star At The Old Vic
For some people, having a label over your head for the rest of your career would hardly seem like the most appealing thing in the world, however Quantum of Solace star Gemma Arterton has admitted that being labelled a Bond Girl all her life would be something of "an honour."
The 26-year-old Brit actress was speaking to the press at the London Film Festival during the gala screening of her new film Song For Marion when the subject of her time in the last James Bond movie came up. She told the press: ''As long as I'm a girl when I'm 78 as well, I'll be very chuffed about that. I've always seen it as such an honour."
Arterton starred alongside fellow Bond girl Olga Kurylenko in the last Bond outing and in the next Bond film, Skyfall, the famous female roles have been appointed to Bérénice Marlohe and Naomie Harris. Arterton conceded that this year, being the 50th anniversary of the movie franchise, the two actresses may very well have the most enviable roles in the franchise's history.
Continue reading: Gemma Arterton Wants To Be A Bond Girl "Forever"
Amid political and social turmoil, Martius (Fiennes) is a blunt Roman soldier, subduing insurrections in the surrounding kingdoms, making an enemy of Volscian leader Tullus (Butler) but returning home a war hero and crowned Coriolanus.
Despite the help of his military-leader mother (Redgrave), his loyal wife Virgilia (Chastain) and a respected senator (Cox), Martius is unable - and unwilling - to play the political game, insulting both the senate and the public. Banished from public life, he joins with Tullus and sets about conquering Rome his own way.
Continue reading: Coriolanus Review
Caius Marcus is a brilliant Roman general who is hailed as 'the hero of Rome', after returning from a war against the Volscians, a neighbouring Italian tribe. Rome wins the war and takes the city of Corioles. In recognition of his part in the war, Caius Marcus is surnamed Coriolanus.
Continue: Coriolanus Trailer
Sophie is an aspiring writer currently with a lack of inspiration, when she and her fiancé take a trip to one of the most romantic places in the world - Verona, Italy - she thinks it might just give her some direction but she never expected to embark on the journey she does. Sophie finds herself in Juliet's courtyard where she stumbles upon a letter from 1957, the letter is a heartfelt plea for advice. After contemplating what to do with the letter, she finally decides to respond.
Continue: Letters To Juliet Trailer
Continue reading: Evening Review
Joshua, a long-time Little Odessa expatriate, is called back to the neighborhood to perform a hit on a big shot resident. When he arrives, he encounters his worshipful brother Reuben (Edward Furlong), former lover Alla (Moira Kelly), hateful father Arkady (Maximilian Schell), and dying mother Irina (Vanessa Redgrave). Together, the cast creates a highly dysfunctional family the likes of which you've probably never seen before.
Continue reading: Little Odessa Review
Deep Impact makes no apologies for being a sob-fest. I mean, how else do you smash a comet into the earth without killing off a few hundred million people, and breaking a few hearts in the process? As the first disaster-from-space film of the year, Deep Impact sets the bar at an interesting level. It's not an action film, although it has action elements. It's not a thriller, although suspense is in the mix. It's more a drama than anything else, the main story lines being a reporter (Téa Leoni) estranged from her father, a young astronomer (Wood) who finds he can't abandon his girlfriend, and a codgery astronaut (Robert Duvall) who gains acceptance among a younger crew.
Continue reading: Deep Impact Review
This Bobby Darin biopic reportedly spent about 20 years going through various drafts by many different screenwriters -- including James Toback and Paul Schrader -- before Kevin Spacey grabbed it and made it all his own.
Borrowing more than just a little from Bob Fosse's "All That Jazz," the co-writer, director and star sets his film in a kind of flashback/dream structure in which Darin (Spacey) talks with himself as a little kid. This non-reality also allows for the 45 year-old actor to play Darin, who died at age 37, throughout his career.
Spacey's Darin thinks very highly of himself; when he snatches up teen heartthrob Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth) as his wife, it feels more like trophy gathering than romance. Yet Spacey's own gigantic hubris fits the part perfectly, and when Darin grouses about not winning the Oscar for "Captain Newman, M.D.," you can feel Spacey going through the same thing. When Spacey sings in Darin's voice, it's an act of supreme ego; he's as sure of his Darin impersonation as he is of his own greatness, and it works.
Continue reading: Beyond The Sea Review
A wonderfully ambitious, old-school ensemble piece, very much in the can-do spirit of the community to which it pays homage, "Cradle Will Rock" is a politically-undertoned dramedy about theater, censorship, ambition, apprehension, oppression, Orson Welles and the Great Depression.
Written and directed by Tim Robbins -- never one to shy away from cause-fueled entertainment -- this passionate labor of love celebrates and fictionalizes a legendary moment in American theater, when the government shut down the performance of a musical produced by the Works Progress Administration -- and the actors, at the risk of losing their jobs during the bleakest economic season in U.S. history, staged it anyway in a show of inspiring solidarity.
The play was entitled "The Cradle Will Rock" and its story of a greedy industrialist taken down by the organized working man made a lot of federal bureaucrats see red -- as in communism.
Continue reading: Cradle Will Rock Review
Date of birth
30th January, 1937
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By focussing on the emotional bleakness in this story, writer-director Williams manages to find some...