Tag Archive: Movie Review


The Butler 2013

The Butler is a must see movie that only comes around once in a life time, and that could have only been made during the 21st Century due to some of the disturbingly accurate scenes that appear in the movie.

Lee Daniels and Danny Strong and Wil Haygood obviously took the utmost care and concern while working on The Butler because The Butler accurately describes the horrendous conditions that black Americans were forced to live under, and it also shows the disturbing mindset of the oppressive Southerners that were intent on inflicting the maximum amount of pain and suffering on the blacks that were living in the South.

No single actor could have done a better job as Cecil Gaines. Forest Whitaker brought his many struggles and triumphs to life like no other actor could have. Oprah Winfrey also did a great job while playing Gloria Gaines, who was the supportive wife of Cecil Gaines, and who also happened to have a serious drinking problem. Terrence Howard did a spectacular job as usual while playing Howard and Nelsan Ellis did a brilliant job of portraying Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. James Marsden was the perfect John F. Kennedy and John Cusack was a convincing Richard Nixon. The entire cast of The Butler deserves a round of applause for their superb work.

The seminal scene in The Butler when Cecil Gaines loses his father was played out thousands of times while blacks were living under the conditions of slavery and thereafter, and this is why The Butler is an important piece of American history since it shows the overall cruelty of racism and slavery as well as the idiocy of those that were responsible. It also shows how the white elders were complicit in the atrocities that can only be described as human rights violations.

Young and old alike will gain valuable information about the Civil Rights movement because The Butler provides behind the scenes action that correlates to the black and white photographs and videos that most of us have seen without a full explanation of what was happening behind the scenes. The student as an instrument of change is also highlighted in the movie, which is important since nothing has ever changed without the full support of the youth.

The Black Panther Party also makes an appearance in the movie, which is important since they were also instrumental in bringing about change and in making the lives of ordinary black citizens better by providing certain community based programs that have been adopted by America. The lunch program was a Black Panther Party idea and now children all across America receive a free lunch when no one else had ever thought about providing this valuable service prior to The Black Panther Party coming on the scene and trying to make a difference in their community.

What I like most about The Butler is the fact the Cecil Gaines never gave up. He weathered the storm and eventually came to realize the importance of what his eldest son was trying to do while fighting against an oppressive system that didn’t value all of its citizens. The Butler shows the vicious attitudes and the unprovoked violence that was perpetrated against the blacks and whites that were fighting for black equality. It also shows what can be accomplished when good people stand together and when they are willing to die for what they believe in. The whites that stood hand and hand with the blacks were willing to give their lives, so their black brothers and sisters could be free which is exactly what the movie shows.

The many goings and comings of the White House are also highlighted during the movie as well as the contrasting personalities of the past Presidents. The unwillingness to participate in war is also shown during the movie as well as Dr. King’s last moments on earth and his courageous stance on the Vietnam War, which many still believe to this very day was the real reason that he was killed since war is big business.

I recommend that you see The Butler because it provides a piece of American history that shouldn’t be forgotten or repeated because what happened to black Americans is a stain that shall forever remain on the collective human soul.

The Butler was reviewed on August 20, 2013.

Nathaniel Armstrong, Jr.

Cerritos, CA –

This article was also published by Examiner.com

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Copperhead 2013

There is a powerful message to be had in Copperhead and you won’t find a more poignant message in any of the other Civil War movies since this particular movie provides the moviegoer with the human aspect of the American Civil War that was fought by two opposing parties that had their very own ideas about what justice and liberty for all should look like. Most of the Civil War movies that you and I have been fortunate enough to see only focus on the overall battle itself, but fail to show the human side of things, which is to say that the well meaning movie makers and script writers don’t put enough emphasis on the individual feelings of those that lived through this troubling time in American history.

Copperhead breaks with the time honored tradition of showing bloody gun battles and dying soldiers and crying women and children because the emphasis is placed squarely on the ideas and on the feelings of many of the citizens that did not necessarily take part in the bloody gun battles for whatever reason.

There are several powerful scenes in the movie that no one will be able to forget and one of the scenes in the movie is centered on the widespread fear that was held by certain Northerners, and that had to do with the North possibly being infiltrated by certain Southerners as well as what terrorist attacks the Southerners might launch since they had clearly lost the war. One of the fears had to do with a possible biological attack that would cause a great deal of casualties throughout the entire North. You will experience the heart wrenching fear that some of the Northerners were living with even though the North had soundly defeated the South and could have easily destroyed their entire political and social and military structure, which would have barred them from policing themselves since they would have been completely occupied by Northern forces if those in Washington hadn’t lost their nerve and if they hadn’t given the defeated Southern military leadership safe passage.

There’s another scene that takes place after a son loses his father after he is overcome with grief due to his actions. The father was a staunch abolitionist and he stood for the equal treatment of blacks; however, he joined a mob of white men that committed an evil act against one of his fellow neighbors that had voted for the Democratic Party which was in favor of slavery. Besides the scenes that have already been mentioned you will also see how certain Democrats were unfairly treated by those that voted Republican as well as how the Irish were viewed.

I can’t say enough about the moving and superb performances of Billy Campbell and Angus Macfadyen and Peter Fonda and Lucy Boynton and Casey Thomas Brown and Josh Cruddas and Augustus Prew  because their outstanding performances in Copperhead clearly reveal the raw feelings that certain people had concerning the slaves and Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War itself. Plus the interested moviegoer will find out through this magnificent Ronald F. Maxwell film that certain citizens that were living during the Civil War era hadn’t had any interaction with the slaves, but were compelled to ask the tough questions due to their strong Christian values, and since they were aware of what was actually contained in the Holy Bible.

There were others that vehemently opposed President Lincoln since they openly stated that what he was doing was unconstitutional, and if left up to them, black Americans, who were just as much citizens as the whites were since the whites had forcibly taken the land from the Native Americans, would still be slaves, however, Abraham Lincoln took the courageous and unpopular stance that he did because he was compelled to do the right thing due to his personal convictions and since he had an undeniable responsibility to make sure that all Americans had full access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I recommend that you see Copperhead because it provides a piece of American history that you don’t often hear being talked about since the emphasis is always on the individual gun battles as well as on the prominent members of the American Civil War that found themselves on both sides of the issue.

Copperhead was reviewed on July 25, 2013.

Nathaniel Armstrong, Jr.

Cerritos, CA –

This article was also published by Examiner.com

After Earth 2013

I purposely didn’t read any of the reviews that were written about After Earth because I didn’t want to be influenced by the writer’s likes and dislikes and natural biases that are often directed at make believe tales or at science fiction thrillers.

And I made the right decision by ignoring what others had already written about the movie because it made my movie going experience all the more enjoyable and After Earth turned out to be a real treat that was viewed without any preconceived notions, and I can’t say enough about the performances of Will Smith who plays Cypher and his talented son Jaden Smith who plays a teenager named Kitai Raige.

These magnificent actors really made the story come to life, and the camera work was absolutely superb.

M. Night Shyamalan who co-wrote After Earth with Gary Whitta, which was based on an original story idea that was conceived by Will Smith, was the perfect director for this fine science fiction film because he made Mr. Smith’s original idea into a wonderful masterpiece that fans won’t soon forget because After Earth is one of those rare movies that comes along out of nowhere and that you just have to own a copy of, so you can watch it over and over again.

We don’t often see high profile coming of age movies that have an extraterrestrial underpinning and that are written and filmed strictly from a science fiction perspective, however, we certainly need to see more of them and especially the kind that depict strong male characters that stand for something and that are of African ancestry be those characters African Americans or otherwise.

The scenes in After Earth were shot to perfection and they were perfect for the kind of story that was being told, and the picturesque view that I saw while watching After Earth, will cause children and adults alike to dream, and some of the children that will begin to dream of space will become our future astronauts since everything essentially starts with a dream.

The aerial pursuit did it for me as well as what transpired between the pursuer and the pursued after the pursuit had ended. This was great acting and directing and storytelling as well as superb camera work, and no one can leave the theater without being affected by the moments that are shared between the pursuer and the pursued. Children and adults that haven’t been beaten down by the pressures of life will say, “WOW! I haven’t experienced anything like this before.”

I highly recommend After Earth for individual movie goers as well as for families, and it can also be a great date movie and especially if your date is looking for something of substance and for something that reveals the beauty of nature and the undying human spirit, and that doesn’t involve police corruption or inner city violence or buildings exploding or airliner hijackings, which are also good movies, but that aren’t suitable for everyone since people are as varied as the colors on a rainbow.

After Earth was reviewed on Monday 06/03/2013 at Regency Theatres in Westminster, CA.

Nathaniel Armstrong, Jr.

Cerritos, CA –

This article was also published by Examiner.com

Oblivion

Oblivion is a fantastically created futuristic thriller that everyone should make it a point to see due to the overall message that is to be had in this creative work of art.

Tom Cruise provides yet another thrilling performance, and the C.S.A. did a great job when casting Morgan Freeman as Malcolm and Olga Kurylenko as Julia and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Sykes and Andrea Riseborough as Victoria and Zoe Bell as Kara. These brilliant and accomplished actors did a magnificent job, and they helped to make the movie the success that it is today.

Moviegoers that decide to watch Oblivion will find themselves cheering for the human race and they will be proud to call themselves members of the earth dwelling race of primates that call the planet earth their home. But that’s just the beginning because the individual moviegoer will also experience an uncontrolled urge to cheer for the good guys and he or she will be filled with feelings of wanting the characters to succeed once the reality of what is at stake finally registers inside their hearts and minds.

The writers of this science fiction thriller did an excellent job and Oblivion provides just the right amount of action that one would expect for such an undertaking, and the special effects make the tale absolutely believable as well as enjoyable for all ages since older moviegoers choose substance over a group of stunts that are too perfect to believe since anything can happen in a real fight and since the good guy is not always the victor as life has taught us time after time.

I don’t believe that I’ve seen another futuristic thriller that I like more than Oblivion or that everyone can fully understand which certainly isn’t the case with a lot of science fiction movies that routinely roll off the Hollywood assembly line.

Now without giving too much away since everyone hasn’t had the opportunity to see Oblivion, and since I’m vehemently opposed to writing a piece that’s a spoiler and that takes the thrill out of seeing the movie, let me just say that you’ll see what happens when a man that just wants to do the right thing is suddenly confronted with what has been previously hidden from him by an unseen enemy.

The question that the movie ultimately poses to all moviegoers is what decision would you ultimately make if placed in a similar circumstance? Would you risk nothing by going back to sleep and by continuing to slavishly tow the line or would you choose to risk it all by doing something with the information that has invaded your reality?

I recommend that everyone make it a point to see Oblivion because it’s well worth the time and the money that you’ll spend and Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman and the rest of the cast won’t disappoint you with their performances. And if you’ve already seen the movie, then see it again, but with the aforementioned questions in mind.

Oblivion was reviewed on Sunday 05/05/2013.

Nathaniel Armstrong, Jr.

Cerritos, CA –

This article was also published by Examiner.com