Lee Daniels’ The Butler, a sprawling and star-flecked historical drama with a tenuous connection to actual events, is probably the first genuine Oscar contender to arrive in theaters this year. (It’s not nearly the best movie of the year so far, just the least ignorable one.) And, like a lot of Oscar-seeking dramas that attempt to engage important social issues, it is reductive and ham-handed, and really only manages a superficial trivialization of the Civil Rights struggles from the 1950s through the ’80s. Subtle, it is not. Still, it’s partly redeemed by some fine performances by it’s principal cast — Forrest Whittaker, Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo — and enlivened by a parade of cameos that suggest Daniels’ was attempting to cast as wide a net as possible.
Then there’s Kick-Ass 2, a violent comic book comedy that, our Dan Lybarger says can be enjoyed by those with strong stomachs and a certain bent for darkish humor.
We didn’t screen the bio-pic Jobs, in which Ashton Kutcher portrays the late co-founder of Apple Computers, but there will be a review on blooddirtangels.com Friday.
Also opening, the romantic comedy Stuck in Love.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.