Lee Daniels

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: SERVE AND REFLECT (LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER)

 

By Brian Lafferty

August 15, 2013 (San Diego) – Like Forrest Gump, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) views American history from a distance, a bystander swept up in a relentless flurry of major historical events that came to dominate and define the latter 20th century.  Like Forrest Gump, Danny Strong's screenplay - based on the Washington Post article by Wil Haywood - mystifies the civil rights movement, the Kennedy assassination, and the Vietnam War.  As major political figures appear, and landmark events transpire or are referenced, the joy of discovery and realization kicks in at full stop.  And like Forrest Gump, it's full of "easter eggs" masterfully hidden that become uncovered with repeat viewings. 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "PRECIOUS" AGGRESSIVELY BLEAK BUT VERY REWARDING

 



By Brian Lafferty

December 5, 2009 (San Diego's East County) -- Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) is one of the most strong-willed characters I have seen in a long time. She’s pregnant, at sixteen, with her second child by her father. Her mother (Mo'Nique) is both physically and psychologically abusive, calling her mean names and always bringing her down. She’s illiterate. She’s harassed at school and on the street. She enrolls in an alternative school and the other students are initially mean-spirited. In her mind, the world is unfair and cruel, with very few people on her side.