Forest Whitaker

REVIEW: ‘The Butler’ Serves Up a Tepid Take on a Hot Topic

Lee Daniels’ film about the civil rights movement as seen through the eyes of a White House butler was in trouble well before it opened. The filmmakers, which include thirty-nine various forms of producer, ran afoul of Warner Brothers in a spat over the title. Arcane and somewhat illegal MPAA bylaws (titles cannot legally be copyrighted) state that MPAA signatories — i.e. studios — cannot use the exact same title. Warners owns the rights to an obscure silent film of the same name and gave distributor Harvey Weinstein a hard time,

Michael B Jordan

REVIEW: ‘Fruitvale Station’ Is a Slight Take on a Hefty Subject

I don’t know whether Harvey Weinstein, whose company is distributing Fruitvale Station, timed its release to coincide with George Zimmerman’s trial over the shooting of Trayvon Martin. It’s certainly a fortuitous coincidence, although I’m not sure how much the trial would sell a film about similar circumstances, the unnecessary killing of an unarmed young black man. I would simply call it art imitating life,

Jennifer Lawrence Norma Jean Roy Vogue

OSCARS: Dark Horses Kicking at the Gate

Ahhh.  The presidential race is finally over.  It’s a personal revelation that I called it pretty much right for the past eighteen months, right down to the soul-searching and repositioning the GOP will have to undergo to vie for a future in this increasingly liberal New America.  My only regret is I forgot to call it more precisely: That Obama would trounce Romney.  It’s not that I was demurring.  I simply forgot that detail in every post I wrote about the race.

It’s no wonder a former employer used to call me “fog.”  And then she fired me.

In what has to be the dumbest, most tortured headline Deadline has ever come up with, just before the election Pete Hammond declared, “With One Race Almost Over, Is A New Presidential Race Gearing Up For Oscars?”  If they weren’t so relevant and scoopy, I would have stopped reading Deadline long ago for the atrocious writing and occasional ninny-brained posts.

Bully on You — Part Two


by James Killough

Please read Part One first.

In between the time I posted the first part of this series and now, Harvey Weinstein managed to browbeat the Motion Picture Association of America into lowering its rating for Bully from R to PG-13 following a petition signed by over half a million students nationwide.  This means the film can now be shown in schools, the most appropriate and effective venues to screen it in.  In terms of social benefit, this might be Weinstein’s worthiest victory ever.

From Bruce Weber's series "Wrestling Requires Two" (2012), one of the more vicious gladiators in the vast free-for-all of opinion websites, was as wantonly unkind about this landmark reversal as it was when it ran a piece a couple of days ago effectively trashing Mike Wallace’s career just after he died.  Gawker insists that Bully isn’t really for teenagers, but I don’t agree; as I said in part one of this series, it’s a feature-length public service announcement.  Teenagers should be its primary audience.

Kelby 'Bully'

Bully on You — Part One

This isn’t a review of Lee Hirsch’s hit documentary Bully.  You can’t really make the standard reviewer’s judgment calls on a piece that isn’t so much a film as it is a well-shot, well-edited extended public service announcement, which, in a situation that is so ironic it’s meta, is being distributed and personally promoted with great enthusiasm by the most notorious bully in our industry, Harvey Weinstein.

Bullying is an extremely complex issue, to which the filmmakers attempt to lend a balanced viewpoint by showing the frustration and helplessness of school administrators and local officials in the various small towns the filmmakers visit in the American heartland.  That bullying is an egregious national malady that must be stamped out is not in question.  The broader issue is how you address a pattern of behavior that is so firmly ingrained in the broader traditional American culture that its perpetrators and victims are only now beginning to grasp how wrong it is.

Hollywood Drowns in Its Own Crap, Vanishes. News at Eleven.


by James Killough

I didn’t watch the Golden Globes last night, not only because I don’t have a TV, but because Tuttle and I had something of a PFC editorial meeting about this blog’s new format, after which Kimball and ten others come over for a potluck dinner.  I believe I drank three bottles of wine, so if I sound as unfunny and needlessly venomous as Ricky Gervais in this piece, you know why.

If I were an Academy member, Brad Pitt would have my vote this year. Photo: Robert Wilson.

We did half-heartedly keep up to date with the awards via a live blog from the Guardian on my laptop, but nobody was really interested.  I barked out winners every now and then to almost zero interest, which is notable because we were in Hollywood and half the party was involved in The Business to one degree or the other—okay, one guy shoots porn.  Details.