REVIEW: CELL

CAST

Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
John Cusack (Grosse Point Blank)
Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan)
Stacy Keach (American History X)
Wilbur Fitzgerald (Freejack)
Alex ter Avest (Starcrossed)
Lloyd Kaufman (Slither)

John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, and Isabelle Fuhrman in Cell (2016)For aspiring artist Clayton “Clay” Riddell, catching a big break has never been his strong suit, and only put undue stress on himself and family. Sick of teaching art instead of making it, he’s finally seeing his dreams come true. As he finalizes a big deal in the city of Boston, Clay prepares for a new life ahead, completely free of financial burden and marital woes and the opportunity to start anew as a man established. But that’s all about to change on one October afternoon, when at one single moment, everyone answers their cell phone, inevitably changing the face of humanity forever. The Pulse as it will be known, reverberates through every cell phone in the world, causing a deadly chain reaction of events. Users suddenly become ultra-violent, homicidal maniacs and begin attacking anyone within proximity.John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson in Cell (2016)Now all Clay can do, is band together with other survivors and prepare for a new world ahead where society is no more, and replaced by homicidal creatures, who are only beginning to transform into something far worse. But for Clay, the worst is yet to come as he makes the trek across a world changed and into his Maine home, to a wife and son he hasn’t been able to reach after the cataclysmic events that followed.Isabelle Fuhrman in Cell (2016)First off, this is not a zombie movie. I don’t know what the book was like, but the movie is not zombies, it is people who are being manipulated by a cellphone signal to be violent, and nothing but violent. We get a glimpse at the end as to what is really going through their minds while being controlled. This was an excellent movie but for one thing, it doesn’t actually explain why it all happened. So, with a few other clues scattered around, I am pretty sure it is a psychological breakdown of one person. In either case, the ride is fun and with good performances. If you must have all questions answered then the film will not work for you.

 

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REVIEW: GROSSE POINT BLANK

 

CAST

John Cusack (Identity)
Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting)
Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine)
Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters)
Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
Jeremy Piven (Kiss The Girls)
Hank Azaria (The Simpsons)
Barbara Harris (Peggy Sue Got Married)
Mitchell Ryan (Lethal Weapon)
K. Todd Freeman (Eraser)
Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead)
Carlos Jacott (Firefly)
Jenna Elfman (EDtv)
Ann Cusack (Sully)

John Cusack and Minnie Driver in Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)Professional assassin Martin Blank finds himself depressed and disillusioned with his work. A major problem is his chief rival Grocer, whose effort to incorporate the hitman business puts him at potentially lethal odds as he is unaffiliated. Following a botched contract, Martin receives an invitation to his 10-year high school reunion in his hometown of Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Initially reluctant to attend, he is persuaded into it by both his therapist, Dr. Oatman, and his secretary, Marcella. She books him a contract in Michigan that coincides with the reunion, ostensibly to make amends with the client whose contract was botched.Minnie Driver in Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)Upon arriving in Grosse Pointe, Martin reconnects with his childhood friend Paul and his high school sweetheart Debi Newberry, now a radio disc jockey, whom Martin had abandoned on prom night to enlist in the army. He also visits his mentally ill mother in a retirement home, and the grave of his father (who is implied to had been a neglectful alcoholic). Meanwhile, Martin is being stalked by Felix LaPoubelle, another hitman who attempts to kill Martin in the convenience store built over his childhood home. He is also followed by two National Security Agency (NSA) agents who were tipped off to Martin’s contract by Grocer. Despite these dangers, Martin remains distracted by his desire to win over Debi and fails to open the dossier on his target. At the reunion, Martin and Debi mingle with their former classmates, and begin to fall in love all over again. Later, while exploring the halls alone, Martin is ambushed by LaPoubelle, whom he kills in self defense. Debi stumbles upon the scene and flees the reunion in horror. Paul arrives moments later, and helps Martin dispose of LaPoubelle’s body in the school furnace.John Cusack and Jeremy Piven in Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)Debi later confronts Martin in his hotel room; he reveals that when he joined the army, his psyche profile revealed a “moral flexibility” that made him suitable to work as an assassin for the Central Intelligence Agency, after which he decided to go freelance. His rationalizations for his work terrify Debi even further; she rejects his attempts at reconciliation and walks out. Martin fires Oatman over the phone, lays off Marcella (but directs her to a brick of cash hidden in the office, set aside for her severance pay), and finally opens the dossier detailing the contract that brought him to Grosse Pointe. He is amazed to find that the target is Debi’s father, Bart, who is scheduled to testify against Martin’s client.John Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)Grocer decides to kill Bart himself to impress Martin’s client. Martin abandons the contract and rescues Bart, driving him to the Newberry house and holing up inside, narrowly escaping Grocer and his mercenaries. During the siege, Martin finally reveals that he left Debi on prom night to protect her from his homicidal urges, which were due to his abusive upbringing. Martin gradually kills off the mercenaries, and the NSA agents are gunned down by both Grocer and Martin. Martin kills Grocer by smashing a television over his head. Injured and winded, Martin proposes marriage to Debi, who (shell-shocked from the day’s events) does not respond. In the end, Debi and Martin leave Grosse Pointe together.Dan Aykroyd and John Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)Although not nearly as popular as it deserves to be, Grosse Point Blank has become an increasingly respected cult flick in the years following its theatrical release and it’s not hard to see why. The movie is probably the only film on earth that is able to blend comedy, graphic violence, and romance together perfectly, which is what makes it such a classic.

REVIEW: THIS IS MY FATHER

CAST

Aidan Quinn (Paractical Magic)
James Caan (Elf)
Jacob Tierney (Preggoland)
Colm Meaney (Intermission)
Stephen Rea (V For Vendetta)
Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges)
John Cusack (Grosse Pointe Blank)

MSDTHIS EC024Widowed Kieran Johnson is a lonely, middle-aged, Chicago-based high school history teacher who feels disconnected to his life. He decides to take a trip to his mother’s small old hometown of Kilronan, County Galway, Ireland after he discovers an old photograph of her, she who now cannot speak due to a stroke, with a man he has never seen. He suspects this man may be his biological father. On the urging of his sister, Kieran takes his teen-aged nephew Jack on the trip. In Kilronan, Mrs. Kearney, the innkeeper’s mother and a bit of a gypsy woman who has lived in the area for the better part of her life, tells Kieran and Jack about life in the town in 1939 when a high-spirited Fiona Flynn, Kieran’s mother, started seeing a peat farmer named Kieran O’Day. Kieran O’Day grew up a “poorhouse bastard”, and as such he was always shy and considered an outsider amongst the townsfolk. MSDTHIS EC026Because of his standing in the community and the differences in their ages (she being only seventeen, he in his thirties), Fiona and Kieran’s relationship was looked down upon by those considered the upstanding in town, including Fiona’s widowed mother, Mary Flynn, and those associated with the church. Mrs. Kearney slowly tells the entire story of Kieran and Fiona’s relationship, the tragedy that prevented their love for not being enough to endure the scrutiny, the stories of the “curses” that befell the Flynn family, and the truth behind the person Kieran Johnson knew as his father.300761_originalGorgeous cinematography and solid acting make this a must see! Once again, it caters to my love of movies about people with flavor, zest, zeal and the bittersweet truths of life.

REVIEW: RUNAWAY JURY

CAST

John Cusack (2012)
Gene Hackman (Superman)
Dustin Hoffman (Hook)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Jeremy Piven (Mr. Selfridge)
Bruce Davison (X-Men)
Bruce McGill (Timecop)
Marguerite Moreau (Wet Hot American Summer)
Nick Searcy (The Dead Girl)
Leland Orser (Taken)
Lori Heuring (8mm 2)
Joanna Going (Nixon)
Dylan McDermott (Texas Rangers)
Stanley Anderson (Red Dragon)
Celia Weston (Hulk)
Bill Nunn (Money Train)
Cliff Curtis (Blow)
Nora Dunn (Bruce Almighty)
Rusty Schwimmer (The Perfect Storm)
Jennifer Beals (The Prophecy II)
Guy Torry (American History X)
Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow)
Gary Grubbs (Angel)
Luis Guzmán (Traffic)

In New Orleans, a failed day trader at a stock brokerage firm shows up at the office and opens fire on his former colleagues, then kills himself. Among the dead is Jacob Wood. Two years later, with attorney Wendell Rohr, Jacob’s widow Celeste takes Vicksburg Firearms to court on the grounds that the company’s gross negligence led to her husband’s death. During jury selection, jury consultant Rankin Fitch and his team communicate background information on each of the jurors to lead defense attorney Durwood Cable in the courtroom through electronic surveillance. In the jury pool, Nick Easter tries to get himself excused from jury duty. Judge Frederick Harkin decides to give Nick a lesson in civic duty and Fitch tells Cable that the judge has now given them no choice, and that he must select Nick as a juror. Nick’s congenial manner wins him acceptance from his fellow jurors, but Frank Herrera, a Marine veteran, takes an instant dislike to him.A woman named Marlee makes an offer to Fitch and Rohr: she will deliver the verdict to the first bidder. Rohr dismisses the offer, assuming it to be a tactic by Fitch to obtain a mistrial. Fitch asks for proof that she can deliver, though, which Nick provides. Fitch orders Nick’s apartment searched, but finds nothing. Marlee retaliates by getting one of Fitch’s jurors bounced. Nick shows the judge surveillance footage of his apartment being searched, and the judge orders the jury sequestered. Fitch then goes after three jurors with blackmail, leading one, Rikki Coleman, to attempt suicide. Rohr loses a key witness due to harassment, and after confronting Fitch, decides that he cannot win the case. He asks his firm’s partners for $10 million. Fitch sends an operative, Janovich, to kidnap Marlee, but she fights him off and raises Fitch’s price to $15 million. On principle, Rohr changes his mind and refuses to pay. Fitch agrees to pay Marlee to be certain of the verdict.Fitch’s subordinate Doyle travels to Gardner, Indiana, where he discovers that Nick is really Jeff Kerr, a law school drop-out, and that Marlee’s real name is Gabby Brandt. Gabby’s sister died in a school shooting. The town sued the gun manufacturer and Fitch helped the defense win the case. Doyle concludes that Nick and Marlee’s offer is a set-up, and he calls Fitch, but it is too late. Nick receives confirmation of receipt of payment and he steers the jury in favor of the plaintiff, much to the chagrin of Herrera, who launches into a rant against the plaintiff, which undermines his support. The gun manufacturer is found liable, with the jury awarding $110 million in general damages to Celeste Wood. After the trial, Nick and Marlee confront Fitch with a receipt for the $15 million bribe and demand that he retire. They inform him that the $15 million will benefit the shooting victims in Gardner.This was a movie that wasn’t over-hyped, filled with talented actors and kept you watching all the way through.  Hackman was flawless as usual as an actor and once again maintained his great screen presence. Hoffman really portrayed the idealistic lawyer character well. Weisz played the female lead with the right mix of the strong and vulnerable.  The plot twists were not overdone but did offer some slight surprises which were hinted at along the way if you payed attention. Overall I’d recommend this movie to anyone, especially those who take their movies seriously

REVIEW: ANASTASIA (1997)

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CAST

Meg Ryan (Amityville 3)
John Cusack (2012)
Christopher Lloyd (Piranha 3DD)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Hank Azaria (The Simpsons)
Bernadette Peters (The Jerk)
Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man)
Angela Lansbury (Murder She Wrote)
Andrea Martin (Wag The Dog)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)

In 1916, Tsar Nicholas II hosts a ball at the Catherine Palace to celebrate the Romanov tricentennial. His mother, the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna, is visiting from Paris and gives a music box and a necklace inscribed with the words “Together in Paris” as parting gifts to her youngest granddaughter, 8-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia. The ball is suddenly interrupted by the sorcerer Grigori Rasputin, the former royal advisor of the Romanovs until he was banished by Nicholas II for treason. Feeling betrayed and seeking revenge, Rasputin sold his soul in exchange for an unholy reliquary, which he uses to place a curse on the Romanov family, sparking the Russian Revolution. Only Marie and Anastasia are able to escape the ensuing siege of the palace, thanks to a young servant boy named Dimitri who shows them a secret passageway in Anastasia’s room. Rasputin confronts the two royals outside on a frozen river, only to fall through the ice and drown. The pair manage to reach a moving train, but only Marie climbs aboard while Anastasia falls, hitting her head on the platform and giving her amnesia.
Ten years later, Russia is under communist rule and Marie has publicly offered 10 million rubles for the safe return of her granddaughter. Dimitri and his friend/partner-in-crime Vladimir search for a look-alike to bring to Paris and pass off as Anastasia so they can collect the reward. Elsewhere, Anastasia, now 18 years of age and using the name “Anya”, leaves the rural orphanage where she grew up, still suffering from amnesia. Accompanied by a stray puppy she names “Pooka”, she decides to head to Saint Petersburg, inspired by the passage on the necklace she still has. She is unable to leave Russia due to not having an exit visa, but an old woman advises her to see Dimitri at the abandoned palace where he has made residence. There she encounters Dimitri and Vladimir, who are impressed by her resemblance to the “real” Anastasia and decide to take her with them to Paris.
Bartok, Rasputin’s albino bat minion, is nearby and notices his master’s dormant reliquary suddenly revived by Anastasia’s presence; it drags him to limbo, where Rasputin survives. Enraged to hear that Anastasia escaped the curse, Rasputin sends his demonic minions from the reliquary to kill her; despite two assassination attempts, the trio manage to (unwittingly) foil him, forcing Rasputin and Bartok to travel back to the surface.
Anastasia, Dimitri, and Vladimir eventually reach Paris and go to meet Marie, who has given up the search: having been nearly fooled numerous times by impostors. Despite this, Marie’s cousin, Sophie, quizzes Anastasia to confirm her identity. Though Anastasia offers every answer taught to her, Dimitri finally realizes she is the real Anastasia when she (without being taught to) vaguely recollects how he had saved her ten years prior. Sophie, also convinced of Anastasia’s identity, arranges a meeting with Marie at the Palais Garnier Opera house. There, Dimitri tries to establish an introduction but Marie refuses, having already heard of Dimitri’s initial scheme to con her. Anastasia overhears the conversation and angrily leaves, feeling used. Dimitri then kidnaps Marie and takes her to see Anastasia, showing her the music box he recovered during their escape. Anastasia finally meets Marie and regains her memories as they converse, convincing the empress of her identity. The two are joyfully reunited.
Marie offers Dimitri the reward money, but to her surprise, he refuses it and leaves for Russia. Marie realizes that Dimitri was the servant boy that saved their lives ten years ago and that he loves Anastasia. That night at Anastasia’s return celebration, Marie informs her of Dimitri’s gesture, leaving Anastasia torn between Marie and Dimitri. However, soon after Marie tells Anastasia that she can have both, Pooka suddenly runs off. Anastasia chases him to the Pont Alexandre III, where she is trapped and attacked by Rasputin. Dimitri returns to save her but is injured and knocked unconscious while Bartok abandons Rasputin. In the struggle, Anastasia manages to get hold of Rasputin’s reliquary and crushes it under her foot, destroying it and disintegrating Rasputin, who is also finally destroyed.

In the aftermath, Dimitri and Anastasia reconcile; they then elope, and Anastasia sends a farewell letter to Marie and Sophie, promising to return one day. The couple kisses on a riverboat and Bartok shares a kiss with a female bat before bidding the audience farewell.One of the last visually stunning traditional animated films with a beautifully developed story and loveable characters. Everything is wonderful– the sets, the animation, the dresses, the journey to France, Paris, the songs..

REVIEW: DRAGON BLADE

CAST

Jackie Chan (Rush Hour)
John Cusack (Identity)
Adrien Brody (Hollywoodland)
Lin Peng (1911)
Choi Si-won (Helios)

In northwest China, 48 BC, a security company under Han China’s current government called The Silk Road Protection Squad is committed towards stopping battles and promoting the idea of peace. Huo An (Chan), the captain, successfully averts a battle between the Indians and Huns. The group returns to their unnamed home city, where Huo An’s gentle Uyghur wife Xiuqing (Mika Wang) serves as a schoolteacher for orphans. However, the government uncovers evidence that someone in the group is corrupt, causing the entire group to be sentenced to construction work at Wild Geese Gate, a ruined fortress. Once they arrive, the group pays respects at the shrine of a fallen Chinese general. They originally were child-slaves of Hun descent, but the general had later rescued them.
Not long after, Wild Geese Gate is threatened by a legion from the Roman Empire in need of water and supplies, among which is a blind boy named Publius (Jozef Waite). After a stale-mated duel between Huo An and Lucius (Cusack), the Roman general, the latter agrees not to assault the city in return for being let inside. The legion uses its superior engineering skills to speed up the construction work, an act which boosts the morale and happiness of the inhabitants, who are divided among several different races, such as Chinese, Uighur, and Turkic. Huo An returns the favor by sending men to assist Lucius’s envoys in reaching the Parthian Empire. A celebration is later held and Huo An is made an honorary centurion.
Lucius reveals that he and Publius are fleeing from Publius’s brother Tiberius (Brody), a corrupt soldier who murdered their consul father and blinded Publius so Tiberius could become consul. As Tiberius approaches with 100,000 soldiers, Huo An insists on helping Lucius, pointing out that Tiberius is a threat to the Silk Road in its entirety. Shortly after Huo An leaves to find reinforcements, the corrupt group member from earlier sends Chinese soldiers to murder Huo An’s wife and attack Wild Geese Gate. The legion is imprisoned in the non-Chinese trading city of Kroran, where Tiberius has chosen to camp. Tiberius proceeds to murder Publius.
Huo An and the few loyal Chinese soldiers travel to Kroran, pretending to surrender, but once they are inside, they destroy the Roman legion’s cages. However, they are unable to free Lucius, who is about to be burned to death in a special solitary cell. Huo An fires an arrow and kills Lucius before the fire gets him. As Huo An’s and Lucius’s soldiers are surrounded, the armies of several other races arrive and fight against Tiberius, including the Indians, Huns, Uighurs, and Turkics, all of whom are determined to preserve the Silk Road’s safety. However, even their combined forces are unable to gain the upper hand. Finally, the envoys from earlier return with a massive host of Parthians, who had signed a special treaty with Publius’s father and who intend to avenge his memory. Tiberius’s soldiers lose their will to fight. Huo An challenges Tiberius to a duel and kills him.
Upon hearing about the bravery of Lucius’s legion, the Chinese emperor grants them the right to establish their own city, which they choose to name Regum. They accept Huo An as their commander, and Huo An, in turn, honors the deceased Chinese general by relocating the shrine to that city. As the centuries go on, the city fades from collective memory. However, in the modern day, a team of Asian American archaeologists stumble upon the site and uncover the dual Chinese and Latin inscriptions.Overall this is a great watch for all Jackie Chan fanatics and for everyone who loves action films and historical epics with great action sequences. The good thing is, I was not bored and the pacing keeps me into it. Overall I’m pretty satisfied with it, and a must watch guilty pleasure.

REVIEW: THE BUTLER

CAST

Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)
Oprah Winfrey (Before Women Had Wings)
David Oyelowo (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Elijah Kelley (Take The Lead)
Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four)
David Banner (Black Snake Moan)
Mariah Carey (Glitter)
Terrence Howard (Iron Man)
Adriane Lenox (The Blind Side)
Yaya DaCosta (Ugly Betty)
Vanessa Redgrave (Mission: Impossible)
Clarence Williams III (Puprple Rain)
Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Jerry Maguire)
Lenny Kravitz (The Hunger Games)
Colman Domingo (Freedomland)
Robin Williams (The Crazy Ones)
James Marsden (Westworld
Minka Kelly (The Roommate)
Liev Schreiber (The 5th Wave)
Alan Rickman (Dogma)
John Cusack (Identity)
Jane Fonda (Barbarella)
Stephen Rider (Daredevil)
Danny Strong (Buffy)
Jesse Williams  (The Cabin In The Woods)
Nelsan Ellis (True Blood)

In 2009, an elderly Cecil Gaines recounts his life story, while waiting at the White House to meet the newly inaugurated president. In 1926, at the age of seven, Gaines is raised on a cotton plantation in Macon, Georgia, by his sharecropping parents. One day, the farm’s owner, Thomas Westfall, rapes Cecil’s mother, Hattie Pearl. Cecil’s father confronts Westfall, and is shot dead. Cecil is taken in by Annabeth Westfall, the estate’s caretaker and owner’s grandmother, who trains Cecil as a house servant.In 1937, at age eighteen, he leaves the plantation and his mother, who has been mute since the incident and presumably dies of old age by the time the plantation shuts down. In desperation from hunger, Cecil breaks into a hotel pastry shop, elects sympathy in the elderly master servant, Maynard, asks for a job and is, unexpectedly, hired. He learns advanced serving and mostly interpersonal skills from Maynard, who, after several years, recommends Cecil for a position in a Washington, D.C. hotel. While working at the D.C. hotel, Cecil meets and marries Gloria, and the couple has two sons: Louis and Charlie. In 1957, Cecil is hired by the White House during Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration. White House maître d’hôtel Freddie Fallows shows Cecil around, introducing him to head butler Carter Wilson and co-worker James Holloway. At the White House, Cecil witnesses Eisenhower’s reluctance to use troops to enforce school desegregation in the South, then his resolve to uphold the law by racially integrating Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas.The Gaines family celebrates Cecil’s new occupation with their neighbors, Howard and Gina. Louis, the elder son, becomes a first generation university student at Fisk University in Tennessee, although Cecil feels that the South is too volatile; he wanted Louis to enroll at Howard University instead. Louis joins a student program led by Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) activist James Lawson, which leads to a nonviolent sit-in at a segregated diner, where he is arrested. Furious, Cecil confronts Louis for disobeying him. Gloria, who feels that Cecil puts his job ahead of her, descends into alcoholism and an affair with the Gaines’s neighbor, Howard.In 1961, after John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, Louis and a dozen others are attacked by members of the Ku Klux Klan while on a freedom ride to Birmingham, Alabama. Louis is shown participating in the 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade, where dogs and water cannons were used to stop the marchers, one of the movement’s actions which inspired Kennedy to deliver a national address proposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Several months after the speech, Kennedy is assassinated. His successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, enacts the transformative legislation into law. As a goodwill gesture, Jackie Kennedy gives Cecil one of the former president’s neckties before she leaves the White House.Louis is later shown participating in the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement, which inspired Johnson to demand that Congress enact the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. Johnson also gives Cecil a tie bar. In the late 1960s, after civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, Louis visits and tells his family that he has joined the Black Panthers. Outraged, Cecil orders Louis and his girlfriend, Carol, to leave his house. Louis is soon arrested, and Carter bails him out. Cecil becomes aware of President Richard Nixon’s plans to suppress the movement.The Gaines’ other son, Charlie, confides to Louis that he plans to join the Army in the war in Vietnam. Louis announces that he won’t attend Charlie’s funeral if he is killed there because while Louis sees Americans as multiple races, Charlie sees the country as one race. A few months later, Charlie is killed and buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Louis does not attend. However, when the Black Panthers resort to violence in response to racial confrontations, Louis leaves the organization and returns to college, earning his master’s degree in political science and eventually running for a seat in Congress.Cecil repeatedly confronts his supervisor at the White House over the unequal pay and career advancement provided to the black White House staff. With President Ronald Reagan’s eventual support, Cecil prevails and his professional reputation grows to the point that he and his wife are invited by President and Nancy Reagan to be guests at a state dinner. At the dinner and afterwards, Cecil becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the class divisions in the White House. Finally, after witnessing Reagan’s refusal to support economic sanctions against Apartheid South Africa, Cecil resigns. Cecil and Gloria visit the defunct, abandoned Georgia plantation where he was raised. Gloria agitates for Cecil to mend his relationship with Louis. Realizing his son’s actions are heroic, Cecil joins Louis at a Free South Africa Movement protest against South African apartheid, and they are arrested and jailed together.In 2008, Gloria dies shortly before Barack Obama is elected as the nation’s first African-American president, a milestone which leaves Cecil and Louis in awe. Two months, two weeks and one day later, Cecil prepares to meet the newly inaugurated President at the White House, wearing the articles he had received from presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Stephen W. Rochon approaches Cecil and tells him the president is ready and prepares to show him the way to the Oval Office. Cecil tells him that he knows the way, and, as he walks down the hallway, the voices of presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson are heard, then President Barack Obama’s famous “Yes we can” quote is heard as Cecil walks through the doors of the Oval Office.Some superb performances here noteably from Forrest Whittaker giving one of his best performances as The Butler himself and Operah Winfrey giving her best performance ever as his loyal wife with excellent support from Terrance Howard and John Cusack, Robin Williams, James Marsden and Alan Rickman give good cameo appearances as presidents Nixon, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan respectively with Jane Fonda also appearing as Nancy Reagan. Yes it gets very sentimental but this is ultimately a powerful piece of filmmaking from Lee Daniels the director of Precious.