Archives for posts with tag: Forest Whitaker

In “Taken,” his daughter (Maggie Grace) went missing.  In “Taken 2,” his daughter and wife (Famke Janssen) went missing.  In “Taken 3,” his wife goes missing.   If “Taken 4” gets made, what will be missing…the audience?  This series is getting old, and so is Liam Neeson, the star of the “Taken” movies.  Don’t get me wrong, I like older characters — I have more common with them since I’m no Spring chicken myself.  But Neeson — despite the fancy, quick editing during his fight scenes — sometimes looks slow and tired (and I’m not talking about fight scenes when his character is injured).

Okay, here’s the quickie of the story: Janssen is killed and Neeson is framed for the murder.  Neeson goes on the run, beating the hell out of the LAPD and causing dozens of car crashes as he solves the puzzle of who killed his ex-wife and why.  The audience is sent on a wild ride (made more wild with the overuse of fast cutting and a camera so shaky I wondered if the cameraman had Parkinson’s Disease) as we get closer to the end and the truth, which thankfully had some decent plot twists to keep the movie from becoming too predictable.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Taken 3” is **SPOILER ALERT** the scene near the end when Neeson has proven his innocence and he is having a conversation with Forest Whitaker, who plays a cop in charge of Janssen’s murder investigation.  Whitaker lets Neeson go but asks that he doesn’t leave the city in case he has further questions.  Are you kidding!  Neeson put a lot of cops in the hospital, directly caused high speed car chases that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage and probably dozens injured if not dead — I know he’s a white guy, but come on!  I’m calling shenanigans!

Overall, “Taken 3” is worthy of taking 109 minutes of your time.  For those who have seen the first two movies, you may as well finish the trilogy; Liam Neeson is a likeable actor who plays a likeable character; the movie moves fast and has lots of action to keep you awake; and there is a big gunfight where a bad guy has a big gun but no pants.

— M

 

I write this a little high from the Johnnie Walker Double Black I drank with dinner, so if my writing is a bit off, hey, now you know why.  “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” is based on a true story (my definition of “based on a true story” is 10% is true and 90% is Hollywood b.s.) of a black man who served as a butler in the White House from the Eisenhower administration to the Reagan administration.

Forest Whitaker plays this butler, and we see him growing up in the South where blacks are brutalized on a regular basis.  Those years have formed much of his attitude on how to live his life: work hard, don’t rock the boat, don’t fight white society, and make yourself useful and non-threatening to white people.   Whitaker moves up North and winds up working in the White House; and through his eyes we see the plight of black people in America as they fight for their right to be treated equally with whites.

Whitaker, of course, doesn’t do much regarding the Civil Rights protests; but his son, played by David Oyelowo, bravely puts himself in harm’s way as he fights for better treatment of blacks in America.  The different natures of father and son are striking.  Each are set in their ways on how to live life.   One is happy with the status quo, wanting to play it safe.  The other wants more, and will not tolerate the oppression his father went through.  Their differing views tears them apart, and it is hard to watch because Whitaker and Oyelowo love each other but each has taken a hard line stance on what should be done.   There is no middle ground.  Not yet.

“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” is a movie that is worthy of your time.   It pulls no punches regarding the atrocities America has committed against black people; and it offers hope.  The acting, the story, and the direction are all solid.  Entertaining as well as educational.

One of my most memorable, movie moments of “…The Butler” is the sequence when Martin Luther King Jr. is educating Oyelowo on why he should be proud of Whitaker.  King states that butlers shouldn’t be seen as Uncle Toms; but as another way black people can be viewed positively by whites.  A good butler works hard, speaks more eloquently than the ones working in the fields, is trusted with the household, and sometimes has the ear of his white boss.   In other words, a butler can be more subversive than the Civil Rights marchers.

Another memorable moment of this movie is the scene when Lyndon B. Johnson is making a speech on t.v. regarding the plight of the Negroes.   Cuba Gooding Jr. says something like, “since when did we become Negroes?  That nigger says nigger more than I do!”

My most memorable, movie moment of “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” is the scene when a bus full of Civil Rights protestors are trapped by the KKK, and the windows are smashed and a Klansman throws a molotov cocktail inside the bus, killing many within.  It’s an extremely horrifying scene, and it is a great reminder of the sacrifices and suffering many have made and endured so that we can have the rights we enjoy today.

So, my fellow Americans, don’t be too hasty in giving up your rights in exchange for promises of safety.  Our right to speak our mind, our right to unreasonable search and seizure, our right to a fair trial, our right to vote, our right to keep and bear arms, our right to protest…we have these rights because so many people fought and suffered and died to get them.    Don’t give them away, because you may not get them back.

M

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