Richard Roeper Blog

Archive for August, 2013

REVIEW: ‘The Butler’ moves gracefully through history

Friday, August 16th, 2013

By the time Jane Fonda shows up as Nancy Reagan and we realize that’s Alan Rickman beneath the makeup playing Ronald Reagan in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” we’ve been conditioned to expect the unexpected.

This movie has one of the most astonishing casts of any film I’ve ever seen — and I mean that mostly in a good way.

More on all that later. “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” — and we have to use that cumbersome title due to a legal dispute that prevented the studio from calling this “The Butler”— is a sweeping, often deeply moving look at race relations in 20th-century America as seen through the prism of a man that served in the White House from the Truman administration through the Reagan years.

Forest Whitaker gives one of the signature performances of his brilliant career as the title character. Playing his wife, Oprah Winfrey deserves award consideration for the rich, nuanced work she does in her first role on the big screen in more than a decade.

“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” is inspired by the true story of Eugene Allen, whose 30-plus years in the White House were chronicled in a 2008 Washington Post article. In this highly fictionalized version, the butler is named Cecil Gaines, who endures unspeakable horrors as a child on a cotton farm in the South in the 1920s, runs off as soon as he’s old enough, and through a series of convenient turns of fate and a lot of hard work, finds himself in tuxedo and white gloves in the White House…



Friday, August 16th, 2013

Donald Glover’s short film

Friday, August 16th, 2013

TRAILER: ‘300: Rise of an Empire’

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

See Cory Monteith in ‘McCanick’ Trailer

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Angelina Jolie talks ‘Maleficent’ at Disney expo

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Vanessa Hudgens: “Mad Respect” for Pole Dancers

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

The former Disney star talks going to strip clubs to research role … CLICK HERE 

REVIEW: “The Spectacular Now”

Monday, August 12th, 2013

I’m Richard Roeper and coming up next, I’ll tell you why “TheSpectacular Now” just might be the best movie you’ll see this summer.

If I’m making a list of the best coming of age movies of the last few decades, I’d include “Say Anything,” “The Breakfast Club” “ThePerks of Being a Wallflower”—and “The Spectacular Now.”

Here is that rare movie that captures what it’s like to be a high school senior—and for once, the adults aren’t caricatures or comic foils. We feel as if we’re eavesdropping on real, funny, heartbreaking, uplifting life.

Miles Teller plays Sutter Keeley, a popular senior who’s been havingthe time of his life for four years. But then Sutter gets dumped by his girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson). Cassidy still loves him but is alarmed by his lack of ambition and his constant drinking.

Enter Aimee Finicky, played by Shailene Woodley. Aimee’s a sweet, smart, shy girl who finds Sutter passed out on a front lawn and is relieved to learn he’s not dead.

It doesn’t take Sutter long to long to see Aimee’s potential. She’s selfless, she’s quirky, she’s intelligent. She’s honest. Never has a teenager in the movies said “Awesome!” so many times without it ever sounding anything but…awesome.

What beautiful work by Shailene Woodley, who announced her star presence as George Clooney’s daughter in “The Descendants.” It’s a nomination-worthy performance.

We also get terrific supporting turns from Kyle Chandler as Sutter’s estranged father…Jennifer Jason-Leigh as his mother…and Bob Odenkirk as his boss, who genuinely cares about Sutter’s future.

What’s so remarkable about this movie is the natural, unforced feel to scenes big and small. “The Spectacular Now” will bring you back to that time in your life when you were trying to soak in every moment because everyone told you there’s better than your last year in high school—but you were terrified because you were afraid everyone was right.

Here is the best American movie of the year so far. I give it an A+.

“Wiffle for a Diffle” at Wrigley Field

Monday, August 12th, 2013

All suited up


Jenny McCarthy in the Home Run Derby


Former Cub Moises Alou


Matthew Perry


Bill Murray


Roe and I

This is where I hid my keys and phone


Up to bat!

‘No Mitt, no problem’

Saying hello to all in stands



REVIEW: “Elysium”

Friday, August 9th, 2013

I’m Richard Roeper and coming up next, Matt Damon will do anything to save his life and Jodie Foster will do anything to preserve her way of life. My review of “Elysium,” next.

The Summer of Futuristic Doom continues with “Elysium,” written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, who showed such great promise with the claptrap minor classic “District 9.” It’s terrific entertainment, even though it does feature one of the worst performances every given by a multiple Oscar winner.

Earth has become a vast wasteland of pollution and corruption, with the .001 percent having fled to a Utopian space station that hovers above the planet like a second, heavenly, taunting moon.

Meanwhile, Earth is essentially a slave colony, run by heartless bureaucrats from Elysium that occasionally visit the filthy planet, which is monitored by droid police.

Matt Damon’s as good as anyone’s ever been at playing the anti-hero, and he’s true to form as our guy here, who gets knocked down again and again but keeps getting up.

After Max is exposed to a dose of radiation that will kill him in five days, he agrees to take on a seemingly impossible mission that will take him up to Elysium and those magical machines that can cure anything.

Which brings us to Foster’s Defense Secretary Delacourt. I don’t what Foster was going for here, but she has a ridiculous accent and a wooden way with the dialogue. It’s so bad it’s oddly compelling.

If you thought “District 9” was a thinly veiled allegory about apartheid, “Elysium” is a thinly veiled allegory about nearly every environmental, political and social issue imaginable. Subtlety isn’t on the menu.

There are a lot of unanswered questions and more than a few missed opportunities. I would have liked to see much more about life on Elysium. But we get some brutally effective action sequences, a few genuinely touching moments and some badass special effects.

This is one of the better action films of the year. I give “Elysium” an A-.

©2015 Richard Roeper. All Right Reserved
Powered by
Web site design and development by