Left to his own devices Lee Daniels makes films that are eccentric and sometimes just way the hell out there. (The Paperboy) But he has called his newest film, The Butler, “a big compromise” and explained that the film might be “the closest I will come to as a work-for-hire.” Does that mean that, on the relative scale of whackadoo films, The Butler will be far closer to “normal” than anything else he’s made?

Hard to say at this point, but the first trailer suggests that there’s some weird stuff going on here. There’s the parade of cameo players appearing as a string of US Presidents. Among them is John Cusack‘s turn as Richard Nixon, which is… interesting. Then there’s Alex Pettyfer playing an uber-douchebag cotton farm overseer, and the digital effects and makeup that shave a few decades off lead Forest Whitaker in some scenes.

Whitaker plays Cecil Gaines, who served several different President as the White House butler, and the trailer suggests the film traces his entire life story, using it to frame the sweep of the civil rights movement. It’s a good story, but this trailer looks a lot like a parody that might show up on SNL. So we’ll see — maybe The Butler will be just as crazy as the rest of Daniels’ work. Read More »


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The pilot casting blitz isn’t over yet. Also after the jump:

  • Kristen Wiig‘s Arrested Development role revealed
  • Yeah, NBC is probably going to cancel Up All Night
  • HBO decides not to go with James Gandolfini‘s pilot
  • HBO’s cancelled drama Luck finds new life as a blog
  • Survey says House of Cards is a success for Netflix
  • Nerdist’s Celebrity Bowling could head to AMC
  • Judd Apatow‘s Simpsons script is getting a rewrite
  • Watch the full-length trailer for A&E’s Bates Motel

Read More »

Fall doesn’t technically start for another three weeks, but we all know Labor Day is the unofficial turn of the season. In this very late summer edition of TV Bits:

  • MTV announces Jersey Shore will end after Season 6
  • Robin Williams could return to TV with David E. Kelley
  • Jorge Garcia lands a guest spot on Once Upon a Time
  • Yes, Judy Greer will return to Arrested Development
  • And yes, Mike Schur‘s Mose will appear on The Farm
  • NBC has a sneak peak tour planned for Revolution
  • New details emerge on Psycho prequel Bates Motel
  • See stars hanging out on the set of NBC’s Hannibal
  • Alan Ball‘s Cinemax series Banshee gets a teaser
  • American Horror Story teaser finally shows the cast

Read More »

38 years after The Godfather Part IIRobert De Niro and Diane Keaton are sharing the screen once again in the The Big Wedding. Don’t expect another all-time cinematic classic, however — this one looks somewhere between “forgettable” and “downright awful.”

De Niro and Keaton play a long-divorced couple who, by some contrived movie logic, are forced to pretend they’re still married for the duration of their adopted son’s (Ben Barnes) wedding. Topher Grace and Katherine Heigl play their other kids, Amanda Seyfried is Barnes’ blushing bride, Robin Williams a priest, and Susan Sarandon De Niro’s new wife. Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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Precious director Lee Daniels is putting together The Butler, and he’s handing Robin Williams a razor before signing him on to the film. Williams is now set to play former President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the movie, which traces the true story of Eugene Allen, who served in the White House for three decades, through eight presidencies. This will be Williams’ second Presidential turn, after playing a fanciful version of Teddy Roosevelt in the Night at the Museum films. It also appears to be part of one of those good stretches Williams hits every once in while, where he goes for gigs that are more serious than broad. Read More »

The surviving members of the Monty Python troupe —  John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin — have very rarely appeared as Monty Python since the death of Graham Chapman in 1989.

But the five actors have shown up together in various configurations in a few projects over the years. Now a new one is brewing: Absolutely Anything, a hybrid live-action/CG sci-fi farce that is planning to feature the living Pythons as “a group of aliens who endow an earthling with the power to do “absolutely anything” to see what a mess he’ll make of things.” Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

When eight-time Oscar host Billy Crystal stepped up to take over the hosting duties of the 84th Academy Awards after Eddie Murphy and producer Brett Ratner’s departure, he seemed like a safe choice and one unlikely to bring the Oscars the new audience it seeks.

However, it looks like the Academy hasn’t given up hope on drawing in the younger demographic just yet. The first trailer for the Oscars has now hit the web, and it’s a parodic Funny or Die piece starring Josh Duhamel and Megan Fox as a pair of agents trotting around the globe in search of the elusive Crystal. William Fichtner, Vinnie Jones, and Robin Williams also appear. Watch it after the jump.

Read More »

I’m not indiscriminately against sequels, but for every X-Men: First Class, Kung Fu Panda 2, or Fast Five, there’s a The Hangover Part II, a Transformers: Dark of the Moon, or a Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. And while it’s admittedly unfair to jump to conclusions about movies before they’ve even entered production, the sequels we’re talking about today aren’t exactly at the top of my most-anticipated list. After the jump, read about:

  • Grown Ups 2, the follow-up to last year’s Happy Madison comedy
  • The Lincoln Lawyer 2 — and yes, that’s in addition to the upcoming TV series also based on the same source material
  • Journey 3, a sequel to next February’s Journey 2
  • and The Birdcage 2, fifteen years after the first Birdcage

Read More »

The first trailer for Happy Feet Two was the epitome of the word “teaser.” It was little more than a bunch of penguins dancing in unison to Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back. With the film’s release date now just over a month out, Warner Bros. has finally released a full, theatrical trailer that not only gives us an idea of the story also samples the almost mind-blowingly impressive voice cast this time around (Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Hank Azaria, Sofia Vergara, Pink, Hugo Weaving). Plus, it proves that these Happy Feet movies are about much more than dancing. Don’t worry, though. There’s still plenty of dancing. Check it out after the jump. Read More »