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Robin Williams, left, and Forest Whitaker star in “The Butler.”

Anne Marie Fox • Weinstein,

Short Circuits: 'Butler' on video, 'Flow' in games, Olloclip in gadgets

  • January 13, 2014 - 1:43 PM

Video

‘Butler’ tells one man’s story

Inspired by the true story of Eugene Allen, who served eight presidents during his tenure as a White House domestic, “The Butler” stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, who grows up amid Southern cotton fields, witnesses the systematic abuse of his parents and learns that one goes along to get along.

Director Lee Daniels trails Cecil through his near-slave childhood, a civil-rights movement that impassions one son, a Vietnam War that draws in another and an election that results in the first African-American president. What the film never settles on is a point of view: Is the subservience that makes Cecil a success as a butler something to be admired or decried?

The DVD and Blu-ray (Weinstein, $30-$40) include featurettes, deleted scenes, a gag reel and a music video.

Washington Post

Kristin Tillotson says: “The Butler” is ham-fisted, overreaching, melodramatic and, despite its flaws, worth the ride.

Also out Tuesday

Movies: “A.C.O.D.,” “Big Sur,” “Carrie,” “Enough Said,” “Fruitvale Station,” “I’m in Love With a Church Girl,” “Rewind This!” “Riddick,” “Short Term 12,” “A Single Shot,” “Spectacular Now,” “20 Feet From Stardom,” “You’re Next.”

TV: “Top Gear 20,” “The Universe in 3D.”

Blu-ray: “Blind Date,” “Buffalo ’66,” “A Chorus Line,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Rififi,” “Thief.”

Game

Engaging twist on puzzles

Whether you’re interested in sinking a lot of time into a game or just picking up something that can occupy you in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, Flow (free, plus in-app purchases, for iOS and Android devices) is worth a download.

The game is a simple twist on connect-the-dots: Players are faced with a grid of different-colored pairs of dots. The goal is to connect the right dots while filling up every square on the grid. It sounds easy — and is, at least in early levels — but quickly becomes a brain-twisting exercise in spatial thinking.

The app has a good number of levels, even in the free version, although users who aren’t interested in spending money on the app do have to deal with ads. But even that minor interruption doesn’t detract much from this delightful brainteaser.

Washington Post

Gadget

Clip-on lens for iPhone camera

The Olloclip 3-in-1 clip-on photo lens ($60-$70; www.olloclip.com ) works on the new iPhone 5s/5c as well as the 5/4/4s, converting your iPhone lens to a fisheye, wide-angle and macro lens all in one.

It clips on and off your phone in seconds. The wide-angle lens nearly doubles the widths of your phone’s view; the fisheye gives you close to a 180-degree view and the macro is a 10X magnification.

The lens weighs just 0.6 ounces, measures 1.5 by 1 by 1 inches. A cloth pouch is included for storage — and it’s handy for cleaning fingerprints off the lens.

Olloclip’s new 5c model comes in phone-matching colors of blue, green, pink, yellow and white.

McClatchy News Service

© 2014 Star Tribune