This week we watched Stephen Spielberg’s latest, Lincoln.
Daniel Day-Lewis stars as the 16th president, heading up an all-star cast that includes Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln and Tommy Lee Jones as abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens. The film focuses on Lincoln’s efforts in his second term to end the Civil War and amend the constitution to prohibit slavery.
Ryan: Even though Lincoln is a Spielberg movie with a two-time Oscar winner playing Abraham Lincoln, I still approached the film with some degree of trepidation. Lincoln is such an iconic American historical figure (arguably the greatest president) that his legacy is open to boundless myth-making that ends up making him seem unreal. Hollywood has a robust history of phony myth-making when it comes to historical drama. So that was my concern. But pleasantly I can report that Lincoln is more grounded than I anticipated and because of that I highly recommend the movie. It’s one of the year’s best.
Andy: Spielberg has had a rough time of it the last decade or so, with several sub-par outings in the director’s chair (War of the Worlds, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). Because of this, I was also apprehensive of Spielberg’s helming a film about our greatest president. And even though he still has trouble knowing when to stop telling the story, Lincoln is a great achievement. It tells a story of political jockeying between the president and congress that seems highly relevant in today’s political climate. Furthermore, it does a great job of humanizing not only the iconic man, but one of the most analyzed parts of American History.
Ryan: I do like how Spielberg approached Lincoln. There’s absolutely no conceivable way that one could create a biopic about Lincoln’s entire life in a standard movie’s time. It works well for the film’s benefit to concentrate solely on one major event as opposed to trying to pack everything into one film. By focusing on the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in the House of Representatives, Spielberg allows the mechanics of that moment to symbolize what Abraham Lincoln was all about.
Andy: For all of Spielberg’s influence on this movie, it’s all about Daniel Day-Lewis. Once you get past the physical similarities, it is striking how Lewis is able to break some of the stereotypes of the Lincoln myth to create a real and believable human being. Lewis’ Lincoln frequently interrupts important meetings and vital discussions with his high-pitched, frontier drawl spinning yarn from his past. The stories are almost always a little goofy, and they always end with a piece of home-spun wisdom that brings clarity to the debate at hand. Lewis always pauses at key moments of the story, changing pace to keep the audience interested and to frame the key points of his story. This is not the booming oration that we frequently attach historically to Lincoln; this is a real guy from southern Indiana, who happened to be the right person at the right time to lead our nation through its most trying time.
Ryan: For lack of a better metaphor this is how I would describe Daniel Day-Lewis brilliant performance as Abraham Lincoln. It’s not outwardly flashy; it’s not Nolan Ryan pumping 100 mph fastballs down the plate en route to a 17 strikeout no-hitter. In my estimation it’s Greg Maddux changing speeds on the way to a complete game shutout with only 78 pitches thrown.
Both results are the same and both results are noteworthy but I would argue that in Maddux’s case his performance showed an artistry of pitching that was rarely seen yet extremely graceful. That is how I would classify Day-Lewis’ performance as Lincoln — a master craftsman displaying his skill in the most beautiful manner possible.
Lincoln is a great film that has some composition problems that are overshadowed by the masterful performance of Daniel Day-Lewis. Final grade: A-.
This week we watched Stephen Spielberg’s latest, Lincoln.
Movie preview: “300: Rise of An Empire”
Plot: Greek general Themistokles assembles his troops to fend off an invading Persian army led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes and the vindictive Persian navy commander Artemisia in this sequel to “300” based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller.
Movie preview: “Mr. Peabody And Sherman”
Plot: “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” time-travelers Mr. Peabody and his adopted human sidekick, Sherman, strike out on their own for a big-screen CGI adventure in this comical feature through the defining moments of world history.
- 'Non-Stop' is a non-starter Ever since 2008's "Taken" I've been a sucker for Liam Neeson action movies. By some accounts, that 2008 actioner largely redefined Neeson's career, adding an unexpected layer to his reputation as a serious, Academy Award-nominated actor. "Taken" cert
- New arrivals at Library Non-fiction Smarter by Dan Hurley The Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson The Triple Package by Amy Chua The Love Playbook by La La Anthony Fukushima by David A. Lochbaum McGraw Hills Tasc by Kathy A. Zahler Cured by Nathalia Holt Authentic Aroma
Movie preview: “Non-Stop”
Plot: U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the airline to transfer $150 million into an offshore account, or a passenger will die every 20 minutes.
Movie preview: “Son Of God”
Plot: Told with the scope and scale of an action epic, the larger-than-life story of The New Testament gets a larger-than life treatment that spans the life of Jesus from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection.
- 'Robocop' 2014 works hard to forge unique legacy GREENSBURG -- Critics have been split over "Robocop," a remake of a beloved 1987 film of the same name directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Peter Weller. As such, I went in uncertain what to expect, but walked out convinced that the original's acc
- The Movie Boys predict the Oscar winners, handicap the field The 86th Annual Academy Awards air at 8 p.m. this Sunday on ABC. Here are our predictions in the six main categories: Best Supporting Actress: Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine); Julia Roberts (August: Osage County); Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave); Jenn
- The Book Worm: The Judas Strain: A Sigma Force Novel by James Rollins GREENSBURG - This week, I will be reviewing The Judas Strain: A Sigma Force Novel by James Rollins. I came upon this book by chance. I was in a used book store a few years ago and the cover and title happened to catch my eye enough to make me pick i
- Makin' Bacon Why do I write so many columns poking fun at magazines? I have skewered Handyman magazine, Storage Solutions and Muscle Fitness, to name a few. This is because each month when I go to refill my cholesterol medicines at the pharmacy I have to walk p
- More Entertainment Headlines
- Movie preview: “300: Rise of An Empire”