Tag Archives: steven spielberg

Marcus Reviews Lincoln

18 Nov

Synopsis:

Steven Spielberg directs Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office. In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.

What I Liked:

Daniel Day Lewis is absolutely phenomenal in this. He was so good in fact that every time he appeared on screen and spoke, everyone else suddenly felt irrelevant which is very rare. Lewis portrayed Lincoln as an idealist that was as stubborn as he was ambitious, a man of the people proficient in anecdotal stories and a conflicted commander & chief in warring times with ease. His Lincoln was towering in height but with a frail physique and a gentle voice that spoke powerful words. To date this is the most amazingly human portrayal of a person of power that I can remember seeing. I’d honestly be shocked and upset if Lewis didn’t get the Oscar for his role here.

Steven Spielberg did a wonderful job at scaling back his more extravagant tendencies and really capturing the more intimate moments in this film. There were a lot of lingering close ups or occasional pregnant pauses that really forced you to get wrapped up in whatever emotion that the scene was trying to convey whether it be dour or lighthearted. The movie worked the best in those isolated moments.

The supporting cast was stacked with young up and comers and Hollywood veterans and while most of them were only in the movie for a scene or two, there were several who were truly able to stand out when not getting eclipsed by Lewis’ performance. The most notable of which were Sally Field as Lincoln’s unstable yet fiery & supportive wife, David Strathairn as conflicted & skeptical secretary of state, James Spader in a hilarious turn as one of four Democratic operatives that Lincoln hires to garner votes for the amendment and last but certainly not least, Tommy Lee Jones as a hardnosed Congressman who can turn a phrase as well as he can sling an insult. While ultimately this is definitely Lewis’ film, for the most part the supporting cast give the film some color & levity as well as provide Lewis with energy to feed off of.

With a strong message that is all too familiar to anyone who went to school in this country, the movie does a great job at making not only Lincoln but also the 13th Amendment feel as though we’re learning about them for the first time and it never once shoves them down our throats. I give credit to Lewis & Spielberg once again for that because I feel as though a director and actor of lesser talent wouldn’t have been able to pull that off.

Movie score legend & frequent Spielberg collaborator, John Williams provides yet another sweeping score that actually adds to the impact of the film without being heavy handed and patronizing like his War Horse score.

What I Didn’t Like:

Though the film does an amazing job painting Lincoln as a layered individual, I feel like the ball was dropped when it came time to portray him as a family man. Not enough time was spent examining the relationships in his household in my eyes and because of that Mary Todd Lincoln’s grief came off as unwarranted at times and Joseph Gordon Levitt was wasted in his role as Robert Todd Lincoln who we barely even get to know.

The dialogue in this film is very true to the time period and because of that some of the phrases and quips were completely lost on me. I’m not saying that this is a fault of the film though so much as an element of the film that made it a bit difficult to understand at times.

Due to the intimate and somewhat meditative nature of the film, at times it became a bit plodding and felt overlong. Looking back over the film there were just some scenes that didn’t feel needed in the grand scheme of things.

I felt that Lincoln’s death was handled terribly. For a movie that’s so intimate and candid, the death and its aftermath were very impersonal and detached. It’s not like I was expecting them to show every detail but they could’ve given us more than they did to really drive home how horrible of an event in history that it was.

I could’ve sworn there was a moment where there was a shot of the modern day White House.

Overall:

Lincoln is a very powerful film, a flawed film, but a powerful one nonetheless. In my eyes Spielberg’s best work lies in his fantasy/sci-fi films but every now and then he’s able to bring his signature charm and awe to a historical property and breath new life into it as he’s done here. It’s not paced as cleanly as it could’ve been which results in it becoming plodding in some places but it still manages to be a film that’s a charming & witty as it is informative & insightful. The supporting cast does a great job at filling out the film, the score is strong, as is the script, but at the end of the day it’s Daniel Day Lewis who is truly responsible for this film’s brilliance. Lewis provides us with a truly majestic performance that the rest of the film doesn’t quite match up to and I honestly believe that if a lesser actor were to have been at the head of this film, it would not have been as strong. Nevertheless, at the end of the day Lincoln is a fine film that enjoyed greatly. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it got Spielberg yet another Oscar nod (if War Horse got him one then this definitely will) and quite possibly give Lewis his 3rd Academy Award for Best Actor. I’m not sure if I’d recommend this to the masses (most of you are probably gonna see Twilight this weekend anyway if you haven’t already) but if you’ve got 2 & a half hours to spare and you’re looking for an enriching film experience then by all means go see Lincoln.

 

Rating: B+

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PCP Episode 081: Steven Spielberg

22 Aug

He’s…made…so…many,,,movies. We were so excited about the idea of doing this episode, but this many hasn’t not taken a break since he didn’t have money. You know the man’s name and so many of the movies, TV shows and even games that he’s made. Why feign a description. Jaws, Close Encounters, Indiana Jones, ET, The Color Purple, Hook, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan…the list does in fact go on. Listen, laugh, learn and may we all bask in the arguably the most impressive resume in Hollywood.

PCP’s Weekly Dose: Movie Marketing

19 Mar

We talk about a good variety of subjects this time around with little in the way of method to tie things together. This should be of little surprise to any of you, but maybe we’ve got some newbies. We talk Scalped, whether or not Hugo is for kids, the black guy that dies first, how studios sell some movies and notable flops. That last part leads to an extended discussion on Disney’s John Carter as well as Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Spike Lee and how you can’t tell some fans nothing. Be sure to return for 068: BioWare