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Lincoln and Skyfall

Tweezers of Thu
Rivendell


Nov 20 2012, 2:27am


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Lincoln and Skyfall [In reply to] Can't Post

My latest movie viewing offered a wealth of Daniels, namely Daniel Day-Lewis and Daniel Craig.

Lincoln

The movie centers on the final months of Lincoln's presidency and his drive to pass the 13th amendment abolishing slavery and to end the American Civil War. Lincoln is an engaging political thrilled as the 16th President of the United States, the Radical Republicans and the Democrats of the House of Representative clash over the 13th.

Lincoln is also a character study, and DDL's portrayal of Lincoln is nothing short of extraordinary, but not surprising, considering his skill as a thespian. His carriage and diction, esp. his diction, were so convincing.

But it was the supporting cast who really made the movie: Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens (Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee) stole the show. David Strathairn as William Seward (Secretary of State) was suave and sly, his refinement a contrast to the more folksy (but obviously brilliant and cunning) Lincoln.

Although Sally Field's acting style occasionally grates on me (and it did at times here), she was a fantastic Mary Todd Lincoln. She gave a refreshingly sympathetic take on MTL: complex, vulnerable, wicked smart, and with just the right amount of neurosis for a woman who has endured so much. Gloria Reuben offered a sensitive portrayal of Elizabeth Keckley, MTL's trusted maid and confidante.

It was nice to see Hal Holbrook, the grand old statesman of historical portrayals (including Lincoln), cast as Preston Blair of the conservative wing of the Republicans (a very different political party then compared to the present).

And Lee Pace! Yes, King Thranduil goes to Washington. Pace was Fernando Wood, representative of NY and one of the Copperhead Democrats who opposed the 13th amendment. Pace is the fiery foil to TLJ's Stevens of the Radical Republicans. Oh, man, was their mud-slinging in the House ever eloquent!

My supporting cast favorites were James Spader as W.N. Bilbo (yes, a historical personage), John Hawkes (Deadwood, Winter's Bone) as Robert Latham, and Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) as Richard Schell. These three rapscallions were the 19th century equivalent to our political lobbyists. Their assistance was solicited to "influence" those Democrats who were on the fence by offering patronage jobs in exchange for an "aye" on the 13th.

There's one bloody battle scene at the beginning of the movie and a gruesome aftermath of another, but otherwise, this is not an action movie. Lincoln has its flaws. The pacing could have been improved a bit as it occasionally drags, but then again, I never looked at my watch during the 150 minute running time.

Skyfall

Speaking of action movies, Skyfall is one of the best Bond movies I have seen since the Sean Connery days. In fact, I would say it is The Best since then.

You're thrown right into it with an incredibly intense chase scene that opens the movie. Of course, one travels the globe, too: Turkey (a nod to From Russia With Love perhaps?), Shanghai, Macau, and Scotland.

Another very cool thing about Skyfall is that it has a distinctly British feel to it, if that makes any sense coming from an American like me who has visited the UK only once (so far). The magnificent Dame Judi Dench (stroke of brilliance in the Daniel Craig Bond films to cast her as M) contributes in part to this vibe as does Ralph Fiennes as Mallory, the head of foreign intelligence. I loved Ben Whishaw as the young whippersnapper, Q.

Javier Bardem made an excellent villain, and clearly relished his role. His Silvia is frighteningly smart, brilliantly mad; he reeks of danger. He definitely is not cut from the same cartoonish cloth as the villains from the Roger Moore franchise.

Yes, there are Bond Girls! Of course. There's the capable, cool Naomie Harris as 007's colleague, an agent in Her Majesty's Secret Service and the lovely Bérénice Marlohe as Sévérine.

And Daniel Craig? Enough said. Best Bond since Connery. No question in my mind.

In addition to plenty of action, the sly humor and the asides one expects from a good Bond flick were on hand, but there was a bit of sentimentality and even melancholy, too, e.g., the theme of growing older throughout (but never overdone) and that perhaps M's agents (including 007) and M herself had outlived their utility. There were wonderful nods to the original Bond films (no spoilers here), which were very fitting for the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise.

Well, this is a ludicrously long post, but hey, I really, really, really liked these two movies!



A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~~ Henry David Thoreau




(This post was edited by Tweezers of Thu on Nov 20 2012, 2:31am)

Subject User Time
What movies did you watch this weekend? Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Nov 19 2012, 6:08pm
    We watched "J.Edgar" Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Nov 19 2012, 6:46pm
    Coraline Elberbeth Send a private message to Elberbeth Nov 19 2012, 7:43pm
        We really like it too DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 19 2012, 8:31pm
        Yeah, my granddaughter sherlock Send a private message to sherlock Nov 21 2012, 10:27am
    revisiting Firefly/Serenity Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Nov 19 2012, 7:48pm
    I watched The Lovely Bones for the first time DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 19 2012, 7:55pm
        We had one near here recently Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Nov 19 2012, 8:07pm
            It's scary, isn't it. DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 19 2012, 8:35pm
                It's been quite a while since I read it, so I don't remember // Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Nov 19 2012, 8:57pm
                Yes, there is a part missed out Starling Send a private message to Starling Nov 20 2012, 5:03am
                    I will have a look Starling DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 20 2012, 7:53am
            I didn't know that. Ataahua Send a private message to Ataahua Nov 19 2012, 8:47pm
                It's called Lucky Starling Send a private message to Starling Nov 20 2012, 5:01am
        hmm i wasnt impressed with it imin Send a private message to imin Nov 19 2012, 10:31pm
            I agree with this: DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 20 2012, 7:52am
    Wreck-it Ralph dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Nov 19 2012, 10:15pm
        I have one of those, too! Tweezers of Thu Send a private message to Tweezers of Thu Nov 20 2012, 12:56pm
    Lincoln and Skyfall Tweezers of Thu Send a private message to Tweezers of Thu Nov 20 2012, 2:27am
        Couldn't be more true!!! wendy woo Send a private message to wendy woo Nov 20 2012, 6:54pm
        Agreed Sunflower Send a private message to Sunflower Nov 22 2012, 5:31am
            Thank you! squire Send a private message to squire Nov 22 2012, 4:56pm
    Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Nov 20 2012, 4:59am
    Secret State on Channel 4 imin Send a private message to imin Nov 20 2012, 10:31am
    The Amazing Spiderman and Ken Burns' The Dustbowl wendy woo Send a private message to wendy woo Nov 20 2012, 6:55pm
        PBS had some show on the Dust Bowl a few months back Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Nov 20 2012, 9:44pm
            Thanks, Magpie. I'll have to check this out. wendy woo Send a private message to wendy woo Nov 21 2012, 3:18am
                you know... Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Nov 21 2012, 5:44am
                    Have you read... Sunflower Send a private message to Sunflower Nov 22 2012, 4:59am
    "Hoot" Loresilme Send a private message to Loresilme Nov 20 2012, 7:28pm
    Jaws and Duel Starling Send a private message to Starling Nov 21 2012, 4:57am
    just got back from seeing Bourne Legacy Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Nov 21 2012, 5:48am
    Continuing with Castle sherlock Send a private message to sherlock Nov 21 2012, 10:30am
    The Messenger... batik Send a private message to batik Nov 23 2012, 8:13pm
    Lincoln, Argo, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook Aragorn the Elfstone Send a private message to Aragorn the Elfstone Nov 24 2012, 3:55am

 
 
 

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