Every once in awhile, Hollywood puts out a movie that is true to history. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's usually cast in as unfavorable light as they can manage without completely distorting everything. This time, however, it's different.

Lincoln tells the story of the last few months of Abraham Lincoln's first term in office, from the time period shortly after his re-election in November of 1864 and his assassination in April of 1865. The film focuses mostly on efforts to pass the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the various political wranglings that were involved in that. With the closing of the Civil War afterward.

The cast for this movie was a who's who of Hollywood A-list actors who all filled their roles well, many looking the parts very closely from what I've been able to tell. The sets were all very well done, fitting the time period exactly as expected. For those of you expecting lots of flashy special effects and battle scenes, this isn't for you. Instead, you should expect to come to this movie and learn something about one of the greatest presidents this nation has known.

History buffs will derive the most enjoyment from the movie, and I suspect most of you readers here will thoroughly enjoy seeing it. I certainly did, and even though it's only a 2 1/2 hour long movie, it does the job of telling that history very well so there should be no disappointments.

It is my sincerest hope that this movie will also wake some people up about who was actually responsible for, and what the roots of much of the next 100 years of anger and hate in the United States was about in the South.

Needless to say, this movie gets one of my highest possible recommendations.

On the Horizon

December 14: The Hobbit. The 4th and presumed final installment of the Middle Earth saga. Assuming this is a complete feature and not merely the first part. A definite must see if you have any love for the Lord of the Rings.

A really long dry spell from there until May when you get Iron Man 3 (which I dunno, might suck) and the next Star Trek film following on from JJ Abrams reboot of the series in 2009. Which I for one will go see, because I am a huge Trek fan.

Assuming December 21st isn't the end of all time :P
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Nov 20, 2012 1:41 pm by Samson in: | 17 comment(s) [Closed]
Anonymous [Anon] said:
Comment #1 Nov 20, 2012 3:45 pm
Just FYI The Hobbit was confirmed as a 3 part movie series awhile back.

The three films names are
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Hobbit: There and Back Again,

Oh, I wasn't aware of that. Cool. I don't remember The Hobbit being quite that involved of a story, but I guess it must have been.

Sounds like a cool movie, Samson, and rather timely too since one of my son's just had to do a piece on Lincoln for school the other day actually... I wonder if Dwip'll agree about its historic accuracy though.

I'm a bit disappointed that Hollywood's decided even The Hobbit needs to be a trilogy, not surprised, just disappointed. I rather thought "There and back again" was the name Bilbo had given the book he was going to write about his adventures when he was talking to Frodo during their meeting in Fellowship of the Ring.. :shrug:

I could easily live without Iron Man 3, but I will be eagerly awaiting the next Star Trek too.

Less than three weeks left of the world as we know it, eh? ;)

Actually it would appear Jackson is the one who pushed for the trilogy. Apparently there's a lot more to "The Hobbit" than I remember, as in enough to properly justify having 3 full installments.

Considering Legolas has been caste (along with various other elves), I think they're probably also going to include the whole Mirkwood saga that Gandalf disappeared off to do that wasn't in The Hobbit itself (Games Workshop labelled it 'Fall of the Necromancer'). Which should include lots of awesome fighting scenes so I'm cool with it.

Well, now, that is interesting.. maybe it'll make up some for Hollywood's decision to turn a single book into a huge cash grab after making millions off the proceeding three books with a single movie for each.

Turns out it's still in theaters here, so I went. Fucking Christ the popcorn is expensive now.

Wasn't bad. Trailers made Daniel Day-Lewis sound whack, but he did an amazing job as Lincoln. Thought the writers went a bit too heavy on the resounding moral platitudes stuff, and that business with Mary Lincoln in the carriage broke straight on through to the other side of the fourth wall, and if only Frederick Douglass, but eh, I liked it. They did a good job on who Lincoln was, funny stories and all (the George Washington one is classic), and did good showing the joys of the spoils system.

Overall, pretty good. May or may not hand over a firstborn to go see Zero Dark Thirty soon, too. Haven't seen a movie in a theater since Inception. Kinda missed it.

Seems Lincoln is still in theaters around here too, so it'll be awhile yet before I can get to see it, because, yes, the popcorn, and everything else about the theater, is too expensive now. :shrug:

From what little I'd heard, I can't say that Zero Dark Thirty sounded very interesting to me, hope you enjoy it when you do see it.

Yeah, I went for just the ticket and a Coke, which ran about $12ish I think. Not sure if Lincoln was really worth the theater experience, but oh well.

As to Zero Dark Thirty, we'll see. With the exception of Generation Kill and Restrepo, I've avoided Hollywood's attempts at explaining our adventures of the last decade (and I've avoided the 9/11 fare zealously), but this one's made the news I read a fair bit for various reasons. So I'm a bit curious.

I'd love to be able to let my kids enjoy the theater experience once in awhile, but taking two adults and three kids to a movie, aside from the inherent hassles, is just way too expensive these days, even without the refreshments.

You'll have to let us know how it was, the review I read really turned me off from it, which a single review usually isn't enough to manage. :(

Count me among those wanting to know. What I've seen hasn't been enough to overcome my gut feeling that it isn't worth the money.

So Zero Dark Thirty was...ok. I suspect if, unlike me, you didn't already know a lot of what led up to the raid on OBL, you'll like this movie. If you do already know these things, watching it is sort of an exercise in timeline filling in the mode of "Oh, Camp Chapman. Wasn't there a suicide bomber there about this time in the...yep, that guy just blew up, so there was" and "Ok, they're landing the helicopters, and one of them goes into the wall" It fills all the requisite boxes - plucky and determined CIA agents, disturbing torture scenes that may or may not have yielded anything at all useful, non-torture scenes that do, a little bit of political wrangling, some fairly surprising explosions in the places I forget there were explosions, and a raid on a compound to top things off.

The trouble for me is that, insofar as I watched the news during most of this, most of it was too brief and compulsory for me. I've long since become slightly detached from what happened on 9/11, so all the moments meant to be emotional generally weren't for me, except for the 2005 London bombing, which happened 11 months after I lived there, directly in the middle of a place I used to go every day. That's a bit spooky. The rest is a bit more academic, and to return to the brief part, I can't help but feel that the whole thing would make a much better HBO series in the vein of Generation Kill or the like, or at the very least a very lengthy director's cut, because often what I know about the real events is much more interesting than what happened in the movie. One might start with Lawrence Wright's excellent The Looming Tower, go all the way back to the beginning, and work our way up. There's a lot of compelling human drama to be had there, and I'd be willing to bet we'll get there one of these days. For the moment, Zero Dark Thirty, while an interesting movie, ain't the one I think a lot of us want.

Also, man was that whole set of previews completely uninspiring.

There were a lot of complaints (including from John McCain) that the movie over emphasized the role of torture in uncovering Bin Laden's hideout and played down the fact that torture yielded a great deal of counter productive information along the way.

I won't judge because I haven't actually seen the movie, but I suspect I'd find a proper documentary on the process a lot more compelling than a movie on it.

emphasized the role of torture

Well it is how they got the information. You just gotta look it up on wiki leaks to see. :)

What a troll.

The torture scenes occupy, I dunno, 10-15 minutes of screen time in a 2.5 hour movie? Maybe a bit more?

Insofar as it's a complex subject that could have its own 2.5 hour movie made about it, I think they did a reasonably good if rather ambiguous portrayal - not only is the torture degrading to both the guy getting tortured as well as the torturers, you can make a pretty good case that what they actually got out of the guy wasn't particularly important on its own merits and may have even mislead them a bunch (of course, if you're pro-torture the film leaves room for you to make the opposite case).

Contra (as I so often am) McCain, it does seem to me that in a movie of this sort you have to in some way deal with the legacy of CIA black sites and torture, and insofar as my perspective is heavily anti-torture I think the film did an ok job of portraying without necessarily judging it one way or the other.

Milage on torture depictions in the film varies greatly. It's part of why I actually wanted to go see it, so I could make up my own mind about it.

Also, probably it is a better film than my initial review leads one to believe. Still not winning over sliced bread, and I'd seriously go for the HBO series, but not bad.

[edit] Other random thoughts:

- Me and this other guy brought popcorn into the movie. I had a medium bag, he brought the whole tub-sized one. I had about a handful of mine because I was starving, I'm pretty sure he stopped after the credits. It's a little hard to justify eating popcorn in a movie theater while you're watching a guy get starved and waterboarded. Funny how that works.

- Contrary to the dark tone and disturbing imagery of the film, I note that Jessica Chastain is extremely easy to look at. It's a strange dynamic sometimes.

- In thinking a bit further about the "movie about the US torturing guys" thing, I kind of hope someday we get something like McNamara's The Fog of War (a film I quite like for several reasons) on the subject, though with the Bush guys I find the idea rather unlikely.

In conclusion, I miss the 90s.

Edited by Dwip on Feb 1, 2013 12:40 am
- Me and this other guy brought popcorn into the movie. I had a medium bag, he brought the whole tub-sized one. I had about a handful of mine because I was starving, I'm pretty sure he stopped after the credits. It's a little hard to justify eating popcorn in a movie theater while you're watching a guy get starved and waterboarded. Funny how that works.

Funny you should mention this, I saw Saving Private Ryan at the cinema and had the very same experience, med popcorn, large coke, and after the first 5 mins of the movie, there was not a single person moving at all, no crunch of popcorn, no crackle of candy or chips. Just absolute silence other than the movie sounds.

Edited by The_Fury on Feb 1, 2013 12:48 am
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