Back in the theater again and this time it's for the 2 hour and 29 minute Biopic, 'Lincoln'.
Steven Spielberg lays down a masterful direction in cinematography while also directing Daniel Day-Lewis in what might very well be an academy award winning performance in his role as Abraham Lincoln. The film focuses on the 16th President's event filled final months in office prior to his assasination. A time when the United States was divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues action designed to end the war, unite the country and end slavery. It is worth noting for those who may not be so familiar with Lincoln's legacy, that these moments chronicled in this story are the footholds for which human rights and social equality for all minorities in the United States evolved this means Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander and even White women. This was beginning of the better life as we know it today. Its weight of significance is worth taking the time to watch, wonder and understand the sequence of events as portrayed in this film.
For those students of the great President you are aware of his thin voice and his occassional comedic demeanor intertwined with ocassional anecdotes used to illustrate his point of view. All of this was brilliantly and convincingly displayed in Daniel Day Lewis' performance. If you don't recognize Danny Boy you might remember him for his role as Bill the Butcher Cunnings in Gangs of New York.
At times one might get lost in the legalese of 'House' proceedings but if you can sift through those formalities and context of speech of the time it is very entertaining and engaging. However, if you are looking for a war time movie with lots of explosions blood and guts this movie does it's best to serve up a modest portion of such scenes but rather sticks to the back room conversations that lead to the climactic vote abolishing of slavery.
What was most noticeably missing in the film is the influence of African-Americans themselves in this process. It was expecially noticeable that Frederick Douglas was not even mentioned in the movie for reasons not given. However, it appeared that Steven Speilberg chose to focus on Lincoln himself and his wielding of the law to teeter the words of the constitution in his favor long enough to pass the amendment. Without a doubt, although he appeared doubtful and apprehensive at several turns, Abraham Lincoln had game and may have been the only man with enough knowledge and passion to pull it off.
It's also worth noting the time period the film was depicting and this movie is just a short clip of Abraham life. In order to get the full story of Abe the man it's necessary to pick up several books. His views changed as he gained experience as a human being, a man and a politician.
Overall the film serves as an eye opener to the process of law and how our country began to take form in the light of human rights. I was amazed that I was the only African-American in the theater as it seems that more of us would have wanted to get a glimpse of the sequence of events that brought us to realize our freedom in this country projected on the big screen. I couldn't help but think that if this was a Madea movie the theater would have filled more than our fair share. Just something to think on.
In closing the movie was excellently done but may be a bit difficult to stomach at its 2 hour and 29 minute time length. The House proceedings may also be over the head of many movie goers. The story line is great and the cinematography is best suited for the movie theater so for this reason we rate the movie in a manner we have never done before. We give it both a "Pay Full Price" rating and a "Wait for DVD" rating. The movie is excellent. It's just the pace and vocabulary of the period may be slow for some to absorb so that rewind button may give you a chance absorb the movie in it's entirety.
Vampire Hunter Abraham Lincoln (2012)
Now this is a movie that our audience can sink their teeth into. (Pun intended).
In sharp contrast to the Biopic film 'Lincoln' we have a SciFi thriller set in the perod prior to Lincoln's Presidency.
It is so very easy to get excited about a Tim Burton-produced film called "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." It's home to some raw bloody visuals, especially those of the 16th U.S. president (played by a slightly wooden Benjamin Walker) carrying out hisdouble life as an angst-filled, trench coat-wearing vampire hunter. The plot here is one of revenge. A young Lincoln loses his mother to a gang of vampires — but not before she tells him that "until everyone is free, we are all slaves." Lincoln fails at his first attempt to avenge her death, which came at the hands of vampire citizen Jack Barts (Martin Csokas). But when he's taught the vampire-hunting trade by the refined Henry (Dominic Cooper), Lincoln moves to Springfield, Ill., to begin his new life. Lincoln works in a store by day, studying law between customers, and slays vampires by night. In the process, he meets Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), discovers politics, rekindles a childhood friendship with Will (Anthony Mackie) and later packs away his ax after becoming president. The film is more action than horror, and were it not for a spectacle-filled sequence at the end — involving a train heist, a humans-vs.-vampire battle and a blinding bridge fire — it would be a hard recommendation. But because there is an eye for action-filled fantasy, this film has its own superficial, mostly visual merits. A hand-to-hand combat fight carried out in a field of charging mustangs? A reimagining of the Civil War with undead, zombie-like soldiers making up the Confederate Army, dropping their guns on the battlefield and charging their Union enemies with only bared teeth? And a train heist with double- and triple-crossings, flittering fireflies, bloodthirsty vampires and a life-threatening fire? This "Vampire Hunter" has nothing to do with history but has everything to do with its intoxicating visuals, and for many Hip Hop moviegoers, that's more than enough.