Lincoln Review

“This isn’t usual. This is history.” This is arguably the most important moment in American History making this a completely necessary film. Not only was it a film the needed to be made, it was a fantastic film all around. Steven Spielberg tells an incredible interpretation of this powerful moment in our time and this is mostly in part to a flawless performance from the greatest actor living today as the titular, President Abraham Lincoln.

Stylistically, Spielberg doesn’t offer anything new or tricky, which works perfectly for the the film he was trying to make. What he does offer is simply a very straightforward and linear retelling of a historical event that deserved to be expressed in this, the greatest art form. Spielberg just does his job, does it well and allows his actors to do their job. You just have to expect greatness from Daniel Day-Lewis and yes it is his show and he is perfect in the role, but it’s also complete perdenent that I mention the other performances as well.

Sally Field does wonders as Lincoln’s neurotic wife, a performance that I feel must’ve been trying. John Hawkes, Tim Blake Nelson and James Spader play very well off of each other. Other great actors make up a fantastic supporting cast; Hal Holbrook, Jared Harris, Jackie Earle Haley, David Straihairn and even Joseph Gordon-Levitt is along for the carriage ride. Tommy Lee Jones is an actor who deserves undying praise for his vivid portrayal of Thaddeus Stevens.

Making a film is a collaborative project and in this case there were a lot of talented people collaborating, but it’s the performance of the Abraham Lincoln that makes this film truly extraordinary. Abraham Lincoln may be the most iconic historical figure ever and for him to justly be portrayed in a film would take an incredible performance. Daniel Day-Lewis offers that and more with a grand portrayal filled with subtleties and confident choices. He takes a great man, one we could only imagine actually being in the presence, and makes him utterly human.

Lincoln is just a great film through and through. It’s made by a man who still knows how to make a great film and it serves as a reminder and proof that Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest living actor. This is a film where the drama and climaxes come from decisions and conversations. It’s a tasteful and mature film meant to bring us to a time and place and to tell the tale of one of the most important points in American history. It was a film that needed to be made and it was incredible.

Grade: A

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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Review

Any time you make a sequel you run the risk of disappointing a lot of people. More often than not if you make a sequel the people who are watching it have seen and enjoyed the first one. You could make   one of those rare sequels that are actually better than the original, you could make one that’s right on par with the original or you could go the same route as Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and be very disappointing. I am an avid and of the first Sherlock Holmes movie and Guy Ritchie’s other films and I will say that with out a doubt, this is the worst Guy Ritchie film I’ve seen.

This was a film that I was very excited for. Unlike a lot of people I was actually a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes and what Guy Ritchie had done with the story and I couldn’t wait to see what he’d do with Holmes’ nemesis, Professor Moriarty. I was even excited about character actor Jared Harris playing Moriarty whose performance was the most redeeming quality of this film. Unfortunately, even a good villain wasn’t enough to save the rest of the film from falling a part.

Right from the beginning there was simply something off putting about the film and it went essentially nowhere compelling from there. A lot of it just felt like one extremely dull moment after another just to lead into another one generic action sequence after another. My favorite moments of the film were the scenes between Holmes and Moriarty especially a final climactic scene involving a game of chess. Unfortunately, the rest of the film was nearly captivating enough and the decently satisfying climax was not worth the wait.

Almost everything I enjoyed about the first one I found was overplayed and almost, at times, unbearable in this one. The chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law was there, but there relationship just became more accustomed to joke-telling than with actual character and story development. Worst of all though, I felt as though the female lead was just tossed into the film so that the film could have a female lead. Noomi Rapace did a fine job, but here character was about as unnecessary as this film.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows was just not a very enjoyable experience. Admittedly there were parts of the movie that were fun, but when you combine those scenes with the rest of the film you get two-hour movie that just simply was only worth the price of admission because it had the honor of showing a “The Dark Knight Rises” trailer before it. I can’t wait to watch Sherlock Holmes again because I find that a very excellent film, I can’t say the same about its sequel.

Grade: C