Archive for November 25th, 2012

This week, I watched two movies – one old (on DVD) and one new (at the theater).  The old one was Die Hard #4: (officially) “Live Free Or Die Hard” (2007).  The new one was “Lincoln” (2012).
DH4 is the latest Bruce Willis super-cop fights terrorist bad-guys movie.  Basically, it follows the tried and true genre which DH1 (1988) created:  lots of action, people in danger, lots of gunfire, lots of explosions (even fake explosions) and, of course, the indestructible “John McClane” (Willis).  Now, some will dispute my assertion that DH1 “created” the genre – leaning towards “Lethal Weapon” (1987) as the start of the genre.  I’d say you have a valid argument, but to me, LW is more of buddy cop movie, than the lone cop against the whole terrorist gang.  Now the interesting thing is that DH4 is not strictly a lone cop movie any more (okay, DH3 wasn’t either).  McClane gains an unwilling partner, but it’s still basically Willis against the whole gang.
DH4 is much better than DH2 and DH3, mostly because it has moments of humor which make it a much more entertaining movie.  It’s not simply a string of explosions and shoot-em-ups (but it is mostly that, so you get your monies worth of bang).  Anyway, I admit to watching this movie and DH1 every couple of years and they are both terrific.  Actually, all four are very good films and well worth watching repeatedly if you enjoy this genre (and I do).  So, highly recommended!
The second film, “Lincoln“, I went to see with my oldest daughter, Rebecca.  She lives away from home, now, so I don’t get to spend as much time with Rebecca as I would like and usually when we are together, we’re talking politics.  I think we were both looking forward to seeing this movie because of our mutual interest in history and politics.  The movie is about the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in Congress just before the end of the American Civil War.  Now in all honesty, despite Abraham Lincoln being one of my favorite Presidents, I knew almost nothing about the passage of this Amendment.  This is the Amendment abolishing slavery in the United States.
The movie is a fairly typical Steven Spielberg direction / production – in other words – excellent!  The music, the pacing, the color, the imagery, the attention to period detail are all superb.  It seems highly probable to me that “Lincoln“, Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) will all be getting Oscar nominations and probably win.  I haven’t seen many great roles this year (or that many movies), but Day-Lewis is a lock (in my book) for the Best Actor nomination and award.
I found the vitriol in the House of Representatives to be amusing and interesting and certainly shed new insight into politics in our own life and times.  I also enjoyed the moments of humor, like when an exasperated cabinet member shouts, “Please, not another one of your stories!
If there are any criticisms of the movie, it’s that the movie ends predictably with the Amendments passage and with Lincoln’s assassination.  I guess there’s not much to be done about that though, as the movie is based on actual history and the Amendment did pass and the President was killed.  I guess Lincoln could have become a vampire slayer or something…  Nah!  Nobody would believe that.  (Or pay to go see it.)
In conclusion, this is one of the most enjoyable / educational movies I’ve seen in some time.  I walked away with even more respect for Abraham Lincoln.  Highly recommended!!

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When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?
     —    Sydney J. Harris
[I usually try to avoid being crude, but sometimes I can’t help myself…    —    KMAB]

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