Monday, April 29

Lincoln: Now On Demand & On DVD

The Film Fatales, a couple of New York yanks, court President Lincoln.

NOW ON DEMAND & ON DVD. 2012. 150 mins. Starring Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones and David Strathairn. Screenplay by Tony Kushner. Directed by Steven Spielberg.
As the Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield and as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves. [imdb]

Nicole: Upon seeing the first stills from the set of this movie, I had a feeling it would be a masterpiece. Daniel Day Lewis in full Lincoln costume – uncanny resemblance. Those stills and the previews that followed proved my hunch right. Spielberg honored Lincoln, arguably our greatest president, with a delicate respect and truthfulness. By relying on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s weighty tome “Team of Rivals,” Spielberg was certain to make film history. Source material aside, this film might not have been as masterfully crafted if not for Spielberg’s careful and dedicated direction.
elizabeth: I also knew upon walking into the theatre that this would be a movie for the ages.  We all know how it ends, so I appreciated the very intimate portrayal into the life of this gentle man, his family and the country he presided over. Spielberg’s genius in taking this book to film made me grieve for the potential that ended at the Ford Theatre on April 15, 1865. 
Nicole: As for the cast – it’s hard to imagine better. I think Daniel Day Lewis was born to play this role. At times, he disappeared into Lincoln and I was certain I was watching Lincoln himself. Day Lewis’ portrayal afforded us a look at Lincoln’s sense of humor, innate gift for telling stories, and affectionate character.  Day Lewis turned Lincoln from a political icon into a human being. If he doesn’t win the Oscar, he’ll have truly been robbed. 
Sally Fields, who fought hard for this role despite the 10-year age difference between her and Day Lewis, was also remarkable. The tired, old POV of Mary Todd Lincoln as a hysterical, irrational woman is now cast aside. Instead, we’re given what is probably a more accurate picture of Mrs. Lincoln: A woman struck with grief over the untimely death of her middle son. A woman who was not afraid to mourn in a time period when prolonged grief was often misconstrued for madness. Fields delved deeper into Mrs. Lincoln’s personality, producing a feisty, outspoken and fiercely devoted mother and wife. 
elizabeth: I have to agree with you on Day Lewis and Field. Daniel Day Lewis is the finest and most gifted actor we have around and while I would like to see him up on the screen more often, I am glad that he waits for a role that propels him to shed his own skin and become the character. Trust me when I say this, you are not watching Daniel up on that screen. Somehow and I don’t know how he does it, but he is channeling Lincoln in this movie. He is Lincoln. And I admired how Day Lewis captured Lincoln’s gift of storytelling as well as his subtle and amusing sense of the absurd. I won’t add another word about Sally Fields’ Mary Lincoln, It annoys me to say this, but your comments on Field’s compelling and heartbreaking performance are spot on. 
Nicole: Other standouts – Tommy Lee Jones and James Spader. I won’t discuss their roles too much, because the former’s payoff is truly rewarding and the latter’s humorous turns are a total treat. If I had anything at all negative to say, it would be only that the historical figures portrayed are many and we might have benefitted from better identification and a touch more back story. But, that’s nothing cracking open a book won’t cure. Overall, I think this movie will stand at the apex of biopics. Any future filmmakers and actors who attempt to tackle the story and roles in the future will have a very difficult time surpassing this incredible feat. 
elizabeth: Another stand out performance is the cinematography. It holds all the characters and storylines together. The reduction of color casts such a somber mood over the film and rightfully so. The country was in the middle of a bloody war between the states and a highly contested vote to emancipate the slaves was coming up. Mr. Lincoln, we could use you right about now. This is what going to the movies should always be about. Well, this and the upcoming Hangover 3.
The Film Fatales give Lincoln
DVD Special Features:
  • The Journey to Lincoln: Steven Spielberg and his collaborators discuss the challenges and excitement of bringing this story of a complex and very human president to the screen. 
2-Disc BLU-RAY Special Features:
  • The Journey to Lincoln: Steven Spielberg and his collaborators discuss the challenges and excitement of bringing this story of a complex and very human president to the screen. 
  • A Historical Tapestry: Richmond, Virginia: Steven Spielberg and team discuss the historical significance of Richmand, Virginia, and why they chose to shoot the film there.

Silver Linings Playbook: Now On Demand & On DVD

The Film Fatales tell you whether Silver Linings Playbook has a winning team (or goes for the gold).

NOW ON DEMAND & ON DVD APRIL 30! 2012. 211 minutes. Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Jackie Weaver, and Chris Tucker. Directed by David O. Russell.

After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own. [imdb]


elizabeth: Mental illness sucks. Whether you are born with the ailment imprinted on your tiny soul or whether society beats you down so much that you lose your grip on reality, it sucks. And Hollywood sometimes does not do justice in allowing the audience to see just how someone in the throes of a mental illness really behaves if only to make the audience more compassionate toward people with an illness that you can’t readily see.  

Bradley Cooper does a stellar job in bringing Pat Solitano’s demons to life. You feel his pain, you want him to win and when he slips, you want to comfort him. But Pat doesn’t need our help. Cooper takes a man beaten down by mental illness and brings out his humanity, survival instincts and humor and without giving the ending away, he puts in a performance that is worthy of an Oscar nomination. Thank God he did this while waiting to take on The Hangover Three. Hey, Bradley, act in more movies like this and I will make a beeline to the theatre.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Tiffany, the young wounded widow, is heartbreaking, but it was worth the price of the movie ticket to watch an actress who can get into the soul of her character and become someone else. Major kudos to this young actress. Hollywood keeps dragging poor Lindsay Lohan back into the public’s eye. I think Lindsay needs to go away and get healthy, really healthy. Jennifer can handle the leading roles coming up just fine, thank you.

Nicole: God, I hate it when we agree. But I digress. When Hollywood deals with mental illness, the characters sometimes come off as caricatures. When bi-polar disorder and (what I presume to be) hypomania manifest, they tend to be in very particular ways that are different to each person affected. Sure, there are commonalities, but it’s not a cookie-cutter experience. I guess for some actors it’s easier to play a stereotype than the truth. It was interesting to watch Cooper and Lawrence showcase a truer interpretation of mental infirmity. Just two people who come together as they each come back to life after terrible setbacks.

I’m really impressed with Lawrence. I think she’s definitely got a long career in front of her. Even if it’s hard not to have chemistry with Cooper, ‘cause – well, let’s face it, he’s handsome, talented and for God’s sake, the man is fluent in French. So, I can’t imagine making the sparks ignite was too hard a task.

elizabeth: My only one complaint about this movie is that it is a tad too long. And if you hate football like I do, it can get a little painful. While I love DeNiro’s performance as a dad with his own set of problems (and with no fashion sense. Paging Tim Gunn), I was getting anxious for them to move on. I do get the part about the playbook (and so will you when you see it), but football cannot hold a candle to the family drama that is Silver Linings Playbook. And it was refreshing to see a movie that makes my own family appear to be “borderline normal.”

Nicole: I agree…again. This has to stop. As much as I love DeNiro, I felt like his character was predictable. I found myself wondering why he took this part. It could have been played by anyone, really. It certainly wasn’t a stand-out role. There were some different choices I might have made script-wise – the length being number 1. They certainly could have come to the same resolution by shaving off 30 minutes.

elizabeth: Okay, I have two more complaints. I could not remember the title and I hope it doesn’t hurt the movie. Another terrific movie was The Shawshack Redemption and that title hurt the movie when it came out. Good thing people found that movie later on. So write the title down, put it in a safe place and go see Silver Linings Playbook. My last compliant and then I promise to go away: I would like Bob DeNiro to know that a brown shirt and grey pants will never ever go together. Not in my shallow little world. 

Nicole: This isn’t Project Runway, Cassidy. And you’re not Heidi Klum. Auf Weidersehen.  

The Film Fatales giving Silver Linings Playbook

DVD Special Features:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Featurette: Silver Linings Playbook - The Movie that Became a Movement
  • Q&A Highlights
  • Dance Rehearsal
  • Learn to Dance Like Pat & Tiffany
  • Going Steadicam with Bradley Cooper