Hypable Movie Review: ‘Lincoln’

11:00 am EST, November 9, 2012

Spielberg is known for creating outstanding films of high merit, and Lincoln is no exception to his stellar reputation. While Lincoln is historically accurate and features phenomenal actors, the film is definitely not geared towards the average movie-goer.

Lincoln depicts the final months of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and life, mainly focusing on the month of January 1865. At the start of the film, the 16th President was just re-elected the previous November and was beginning his second term in office. Having already served four years as president, and also having the Civil War begin and continue through his first term, Lincoln was looking for a way to both end the war and fight for something he was extremely passionate about until it became law: abolishing slavery.

Thus the 13th Amendment (the abolishment of slavery) comes into play, which is what Spielberg chose as the main focus of the film. Today, American history is taught typically depicting The Union being anti-slavery; Lincoln illustrates this was not exactly the case. Just as the North and the South were torn, thus was the U.S. Congress on the issue of slavery. Spielberg demonstrates how the strict divide in The House of Representatives was frustrating for Lincoln himself who was passionate about passing the Amendment. The film details how the 13th Amendment eventually did pass, despite such differing mindsets in the Legislative Branch as well as Lincoln’s Cabinet. Additionally, Spielberg spotlights Lincoln’s personal and family life, his sometimes manipulative managing tactics, and surprisingly wonderful sense of humor.

Lincoln
If you’re thinking, “Wow! A Spielberg film about Abraham Lincoln! This seems like a great movie to see with the whole family over the holidays!”…don’t. Spielberg deserves praise for his film, and will probably and rightfully receive a few Oscar nominations from it, but this is not a film to just go out and see one afternoon with the family. It’s geared for a very certain audience, specifically for anyone who has a genuine and deep love of American history and political system. If you don’t find American history thrilling, you will probably view Lincoln as 150+ minutes of 19th Century white males arguing over politics, while also witnessing superb acting by Daniel Day-Lewis at the same time. While almost every aspect from an overall film standpoint of Lincoln is well done and pays homage to Lincoln himself, it’s not necessarily what I’d call an entertaining and fun time at the movies. I sincerely love history, and I enjoyed Lincoln, but due to the overwhelming amount of characters and intense historical detail, I didn’t develop a deep connection to the film and left the theater feeling somewhat unfulfilled.

The praise Day-Lewis has received thus far for his portrayal of Lincoln is well earned, and I would be upset if he didn’t receive an Oscar nod for his work. Because Americans see Lincoln on a daily basis – as his bearded face is found on our $5 bill and penny – it was easy to see how well the makeup artists transformed Day-Lewis into Lincoln.  While the makeup was superb, the strangest and most mind-blowing aspect of the entire film was actually seeing Day-Lewis act as Lincoln himself. Obviously, no one in the world today knew Lincoln when he lived, so there’s no way for anyone to visually mimic Lincoln’s mannerisms.

However, due to Day-Lewis’ accurate physical transformation and his own personal studying of the 16th President from historical documents, watching Day-Lewis act in the film truly made me believe that he WAS Lincoln: everything from his hunched and light walk, caring yet passionate nature, and gentle voice. The other famed actors in the film also deserve recognition for their work, notably Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones as Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, and David Strathairn as Secretary of State Seward. The full year Day-Lewis requested from Spielberg to study every possible aspect of Lincoln prior to filming definitely benefited the film’s overall grandeur in the end.

Lincoln
If there is any director to pull off such a high-budget, historically true film, Spielberg is without a doubt on the shortlist of directions to do so. He and Tony Kushner (Munich) adapted part of an extremely thick biography of Lincoln – A Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin – into a very believable full-length feature film, to the point where part of me half questioned whether or not Lincoln was actually filmed 150 years ago. The audience witnesses American politics at its finest and most thrilling – and we have Kushner to thank for that, as he wrote incredibly witty and brilliant dialog. I’d expect Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Makeup, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is also nominated for Supporting Actor and Actress (Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field) and Best Director. Spielberg has a heavy history of receiving many Oscar nominations and wins for his films – and I’m sure Lincoln won’t be any exception to that.

From a Hollywood standpoint, Lincoln is a noteworthy movie that precisely recounts the final months of Lincoln’s life. However, if you don’t have a deep appreciation of Civil War politics and history, be warned that it won’t be the most entertaining film that hits theaters this holiday season. Because it’s an adaption of a very detailed biography of Lincoln, that’s exactly what the film is: a comprehensive history book that has been turned into an excellent Spielberg film. Therefore, if you enjoy history books, then you will most likely find Spielberg’s latest film to be remarkable.

Grade: B+

Rated: PG-13 (For an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage, and brief strong language)

Lincoln opens in limited theaters on November 9, 2012, and in full theaters on November 16, 2012.

Newt’s brother was assigned to search for Grindelwald, new ‘Fantastic Beasts’ prop letter reveals

This likely has major implications for future Fantastic Beasts movies.

1:06 pm EST, December 9, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them included a mention of Newt Scamander’s “war hero” brother Theseus, and now it looks like the reference was something to think twice about.

Earlier this week Warner Brothers’ Los Angeles Studio Tour refreshed their Harry Potter exhibit with new props from Fantastic Beasts, and in one display is a letter from Theseus to Newt. Take a look at the photos thanks to Snitch Seeker:

fantastic-beasts-theseus-scamander

Read full article

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them included a mention of Newt Scamander’s “war hero” brother Theseus, and now it looks like the reference was something to think twice about.

Earlier this week Warner Brothers’ Los Angeles Studio Tour refreshed their Harry Potter exhibit with new props from Fantastic Beasts, and in one display is a letter from Theseus to Newt. Take a look at the photos thanks to Snitch Seeker:

fantastic-beasts-theseus-scamander

fantastic-beasts-theseus-newt-grindelwald

The letter reveals that Theseus was tasked with searching for Grindelwald himself — a very interesting development for this film series. Though some words on the letter can’t be seen due to another prop covering them up, the note to Newt appears to suggest that Theseus was honored to be assigned the role. Here’s what it says, again courtesy Snitch Seeker:

Well, little brother,

I don’t know how much you have heard wherever you are about what’s going on in jolly old Europe but this chap Grindelwald has been making a lot of noise since you have been away.

Charismatic blighter, but the Ministry doesn’t like him and nor does the International Confederation.

He has upset a few of the big wheels and he’s gone underground. I have been chosen to go away and ferret him out. _______ at the chance to be picked, actually, because the whole _______ want to be on this case and it’s taken some _______ hard work to reach this status.

_______ wishing you well – wherever you are. _______ whatever beastly quests you are undertaking!

Best regards,

Theseus

The fact that this letter was made for the movie is very interesting. It suggests that Theseus at one point may’ve had a larger role in the movie — or at least, he could’ve been referenced more than once.

Further, this letter could mean that Theseus’ll have an on-screen role in future movies. In fact, Theseus’ role as Grindelwald Hunter could be J.K. Rowling’s ticket to getting Newt deeply involved with the search for Grindelwald.

johnny-depp-grindelwald

Theseus will surely be pleased to hear that his brother helped capture Grindelwald. Theory time: What if Theseus dies in a future Fantastic Beasts movie as the fight against Grindelwald (inevitably) continues? What if this leads Newt to avenge his brother’s death?

What else do we know about the character? Not much, but Snitch Seeker says that during an interview with Colin Farrell the actor revealed Theseus “was a British Auror with whom his character, Percival Graves, corresponded.”

How do you think Theseus will play into future ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movies?

Daily Show host Trevor Noah takes his experiences growing up in South Africa and puts them together in Born a Crime for our entertainment and enlightenment.

‘Born a Crime’ by Trevor Noah

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Read full article

Daily Show host Trevor Noah takes his experiences growing up in South Africa and puts them together in Born a Crime for our entertainment and enlightenment.

‘Born a Crime’ by Trevor Noah

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother — his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Born a Crime Trevor Noah

‘Born a Crime’ book review

Trevor Noah is best known for his current hosting gig on The Daily Show where he had huge shoes to fill following Jon Stewart’s departure — shoes that he has, by the way, filled with grace, humor, and a sharp wit.

Noah has been candid about growing up in South Africa under Apartheid and the troubling parallels he sees developing in the United States, especially since Donald Trump’s rise to power, but Born a Crime puts a spotlight on his childhood adventures in a way that his segments on The Daily Show cannot.

Born a Crime is an interesting mix of heartbreak and humor. There is no denying that Noah’s childhood was not easy. He talks extensively about trying to find a place for himself at school and in life. He was too White for the Black kids and too Black for the White kids. As a child, what do you do when you have nowhere to belong?

You adapt.

Unless it wasn’t abundantly clear already, Trevor Noah is an intelligent man. Born a Crime documents the way he viewed the world and used his situation to his advantage while living in South Africa. He learned dozens of languages, either in part or in full, in order to survive the endless dangers of his hometown. He found a way to make money and build himself a tiny empire using only a computer and his wits. He took what was given to him, which was, honestly, next to nothing, and found a way to make his life fulfilling.

Born a Crime Trevor Noah feature

Noah’s mother has a huge impact on the stories presented in this memoir because she had a huge impact on her son. Strong, independent, stubborn, reliable, hardworking, clever, pious, strict, and loving, Trevor makes it explicitly clear that his mother is the reason he turned out the way he did. We should all give thanks to her.

Her story is tragic, as is growing up under Apartheid, but despite their circumstances, both led vibrant lives in which they became partners in an us-against-the-world kind of way. Hearing Noah speak about his mother infuses you with a warmth and respect for a woman you have never met, and yet that feeling is as genuine as they come.

For his part, Noah was a handful as a child and a teenager, though it’s that spunk and comedy that we so look forward to seeing now. He got into trouble — he even broke the law — but he experienced life and all the ups and downs that comes with it. He is a wealth of knowledge because he has gone far and wide to gather that knowledge himself.

Born a Crime will certainly make you laugh far more than it’ll make you cry, but don’t be so bold as to put the tissues away before the final chapter of the book. This memoir is a lesson in humility, love, faith, and perseverance. Hopefully it will affect you as strongly as it has affected me, especially if you are so lucky as to be able to listen to Noah narrate the book himself on Audible.

Add ‘Born a Crime’ to your Goodreads list or purchase it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound

The first full Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight and we once again got a great look at Tom Holland as Peter Parker.

The first Spider-Man Homecoming trailer is here, and it doesn’t disappoint! In what totally feels like a coming-of-age/high school flick (but with a Marvel twist!), Peter Parker decides he wants to grow up and fight like the Avengers. But is he ready? Maybe with a little help (and no hug) from Tony Stark, he will be.

Watch the full-length trailer for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming

Read full article

The first full Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight and we once again got a great look at Tom Holland as Peter Parker.

The first Spider-Man Homecoming trailer is here, and it doesn’t disappoint! In what totally feels like a coming-of-age/high school flick (but with a Marvel twist!), Peter Parker decides he wants to grow up and fight like the Avengers. But is he ready? Maybe with a little help (and no hug) from Tony Stark, he will be.

Watch the full-length trailer for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming

The main theme of Homecoming certainly seems to be Peter’s desire to prove that he’s a capable member of the Avengers team. If you remember in Civil War, Tony wouldn’t let him get too deep into the fight, for fear that he wasn’t ready. But Peter doesn’t want to be treated liked a kid.

Except he definitely is a kid, and it’s a nice break from the other Spider-Man movies we’ve seen so far, which depicted an older Peter Parker that never quite fit the high school vibe.

Tom Holland’s Peter is undoubted an awkward teenager, and the younger character lends itself to a lighter, more humorous tone for the movie. Marvel has always been good at balancing action and comedy in their movies, and Homecoming is already promising to be a fun romp.

We get a lot of great looks at other characters in this trailer, too, including a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from Donald Glover and Zendaya. Michael Keaton will be playing Vulture, and of course we also get Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man.

How cool was it to see Spidey swinging along next to Iron Man like an equal?

As is often the case for Marvel movies, ABC and Jimmy Kimmel debuted the trailer for Homecoming following pretty high expectations from fans. Did it live up to your hype?

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ hits theaters on July 7, 2017