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Two-Minute Movie Reviews: Lincoln, Life of Pi, Searching for Sugar Man

twig's picture

If you’re planning on taking in a movie over the holiday, here are a few totally uninformed, off-the-wall suggestions, based on nothing more than my own impressions.

Lincoln: If you like watching paint dry, this is the movie for you. I would describe Lincoln as what happens when a director who is determined to win yet another Best Picture Oscar throws a shitload of money and talent at a worthy subject and brings nothing new to it. But predictability is the least of Lincoln’s problems. It’s waaaaay too long – 150 minutes! – and, in spite of the brilliant writing and acting (well, some of it), incredibly banal. Unless, of course you did not know that politicians could be contentious, shallow, racist opportunists and African-Americans were horribly mistreated in the 1800s. Shockeroo, right? Or as my movie buddy said, “Yawn.”

Life of Pi: Brilliant, luminous, magnificent. Most book adaptations are unwatchable. Not this one. Ang Lee and his team have created something magical. Since it’s not formulaic clap-trap, Hollywood is waiting to see how this movie fares at the box-office. If it makes money, there’s a chance other directors will have a chance to do something creative and risky. If not, get ready for more comic book garbage and dreadful sequels. Go see it. Yes, right now! In 3-D, if possible.

Searching for Sugar Man: This documentary has been around since July, but I only just saw it. So should you. It is completely and utterly mind-blowing. I don’t mean to sound like Ms. Smartypants, but I’ve seen a ton of movies and this is without doubt in my top ten, probably top five. It’s hard to say more without giving the story away, so just trust me. You will not be disappointed.


Submitted by JuliaWilliams on

I went to school with him, and we still have friends/family acquaintances in common. And yes, that movie (Sugarman) rocks!

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

An amazing story and even more amazing person. And his music! I hope the movie is nominated for an AA, just so more people will know about him.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

"Cold Mountain" with its emphasis on the citizens caught in the cross hairs of politicians is more of what I want to see. "The People's History of the Civil War" is a real eye opener. Regular people were anti-war for the most part. But just like every war, the elites make sure they have some sort of high minded idea that compels them to lead their citizens into the slaughter house. Oh and make a lot of money in the process. J. P. Morgan was caught war profiteering. He was selling faulty rifles that had a tendency to blow soldiers' thumbs off. Quelle Surprise. Inferior wool called "shoddy" was sold to make uniforms that would disintegrate in the rain. Women would send packages with plain clothes so their husbands could desert. The women needed them to come home because the local real estate mogul was trying to steal their farms.

On the other hand, I look forward to "Life of Pi" and will check out "...Sugarman".

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

recommending a movie can be like setting up a friend with a blind date. If it doesn't work out, for whatever reason, the friend tends to be a little wary of trusting you again. And movies are so subjective! Maybe Lincoln really is the masterpiece the critics are claiming -- I just didn't see it that way.

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Submitted by lizpolaris on

I saw Argo this weekend. While Ben Affleck is a very B-grade actor, his production and directing in this movie were great. It's nice to see a movie about an older historical event, showing a newly discovered side. Many of us lived through the horrible Ted Koppel 'Nightline' era, which led to the Reagan presidency. It's good to see something upbeat about that period, a success story, something which adds to general knowledge. I would imagine it's risky to make a movie like this now - an average movie not likely to be a blockbuster.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

but haven't seen it yet. I'm glad you liked it. As you point out, the risk factor is huge with movies and the better these non-blockbusters do, the more will get made. I am so sick of comic book superhero movies. They're just junk food for the brain -- no nutritional value at all!

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

My favorite movie of all time is "My Man Godfrey" with William Powell and the great Carole Lombard. Long ago when I was acting I was quite pleased to be compared to Rosalind Russell. And Carole Lombard jumping up and down on the bed screaming "Godfrey loves me! Godfrey loves me!" inspired me to do my own amount of outrageous clowning.

Chris Hayes had on Tony Kushner to talk about "Lincoln". Kushner talked about "looking at the Obama administration through the Lincoln lens". So Kushner said before working on this film he had the usual impatience with Democratic administrations, but now he looks at the pluses of patience. I was disappointed. And how timely for the gutting of SS and Medicare. Patience, Grasshoppers.

To his credit, Chris Hayes asked if the filmmakers "put the thumb on the scale for Lincoln" over Thadeus Stephens, the pragmatic over the emotional. Sounds like Stephens deserves a movie of his own.

Submitted by lambert on

From the gorgeoous script:

REPORTER (reading Hildy Johnson's story):

"And so into this little tortured mind came the idea that that gun had been produced for use.

And use it he did.

But the state has a production-for-use plan too. It has a gallows. And at [7] a.m., unless a miracle occurs, that gallows will be used to separate the soul of Earl Williams from his body. And out of Mollie Malloy's life will go the one kindly soul she ever knew."

That's as far as she got.

REPORTER Can that girl write an interview?

REPORTER She'll do till somebody comes along.

REPORTER It's not ethical, reading other people's stuff.

REPORTER Where do you get that ethics stuff? You're the only one who'll swipe it.

REPORTER I say anybody that can write like that won't give it up to sew socks for a guy in insurance.

It's also amazing the quality of attention needed to watch the movie -- something going on every single second, and all driven by dialog. So different from movies today. Not a single car chase! No special effects!