Posts Tagged ‘Abraham Lincoln’

Media Update 9/6/18

September 6, 2018


Marshall

Again, I kind of have a connection to Thurgood Marshall in that I have studied and I am working in the law and he was an attorney who got his start in Maryland. In fact, he sued The University of Maryland Law School for discriminating against him by not accepting him. He went on to be a tireless crusader for the NAACP and eventually became the first person of color to get on the United States Supreme Court. This movie takes a small slice of his life, defending a black man accused of raping a white woman, and uses it to show us who he was. In the movie, he is played by Chadwick Boseman and he is confident and fast-talking, usually bowling over whoever he is talking to with force of will and superior intelligence. Josh Gad plays a Jewish insurance defense attorney who is forced to act as Marshall’s mouthpiece in court when a racist judge forbids him from speaking. The movie is made by Boseman’s perfect delivery of a confident black man having to work around a system working against him. He is a never-say-die soldier and will not stop. The chemistry between Gad (in probably his best role) and Boseman is funny, sad, infuriating, and inspiring. The movie definitely paints Marshall as a man on a mission who not only fought the good fight but also inspired others to do their best. I definitely recommend it.


Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln has always been important in my family. My youngest brother was named in part after him because he was an important figure and also probably because he was a former lawyer. I also dressed up like him and delivered the Gettysburg Address in the third grade in one of my first memories of social anxiety. Because of my affinity for the man, I know a lot about the major moments of his life. However, I did not know a lot about the events surrounding the vote on the 13th amendment to the constitution. In fact, I thought it happened after his death instead of shortly before it. The movie stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln and they probably could not have picked a better actor for it. He gives Lincoln an air of legend and mythology but also gives him humanity. Lincoln is a great man but he also enjoys telling vulgar jokes. He is a man who is willing to make brutal calls in order to change the course of history. Sally Field is excellent as Molly, his wife, and she helps bring out the vulnerability of Lincoln and also the less good parts of his story. David Straitharn and James Spader play William Seward and William Bilbo, and they are both delightfully mischievous. Tommy Lee Jones plays legendary abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens with a mix of gravity and straight-faced humor. It was a great story about a great moment in history. I definitely recommend this one.


Jackie

The story of Jackie Kennedy is a tragic one. Thrust into the spotlight (like most First Ladies) next to the United States’ closest equivalent to royalty, she forged her own path. Then she had her husband taken from her right before her eyes in bloody fashion. This movie is the story of what happened to her in the period after the assassination of John F. Kennedy up to her interview with Life Magazine. Part of the movie is an uncomfortable and scary look at a woman basically having a nervous breakdown. The other big part of the movie is watching scenes from a fictionalized version of the interview as a game of wits between her and an unnamed interviewer. It also briefly cuts to recreations of a real television special Mrs. Kennedy hosted giving a tour of the White House and providing some spooky foreshadowing moments. Natalie Portman plays a perfect Jackie Kennedy, at once powerful, graceful, and vulnerable. She understandably often plays opposite Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby Kennedy who provides an emotional but stoic contrast to her character (understandably) barely keeping it together. As I said, the movie is very uncomfortable to watch in all of the best ways. Even though I had not been born at the time, all of the iconic images that showed up were burned into mind from being a student of history. I definitely recommend this one as well but prepare yourself.

Music of the Week:
R3HAB x THRDL!FE ft. Olivia Holt – Wrong Move

Childish Gambino – Summertime Magic

Black Label Society – Trampled Down Below

LANY – The Breakup

HELLYEAH – I Don’t Care Anymore

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Biopics: Legendary Americans”
– I watched more The Good Place Season 2
– I watched more Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 1
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I watched the All In pay per view
– I watched more Disenchantment Season 1

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

April 1, 2016

My family has a personal connection to Abraham Lincoln. My brother owes his middle name to the sixteenth President of the United States. It makes a lot of sense. He was a very presidential president and accomplished a lot before he was laid low by an assassin’s bullet. Also, he was a lawyer and both of my parents are lawyers. Most of Abraham Lincoln’s life is hardly a secret. He grew up very poor but he was self-educated and frontier life made him pretty hardy. He became a lawyer and then joined the Illinois legislature before finally becoming President of the United States. He commanded the US during the Civil War, saw its conclusion and abolished slavery near the end. Finally, his life was taken by John Wilkes Boothe in Ford’s Theater in DC.

All of this forms the framework for the book that Seth Grahame-Smith wrote called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. He took the real history and added in a secret vampire hunting quest that Honest Abe was engaged in. While he was making history in his day job, he was also declaring a private war against the vampires of our great nation. I expected the book to be silly and kind of lame but it wasn’t. The characters were well written and the author takes great pains to match actual events to fictional events. The plot was compelling and it was a hard book to put down. I rarely watch a movie after reading a book and vice versa but I thought I’d make an exception.

While I said that the book wasn’t silly, it was pretty hammy and heavy-handed. Vampire movies and books are often light and dark, good and evil as it makes things way easier. The movie skips a bit of the book and Lincoln’s history and zooms through his childhood. That’s fine, I didn’t come to see the story of a frontier child. I came to see one of the father’s of our country whoop some ass. We are given a fair background of the general time period and it already feels like we’re not getting the detail from the book. This movie feels like it’s going to be more about Abe’s story and not about matching fictional dates with historical dates. This is immensely acceptable because I’ve studied history. I want a good story.

We dive right into the supernatural and it’s not only the vampires who are magical, it’s the honest one himself as well. Also, the movie is built like a lot of epic/vaguely artsy blockbusters that came before it. While I could make a few 300 and Gangs of New York comparisons, the film felt more like a revenge movie (Kill Bill) mixed with a war film (Gettysburg). The movie knows that it is silly and also knows not to take itself seriously while appearing to take itself deadly seriously. The vampire effect is actually really fun, like Buffy and Angel, it instantly turns human-looking creatures into absolute scary monsters. Vampires are feral beasts when cornered but gentlemanly when going about their normal business.

The movie is full of some great performances although obviously not a single one of them is Oscar quality. I really like a good weaselly performance from Jimmi Simpson, a television actor who does not often get his due. I was surprised to see Alan Tudyk who is one of my all-time favorite television actors and he plays Stephen Douglas, Abe’s historic political rival. Also, there’s a solid pre-Falcon Anthony Mackie which is awesome. Abraham Lincoln himself is played really well by Benjamin Walker even if he looks more like a young Liam Neeson than I imagine Lincoln looked. There are two main villains and both of them are pretty charismatic and sufficiently evil. In the end, the movie was a really fun sit that didn’t take too long and was interesting enough to keep my attention.


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