Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lincoln: Speilberg's Best Film Yet?

Is 'Lincoln',  Steven Speilberg's best film to date? Yes, in my opinion. I'll even go as far to say, the film is must-see! Whether one has an interest in history, film, politics, Abraham Lincoln, Steven Speilberg or good acting, 'Lincoln' has something for just about any movie-goer. You know a film is excellent, when you walk into the theater knowing the ending and still find yourself riveted two and a half hours later. Yet that's exactly what this film does.

Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, James Spader as lobbyist W. N. Bilbo and Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, put on an acting clinic. Actually the performances of the entire cast are some of the best i've ever seen. For sure, Lewis, Field and Jones will be Oscar nominated, with at least one if not all, winning Oscar.

The Lincoln family dynamic as portrayed by Daniel Day- Lewis, Sally Field and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the eldest son Robert Lincoln, was remarkable. An admitted history buff, the relationship between Abe and Mary Todd has always intrigued me. The actors with Speilberg's direction, took us behind the closed doors of this complex relationship, and what a view. For instance, notice this clip:

In reality, the film is all about human nature. What does, how does one play the cards, play the hand that life has dealt them? Or is it that life has dealt us all a hand or do we choose the hand we play? Additionally, the curtain is pulled back on the democratic process or in other words human nature with free will and courage or lack thereof as part of the mix. This film based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's book 'Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln', shows us all the intricacies of human nature, while dealing with war, bloodshed, wanton violence and oppression. In some ways, 1865 feels similar to 2012. 

'Lincoln' is a showcase of excellence, one i won't soon forget!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hope Solo and Lolo Jones - Ice Is Nice!

Hope Solo and Lolo Jones continue to grab our attention.  My last writing about the two Superstar athletes ( The Lolo Jones and Hope Solo 2012 London Olympics Effect) profiled Jones and Solo not only looking for Gold, but also for love. What these women are now doing, has inspired this writing.

Let's start with Ms. Solo. Goal setting (no pun intended) seems to work.  
In addition to winning gold as a key member of Team USA in the Olympics, 
Ms. Solo is now Mrs. Jerramy Stevens. After a two-month courtship, a fracas
leading to police involvement, an arrest of her fiancé Mr. Stevens on alleged
domestic abuse, Ms. Solo and Mr. Stevens proclaimed " I Do" - in what's 
been reported as a beautiful wedding ceremony. It seems Congratulations
are in order!

What about Ms. Jones? Well, the Olympics didn't quite work out like she's hoped and as of this writing, there are no reports of a Lolo Jones marriage. However, Ms. Jones has found "Ice is Nice" in her case as well. Although Ms. Jones may not have "Ice" in her life in the form of a diamond wedding ring as Ms. Solo does, she's shifted her athletic pursuits from track and field to bobsledding- lots of "Ice" there. 

This move has had immediate reward                                     Jones and her teammate Jazmine 
Fenlator placed 2nd and won a 
silver medal in their 
debut at the World Cup. It seems 
Congratulations are in order for 
Ms. Jones also!

Yes, for Hope Solo and Lolo Jones - Ice is Nice!

Monday, November 12, 2012

'Skyfall' Review : Does Bond Still Have It?

50 years and still strong, 007 is the longest running film franchise ever. With 50 years under his belt though, has Bond reached new heights with Skyfall or has he been shot down by our old adversary, time?

Skyfall is a different beast than any previous Bond movie. As is the tradition of Bond films the main premise is 007 gets assigned by M to take down some vigilante or group that threatens London or any of it’s allies. Along the way he kills countless armed guards, agents and more, all the while wooing every woman that he comes across on his perilous journey. In Skyfall that premise still exists, but for the most part it takes a back seat as this story centers itself on the life of being a secret agent and the impact it has. For the first time, it shows a more human element to Bond. No longer is Bond just a killing machine taking orders from the head of MI6. Bond starts asking the dear question, “Why am I doing what I’m doing?”. Along the way we learn a little about Bond’s past and ultimately what makes him tick. 

Bond may be the hero of the story, however M is the major influence why MI6 is being threatened. This leaves M in a much more vulnerable position than seen before and now has to try to defend her position to keep MI6 relevant to the government. As the movie progresses, M must rely increasingly upon Bond to keep both MI6, and herself, safe. Bond and M’s relationship is more like a mother and a son. M may have made some rash decisions, but at the end of it all they need each other and they know it.

Overall the movie keeps a brisk pace. No scene is longer than it needs to be and keeps the plot movie forward. Skyfall tells a very compelling story of secret agents trying to protect what they love while learning their answer to the question, “Why I am I doing this?”. For any Bond fan this is a must see film. For those who aren’t particular Bond fans or are new to the franchise, this movie still merits a view. 

If Skyfall is any indication of 007‘s future, then it looks like Bond has quite sometime before he puts down his trusty Walther PPK. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jennifer Lawrence - "Fat" or "Fine" in Hollywood?


Jennifer Lawrence - Hollywood's newest "It" girl -  has weighed in on the debate of what's considered healthy and what's considered fat for women today.  In the latest issue of Elle magazine, Lawrence reportedly shared these thoughts, "In Hollywood, I'm obese." She continued, " I'm considered a fat actress..."


When the fashion world took umbrage to Kate Upton being named Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Girl, because she's "too healthy" (fashion speak for chubby, ok fat) i was compelled to share my viewpoint (Kate Upton-Too "Chubby" For A Supermodel?)

Here i am again. What am i missing? Why the fascination with dress size? If casting the "right" female lead is important to box office receipts, is Hollywood saying skinny sells? Once again i ask...


Let's take a brief photo-walk down memory lane in Hollywood:

These Hollywood icons are just that - Hollywood ICONS! I never met any of them, but skinny is not a word I'd use to describe Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe or Sophia Loren. Yet their legacies are intact and continue to grow. These women were more than skin and bones, they were/are fascinating women! Fascinating women thru sheer force of personality!

Jennifer Lawrence stars in the soon--to-be released film 'Silver Linings Playbook'. This clip defines another definition for Ms. Lawrence:

Captivating women drives box office. Women with personality capture the hearts and souls of men and women alike whether they be size 0 or size whatever. Sure i know i'm just a guy and have confessed to having more experience with women size 0-6 (outside of an occasional dalliance) , but i'm learning....

So, here's to Jennifer Lawrence and all women who are determined to eat what they want, and be happy and not be overly concerned about Hollywood or any other standards for what's healthy outside of their own.