On DVD & Blu-Ray: March 26, 2013

Steven Spielberg, as a director, is always keen to leave many familiar marks on his work, but in many ways Lincoln is as much a Spielberg film as it is a film about George Washington. The director seems to have taken a note from his subject and stepped back, subverting our expectations for the film but also making us watch all the closer, leaning into the material and letting it take us with it as it goes on this interesting and entertaining tour through politics. The film captures the struggle of Lincoln and his situation in his final months and paints a beautiful portrait of a man that is both patient in its execution and sharp in its every scene. There are moments that drag and a struggle in finding its footing near the end, but overall it is hard to ignore the care that has gone into the film. It's clear care has been taken, you feel it safe in the hands of these people and there is nothing more true that could be said about Daniel Day-Lewis and Spielberg concerning Lincoln. Day-Lewis in his Academy Award winning performance completely immersed himself in Lincoln. He came to feel as if he really knew him, understood him, and most of all enjoyed his company. As if smitten with the incarnation of Lincoln that he formed in his head Day-Lewis conveys the President as a man willing to step back and look at the bigger scope of things. Reeling from the death of a child, comforting a needy wife, nurturing a young son and teaching his eldest while conflicted with his own wants and needs as a parent only enforce the decisions he makes as President to be conveyed in what are the best ways to get a point across, that is, until it comes down to the wire. Day-Lewis allows us to step inside the process and see in detail every aspect of what he is going through, how he is like us in his domestic issues, but even more how difficult it would be to balance these with leading a nation. We come to know the man, and through Day-Lewis's performance we come to believe we are actually watching the President. It is a wonderful testament to both mens talent. B+

Killing Them Softly is like the grit off a grill that you make sure you keep on your dish because it adds that something special. The mob movie is the entree and director Andrew Dominik adds that gritty coolness to it by blessing it with a visual flair and gathering up a well pedigreed cast to execute what otherwise could have been a rather stale film. It has been five years since Dominik's previous film hit cinemas. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was a wonderful spin on the western, a subtle film about a larger than life name that was in many ways an epic portrait that brought a real life, a real man into fill the legend of that name. With this feature the director again takes a well known type of film and gives it a sense of realism that now, having seen how it can be done, makes the others of the genre feel like they were missing something. There are certainly moments throughout the film where I was somewhat stunned there wasn't actually more to the film than the simple message it is trying to deliver, and in that regard it does beat its ideas into the ground to the point that by the end of it that payoff isn't as great as Dominik would have likely hoped it to be, but for such an intimate film, it feels nothing short of ambitious. Killing Them Softly has the cool edge to a film that I really dig, that is sometimes easier to admire in the sense of its style than it is to enjoy the actual going-on's that contrive the story yet I was never once bored with the film and on was consistently impressed with the tone, musical choices, and wonderful cinematography.

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I didn't catch this family film starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, and Marisa Tomei but I imagine it is a nice little piece of family entertainment that will more than suffice as background noise during family gatherings and wholesome nights around a fire when the holiday season comes around once more.

Not exactly sure what this film is about but as you can see right there on the cover it comes from the makers of some of the Saw sequels which makes me not all too excited to rush out and see this. It came and went in theaters early last December and looks to be a cheap horror flick that sat on some studios shelf for years until they finally decided to release it. It currently sits at a 37% on Rotten tomatoes, so if you're just that bored...

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