Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2012 Catch-Up (Lincoln / Silver Linings Playbook)

Lincoln (2012)

Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Tony Kushner (screenplay), Doris Kearns Goodwin (book)
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn

The opening and closing chapters of this film are almost as bad as I feared they could be, with Spielberg in full "cheese" mode to bookend what is otherwise a very good film. For the most part, the script and direction are solid aside from the aforementioned weak aspects. However, the main draw is the amazing cast assembled to bring this story to the screen. Unsurprisingly, Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones are brilliant as Abe Lincoln and Tad Stevens, standing out even amidst a cast as good as the one gathered here. I was a bit underwhelmed by Williams' score and could have done with less family drama, but those are really minor nitpicks compared to the great acting here. Fix the sappy script stumbles and we'd be edging toward true greatness.

Score: 7 / 10

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Director: David O. Russell
Writers: David O. Russell (screenplay), Matthew Quick (novel)
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro

Why do such great performances and such a promising premise have to be wasted on such a cliche story? What starts off as a promising darker take on the traditional romantic comedy ends as a traditional romantic comedy.

"It's about two people who have been mentally shaken by personal trauma who come together and help each other rebuild their lives."
"You got me so far."
"The leads will be Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence and they'll both be amazing."
"Sounds awesome."
"DeNiro turns in his best performance in years as he plays an OCD gambler, filled with regret over his failings as a father."
"Wow, totally sold!"
"Spoiler alert, to top it all off: the finale features a dance contest to cover dad's bet."

Good, but could be so much better if it had gone down the road less traveled. I still really enjoyed it though.

Score: 6 / 10

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