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{weekend watch: 11.16-18.12} Beards, Balls and Bella

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No mere movie, this film is shaping up to be an American cultural event. Spielberg is a master at getting to the heart of history (see Saving Private RyanAmistad and Schindler’s List), and Daniel Day-Lewis (Abraham Lincoln) is as committed as actors come.

You should go if: You love American history, good stories, and you want to have something to talk about at Thanksgiving with relatives you have nothing else in common with.

Early reports: At time of writing, Lincoln has a 91% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes ( a site that compiles movie reviews). “Though historians will surely find room to quibble, every choice Day-Lewis makes lends dignity and gravitas to America’s most revered figure.” — Peter Debruge, Variety

Anna Karenina

Director Joe Wright and his muse Keira Knightly are back with this adaptation of Tolstoy’s famous novel. Based on their work together in Atonement and Pride and Prejudice (also period drama book adaptations), we can expect 2 hours and 10 minutes of gorgeous visuals at the very least.

You should go if: You’re a fan of the book (confession: I’ve never read it!) and/or if you love well-costumed period dramas and courtly choreography.

Early reports: 65% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (at time of writing). Top critics disagree on whether the film works, but they all seem to agree that the dance sequences are divine.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

Speaking of American cultural events…Whether you’re devastated or relieved this is the last Twilight film, you should be very, very aware that it’s opening. For one thing, your local movie theatres will most likely have fangirl-packed midnight showings tonight. Prepare accordingly.

You should go if: You love Edward/Jacob/Bella or love someone who does. Or if you love spectacle and over-the-top-ness because…

Early reports: The film has an 81% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Twihards aren’t waiting around for the critics to endorse their choies; they just want to see the epic conclusion of their favorite series. For those who couldn’t care less about imprinting and vampire infighting, consider this quote from the Associated Press’s Christy Lemire: “This is by far the best film in the series. This does not necessarily mean it’s good. But as it reaches its prolonged and wildly violent crescendo, it’s at least entertaining in a totally nutso way.” I’m all for “totally nutso.” You?

So…what are you planning on seeing this weekend?

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Sarah Magill

Sarah Magill has a full-time movie habit made possible by a day-time greeting card writing gig. She blogs at Gimme Some Film and is learning to write scripts and direct. She tries to balance her screen obsession with trail running, jazz singing, book clubbing, and hanging out with The Best Golden Retriever Ever, Copa.

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26 comments on “{weekend watch: 11.16-18.12} Beards, Balls and Bella”

  1. I can’t wait to see the first two! Especially intrigued by “Lincoln”.

    And confession time: I have never seen nor read a Twilight work (nor the fan fiction). My students think this fact is utterly impossible. :)

  2. I gotta figure out a way to sneak out to see the conclusion of Twilight. I will have to see the other two at some point, but, yes, my name is Melody and I was inexplicably swept into the books and, therefore, must see the conclusion of the movies that were pretty bad (that weird guitar heavy first score? the terrible acting? the romance that even in a teenage girls mind is a bit over the top? I know, I know…).
    I honestly do have better taste than this. Honest.

    • Don’t apologize! I haven’t seen all of the Twilight films, but I did like how the first one was super swoony. I got why people were obsessed with it, even if it’s not my favorite thing. Tell me how the last one is!

    • Well, I am reporting back – some spoilers ahead. It was a satisfying ending to a mediocre (at best) film series. The books were inexplicably compelling, and the films were not even a little bit. KStew’s acting is terrible – and in this movie her “daughter” did an even better job than her, which is saying a lot. Watching her get mad at Jacob over his imprinting on Renesmee (what kind of a goofy name IS that?!), was like watching a toddler get faux angry at having their sometimes beloved, sometimes tossed aside toy taken away from them.
      I did appreciate the *almost* fight sequence – a satisfying, blood-and-guts style CGI fight-fest between vampires with the coolest, creepiest make up I’ve seen yet for a sexy-vampire film, and big scary looking wolves. Ooh, and the earth splitting open was kinda neat.

      If you found yourself pulled into the books, without reason why (I AM a better than Twilight book reader, I promise!), then see the last movie and be done with the movie adaptations. And maybe after, re-read the books to remember why you liked the series in the first place. And if you did not get pulled into the books, fortheloveofeverythingthat’sholy, do not under any circumstances subject yourself to the movies!*

      Just my $.02.

      *unless of course you like looking at ditzy man-candy. Then… by all means.

    • This is awesome. You just saved me from having to review this film myself (I’d be a dismal reviewer for it…never read the books and haven’t seen the past couple films.) Can I link to your review in a post? So funny!

    • Sure thing butterbean! I’d be honored. :)

    • Yes! Watch for it : )

  3. Definitely going to see Lincoln at the first opportunity. Will probably swing a viewing of Anna Karenina some lazy afternoon that I’m off work in the next few weeks. I actually like Keira Knightly and also actually read almost half of that book (which shows a lot of commitment if you know my book taste) so seeing the movie will be good closure. Ha.

    • That is saying something, Maux! Let me know when you go to Anna K, and if I’m having a similar lazy afternoon, I’ll join you!

  4. probably won’t see anything this weekend (unless i finally make it to skyfall) but definitely want to see lincoln & anna. love that comment about twilight from the associated press. witty honesty is always a good thing. :)

    • I love it when people review movies for what they actually are trying to do, not what they wish they were…and it seems like critics are doing that exactly that with Breaking Dawn 2!

  5. I really want to go see LIncoln… it looks like it’s going to be great. And the truth is, whether good or bad I will most likely be seeing Twilight in theaters as well. :)

  6. I try at all costs to avoid seeing movies on the weekends. Tuesday or Thursday nights are my movie nights, and I’m just too used to sharing the theatre with just a handful of cinema devotees.

    All of that unnecessarily said, I’ll be seeing Lincoln on Tuesday night and Skyfall after that. I’m a big Keira Knightly fan and an even bigger Joe Wright fan, so that’s a no-brainer.

    We actually own the first Twilight movie. I like it. I saw the 2nd one with my wife in the theatre and walked out super dizzy from all of the eye-rolling I had just done.

    Last 3 movies I saw: Flight – did not like it. Sorry Zemeckis, I love you, but I’m not too shy to say this was disappointing. End of Watch – Amazingly tense dual character study. Walked out exhausted but smiling. Cloud Atlas – Pretty good, but too much like watching the chopped-up Cliff’s Notes of the book. However, it’s a nicely done experiment by a collective of directors I greatly respect.

    Is it too soon to start discussing The Hobbit?

    • It is never too late to start discussing The Hobbit. In fact, the Gimme Some blogs are going to be pretty Hobbit obsessed leading up to the release.

      I, too, love mostly empty theatres. I feel very lucky to have a job that allows me to sneak out on weekday afternoons and pretend whole movie theatres are mine, all mine! The only thing that rivals an empty theatre for me is one that is completely sold out with a crowd full of excited fans.

      I liked the first Twilight movie, too, despite all my feminist horror at the general Bella storyline. It captured that swoony teenager energy really well.

      I’ve been meaning to see Flight because the trailers have been so good; sad that it was disappointing. I missed End of Watch…how did the found footage thing play into it? Still gotta see Cloud Atlas. And Argo…been meaning to see that for weeks.

    • I saw the first Rush Hour (Jackie Chan / Chris Tucker) movie in a sold out theatre in KC. My friend and I were the only 2 white people. It was one of the greatest moviegoing experiences of my life.

      If you see Flight, know going in that it’s a character study on an alcoholic whose only redeeming quality is that being drunk (and high on cocaine) helped him land the plane and save a bunch of lives. Denzel Washington is in nearly every scene, and he’s playing drunk in nearly every one of them.

      I didn’t know anything about the found footage in End of Watch, so it must’ve played quite well. The camera work in the first 10 mins is so shaky I didn’t think I’d make it, but it mellowed out.

      I highly suggest reading Cloud Atlas before seeing it. It’s an amazing book, and I fear seeing the movie first would sully the book experience. I don’t say this lightly.

      Argo is a great movie. I don’t think I loved it as much as the rest of the world, but it’s really good. I mean, put Alan Arkin and John Goodman in a room, and what can go wrong? (Cinematically speaking of course.)

    • I want to do a post about my favorite movie-going experiences soon. The sold-out Rush Hour sounds amazing. I went to the Marvel marathon that ended with the Avengers midnight premier…I was in the minority for a) being a girl b) being over 30 and c) not wearing a costume. It was 15 of the most fun hours I’ve ever spent. There was a kid with a Mjolnir replica who would raise it in solidarity whenever a character was in a tight spot…like “Come on, Captain America, me and Thor believe in you!” And people would go crazy every time Agent Coulson or Stan Lee showed up. Planning on writing about my Safety Not Guaranteed experience next week, which was magical, too. Thanks for the suggestions on Flight/Cloud Atlas/Argo. Planning on catching up with Argo this weekend and will put the others on hold for this week at least! That book’s been on my to-read list for a while. I gotta make that happen.

    • I spent most of Thanksgiving looking for a decent buffet, watching movies, and saw ARGO and Lincoln in theaters.

      Loved ARGO for the historical references, great tight story, performances and edit. Agreed… Who doesn’t love anything Goodman and Arkin is in??? I’m glad Clinton declassified the files so we could learn how this insane gambit unfolded.

      Lincoln just absolutely blew me away… Speilberg’s presentation of this period of history was mesmerizing. I found myself just wanting to simply hear the voice of Lewis as Lincoln… I especially enjoy the syntax and colloquialisms of historical eras and hated the thought of the movie coming to it’s inevitable end.

      I thought surely on Thanksgiving evening the theatre would be largely abandoned. I arrived 20 minutes early and the best seat I could get was in the second row. Kinda made me proud so many were intestred in our Country’s history.

    • I’ll have to talk to you about Argo! It’s still on my to-see list…hoping to finally get to it this week! Yep, glad we have a country where people will go in droves to dialogue-heavy historical dramas. Makes me proud to be an ‘Merican.

  7. Finally, a book that I HAVE read and Sarah has not!!!!
    However, since I read it in highschool, I will probably re-read it before I see the movie.
    I would like to see Lincoln and Anna, but will be getting ready for our family holiday celebrations! Happy ALmost T-Day everyone.

    • Ha! You could fill libraries with books you’ve read that I haven’t! We’ll have to all go see whatever is playing in town over Thanksmas together!

  8. (Weird! I first thing in the morning and it didn’t go through…)

    I’m super excited for Lincoln. Curious about Anna (I’m a little meh on Kiera Knightly). And unfortunately, I have not seen a minute of the Twilight movies (which my students find impossible to believe).

    Should be a good weekend at the box office! Can’t believe these are all competing with one another on the same release date!

    • Do your students give you full recaps of the Twilight books and films? If so, I think you’re excused from actually reading/viewing!

  9. My family saw Lincoln last night. I see an Oscar in the future for Daniel Day Lewis. Amazing performance!

  10. Finally saw Anna Karenina last night. I thought it was risky and brilliant. I very much enjoyed the theatre set directing style and all of the performances were flawless. It almost felt like a companion piece to Pride & Prejudice, as he repeats many of the same techniques. It did get kind of slow and bogged-down at times, but just when you start to check your watch Wright knocks you out with an amazing shot or a punch of humor. I really thought this film was solid — much better than its trending 60% on RT.