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DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, SALLY FIELD, TOMMY LEE JONES, DAVID STRATHAIRN, JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT, HAL HOLBROOK
(OPENS TOMORROW) The film itself isn't perfect. It is sometimes talky and static as it tells the story of President Abraham Lincoln's effort to pass the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery.
But none of that matters as Daniel Day-Lewis is an absolute marvel as the ol' rail-splitter, breathing life into the pivotal president in a way that will make him accessible as never before.
It underscores the fact that he's the best actor of his age.
From Lincoln's physical frailties to his unique style and skill as an orator to a personality that included both humor and steely determination, Day-Lewis simply becomes Lincoln, sharing him with a modern audience that's probably never known him this intimately.
Be clear on a few things: This isn't a Civil War action movie or even a biographical look at the president.
Instead, the movie follows an idea (and an ideal)--the push to win enough votes in Congress to pass the amendment doing away with slavery.
Because it's a Steven Spielberg film, the story is well-told, with moments humorous and historic.
The director gets great performances from a whole host of actors, from Tommy Lee Jones as the resolute slavery opponent Thaddeus Stevens to David Strathairn as William Seward.
But the glue that binds the tale, making it both personal and powerful, is Day-Lewis's definitive turn as Lincoln.
It's more than captivating--it becomes truly inspirational.
Rated PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language. 149 min. [PV, RA]
DANIEL CRAIG, JUDI DENCH, JAVIER BARDEM, NAOMIE HARRIS, RALPH FIENNES
James Bond lovers continue to celebrate the arrival of Daniel Craig as 007, the man destined to take the silly and gadget-happy series back to its tough and edgy past.
That's especially true in this latest film--essentially one long battle the British spy wages to save his boss, M (the delightful Judi Dench) from a terrorist (Javier Bardem, who is more strange than scary) intent on her downfall.
Of course, there are beautiful Bond girls, captivatingly cool chases and backdrops both beautiful and exotic.
But the film works because it takes the tale and the series back to its essence: a tough, all-in, suave spy who fights his way around the world to save queen and country. And M.
Bond aficionados will appreciate some neat nods to the past films, and they should enjoy an unexpected treat: a little information about Bond's childhood and past.
Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, sexuality, language and smoking. 143 min. [MC, PV, RA]