Tag Archives: Lincoln

My Year in Movies 2012 (Finally!)

Right before I saw The Muppets in November of 2011, I commented to my closest movie allies that starting with this Kermit and friends’ return to cinematic form from Disney, the next 12-14 months could be the best year (or a little over a year) of cinema that I have ever experienced.  After The Muppets, there was a new Mission Impossible opening in December of 2011 (Ghost Protocol ended up as my favorite movie of 2011), and then 2012 was to feature a new historical drama from Steven Spielberg starring the great Daniel Day-Lewis, a new Bond, two new Marvel movies, a new Bourne, lots of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a prequel to Alien from Ridley Scott, a movie version of one of my all-time favorite musicals, a promising new Pixar outing, Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-Earth, and of course, the final installment in Christopher Nolan’s groundbreaking Batman series.  Now, on the eve (or for many, morning) of the Oscars and the unofficial culmination of the 2012 year in cinema, despite some unfortunate disappointments (Middle-Earth did not feel so good in 2012), 2012 was as close to movie heaven as I could ask for.

What follows are my rankings, my designations, my Oscar votes (if I had them) in the six major categories, and some new awards that I have cooked up for 2012, an epic year of cinema:

2012 motion pictures: Lincoln

2012 movies that could have been motion pictures: The Dark Knight Rises, Zero Dark ThirtyThe Master

The best acting performance of 2012: Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln

Marvel movie that is probably a little bit overrated: The Avengers

Marvel movie that is probably a little bit underrated: The Amazing Spider-Man

5 most memorable sequences/scenes: The opening of The Dark Knight Rises, Silva’s single shot first scene in Skyfall, the hood scene from Django Unchainedthe tsunami attack in The Impossible, Georges’ pigeon pursuit in Amour

Best footage to be used in an acting master class: The entire performance of Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s interview scene with Joaquin Phoenix in The Master

Most unexpected narrative turn of events: The use of bears in The Brave

Ranking the Joseph Gordon-Levitt performances: 1. John Blake in The Dark Knight Rises  2. Playing a young Bruce Willis in Looper  3. Bike messenger in Premium Rush  4. A forgettable Robert Lincoln in Lincoln

Best performance by an animal: Richard Parker in Life of Pi

Worst performance by an animal: The wolves in The Grey

The movies that made me think the most after viewing: The Master, Looper, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, The Dark Knight Rises

The movies that made me think the least after viewing: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Flight, Savages

The most emotional movie experiences: The Impossible, Lincoln

The least emotional movie experiences: The Grey, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I just don’t get why people liked it: The Hunger Games, The Grey, Deep Blue Sea, 21 Jump Street

I just don’t get why people don’t like it more: The Bourne Legacy, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Impossible

Movies that could have been longer: The Dark Knight Rises, Lincoln, The Impossible

Movies that should have been shorter: The Master, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Django Unchained

Performances that needed to be longer to make more sense: Gloria Reuben in Lincoln, Marion Cotillard in The Dark Knight Rises

Best use of television actors from favorite TV shows in movies: Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) in Argo, Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) in Argo, Jared Harris (Mad Men) in Lincoln, Victor Garber (Alias) in ArgoBradley Cooper (Alias) in Silver Linings Playbook, Martin Freeman (Sherlock, The Office) in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Aidan Gillen (The Wire, Game of Thrones) in The Dark Knight Rises

Most distracting use of television actors from favorite TV shows in movies: Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) in Zero Dark Thirty, James Gandolfini (The Sopranos) in Zero Dark Thirty, Harold Perrineau (Lost) in Zero Dark Thirty

Movies that I saw because I like the actor, but the movie was not very good: Deep Blue Sea (Rachel Weisz), The Grey (Liam Neeson), Premium Rush (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

Best use of Jeremy Renner: The Bourne Legacy

Worst use of Jeremy Renner: The Avengers

Nominees for the “welcome back to the cinema” award: Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, after the challenge that was War Horse – Steven Spielberg, Batman, James Bond, a Pixar movie not featuring cars

Movies where death is a struggle to watch: The Impossible, Amour

Movies where death seems too easy to watch: Django Unchained, Skyfall

Accents that worked the best: Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, John Hawkes in The Sessions

Accents that struggled the most: Helen Hunt in The Sessions, Halle Berry in Cloud Atlas

Best adaptation of a book into a movie: Lincoln (Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin)

Worst adaptation of a book into a movie: Cloud AtlasThe Hunger Games

Directors I am interested to see more from: Rian Johnson (Looper), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

Directors I have seen enough from: Tom Hooper (Les Miserables)

When AFI picks the best movies of the 21st Century, the likely nominees from 2012 are: Lincoln, Argo

Best use of a one word title: Brave, Argo, Amour

Worst use of a one word title: FlightSavages

The “I want to see that again” award: The Dark Knight Rises, Looper, Argo

The No Country For Old Men “I liked it, but I never want to see that movie again” award: The Impossible, Amour

The “a great movie to take a nap in” award: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Grey

My biggest disappointment: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

My most pleasant surprise: The Bourne Legacy, Django Unchained

Movies with the greatest number of moments that I had to turn away or close my eyes because it was so difficult to watch: Django Unchained, Amour, Prometheus

Movies with the greatest number of moments that I did turn away because I didn’t care and looking up IMDB facts on my phone was more interesting: Flight, The Grey, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

After 2012, actors that I want to see more of: Jessica Chastain, Christoph Waltz, Quevenzhané Wallis, Daniel Day-Lewis

After 2012, actors I want to see less of: Halle Berry, Helen Hunt, Wes Bentley

The award for “highest quality funeral guest list”: Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in The Dark Knight Rises

Movie that would have been great on stage: Lincoln

Movie that should have remained on stage: Les Misérables

My 5 least favorite movies of 2012: Deep Blue Sea, Savages, The Grey, 21 Jump Street, The Hunger Games

My 5 favorite movies 2012: The Dark Knight Rises, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, The Bourne Legacy

My favorite movie of 2012: The Dark Knight Rises

The best movie of 2012: Lincoln


Finally, if I had an Oscar vote, here are my selections in the six major categories (in order of voting):


Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, Django Unchained, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Silver Linings PlaybookLes Misérables, Life of Pi


Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables), Denzel Washington (Flight)


Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Naomi Watts (The Impossible), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)


Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln), Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook), Alan Arkin (Argo)


Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables), Amy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)


Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), Michael Haneke (Amour), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)


David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about pop culture and the NBA for Bishop and Company.  For more in depth opinions on movies, check out the “5 Things You Need To Know” page.




When I see a movie in theaters, I will write the five things you need to know about it.  Additional note: I am working my way through the movies that are relevant to next month’s Academy Awards (nominated in one of the six major categories).  Stay tuned for THE IMPOSSIBLE, AMOUR, LIFE OF PI and THE SESSIONS.

5 Things You Need to Know About… 


  1. Zero Dark Thirty is one of the two best movies of 2012 (along with Lincoln) and is deserving of a Best Picture Academy Award.  The recent award season developments (no Best Director nomination for Kathryn Bigelow, a tough go at the Golden Globes besides Jessica Chastain’s Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama win, some worrisome bad press and subsequent protests about its glorification of torture) have pulled it far out of co-frontrunner status to where it now seems highly unlikely for it win anything but Jessica Chastain’s first Oscar.  This is an unfortunate byproduct (although the negative press is helping it kill at the wide-release box office) of telling a story that includes some brutally honest depictions of deplorable chapters in our nation’s history (War on Terror Bush Administration torture tactics) that are still freshly on our watch (Spielberg’s equally successful Lincoln also shows our dirty hands on the slavery question, but the 148 years since provide a bit of a culpability cushion).  Zero Dark Thirty is not a documentary and Mark Boal’s taut, tight, and tension-filled script is a work of (albeit well-informed and well-researched) fiction based on true events, yet because of the quality, tone, and the believability of Ms. Chastain, we regard most of the two hours forty minute run time (the in movie length in 2012) as fact.  Whether or not more fiction than fact (when the CIA comes out against it, shouldn’t they be mistrusted?), one thing is clear: Zero Dark Thirty is a phenomenal movie. 

  2. Full Disclosure: I never finished watching the Hurt Locker (After ninety minutes or so, I got the picture about how awful and tension-ridden war is.  At a certain point, it was all a little too much).  Do I think it was a great movie? Absolutely and admittedly very well-made (although The Social Network should have won Best Picture), but I openly and unabashedly swim more comfortably in the Spielbergian sea of optimistic resolution or like to see through the Christopher Nolan narrative and psychologically challenging cinematic scope.  Ultimately, Kathryn Bigelow may not be my directorial jam, but let it be known that she did an incredible job directing Zero Dark Thirty and I am not sure anyone working in cinema today could have told this story of the obsessive hunt for Osama Bin Laden as brilliantly.  Her delicate, deliberate delivery of tension, moment by moment layering of plot and information, subtle characterization and understanding of when to put down the metaphoric scene stealing wrecking ball, and eloquent execution of the OBL execution are the work of a master of film.

  3. When I wrote about Argo many months ago, I contended that there were “a staggering number of great film and television actors in small supporting roles in this movie that amount to consistent scene stealing and unheard of structural support.”  Zero Dark Thirty also features a similar number of great actors (mostly from some of the golden age of television’s greatest shows) in supporting roles, but unfortunately, they often pull us out of the “this is actually real” construct that Ms. Bigelow has so effectively cultivated.  Let me tell you, if you name a golden age of television series, Zero Dark Thirty has an actor from it.  The Sopranos?  There’s Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) as the the “CIA Director!”  Friday Night Lights? Coach Taylor was in Argo too! (Kyle Chandler has an amazing scene, but it is hard to separate him from his “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” speech here.)  Lost? Michael (Harold Perrineau) shows up as does Kate’s U.S. Marshal (Fredric Lehne) from flight 815!  Mad Men?  It’s Betty Draper’s new husband, Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley)!  Perhaps most egregiously distracting is Chris Pratt (Andy from Park and Recreation) as a featured NAVY SEAL who so effectively embodies Andy’s lovable buffoonery on P&R that I couldn’t really buy his essential role in the mission to take out OBL.  The best moments of ZDT are when I forget I am watching a movie (the chameleon Jessica Chastain is surprisingly uniquely Maya, I am not sure what this says except how easily I forgot 2011 Best Picture nominees The Help and Tree of Life) and every time a TV character shows up, I know I am watching a movie.

  4. Although I have a few more performances to see (Naomi Watts in The Impossible and Emanuelle Riva in Amour), Jessica Chastain is my pick to win Best Actress in a Leading Role at next month’s Oscar ceremony.  Her performance, highlighted by some of the best nuanced nonverbal body language of recent cinema memory and a quiet, focused conviction that is at the center of her character’s heroism, feels seamless and almost without effort.  Ms. Chastain’s inner strength drives this ship (and her dogged pursuit of OBL’s location) with a graceful tenacity.

5. Zero Dark Thirty is a motion picture whose decision to show the historical truths of the United States administration of torture may ultimately and ironically impact its own historical significance.  By courageously and honestly depicting this epic American tale of (ostensibly) one woman’s obsessive perseverance to avenge our nation’s most tragic day, Zero Dark Thirty must expose some of the skeletons in our national closet.  This controversial reveal and its ensuing unnecessary backlash may make a movie out of a motion picture that was destined to compete against Lincoln for the annual most valuable cinema player prize in 2012.

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about pop culture and the NBA for Bishop and Company.  He writes weekly TV columns on Afterbuzztv.com (next up, Fox’s “The Following”) and his weekly THE CHALLENGE: BATTLE OF THE SEASONS Power Rankings can be read on Derek Kosinski’s ultimatechallengeradio.com.

5 Things You Need to Know: LINCOLN

When I see a movie in theaters, I will write the five things you need to know about it.

5 Things You Need to Know About… 


1. Steven Spielberg’s transformative and triumphant Lincoln is a film that depicts the innermost inner workings of our nation’s government at perhaps the foremost of historical crossroads.  The question of slavery abolition legislation in January of 1865 (as proposed through the 13th Amendment) is the two hours and twenty nine minutes traffic of our stage.  Despite its essential historical record and human condition exploration, the traffic is slow-moving, dense, and not ready-made for the average filmgoer, but like the challenges faced by President Lincoln and the great legislative and citizen abolitionist pioneers, Lincoln could not be more well worth the struggle.

2. Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of the sixteenth United States President is simply the best performance in the career of the world’s best living film actor.  His full immersion commitment (staying in character throughout filming – on and off set, signing things “A” for Abraham) yields a revelatory cinematic experience.  From his first scene on a Virginia battlefield to his last moments at the White House before his fateful trip to the Ford’s theater on an April night in 1865, Day-Lewis is so believably this behemoth of a man and American icon that he creates the most personal relationship I have ever had with a real-life person on screen.  In one of the surest predictions I have ever had to make, Daniel Day-Lewis will win his third Best Actor Oscar at the 2013 Academy Awards.

3. In a brilliant career that has no equal in the medium, Steven Spielberg has never made a picture like Lincoln before.  Its subtlety, its delicacy, its courageous devotion to the processes that surround its subject as much as the subject itself, its commitment to the human detail in a mosaic of recognizable actors portraying historical figures and legislative players, and its ability to rely on words more than images stand out amongst his pantheon of great works.  This is the achievement of a director who has nothing left to prove, yet Mr. Spielberg has created another incredible journey to assert why he is the greatest living storyteller.

4. Tommy Lee Jones, triumphantly playing abolitionist congressmen Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania, is at the centre of the most moving and inspiring moment of the picture (you will know it when you see it).  It reaffirms how big picture monumental changes and concepts (like the 13th Amendment) yield the most personal of consequences.

5. Lincoln is a motion picture (Spielberg’s first since Saving Private Ryan) that, like its subject matter, will be remembered as an all-time great.

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about pop culture and the NBA for Bishop and Company.  His weekly X Factor column appears on Afterbuzztv.com and his weekly THE CHALLENGE: BATTLE OF THE SEASONS Power Rankings can be read on Derek Kosinski’s ultimatechallengeradio.com.

New LINCOLN TV spot is simply incredible

My mind has been officially blown. I am not sure I have seen a more glorious two minutes of movie footage in some time.  The juxtaposition of historical figures (Gandhi, MLK, Mandela) and historical touchstones (Women’s suffrage, World War II) with the profundity of Lincoln’s (the person, the time, and the presidency) radical and momentous historic achievements is work of brilliance.  Mr. Spielberg seems to have created another indelible cinematic achievement and his first since Saving Private Ryan.

Let the countdown to November 16 officially begin…