Lincoln Is the Pick of the Week

Time and time again Daniel Day-Lewis proves himself to be our greatest living actor. He doesn’t make a lot of films, but when he does they are ones to watch. He has won an unprecedented three Academy Awards and the list of other awards he has won or been nominated for is pages long. His films aren’t always good, but you can lay your money down that he’ll pull out an incredible performance. This is certainly true for his most recent movie, Lincoln. While very good, I found the film to be somewhat flawed, but Day-Lewis’ performance was the stuff of legend. He simply lived, breathed, and embodied the very soul of the 16th President.

With his performance alone Lincoln would get my Pick of the Week nod, but he is accompanied by an extraordinary cast who put in solid performances down the line. Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones both hold their own along side Day-Lewis and both were rightly nominated for Academy Awards. The film was nominated for an incredible 12 Oscars and an enormous amount of other films and made nearly every critics best-of-the-year lists.

Extras on the big four-disk Blu-ray/DVD/Digital copy combo include half a dozen featurettes (all under 30 minutes in length) on the making of the film.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

The Borgias: The Second Season: I’m but a few episodes into the first season of this Showtime drama about the notoriously scandalous Pope and his family, but I can already tell I’m going to love it. Jeremy Irons has found the role of his career and the show it just too bloody delicious to put down.

Monsieur Verdoux (Criterion Blu-ray): Charlie Chaplain as a sadistic serial killer? Count me in.

A Man Escaped (Criterion Blu-ray): Robert Bresson’s intense drama based upon a true story of a man’s escape from a German POW camp sounds phenomenal and with the typical Criterion treatment I am definitely interested.

Terminator Anthology (The Terminator / Terminator 2: Judgment Day / Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines / Terminator Salvation) (Blu-ray): The films appear to be pretty bare bones but at $50 it’s a good price if you don’t already own any of these films already.

Kingdom Complete Series: Stephen Fry is a national treasure even if he is from England. I’ve only caught a few episodes of this series which seemed to me pleasant enough (the type of thing one might put on while the in-laws are around to keep them from noticing your Takashi Miike collection) though our own Steve Geise was less kind in his review. It’s not great television but Fry is always charming and I’d say it makes for a good background show – something to watch while your folding laundry or clipping your toe nails.

Shakespeare Uncovered Complete Set: Speaking of things to watch with your in-laws, I watched this PBS series the last time mine were in town. Nothing really new was uncovered about the Bard here as far as I could tell but it still made for some very enjoyable watching.

Veep: The Complete First Season: Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as the Vice President in this HBO comedy and that’s pretty much all I know about this series. That’s enough to make me want to watch it though.

Killing Them Softly: Andrew Dominik’s follow-up to the excellent The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a big mess of a movie. When it’s not hitting you over the head with its message (seriously you can stop playing political speeches about the financial crisis in the background of every scene – I get it already) its showing flashy, highly stylized slow-motion close-ups of guys getting shot in the head. There are some fine performances by its star-studded cast, but they can’t make up for the stream of wrong decisions made by its director.

Mat Brewster

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