At The Movies With The Macks: Skyfall/Lincoln

Hubs and I took in a couple of a flicks over the last few weekends in Skyfall, the 23rd installment of Sir Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 and Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s film about our 16th President.

Let’s start with Skyfall. I’ve always been a casual fan of the Bond series and really started to pay attention when Pierce Brosnan stepped into the role because I was a fan of the TV series Remington Steele when I was a kid and always found him to be super Rico Suave, even when he was kicking the ass of some villain. But since Daniel Craig took over the role with 2006’s Casino Royale and became the first blond Bond, I’ve been really paying some attention. Not only because Daniel Craig is sizzling HOT but because he brings a certain grittiness to the role of 007. Dare I say it…James Bond likes to get grimy and me likey quite a bit. At any rate, I looked forward to Skyfall and it did not disappoint.  There was less overall action (but there is a fantastic chase scene to kick off the movie) than Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace but the story line was more nuanced, as it took the viewer into the pasts of both M and 007  and even dared to query if 007 and his spycraft was outdated and passe’. Since this is the 50th anniversary of the Bond film series, the nods to the past were quite appropriate. The movie wraps up at Bond’s abandoned childhood home with a twist you won’t expect and I’ll leave with you that. This is a definite must see. Read a review from the LA Times here.

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I have to admit that Myron wanted to see Lincoln more than I did, being that he is a big history buff in general and is interested in the Civil War specifically. Now don’t get scared and think this is a sprawling, epic (read boring and long) bio-pic about Lincoln’s entire life. It isn’t. Instead, Spielberg smartly chooses the 4 month period between January and April 1865 to frame the movie, when Lincoln, fresh off re-election attempts to get 2 big ticket items accomplished: end the Civil War and get the 13th Amendment passed, which would abolish slavery. Spielberg quite deftly weaves in several story lines such as the relationship between Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln who is grieving the loss of their son Willie, the tension between Lincoln and his oldest son Robert, who has been forbidden to join the Union Army, and the back room dealings that the Lincoln cabinet had to undertake to get the necessary votes (these scenes are some of the funniest of the film). Tommy Lee Jones is a straight up scene stealer as Rep. Thaddeus Stevens, an aging abolitionist and has a very interesting back story based on historical fact. Daniel Day-Lewis melts into character as Lincoln, down to the halting deliberate gait that he was known to have.

A comment related to the slavery story line: I noted a bit of discussion on my social media feeds about the lack of screen time given to the treatment of slaves in the movie. There is a notable opening scene where two black Union slaves speak with Lincoln and one dares to question the President about further rights for blacks and there are a few other scenes involving Lincoln’s house servants, who are both free people of color and his interaction with them, but to be fair this was not a movie expressly about slavery. It was first and foremost a film about trying to get the 13th Amendment ratified and the inner workings of Washington DC government at that time period. It’s a political movie that just happens to be tackling a difficult, soul wrenching topic. I think it’s done quite masterfully. This is a definitely a must see (in particular for older children and teens) and needs to be added to your DVD collection as well. Read the NY Times review here.

Are you planning to see Skyfall or Lincoln this holiday season? What other films are on your to be seen list?

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6 thoughts on “At The Movies With The Macks: Skyfall/Lincoln

  1. JD and I saw Skyfall and we LOVED it. I want to see Lincoln as well, so we’ll probably end up seeing that today. I loved your review of it, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.

  2. Loved Skyfall and Bond’s childhood home. I wish they would have given it to me instead of blowing it to smitherines. I’d move there in a NY minute.

  3. Saw Skyfall and loved it (no necking). I liked the twists and the end and I like Moneypenny a lot. Daniel Craig can WEAR a suit, can’t he?

    I definitely plan to see Lincoln and hopefully can get it in this weekend. I was just at the Ford’s Theater in July, so I’m super excited to link my historical tour with Hollywood.

  4. I really enjoyed Lincoln and recommend that everyone go see it. It was well done and Daniel Day Lewis was amazing as Lincoln.

  5. I saw and enjoyed both movies very much!

    I thought they did an excellent job with Lincoln and that time period. They mentioned a bit about the 2 countries but to me didn’t emphasize enough how very much against it Lincoln was…like he abhored it and thats what drove him to end slavery…not so much about the freeing of the slaves. That was just a byproduct of his desire to keep the country intact. But excellent movie overall.

    Daniel Craig can get it any day of the week.

  6. I saw Skyfall and thought it was good. Interestingly enough the dude I saw it with wasn’t all that impressed. Maybe he was looking for more action. Either way I totally agree with your assessment about Daniel Craig being gritty. Bond has always been suave and but today’s bond “gets it in”! He’s grimmy and I love it!

    Haven’t seen Lincoln but will try and see it before it disappears from the theaters.

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