I've had this in my digital library but kept putting off playing it. But after watching Ang Lee's Life of Pi, I decided now would be a good time to take a listen. I wasn't disappointed.
Jeff Woodman reads a credible Pi with just the tinge of an Indian singsong accent, while Alexander Marshall is the perfect counterpoint as the Writer (and he sounds exactly like the foreigner to the world Pi narrates). ✍
I don't know why Kathryn Bigelow wasn't nominated for Best Director, along with the Best Picture nomination for Zero Dark Thirty, in this year's Oscars. They did nominate Mark Boal for Best Original Screenplay, Jessica Chastain for Best Actress, and nominations each for Best Editing and Best Sound Editing.
The movie, with the logline "The Greatest Manhunt in History," culminates in that 30 minutes after-midnight raid on UBL's hideout in a middle-class enclave in Pakistan. But that gripping raid scene, made more realistic and immediate with shots using night vision goggles, is built up through the tedium of intelligence work - especially of the single-minded zeal (not so much different from the fanatical allegiance of the al-Qaeda militants) - punctuated by the depiction of brutal interrogations of captives and of suicide bombings and assassination attempts - as ably portrayed by Chastain in her role as the seemingly delicate but dogged CIA operative Maya. And that ending, with Maya boarding a military cargo plane as its sole passenger, sums up what the manhunt may have meant to her and to the rest of us.
And that buildup to its finish is why Bigelow should have been nominated. ✍
It's difficult to make a movie out of an idea; better to concentrate on the man. But Lincoln wasn't just a man, he was also an idea personified.
And that's exactly what Steven Spielberg (nominated for Best Director in this year's Oscars) capitalizes on in his Oscar-nominated biopic. With Tony Kushner (nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay), he focuses the film around Lincoln's legislative struggle to pass the 13th Amendment calling for the abolition of slavery.
Spielberg is wise enough, though, to embody the conflicting ideas of that period through a superb ensemble of actors whose performance transports viewers to nobler heights even as they witness the gritty and dirty backdoor politicking. Leading the ensemble cast is Daniel Day-Lewis (nominated for Best Actor) who plays Lincoln, Sally Field (Best Supporting Actress nominee) who plays Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd. Tommy Lee Jones (Best Supporting Actor nominee) plays Thaddeus Stevens, leader of the Radical Republicans, who tempers his (then) extreme views of racial equality to rally support for Lincoln's 13th Amendment proposal.
And that is how to make a biopic. ✍
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