Music, Movies & More: “Lincoln” and a man’s approach to “Red”

Jake Tapley

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“Lincoln”

Rating: 5 stars

Take renowned historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” and have Pulitzer Prize recipient Tony Kushner write the screenplay adaptation. Then put it the hands of Academy award-winning director Steven Spielberg. Throw in Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and an all-star supporting cast and you have all the ingredients needed to make movie magic.

“Lincoln” whisks you back in time to 1864, near the end of the Civil War when 16th President Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis, is about to begin his second term in office. Lincoln is desperately trying procure votes to pass the 13th Amendment before the end of his first term and restore the Union at the war’s conclusion.

The movie embodies a humanist look of how this critical time in the history of the United States affected every citizen, both psychologically and physically, while the leaders of our nation dredged up the fortitude to will through and save America from dissolution.

Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance is beyond convincing. You truly feel as though you are watching our 16th president go through the heavy-hearted trials of being commander in chief during our country’s most desperate hour.

The weight of the choices Lincoln had to make was more evident in this movie than in any other re-enactment or re-counting of that period. Sally Field shines as First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln in conveying the intensity and depth of the relationship between the First Lady and the President as husband and wife. Her performance was masterful.

As an American with the slightest interest in our country’s lineage, “Lincoln” is a must-see cinematic event bringing to life the personal tribulations of our nation’s undeniably greatest president.

 

 

Taylor Swift

“Red”

Rating: 3/5

When I first saw the Taylor Swift review with five stars next to it, I knew I wanted to challenge it. With claims like “there’s a song for everyone on there,” Shield News editor Jessie Hellman was practically begging me to put my two cents in.

After snatching a copy of the disc and giving it a couple of spins, I realized that I had been mistaken in assuming Taylor Swift was completely changing her already mainstream, semi-obnoxious tunes about bad breakups into overly poppy, super-obnoxious tunes about… bad breakups.

What I’m trying to say is that the album’s atrocious lead single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” is most certainly not representative of the entire album.

Powerful opening track “State of Grace” and commendably catchy “Treacherous” are definitely both worth a listen. To anyone who thinks Taylor Swift isn’t worthy of your time, I challenge you to listen to those songs, if nothing else.

However, tracks such as “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “22” draw parallels to the record-label dominated music that is overly abundant on radio airways.

It just so happens that those two songs, along with her lead single, are written by Swift, Max Martin and producer Shellback. Just for a point of reference, Martin and Shellback are responsible for just about every overly-hyped, awful song that has been on the radio in the past few years, having worked with artists like Maroon 5, Usher, P!nk and Ke$ha.

All things considered, these three tracks only create a dent in her 16-track, hour-long album, which is otherwise a fairly decent release for Swift.

In my personal opinion, Taylor Swift is best at what she does when SHE is the one doing it. “Red” makes that abundantly clear.

 

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