People were saying Daniel Day-Lewis would win an Oscar the mere minute he was cast as Abraham Lincoln. Daniel Craig has openly said he’s been trying to get out of being James Bond since day one. Ben Affleck is the sexy choice for the nominee of best director. What do all these actor fun facts have in common? They’re all in films reviewed in this edition of 3SMR. You might just need one of these films to help quell the indigestion from all that holiday gorging you’re going to do, so come with me — Dave and 3 Second Movie Reviews are your remedy.


In Theaters Now


Lincoln, (November 2012)


Genre: Drama


Note the lighting on each face. This is one of two technical successes the other being…


The most amazing toupee in movie history.

Similar to a magic trick, you’ll be captivated by what transpires on screen whilst never believing it’ll work. You’ll nod your head, smile, and laugh always assuming it’s all smoke and mirrors until that moment you realize it was never a trick at all. Pure immersive magic. There’s plenty of witty dialogue to be had here; James Spader and Tommy Lee Jones steal every scene and somehow there is never enough speechifying.

The Story: A

The complexity of the 13th amendment is made interesting due to its moral justification and to get it passed, its political action.

Characters and Their Development: A

The characters are real, sacrifices are made and people change. Plus, it’s Lincoln and he’s not fighting vampires.

Overall Grade: A


Skyfall, (November 2012)


Genre: Action


Why do Bond babes always have to be so tragic?


Possibly because they are dealing with this.

Javier Bardem steals the show with a shocking, funny and exciting performance reminiscent of Ledger’s Joker. Action is taut and the story of orphans and trust issues keep things interesting although it gets a little tedious in the third act. It’s certainly an entertaining film that gives the franchise a shot in the arm.

The Story: B

The bad guy’s intentions aren’t very high stakes, but there’s an emotional reasoning for why it matters.

Characters and Their Development: B-

Bond’s back story is a bit forced, but at least there is a back story.

Overall Grade: B+


Argo, (October 2012)


Genre: Thriller


Aside from the thrills this movie is about American alienation.

Surprisingly short on character but strong in acting, directing and editing. John Goodman and Alan Arkin steal the show right up until the blood pressure exploding third act. Not sure if it’ll stand up to a second viewing as it’s all about the pulse pounding thrills.

The Story: A

A real life story and it’s a thrilling one.

Characters and Their Development: C+

You never get to know the people, probably the weakest part about this film, but they’re all very real and vivid.

Overall Grade: B+

Recently Released on Disc


2 Days in New York, (August 2012)


Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Horror


Breasts come in many flavors.

Not as endearing as Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in Paris, but maybe as funny. Chris Rock does a nice job, but Delpy’s family will grow a bit annoying by film’s end. You’ll watch this and think Woody Allen inspired it. Vincent Gallo’s surprise cameo is delectable.

The Story: B

A screwball comedy with a screwball story.

Characters and Their Development: B

Chris Rock and Julie Delpy have a relationship that feels real and lessons are learned, but it’s not trying to invent the wheel.

Overall Grade: B-


Brave, (June 2012)


Genre: Animation


In films kilts function more as ass peekaboos than anything.

Things you expect: Beautiful fairy tale atmosphere, some heartfelt moments, a princess and a witch.
Things you don’t expect: The witch isn’t evil but a shopkeeper, the second act is tedious and forced. The message and story are pretty limp.

The Story: B-

Not enough happens to keep you fully invested.

Characters and Their Development: C

Don’t be selfish is all that’s learned.

Overall Grade: C+


A Cat in Paris, (June 2012)


Genre: Animation, Kids & Family


In case you weren’t sure about the title note the cat and the location.

It’s short but sweet in its look, feel and sense of humor. The animation is reminiscent of a controlled Picasso. This was nominated for an Oscar in the best animation category (Rango won it) and no doubt you’ll enjoy yourself, especially since it’s not overly long at an hour. A nice family friendly sense of humor everyone can appreciate.

The Story: A

Fresh, exciting and a nice change up from the Pixar/Disney fair.

Characters and Their Development: B

The girl is all that changes, yet she has the least time on screen. It’s a kids movie after all.

Overall Grade: A-


Resident Evil Damnation, (September 2012)


Genre: Horror, Action


Prometheus?

Capcom decided to stuff this puppy with such an overly complicated plot; you’ll wonder 2/3rds through why who what and where until you realize it’s not about that at all. It’s about the gruesome monsters and exciting action! Looks gorgeous too as there are genuinely 6 to 10 shots that look flat out real in the facial expression department. Aside from the ludicrous story it’s a decent time in the Resident Evil (video game that is) universe.

The Story: D

Convoluted, confusing and it’s recommended to avoid thinking about it.

Characters and Their Development: C+

The hero and his suicidal desire to save the day. In other words not much.

Overall Grade: C+


The Raven, (April 2012)


Genre: Mystery & Suspense


Look for the new TV show, “Edgar A. Poe: Raven Hunter” this spring!

Tedious, cheesy and annoying. Cusack isn’t that bad, but the plot is just awful. You’ll fall asleep as there are only a few good moments that attempt to salvage this ship. It wants to mimic The Silence Of The Lambs and Sherlock Holmes but never lives up to the subject matter.

The Story: F

Nothing of merit.

Characters and Their Development: C+

Poe has his moments, but he’s a lot more chipper, like a conventional hero, and he’s a rather cliched one at that.

Overall Grade: D+


Oldy, But Goody?


From Russia with Love, (1964)


Genre: Action


The only difference between Bond then and Bond today is the bone crunching smack this girl obviously deserves.

Probably the closest thing you’ll get to the classic Ian Fleming stories (check out the comic strips he oversaw from the 70’s here) as Bond acts more as a spy than a super fighter with a drinking problem. It gets the globe trotting and babes right but it’s hard to give props to the stilted and mostly clunky action.

The Story: C+

Russian spies, an evil secret agent school and a bad guy who strokes a cat. Yeah I’d say it’s not trying to be very deep.

Characters and Their Development: B

Dapper and overconfident Bond is comic strip quality here.

Overall Grade: B


Suddenly, (October 1954)


Genre: Drama, Classic


At the time many attributed Lee Harvey Oswald getting the idea to kill JFK from this film.

Frank Sinatra is the best actor in this joint and if you’re into older flicks to get a sense of the way people talked and thought, definitely pick this one up. It is dated, but it holds up well.

The Story: B+

Killing the president by holding a family hostage. Thrilling stuff.

Characters and Their Development: B

Sinatra’s character goes through the motions, but remember it’s 1954 and introspection wasn’t something anybody really did.

Overall Grade: A-


Insignificance, (August 1985)


Genre: Drama


Marilyn Monroe teaches Einstein about the speed of light. No really.

American pop culture heroes of the 1950’s come together and chat about…things. I honestly wasn’t impressed with most of what they talk about, but the use of flashbacks/forwards and time is interesting and the film is at the very least ambitious. Symbolism in this inspired Watchmen (a nice piece by CBR on that here) which is interesting, but The Watchmen made it a lot more philosophical in substance.

The Story: C

A winding and overly complicated story you’ll scratch your head at.

Characters and Their Development: C+

An actor’s film, it’s all about their portrayal first and the dialogue second.

Overall Grade: C+