By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
The play "The Heiress" ends sadly for almost everyone, but the producers of the Broadway revival starring Jessica Chastain are happy: They'll make their money back.
Movie versions of Abraham Lincoln typically aspire to the granite face etched into Mount Rushmore, or the gangly, youthful rail-splitter of folk tales. In Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," Daniel Day-Lewis masterfully brings to life a flesh-and blood-leader — stooped from the burdens of war and grief for his dead son, but animated by a thirst for political combat, imbued with a sense of providence and a sense of humor.
"Lincoln" _ For anyone who cringed just a little while watching the trailer and worried that this might be a near-parody of a Steven Spielberg film, with its heartfelt proclamations, sentimental tones and inspiring John Williams score, fret not. The movie itself is actually a lot more reserved than that _ more a wonky, nuts-and-bolts lesson about the way political machinery operates than a sweeping historical epic that tries to encapsulate the entirety of the revered 16th president's life. That was a smart move on the part of Spielberg and Pulitzer prize-winning screenwriter Tony Kushner. Talky and intimate but also surprisingly funny, "Lincoln" focuses on the final four months of Abraham Lincoln's life as he fought for the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, and sought to unite a nation torn apart by the Civil War. This tumultuous period provides a crucible to display everything Lincoln was made of, both his folksiness and fortitude. Totally unsurprisingly, Daniel Day-Lewis inhabits the role fully. He disappears into it with small details and grand gestures, from his carriage to the cadence of his speech, and the Academy should probably just give him the best-actor Oscar now and get it over with. Although "Lincoln" itself often feels too conservative, stagey and safe, Day-Lewis' performances is full of so many clever choices that he keeps it compelling. Of course, the film has all the top-notch technical hallmarks we've come to expect from Spielberg: It's handsomely staged and impeccable in its production design. But this is a movie that's easier to admire than love; it's impressive but not exactly moving. Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, John Hawkes and David Strathairn are among the supporting cast that might be too crammed with gifted character actors. PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language. 150 minutes. Three stars out of four.
Jessica Chastain has been called many things. Time magazine declared her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Vanity Fair said she is among the Best Dressed. And she is the current holder of Victoria's Secret's "Sexiest Smile."
Two-time Tony Award winner Judith Ivey is returning to two familiar places _ she's back on Broadway and revisiting an old work.
Dan Stevens, who is currently shooting the third season of "Downton Abbey," will be staying posh: He's joining the cast of Broadway's "The Heiress."
The Broadway production of "The Heiress" has found its father figure _ David Strathairn.
"The Whistleblower" is a movie that labors to be taken seriously — and has too little to show for its efforts.
Your Aunt Sadie's shaky home video footage sets your teeth on edge.