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Steven Spielberg’s widely and grandly heralded Lincoln opens abruptly and startlingly, and for its first nine or 10 minutes seems to be getting off on the wrong foot. The very first images the audience encounters are of a brutally intimate, no-quarter battle panorama of stabbing, shooting, and hacking. This bloody battle scene is interracial, and Spielberg has a point to make, but it’s jarring and too unrelated to the rest of the picture. Then we’re segued into a far quieter post-battle interlude where the 16th president (Daniel Day-Lewis) is sitting on the edge of a platform and talking with several Union soldiers, two white and two black, conveniently enough. The talk quickly turns to Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg, and the white boys each recite portions of it until they’re called away to duty. Whereupon, one of the young black men seems to challenge Lincoln’s political will to alleviate the oppressive political and social burdens on his race, and he too recites from the speech as he departs.

The Sessions

“Am I sharing too much, Father?” Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes) asks his priest after a monologue on sexual technique that, from anyone else, would certainly qualify as TMI. Still, it’s hard to hold the rush of information against him. Stricken by polio as a child, O’Brien was crippled so severely that he spent most of the rest of his life (he died in 1999) on his back, usually confined to an iron lung. That he lost his virginity at the age of 38 was due to the aid of a sexual surrogate named Cheryl Cohen Green, who was willing to take him on as a client.

I Have Always Been a Dreamer

What do Detroit and Dubai have in common? A lot more than you would think, according to this experimental documentary by Sabine Gruffat. Both cities are substantially underpopulated, the former because it has lost more than half its population since 1950, the latter because it is the subject of a boom so intense that apartments are going up far faster than any actual current demand.

The Flat

“The meaningful things are left unspoken,” Arnon Goldfinger says at the start of his documentary film The Flat. He doesn’t seem to have known this when he went with his mother to his grandmother’s apartment in Tel Aviv after she died. What he found among the art, furnishings, and memorabilia was a lot more than he expected. He found a strange, suppressed personal history that altered his family’s understanding of itself, and maybe the world.


No matter how much we enjoy the weekend, Monday morning comes to us all. If Kate Hannah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up with a killer hangover from a weekend of drinking, it’s nothing she can’t handle with a not-yet-empty beer in the shower and a nip from the flask before she starts work. And if her job is teaching first grade at a Los Angeles school, she makes the giddiness work for her. Or so she thinks.

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