This starry drama has documentary realism going for it, although without a single well-developed character it never finds any resonance. By recounting JFK's assassination from a variety of previously unseen angles, we learn some new things about that fateful day in November 1963. Oddly, the script doesn't even focus on the hospital that gives the film its name. That might have helped give the film some focus.
We watch the shooting in Dallas through the eyes of Abraham Zapruder (Giamatti), famously the only person to capture the event on film. He is immediately contacted by a Secret Service agent (Thornton), who helps him process the film and make copies. Meanwhile at Parkland Hospital, two residents (Efron and Hanks) and a tenacious nurse (Harden) are working against the odds to save Kennedy's life. And elsewhere, an FBI agent (Livingston) is following the trail of the shooter, whose brother and mother (Dale and Weaver) have very different reactions to what has just happened.
Writer-director Landesman jumps straight into the events without properly establishing the characters. But it's impossible to feel emotion when we don't know anything about the people we're watching, and we can't feel suspense when we know what's going to happen. So we're left to soak up the details, which are often fascinating (ever wonder how to get a coffin into a plane?). And while the actors are good enough to play the intensity of each scene for all it's worth, the only ones who register with us are Giamatti and Dale, because what their characters go through is more complex than we expect.
Continue reading: Parkland Review
Brett Stimely and Ben Cornish - The 2013 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival - Opening Night Gala Premiere of 'Pablo' at the El Capitan Theatre - Los Angeles, CA, United States - Thursday 10th October 2013
On November 22nd 1963 in Dallas, Texas, the hugely adored President John F. Kennedy was shot to death as he arrived in the city with First Lady Jackie Kennedy. A women's clothing manufacturer named Abraham Zapruder had no idea of the events that would unfold as he set up his camera preparing for Kennedy's arrival; no idea that his footage would be seen by millions repeatedly as the only visual evidence for what took place that day. Few people know anything about this man, or indeed the other people who ended up becoming involved in this historic tragedy, such as the doctors and nurses who were forced to perform immediate life-saving attempts even with their initial shock and devastation, and the family of alleged killer US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald.
This historical drama tells the stories of the lesser known figures who became involved with one of the most famous assassinations in the history of the world ahead its 50th anniversary. It has been directed and written by Peter Landesman who is best known for his sex slavery article 'The Girls Next Door' which was published in the New York Times. 'Parkland' will be released in UK theatres on November 8th 2013.
When Abraham Zapruder, a women's clothing manufacturer from Texas, excitedly set up his camera to record the grand arrival of the much-loved President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy in Dallas on November 22nd 1963, he had no idea that he would in fact record one of the most shocking and most watched films in history when the President was fatally shot by a nearby gunman. He became one of a string of unlikely individuals to get involved in one of the world's most publicised assassination cases, along with all the doctors and nurses who were forced to overcome the shock when Kennedy was rushed to Parkland Hospital; the family of the alleged killer, US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald; and those FBI agents who could've prevented the incident when they had Oswald in their grasp.
'Parkland' is a new historical drama about one of the most famous assassinations in history which is set for release ahead of the event's 50th anniversary. It has been directed and written by Peter Landesman who is controversially best known for his New York Times article on sex slavery 'The Girls Next Door' which he later turned into a film called 'Trades' and which was publicly accused of being at least partly fictitious. 'Parkland' is set to be released in the UK on November 8th 2013.
With his usual disregard for story logic, Bay plunges us into another deafening metal-against-metal smackdown. Fortunately, this film is a lot more entertaining than Part 2, because it has a more linear plot. And it looks absolutely amazing.
With everything back to normal, Sam (LaBeouf) needs a job to impress his impossibly hot new girlfriend Carly (Huntington-Whiteley). Then strange things start happening around him. Again. And soon he realises that the Decepticons are back to wage war against the Autobot-human alliance. But he has to convince an arrogant government official (McDormand) to let him get involved with his old team (Duhamel, Gibson, Turturro and their Autobot buddies). All of this has something to do with a secret weapon that crashed onto the dark side of the moon in 1961, sparking the space race.
McDormand is easily the best thing about this film, even if her character has a dramatic personality shift halfway through the film. Malkovich is also terrific (as Sam's offbeat new boss), and Dempsey has his moments as well (as Carly's boss and cause of Sam's inferiority complex). Fortunately, the narrative is straightforward enough to give all of the actors the chance to make their mark, distinguishing themselves above the chaos.
Sadly, the same can't be said about the battling robots. While the first-rate animation has a staggering attention to detail, the deafening battles are still impossible to follow. They amount to an eye-catching display of whizzy effects as clanking robots bash each other senseless and destroy everything around them (Chicago gets the full destructive force for a change). Although at least they fit vaguely into the plot this time.
Meanwhile, lapses in even the most twisted logic are plentiful, including the fact that Sam seems to have metallic Transformer bones to resist injury as he's flung into walls and dropped from high places (not to mention Carly's magical white suit and heels). In other words, it's deeply preposterous and almost painfully boyish, but it's nowhere near as muddled as the last chapter. And besides keeping our eyes entertained, there are some great moments throughout the mayhem.
When man first landed on the moon over 40 years ago, their journey was well documented and broadcast on the TV around the world, what we weren't to know was the details of a secret mission the astronauts carried out on the 'dark side of the moon'. What they discovered was beyond their belief, evidence that we're not alone in the universe.
Continue: Transformers 3: Dark Of The Moon Trailer
The year is 1985. The Cold War rages on. While serving his fifth consecutive term in the Oval Office, President Richard Nixon contemplates nuclear assault against an aggressive Soviet Union. Elsewhere, an egomaniacal villain unleashes a mysterious threat that promises to decimate several of the world's major cities. Help, meanwhile, is not on the way. The masked superheroes who used to protect our crumbling society are in exile, banned by Congress from practicing what's now believed to be vigilante justice. And our nation's top weapon -- a sky-blue, radioactive superbeing nicknamed Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup) -- has fled to Mars following a fight with his longtime girlfriend. He peacefully sits and contemplates whether humanity is worth saving.
Originally published by DC Comics in 1986, Watchmen is an anti-superhero diatribe set in a hellacious alternate universe imagined by writer Alan Moore (V for Vendetta) and artist Dave Gibbons. Twelve individual issues were bound into a graphic novel in 1987, and have been worshipped ever since by serious comic enthusiasts who consider Watchmen a watershed moment in the ongoing fight to legitimatize the art form. Depending on which timeline you follow, Hollywood has spent the better part of the last 20 years trying to adapt Moore and Gibbons' magnum opus from page to screen.
It was worth the wait.
It's somewhat appropriate for director Zack Snyder to accept the challenge of translating Watchmen to film. Like the proud but overmatched Spartans in Snyder's breakthrough smash, 300, he's waging a battle that can't be won. Whatever version he delivers, it will be compared to Moore's vision -- which means it's likely to disappoint the graphic novel's uncompromising fan base. Even Moore refuses to endorse any cinematic renditions of his work, believing film, as a medium, can't do his comic-book story justice.
He might be right. But I do think Snyder comes about as close to Moore's intent as we're likely to see in adapting the sprawling Watchmen into manageable, feature-length form. I liked what Snyder kept, and agree with what he left behind.
Using the green-screen tricks that brought 300 to life, Snyder deftly recreates Gibbons' grimy visuals, while screenwriters David Hayter and Alex Tse retain the bulk of Moore's plot. As Russia and the United States position themselves for potential nuclear holocaust, sociopathic superhero Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) investigates what he believes is a plot against members of his former crime-fighting team, The Watchmen. Following the brutal murder of The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) -- Snyder takes Moore's carnage to extreme levels in this film -- and the alienation of Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach coaxes Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson) and Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman) out of retirement for one last case.
It goes without saying that your Watchmen experience should start with the actual comics. Moore stockpiled his dense and jaded adventure with prescient political commentary, pessimistic social observations, deep characterization, a sadistic pirate tale, and a squid that demolishes half of New York City. Even with a 162-minute run time, Snyder's film has to omit chunks of the source material. So long, pirates, and adios, squid. Plus, it's Moore's gift for narrative flow that impresses in the comics. The author gracefully interlocks multiple storylines that ping-pong from past to present, tying together an army of players who share a rich, twisted history of crime fighting.
Some of Snyder's contributions do miss the mark. Rorschach's gravely voice will be compared (unfavorably) to Christian Bale's Dark Knight bark. Speaking of, the comical fight choreography during a pivotal jailbreak scene is one "Wham!" away from being part of the vintage 1960s Batman television series. It's always convenient when rampaging bad guys can be subdued with one punch.
Call-to-arms classic-rock staples by Bob Dylan or Simon and Garfunkel also seem too obvious when paired with Moore's revolutionary material. And song selection actually degrades two important sequences: Dr. Manhattan's intervention in the Vietnam War, and Nite Owl's post-battle relations with a willing Silk Spectre.
But Snyder's largely faithful adaptation, while hardly perfect, boasts one key enhancement -- it has flesh-and-blood actors who bring tangible hopelessness and palpable hesitation to the story's very real pathos. Wilson and Haley triumph as mousy Nite Owl and his polar opposite, the delusionally confident Rorschach. They help offset Crudup's monotonous Manhattan and Matthew Goode's stiff turn as Adrian Veidt, reportedly the world's smartest man.
Moore and Gibbons posed a philosophical question in their graphic novel. Who watches the Watchmen? It's meant to address society's checks and balances, to debate who steps in when those we ask to lead have failed. But it can also be applied to this adaptation. Who will watch? And will they like what they see?
From my perspective, Snyder's Watchmen achieves two goals. It delivers a visually stimulating companion piece for dedicated fans. And it provides a portal for newcomers taking their first tour through Moore and Gibbons' thought-provoking but pessimistic universe. Their next step should be toward the bookstore, where the definitive version of Watchmen still waits.
I smooch blue people.
Five years after his first stint as hitman Arthur Bishop in The Mechanic, Jason Statham has returned to the role for Mechanic: Resurrection.
In a busy year that has seen John Krasinski star in movies and TV shows, he somehow managed to find the time to direct, produce and star in the new...
This starry drama has documentary realism going for it, although without a single well-developed character...
On November 22nd 1963 in Dallas, Texas, the hugely adored President John F. Kennedy was...
When Abraham Zapruder, a women's clothing manufacturer from Texas, excitedly set up his camera to...
With his usual disregard for story logic, Bay plunges us into another deafening metal-against-metal smackdown....
When man first landed on the moon over 40 years ago, their journey was well...
The year is 1985. The Cold War rages on. While serving his fifth consecutive term...