Parkland

Parkland

Editor’s note: Kate’s review of Parkland originally ran during this year’s TIFF, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in limited release. Eventually someone will attend a showing of Peter Landesman’s Parkland and need to be reminded that President John F. Kennedy went to Dallas, Texas in November of 1963, only to be gunned down during a motorcade through streets lined with well-wishers, but the film’s pre-opening credits text that convey that information is an eye-rolling start to a generally inoffensive film. Centered on the moments just before JFK’s assassination until the day the beloved president was buried (the same day, incidentally, his murderer was also laid to rest), Landesman’s film attempts to convey the emotional and historical impact of the death through the stories and perspectives of various people involved in his final hours. A large cast (including such draws as Zac Efron, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Giamatti, and Marcia Gay Harden, in addition to many, many more) gamely take on interesting if not entirely invigorating material and the result is something entirely unfulfilling, though well-intentioned.

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Parkland

Most red-blooded Americans know the story of the JFK assassination, but few know what happened in the dramatic hours immediately after his shooting, as doctors struggled to save his life and the Secret Service attempted to find the man responsible. Though we’ve already seen a few stills, the full trailer for Peter Landesman‘s Parkland puts together a more cohesive look at a day that changed the United States. Through interwoven stories, Parkland focuses on the assassination through the eyes of people helping the president, instead of more prominent figures like the Kennedys themselves. There’s the rookie doctor (Zac Efron) tasked with attempting to save his life and the head nurse (Marcia Gay Harden) who looks pretty resigned to the fact that he won’t be able to do it. Paul Giamatti is Abraham Zapruder, the cameraman with the only footage of the shooting, while Billy Bob Thornton plays a Secret Service agent who is out for the head of whomever did this. Hint: It’s Lee Harvey Oswald (Jeremy Strong). It might be odd to call an assassination drama refreshing, but it’s a welcome change of pace to see a historical drama not tell the same story we’ve seen time and again. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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The assassination of President John F. Kennedy is one of those days that will forever remain in the minds of the American people. And though everyone knows the story of what happened when JFK was shot (unless you’re a conspiracy theorist), many aren’t aware of what happened immediately after the president’s brutal murder. Enter Parkland, which promises on its poster a portrayal of “the JFK assassination as you’ve never seen it before.” The film centers on the events at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital, where Kennedy was taken after being shot, and is based on the book “Four Days in November” by Vincent Bugliosi. These stills, courtesy of Yahoo! Movies, depict some of the principal characters tasked with taking care of the dying president — and even the one responsible. Paul Giamatti steps behind a camera as Abraham Zapruder, the cameraman who captured the only known footage of the assassination, while Jeremy Strong is a dead ringer for Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s killer. Billy Bob Thornton is a terrifying-looking secret service agent and just a generally grumpy-looking man who rushed to Kennedy’s side after the shooting. Zac Efron is interestingly cast as Dr. James Carrico, who tended to Kennedy upon his arrival at the hospital. I won’t judge too harshly before seeing his performance, but Efron, you always look 15 and flustered, kid. Marcia Gay Harden, as Nurse Doris Nelson, looks terribly worried, but you can imagine that she’s just seen some shit. Take a look after the break.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s the movie news column that’s easing into Christmas with a cup of coffee and some casting reports. Let’s take this one step at a time. Marvel Studios is on such a roll now that any movie they make that ties directly into their upcoming Avengers 2 is going to be a big deal—even if it’s based off of a comic book that nobody’s ever heard of like Guardians of the Galaxy. So, the competition among young actors to get cast as the Guardians’ leader, Star-Lord, is pretty fierce. According to Variety, that competition has been narrowed down to two guys. The trade reports that Jim Sturgess is the sole survivor of the original crop of five actors the studio screen tested for the role, and Zachary Levi impressed so much playing the smaller role of Fandral in Thor 2, that Marvel is looking to give him a larger role in their universe by maybe making him the half-human, half-alien leader of this ragtag crew. Who would you find more believable commanding a gun-toting space-raccoon?

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What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting roundup that has news about Timothy Olyphant putting on cowboy boots again. Read on! Is Kristen Wiig going to be joining the cast of Anchorman: The Legend Continues? Maybe. The Wrap has a report that she’s being looked at to play the love interest (presumably replacing lamp) of Steve Carell’s dimwitted Brick Tamland in Paramount’s upcoming sequel. Of course, this one is far from starting filming (the script isn’t even done yet), and Kristen Wiig is being looked at for essentially every comedy that calls for a female part right now, so it’s hard to say if everyone’s schedules are going to synch up or not when all is said and done. Wiig getting thrown into the mix of the Anchorman crew does sound pretty dang promising though, doesn’t it? We’ll be watching this one for new developments very closely.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s where Hollywood moms come every day to find out if their actor kids have gotten a job. Remember that movie about the day JFK got shot that Tom Hanks was putting together because these days he’s such a history loving, lame dad? It’s called Parkland, and it just put together an awesome cast. According to Collider, director Vincent Bugliosi has signed the terrific trio of Paul Giamatti, Jackie Weaver, and Billy Boy Thornton to headline the cast. There’s no word on what characters they’ll be playing, but my guess is Giamatti will be JFK, Thornton will be Jackie O, and Weaver will be Lee Harvey Oswald. Makes sense, no?

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Though he’s best known as an actor, Tom Hanks is a man who contains multitudes, and also has many other hobbies. When he’s not thinking about the moon or studying the great wars, sometimes he produces movies. Heck, he’s even got his own company, Playtone, that’s set up to help him do just that. A since we know what a sucker the man is for 60s history, it should come as no surprise that Variety is reporting Hanks and his Playtone partner, Gary Goetzman, are putting together a new movie that chronicles the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. From writer/director Peter Landesman, Parkland is set to be an ensemble film that studies the events of the day of Kennedy’s tragic death from multiple angles. Included in its cast of characters is said to be Kennedy’s wife, an FBI agent, a young doctor, a reporter, multiple members of the Secret Service and Kennedy’s staff, Lee Harvey Oswald’s older brother, and an infamous clothing manufacturer with a camera named Abraham Zapruder. Sounds like we’re going to be reporting on the casting of this thing for months.

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