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210 reviews in total 
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Primary (1960)
Assembly Edit from 1960, 24 May 2014

I wasn't a huge fan of PRIMARY. Being a JFK and 1960s political buff, I highly anticipated the behind the scenes campaign film. Due to my lack of interest in Hubert Humphrey, unfortunately, I spent most of the viewing time hitting the fast forward button to the Kennedy segments.

Regardless, this film does show the overwhelming and taxing manner of campaigning and how it takes a person that does not appear to be mortal to carry out such a function.

The camera gets intimately close to JFK when he enters rally halls. There's a few shots that are groundbreaking in this sequence. It almost appears that the cameraman glued his lens to the back of Kennedy's collar. It creates an eye opening feeling of proximity.

Therefore, I guess if you eliminated Humphrey from the film or showcased the Presidential Election itself, you'd have a much more interesting piece of work.

Ted Ryan

Parkland (2013)
Haunting, 17 April 2014

**mild spoilers although this is a movie documenting a significant historical event*

I found PARKLAND to be haunting and covering a completely different aspect of that day that sent shivers down my spine.

The scene in the hospital room of the doctors trying to save Kennedy is raw, real, and seems as accurate as one could gather from accounts. The dialogue feels so spot on.

The secret service detail of them bursting in with rifles and the amount of blood in the ER are such bone clenching details in script and costume, props, etc.

Whoever plays LBJ for that one scene - A +.

Nonetheless, what feels most real to me is the actual assassination from Zapruder's perspective. I literally could feel the honest to God horror of those three gunshots. Him screaming, "They killed him, they killed him."

There are some aspects of the film that didn't resonate quite as powerful. That being the Lee Harvey Oswald's brother/funeral/mother trio. The guy playing Oswald's fabulous - I just wish they'd followed the famous plane ride as LBJ scrambles as the new president.

This movie inspired me with even more new ideas for a film about the JFK Presidency.

BTW, whoever created the body of JFK. He made the movie. Kudos.

Ted Ryan

Deterrence (1999)
Impressive writing - but not great, 16 July 2009

The idea for Rod Lurie's first feature film is a good one - the President is trapped in the boonies and must deal with a nuclear crisis. And, DETERRENCE certainly has some very play-like charming elements - small setting, clash of characters, localized tension, etc - that make it a passable watch. Not to mention, it does a wonderful job of portraying news/mass media as the film's crisis unfolds.

Unfortunately, although the writing is informed, tip-top, and clever, I think the casting falls short.

Let's start with the President played by Kevin Pollak. I felt this was a bad casting choice by Lurie. In addition to his noticeably short height and Napoleonic demeanor, Pollak lacks the presidential aura of either a Martin Sheen or Michael Douglas. Therefore, no matter what interesting dramatic conflicts arise for President Emerson during the story, I can't help but wish someone was playing him.

Also, there's a few patrons/employees of the diner that are very one note - you'll notice this was you watch.

Ted's Grade: C+/B-

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
what i expected, 28 January 2007

This movie is exactly what I expected. An American Beauty type-flick with a lighter indie feel. Paul Rudd is magnificent as a burnt out, depressed 30-something high school teacher who can't sexually satisfy his wife. Parker P is her usual competent self. She gets to tap into her comedic side as a Rudd's spouse - discovering her own sexuality, understanding her own emotional needs, and having orgasms at very inappropriate times (you'll see). Mischa Barton plays the Mena Suvari role - nothing to write home about; Keith David is frickin' hilarious; and Danny Devito is Danny Devito. So, you've got an acceptable combo and a Netflix worthy rental.

Unfortunately, although you've the standard elements, great direction, and some truly poignant moments, The Oh in Ohio ends up sinking towards the end. There's no connection between the 2 leads Rudd and Posey so there's no dramatic conflict for our audience. Will they end up together?

Who cares?

About 75% into the film, the charm of everyone started to wear off and I hoped it would end. And it ended with a D in Disappointment.

6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Good performance - wrong medium, 4 October 2006

I had the opportunity to see DOWN TO THE BONE off Netflix. I was really looking forward to it. I think Vera Farmiga is a very talented performer and heard the raves. Unfortunately, the decision to shoot this story on a PD-150 really killed it for me. I saw the short SNAKE FEED and felt 16 was a much better medium. Or maybe I wished Debra Granik had taken a different visual DV approach. I'm not quite sure. But I didn't find the cinematography all that breathtaking. Some reviewers call it gritty - I call it bland. Still, even with that aside, I felt the story moves a little slow and is also mettled with structural issues. The snake motif was cliché in my books. Nonetheless, Vera is great and definitely makes this one worth watching.

Inside Man (2006)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Yeah, Spike!, 25 August 2006

Although this Spike Lee Joint has more plot holes than a piece of Swiss Cheese, it's a pretty entertaining ride. Denzel (who I always think kicks ass) is a hard hitting negotiator who plays by his own rules. Jodie Foster and Christopher Plummer are slimeballs that are there for him to eat. Clive Owen is awesome as well. Not to mention, Spike is working off a great Hollywood script. And although he takes every opportunity to throw in his typical racial messages, and references to the Yankees and Mets, you can't help but dig the story and cast. One of the better recent Spike films. Far better than 25TH HOUR, which I found to be a complete catastrophe.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
For horror fans ONLY, 25 August 2006

I don't even know how to comment on this one. LONG ISLAND CANNIBAL MASSACRE is supposed to be awful since it's low budget horror. But the acting in this film is worst than anything I have ever seen. As a result, most of the scenes are unbearable and it is not a very fun movie to watch - even if it is a horror. Nonetheless, if you are able to make it to the end of this film without fast-forwarding, you are in for quite a treat. I'm not to going to give away any spoilers but the conclusion of LICM makes it worth the viewing. I also suggest you check on the special features on your DVD. Director Nathan Schiff clearly thinks he's Jean Luc Godard.

Either way, as a filmmaker myself, I have a huge amount of respect for Schiff and his feature film. As a high schooler, he managed to make what some might consider a cult classic. Good for him. But, make sure you're ready.

Gnome (2005)
10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
solid short, 26 June 2006

It's tough to make a good short film. Even the ones that I have seen with famous actors and done by famous directors can often be horrible. GNOME, however, is quite a pleasant surprise. Lauren Graham (the one and only) takes her role and knocks it out of the park. Playing a less spunky, more upper class version of Lorelai Gilmore, she radiates from start to finish. Her expressions are priceless, and she provides a prime example of why good actors make or break movies. Written and directed Jenny Burke (an acclaimed TV writer from her filmography), the story is guided with a beautiful simplicity that a lot of film students/aspiring Micheal Bays tend to lack. In fact, the movie reminds me of something Hal Ashby would have done if he had ever been infused with a SEX IN THE CITY-suburban brain chip.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Has Its Moments, 15 June 2006

I thought THE RECEPTION had its moments, although I don't know if I was that fond of any of the characters (especially the guy with the purple hat - why on Earth did the director let him wear that?). Nonetheless, the upstate setting worked quite well for me. It appears the cast and crew got some unexpected snow which added nice topping to storyline. They also drank lots of wine and ate good food, and the film made me want to go upstate. Unfortunately, the French woman and the woman playing her daughter looked about ten years apart which damaged some credibility. Their relationship was off kilter and bizarre. With the two guys - it may have been a little bit better. Still, kudos to the writer/director. And, I'm not talking about the budget or what not. I'm talking about working with story and actors and making it watchable for 80-90 minutes. That's a great accomplishment.

London (2005/I)
3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Oh man, 12 June 2006

I don't know if London repulsed me because the writing is so bad or just it is made with this "prep school/rich kid/I think characters should have long monologues on coke" attitude. Either way, the thing is an infuriating piece of movie making. I mean, I'm totally down with watching with cool Manhattan people take drugs and spiral into depression and more drugs. But when it's done to be cool - it's just a poorman's version of BOOGIE NIGHTS or GOODFELLAS. And, this one is really poor. Nonetheless, the movie has Jeremy Statham and carries charisma and delivers a solid monologue towards the end. Unfortunately, Jessica Biel's London is just another unrealistic female character obviously written by dude. Still, this guy made a 2 million dollar movie and people obviously believed in him so I'm not going to sit here and rip it forever.

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