Home Movies Toronto: “Parkland,” with Jeremy Strong as Lee Harvey Oswald, “Railway Man” Make...

I’ll update this later.But suffice to say that “Parkland” and “The Railway Man” each had strong debuts last night. “Parkland” is the strongest movie ever made about the JFK assassination, with Paul Giamatti outstanding as Abe Zapruder, the man who filmed it all and began famous forever; and two knockout performances– James Badge Dale as Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother and Jacki Weaver as their mother. Jeremy Strong is indelible as Oswald, unforgettable.

Director Peter Landesman throws out all conspiracy theories and concentrates on facts. He’s done a sensational job. There are lots of smaller roles, most especially interesting Marcia Gay Harden as the ER nurse, and Billy Bob Thornton as the local chief of the Secret Service. Tom Welling, trapped on TV forever as Superman, makes  good turn here too.

“The Railway Man” takes place in World War II, in Australia and Scotland. It’s a true story, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. This is a big deal old fashioned film, beautifully made and acted. It deserves a good home. I think audiences are hungering for this kind of filmmaking a la “Out of Africa” or “The Quiet American.”

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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