The last time Kevin Costner got anywhere near John F. Kennedy’s presidency, namely Oliver Stone’s cinematic hallucination known as JFK, history took a beating like a narc in a biker bar. Thankfully, Roger Donaldson’s Thirteen Days doesn’t take anywhere near the number of liberties with the truth (how could it) and its historically questionable aspects are minor and forgivable as necessary dramatic licenses in the service of a tightly honed political thriller that also happens to be mostly true.
Eighty-seven years after they founded this country with the institution of slavery still intact, the country celebrated the Fourth of July in the bloodiest way possible in any effort to resolve that question. The Turner Network’s film of the decisive Battle of Gettysburg is a rigorously faithful adaption of Michael Shaara’s novel The Killer Angels. Perhaps they were a bit too faithful. This movie occasionally suffers from a little of what I call “The Longest Day Syndrome,” which is the tendency for characters to pontificate on the importance of the events in the film as if they were reading from, well, the pages of Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels.
Invincible is a reasonably entertaining gumbo of The Rookie, Rocky and a long list of underdog-makes-good sports movies. It’s not particularly groundbreaking or even all that original, but the movie holds together on the strength of a solid cast and attention to detail.