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Secretariat - quick review

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Secretariat - quick review

Old 10-09-10, 12:02 PM
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Secretariat - quick review

Most people who grew up in the 70s know of Secretariat's accomplishments in horse racing, but the film does a good job of presenting the stakes at risk for Penny Chenery and her family in committing to raising and racing Secretariat.

The story is told in a nod to filmmaking of that era, not too showy, but serviceable. Diane Lane is fine as Penny, though some of the family subplots don't quite gel with the primary storyline, that of Secretariat's run for the Triple Crown. The audience I saw it film with was very into the horse racing scenes, lots of applause during the film at those times (which always struck me as odd, but hey, the audience was into the film). I did wish the colt that was cast as Secretariat was a little larger in size.

If you're interested in the legend of Secretariat, definitely worth a matinee viewing.

I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.
Old 10-09-10, 12:13 PM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

Maybe it's just me but the fact that the 'Disney' logo is attached gives it less credibility as a dramatic film. I can't help but feel it's going to be somewhat wooden and soft dramatically.
Old 10-09-10, 12:59 PM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

Originally Posted by foofighters7 View Post
Maybe it's just me but the fact that the 'Disney' logo is attached gives it less credibility as a dramatic film. I can't help but feel it's going to be somewhat wooden and soft dramatically.
Well, it looks like a very safe film, in terms of it's story and content. Nothing wrong with that, it's probably a great film for families. For me the previews just made me want to watch Seabiscuit again.
Old 10-09-10, 01:56 PM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

I wonder if Ebert is getting soft. It's kind of been a trend. He gave this 4 stars and, while it's always subjective, I don't see this being a 4 star movie even with the audience that enjoys it.
Old 10-09-10, 02:46 PM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

They say that brain power is tied to voice power...sooo.
Old 10-09-10, 04:15 PM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

How would you compare this to Seabiscuit? I really love that movie.
Old 10-09-10, 08:04 PM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

Seabiscuit was a bit more engaging character-wise.
Old 10-09-10, 09:08 PM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

Sarah Jessica Parker was simply amazing in this film. She was so much more than just an actress playing a role, she BECAME Secretariat. If she doesn't win the Oscar next year, there is no justice.
Old 10-09-10, 10:18 PM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

Originally Posted by dolphinboy View Post
I wonder if Ebert is getting soft. It's kind of been a trend. He gave this 4 stars and, while it's always subjective, I don't see this being a 4 star movie even with the audience that enjoys it.
His friend wrote the book this is based on, he's letting his bias show.

Originally Posted by SkullOrchard View Post
Sarah Jessica Parker was simply amazing in this film. She was so much more than just an actress playing a role, she BECAME Secretariat. If she doesn't win the Oscar next year, there is no justice.
She was in Seabiscuit, not Secretariat. Though it is easy to confuse the two.
Old 10-09-10, 10:26 PM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
His friend wrote the book this is based on, he's letting his bias show.



She was in Seabiscuit, not Secretariat. Though it is easy to confuse the two.
I was amazed about how fast SJP was in Seabiscuit. I mean, they really made her look like she could run.
Old 10-10-10, 04:12 AM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

You guys beat me to it (check out sig)
Old 10-10-10, 06:28 AM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

On his blog, Ebert took an interesting snipe at a fellow film reviewer who had characterized Secretariat as some sort of Tea Party propaganda film. Good stuff, especially the comments, wherein the sniped reviewer posts a defense of his review.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010...stia.html#more
Old 01-30-11, 01:30 AM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

I just watched this on blu ray today. I thought it was pretty much crap. All the family stuff was ridiculous. I understand that they wanted to go into Penny Chenery's life and all but the name of the movie was Secretariat, not Penny Chenery. Plus I love how they conveniently left out the part about her horse, Riva Ridge, winning both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont in 1972 so everything was golden for her long before Secretariat even became well known.

Anyway, I just didn't think the movie did justice to the actual horse. My main complaint that was that the Belmont States was so anti climatic. I thought they did a terrible job recreating just how dominate Secretariat's performance was in that race. That was one of, if not the, most dominating and impressive performance in the history of sports but it just didn't come off like that on film. I think a lot of it had to do with how the race was filmed. The way it was filmed didn't do a good job of recreating how bad Secretariat beat those other horses. The actual race footage, along with the actual race announcer call shows it much better. For example, the movie talks about the 31 length margin, but most people have no idea what that means, but the real announcer says that he was 1/16 of a mile out in front. That gives the audience a better idea of how far out in front he was. And the real race had much better shots of Secretariat so far out in front that the other horses weren't even in the same frame--the camera actually had to pan away from him in order to get the other horses on camera.

Usually movies exaggerate things and make things out to be bigger than reality, but in my opinion, the real race was much more impressive that what was put on screen.
Old 01-30-11, 04:52 AM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

Completely agree with you about the Belmont race. They did a good job on the Bemont part up until the race itself which just seemed very......sterile I guess is the best way to put it. You watch the real race and you get chills no matter how many times you have seen it before, especially with the race call, but the movie version just didn't capture that.
Old 01-30-11, 09:27 AM
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Re: Secretariat - quick review

Originally Posted by Maxflier View Post
Completely agree with you about the Belmont race. They did a good job on the Bemont part up until the race itself which just seemed very......sterile I guess is the best way to put it. You watch the real race and you get chills no matter how many times you have seen it before, especially with the race call, but the movie version just didn't capture that.
I'm no filmmaker, but what I would have done was basically recreate the race as best I could stride for stride and either used the actual race call or just had somebody else record exactly what the original announcer said. I would have kept the same angles, or maybe used some other more modern angles, but basically I would have tried to show that race exactly how it happened with modern technology instead of throwing in shots of people in the audience talking and slow mo stuff and jockey cams and all that stuff. I truly think it would have had more impact if the real race with the real call would have just been authentically recreated especially since the only real footage of the race is 37 years old and grainy.

I know I sound like a complete geek, but I agree...the real race gives you chills when you watch it, but the movie failed miserably in recreating the scope of that race and Secretariat's performance. That's why an epilogue was needed to put his performance into perspective. You wouldn't need to read words after it was over to understand how impressive it was if you just watch the actual race and listen to the announcer.

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