Courtroom Drama

[6.0] James Woods stars as the museum director taken to court when photographs from Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1990 exhibit were accused of being obscene in Cincinnati, Ohio. Diana Scarwid and Craig T. Nelson also star in this made-for-cable movie that incorporates Mapplethrope’s photos and interviews with political pundits and people who knew and worked with Mapplethorpe. I enjoyed the artist’s photos and the documentary interview bits, …

[6.0] Jeff Bridges’ wife is murdered and Glenn Close goes to court to prove his innocence. Meanwhile, Peter Coyote’s convinced that Bridges is the killer and Robert Loggia is doing investigation on the side to help Close’s case. And dang it, if Bridges and Close don’t start falling in love. Is he innocent? Is he guilty? You really shouldn’t have to wonder very hard. The …

[5.0] Dana Andrews (The Ox-Bow Incident) stars as a State’s Attorney trying to save an innocent man from being hastily convicted of murder. Arthur Kennedy plays the accused, a man coerced into confession by a police force being pressured by politicians to resolve the case by any means necessary — even if it means giving an innocent man life in prison. Jane Wyatt, Lee J. …

[4.0] Humphrey Bogart defends a juvenile delinquent (John Derek) in this uneven and heavy-handed flick from director Nicholas Ray. Didn’t care for Derek in this movie, but Bogey makes a nice courtroom stand at the end. The best thing about this movie is that it probably inspired Ray to continue exploring similar themes in his later, greater Rebel Without a Cause. With George Macready.

[6.0] Ryan Gosling plays a young prosecutor pitted against slicker-than-snot Anthony Hopkins, representing himself in a trial where he’s accused of murdering his wife. Hopkins is about to get away with everything, but Gosling is determined to poke a hole in Hopkins’ seemingly air-tight alibi. The casting is safe and predictable, but the script is fairly tight and twisty, and kept me engaged to the end.  With …

[7.0] In this political drama from director Otto Preminger, Henry Fonda plays the president’s newly appointed Secretary of State, but before he can take the position he must pass the Senate’s nasty accusations of communism and homosexuality. Advise and Consent starts out very plot-driven and a little dry, unless you’re really interested in senate politics. But by the mid-point, I had invested in the ensemble …

[6.0] Denzel Washington stars in this Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Back to the Future) film about an airplane pilot who makes a ‘miracle landing’ after a mid-air collision, saving over a hundred lives from almost certain death. But here’s the rub: he’s an alcoholic, and the lawyers are out to frame him for wrong-doing, armed with a toxicology report and three empty bottles of vodka …

[4.5] Bette Davis stars as a woman charged with murder. She claims it was self defense, but opposing counsel discovers a letter that threatens her verdict — a letter she wrote to the deceased on the day she shot him… four times. The Letter is directed by William Wyler and based on a play by W. Somerset Maugham. Wyler and cinematographer Tony Gaudio do their …

[6.5] Paul Newman stars as an alcoholic ambulance chaser who tries to redeem his career with a high profile medical malpractice case. Directed by Sidney Lumet from a script adapted by David Mamet, The Verdict is a solid combination of character study and courtroom drama. Good supporting performances from James Mason, Lindsay Crouse, and Charlotte Rampling. One thing I especially liked about the film is …

[9.5] It doesn’t matter whether you think Oswald acted alone or not. Oliver Stone’s JFK is stunning in its craftsmanship and enthralling in its narrative construction. If you’re only casually familiar with the people and events surrounding Kennedy’s assassination and the conspiracy theories about it, brace yourself for a fast-paced, provocative, emotionally compelling story that is sure to make you drop your jaw and raise …

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