Thursday, 5 January 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Legal Thrillers



 
I’m not going to lie, I actually forgot about this until midway through Thursday. Anyway these are my picks for 2017’s first Thursday Movie Picks.

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This is a favourite of mine and I still remember watching it until 2am in the morning, gripped, whilst my brother and cousin had long fallen asleep. The pro self-vigilante justice theme is problematic as the murder of the two men who raped the daughter of Samuel L Jackson's Carl Lee Hailey was an act of revenge rather than justice, but it’s one of the best adaptions of John Grisham’s work.

Classic court based thriller starring James Stewart as a lawyer who tries to defend a man who murdered the man who raped his wife, citing temporary insanity as a cause for his actions. A brave film, well ahead of its time with its frank and graphic discussion of sex and rape. Gripping for all of its 160 minute run time, and cited as one of ‘purest trial movies ever made’.


Part legal thriller, part horror movie, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is (very loosely) based on a real court case where a priest was tried for negligence in the death of a very ill girl who was believed to be possessed by a demonic spirit. One of the better exorcism movies this millennium, but it’s not much a compliment considering the rubbish that has come out in recent years.  

10 comments:

  1. Not seen two of these films but I know Anatomy (picked it too) great film.

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  2. Love these! I'm not much of a McConaughey fan but this big breakout for him was one where I did find him better than usual. It was an involving film and the rest of the cast was very good. Love watching films like this a few years on when some of the supporting actors in tiny roles are now much better known. For instance I noticed Octavia Spencer in a tiny bit the last time I took a look at this.

    Exorcism of Emily Rose is a good catch. It never even crossed my mind but it fits so well and any film with Laura Linney, Campbell Scott and Shohreh Aghdashloo is worth seeing just for them. Your comment about the rubbish that's been churned out of late is spot on so it does seem like damning the film with faint praise but it is a decent movie.

    LOVE Anatomy of a Murder. When Preminger was on his game as he was with this he was one of the best. Too bad he was such a tyrant that working on his pictures was akin to a battle zone especially if he took a dislike to you. Anyway the cast couldn't be bettered (Love the judge!) from Jimmy Stewart and Lee Remick down to the smaller contributions of Eve Arden and John Qualen.

    I'm a big fan of legal thrillers so this week was easy to pull together with three favorites.

    Primal Fear (1996)-Martin Vail (Richard Gere) a big time Chicago attorney who loves the spotlight and isn’t overburdened with scruples takes on pro bono, for both the challenge and the publicity, the seemingly unwinnable case of angel faced choir boy Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton) accused of viciously slaying a much loved priest. The case leads him down many dark corridors and ultimately to a crisis of conscience. Expertly acted by a top flight cast, Laura Linney, Frances McDormand, Andre Braugher and Alfre Woodard (great fun as a tippling no nonsense judge) among many others, but the standouts are top liner Gere and Norton who is simply astonishing in his screen bow.

    Suspect (1987)-An esteemed judge commits suicide shortly after giving his secretary a package. The next morning the secretary is found dead in the Potomac with her throat cut and almost immediately a mute homeless man (Liam Neeson) found with the dead woman’s wallet is arrested for the crime. His case is assigned to public defender Kathleen Riley (Cher) and it seems a straightforward case. Once the jury is empaneled though one of the jurors, lobbyist Eddie Sanger (Dennis Quaid) notices some inconsistences in the case and surreptitiously tries to pass his suspicions to Kathleen without subverting the trial. They secretly team up when those suspicions grow darker and both find their lives threatened. A trifle farfetched but suspenseful legal thriller with good performances, cast and direction. Excellent opening credits set the mood of the film up well.

    Witness for the Prosecution (1957)-In London when wealthy widow Emily French is found bludgeoned to death suspicion falls on struggling inventor Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power in his last film), a somewhat shiftless acquaintance of hers. He turns to well respected but thorny barrister Sir Wilfrid Robarts (Charles Laughton) to take the case. Fresh out of hospital and attended by a constantly flummoxed nurse Miss Plimsoll (Elsa Lanchester-Laughton’s real life wife) Robarts at first declines but after an entreaty by Vole’s wife Christine (a scene stealing Marlene Dietrich) he takes up the case which is loaded with twists and turns aplenty. Splendid adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic story enacted by a cast that couldn’t be better and superbly directed by Billy Wilder.

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  3. Haven't watched the first two, but the The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a great film. Never thought it would be a legal thriller, but it indeed is.

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  4. I hang my head low that I still have not seen Aanatomy of a Murder since I love Jimmy Stewart. I haven't seen the other 2 either but want to see A Time to Kill


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  5. I loved A Time to Kill and I'm glad to see I'm not the only one. I would have never thought of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, but it's a great pick. I remember liking the legal part more than the horror.

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  6. A Time to Kill is a great movie. Glad to see it getting some love this week. Not a fan of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, though I found it rather dull. I really need to see Anatomy of a Murder.

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  7. I actually like EMILY ROSE more as a legal thriller than a horror movie. I've heard of the other 2, but haven't seen them.

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  8. I've never been a fan of exorcism films which is why I pretty much stay away from it. But it's interesting that couple of you have mentioned the legal thriller aspect of it is good. Maybe I'll check it out one day.

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  9. A Time To Kill is one of my favorite legal thrillers as well, glad to see it listed here. I agree, it's so damn gripping.

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