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legal drama

Gifted (2017)

DIRECTOR: Marc Webb

CAST: Chris Evans, McKenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate

REVIEW:

Its trailers make it look like Lifetime Original Movie fodder served up with a cute precocious child and a dash of melodramatic courtroom drama, but that does Gifted a bit of a disservice.  The movie isn’t anything hugely ambitious or original, but the movie is more emotionally true and—apart from some third act contrived narrative contortions—the drama more subdued than the previews might suggest, and the result deserves a chance to be judged on its own merits. Continue reading

Loving (2016)

lovingDIRECTOR: Jeff Nichols

CAST: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Christopher Mann, Nick Kroll, Jon Bass, Michael Shannon, Marton Csokas, Bill Camp

REVIEW:

Loving, writer-director Jeff Nichols’ low-key, stately chronicle of actual events spanning 1957-1967 that led to the landmark 1967 Supreme Court ruling overturning state laws against interracial relationships, serves a similar purpose to films covering the same time period and similar subject matter such as 2011’s The Help in serving as a history lesson to those too young to remember a time when racism was still officially written into law.  Continue reading

Denial (2016)

denialDIRECTOR: Mick Jackson

CAST: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott

REVIEW:

Denial is a courtroom drama that relies less on ostentatious Oscar clip wannabe closing speeches and theatrics than meticulous cross-examination, and a true story that doesn’t embellish the material to up the ante.  The result is a stately, dignified film that will bore those without an interest in the subject matter but plenty of appeal for fans of courtroom dramas or for those with an interest in the true story. Continue reading

Murder in the First (1995)

DIRECTOR: Marc Rocco

CAST:

Christian Slater, Kevin Bacon, Gary Oldman, Embeth Davidtz, William H. Macy, R. Lee Ermey, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brad Dourif, Kyra Sedgwick, Mia Kirshner

REVIEW:

Murder in the First is a serviceable courtroom drama with one exceptional performance, a certain amount of style and polish, and a couple harrowingly effective sequences. Unfortunately, it’s also a film that makes a virtual lie of its ‘based on true events’ tagline and docudrama style from beginning to end. Continue reading

The Client (1994)

DIRECTOR: Joel Schumacher

CAST:

Brad Renfro, Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony LaPaglia, Ossie Davis, J.T. Walsh, Bradley Whitford, Anthony Heald, William Sanderson, Kim Coates, Will Patton, Anthony Edwards, Micole Mercurio, William H. Macy, Ron Dean, Walter Olkewicz, David Speck

REVIEW:

The Client is a slickly-crafted thriller that is almost- but not quite- saved from its own accelerating plot unlikelihoods by a competent production and capable performances. Continue reading

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