The recipe for a perfect summer DVD? Mix a little drama with a little romance and a little intrigue. Add a dash of legal trickery and a pinch of deception. Blend in a superb cast and the result is “The Lincoln Lawyer.” That is not to say this is a great movie. It isn’t, but it is perfect fare for putting your feet up after mowing the lawn or watering the garden.
Matthew McConaughey leaves his trademark smile and shirtless predictability in the dressing room and becomes Mick Haller, a lawyer who represents a colorful roster of clients, mostly from his mobile office — a Lincoln Continental. An “easy” case is dropped in his lap by a bail bondsman (John Leguizamo) and the plot thickens.
Helping Haller with the case are his ex-wife and attorney (Marisa Tomei) and his friend and private investigator (William H. Macy). Placing stumbling blocks in his way are his client accused of murder (Ryan Phillippe) and his client’s wealthy mother and protector (Francis Fisher).
Director Brad Furman is joined by scriptwriter Jon Romano, who has had a long career writing for television. It’s possible without this stellar cast “The Lincoln Lawyer” might have ended up on the small screen. (Then again, if you’re watching it on DVD, it is on the small screen.) No matter. “The Lincoln Lawyer” is a fun ride with a few twists and turns along the way.
Seven years is a long run for any television show. After a while, either the story lines become redundant or the dialogue becomes too predictable. Not so with “The Closer.” This is the final year that Kyra Sedgwick, as Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson, and her eclectic cast will air on the TNT network.
Johnson heads a diverse group of detectives assembled to solve major crimes and though she doesn’t always “get her man/woman,” her reputation as a “closer” of cases is earned and acknowledged, although not without bumps in the road. Starting with Season 1, her Southern accent wears on her L.A. staff and being a belle in a man’s world is as challenging for her as solving crimes.
Sedgwick is supported by a strong ensemble cast, including Jon Tenney as her FBI-agent husband and J.K. Simmons as her former lover and current boss. Familiar character actors Barry Corbin and Frances Sternhagen, as Brenda’s parents, add a touch of family reality to her daily work of murder and mayhem.
James Duff created the series and has been involved with each of the seven seasons, maintaining a quality level seldom seen in episodic television.
With the airwaves filled with sports (OK, if you’re a fan), reruns (yawn) and reality shows (double yawn), renting “The Closer” on DVD is ideal, particularly since the episodes come without commercials.
(Good news for “The Closer” fans: “Major Crimes,” a new series scheduled for 2012, will feature series regular actress Mary McDonell — Capt. Raydor — and, hopefully, most of the existing cast with the exception of Sedgwick.)
Men in hats. Men in suits. Men that never crack a smile. Welcome to “The Adjustment Bureau.” Is this movie starring Matt Damon a suspense thriller or a futuristic science fiction romp or a romance cloaked in danger?
Alas, whatever “The Adjustment Bureau” intends to be, it is, more or less, a yawn.
If you’re a fan of Jason Bourne (Damon’s multi-film/one-character franchise), you’ll likely be disappointed with this outing.
David Norris (Damon) loses his bid for re-election to public office when an inappropriate photo surfaces. (You’ve got to love that irony!) But that doesn’t matter when the next morning while riding a city bus (also ironic), he falls madly and instantly in love with Elise (Emily Blunt). Evidently, that wasn’t supposed to happen and the mysterious Adjustment Bureau springs into action. Only, with all due respect to “action” movies, the Bureau springs into ho-hum mode, following him around for the next seven years until Norris accidentally bumps in to Elise — again on the bus!
The premise is so outlandish and the script so “not” clever that you may find yourself, while watching the movie, imagining better twists and turns and thinking, “Hmmm, I could write a better script than this.”
Even the appearance of the ever reliable and mesmerizing Terence Stamp isn’t enough to add intrigue to “The Adjustment Bureau.” Like most bureaucracies, this one needs a major overhaul.
Rebecca Redshaw is an author and playwright who worked for 25 years in the film industry in Los Angeles. Copies of her book, SOFA CINEMA: An Easy Guide to DVDs may be purchased at the Sequim Gazette. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grading this week’s DVDs: the ABC’s
Mon, Mar 19, 2012
Politics, political figures and spies
Tue, Mar 6, 2012
Tue, Feb 14, 2012
And now, reality
Mon, Jan 30, 2012
Looking back on the year that was (Part 1 of 2)
Wed, Dec 7, 2011
Film buffs should revisit ‘Northwest’
Wed, Nov 2, 2011
Conspiracy theories played out on film
Tue, Oct 18, 2011
Mix-ups, marriage and horse management
Mon, Oct 3, 2011
Going ‘Grease,’ locally and on DVD
Tue, Sep 13, 2011
It’s All About the Music
Fri, Sep 9, 2011