Monday, November 25, 2013

The Lincoln Lawyer (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (2011)

The Lincoln LawyerHow far would you go to correct a wrong? After agreeing to take on a case he assumes is an easy win Mickey (McConaughey) soon learns appearances are deceiving. When he finds out the truth and tries to expose it his friends and family are put at risk. I have to admit I actually think McConaughey is very good at playing parts like this. As in "Time To Kill" and "Two For The Money". The smooth man pushed to the edge. Saying almost anything about the movie will give too much info away but I will admit that after being in the "Movie Business" for over 10 years I've seen enough that it's very hard for me to be surprised at a movies ending. The twist at the end of this one had me totally thrown and I love when that happens. I had high expectations for this and it surpassed them all. Watch this movie, you will not regret it. I loved it. As a plus this is a movie that exposes the flaws in the justice system, which will make you mad, and at the same time make you wish more lawyers are like Mickey Haller. I love this movie. I say A+.

Would I watch again? Absolutely, Im going to buy it!!!


STARRING: Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Philippe, Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, Michael Pena, John Leguizamo and Josh Lucas

WRITTEN BY: John Romano; based on the novel by Michael Connelly

DIRECTED BY: Brad Furman

Rated: R

Genre: Drama / Thriller

Release Date: 18 March 2011

Review Date: 18 March 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer was a refreshing film for two paramount reasons: it's one of the top films of the year and its Matthew McConaughey's best performance to date. I generally like McConaughey movies but he's played a lot of goofballs.

More often than not he's a buffoon or a slacker who has beautiful women flocking to him and we never question it because he's Matthew McConaughey. The ladies in his films never question it for this same reason and because he usually has his shirt off. But here he's charming, intelligent, slick, and meticulously perfect at everything; particularly the work he does from the back seat of his Lincoln. We'd believe any woman's attraction to him. Ironically, only one woman shows interest in him and it's an old flame.

She's Maggie, played by the lovely Marisa Tomei. The two are lawyers who remain friends who may want a little more. The iceberg between them is that they are on either sides of the fence when it comes to the law. She wants bad guys behind bars; he couldn't care less if they're on the street so long as they can afford his hefty fees.

McConaughey slides into the role of Mick Haller with great ease and does a tremendous job. Mick lives to be in a courtroom and finds great euphoria in winning and knowing that he will win without question. We love watching him in action. As good as this film was, I imagine the detail that went into the novel, of which it's based, was even more enticing. Even John Grisham is likely a fan.

We spend the first several minutes of the film being acquainted with the big sleaze ball Mick is. He handles multiple cases at a time: hookers, drug dealers, whatever; and seems to have them settled in his head before he even steps foot in court.

All that changes however with his latest client: a rich kid accused of a brutal rape (Ryan Philippe). All fingers point to his being guilty, but he insists otherwise. Ryan Philippe isn't as good here as he was as a similar rich snob in Cruel Intentions, but he's pretty close.

To reveal what happens next would be inconceivable to anyone who's seen the film. It spirals out of control over and over and it's the kind of film that makes you think while entertaining the hell out of you. It's one of those rare movies that actually could happen yet still has us captivated. Oh, and McConaughey only removes his shirt once.

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This legal thriller is a refreshing break from all of the mindless, style-over-substance 3D fare Hollywood is churning out lately. It's a throwback to the days of classic courtroom dramas and police procedurals, with enough interesting twists and turns to keep eyeballs glued to the screen. Matthew McConaughey is superbly cast as the smooth operator lawyer. The rest of the casting is also exceptional, down to some of the bit parts like the bail bondsman, the jailhouse snitch, the biker, and the busted hooker. (I especially appreciated William H. Macy as the private investigator; I do wish that Marisa Tomei had a meatier role that allowed her to shine as she did in "My Cousin Vinny.") Michael Connelly is one of the best current authors in the hard-boiled police procedural genre, and the adaptation stays pretty true to his spirit. As someone who works in the criminal justice system, I appreciated the realism. Money, connections, backroom wheeling and dealing, and simple twists of fate often trump justice. Just four stars because although it was solid and great fun to watch, it lacked a profound message or deep impact that would make it memorable. You certainly won't regret watching it.

CAUTION: If you have not seen this movie, do not watch the trailer. It spoils the plot.

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Matthew McConaughey is a talented actor who has spent the last ten years making forgettable romantic-comedies that stunt his ability to show his range. While The Lincoln Lawyer does not have him stepping into Oscar-worthy territory, it's a role that renews faith in his ability as an actor. Additionally, it's a solid film with a tremendous supporting cast and confident direction from relative newcomer Brad Furman (whose IMDB picture, with his Good Charlotte T-shirt and sideways hat, would not lead you to believe he was capable of making a coherent film).

McConaughey plays Mick Haller, a smooth-talking Los Angeles defense attorney who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, defending garden-variety criminals who can pay the right price. Mick is very good at his job and clearly fond of the luxuries it affords. When his driver, Earl, asks him if he can keep the job after Mick gets his license back, Mick replies "I got my license back three months ago, Earl." Out of the blue, a bail bondsman named Val (John Leguizamo) approaches Mick with an offer to defend a high-profile client; Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), the son of a wealthy real estate mogul, has been accused of brutally assaulting a prostitute. Louis vehemently professes his innocence and, although he is suspicious, Mick takes the job. Along with Frank Levin (William H. Macy), his investigator, Mick begins analyzing the evidence to build his case and finds discrepancies that only make his suspicions stronger...

The Lincoln Lawyer starts with a strong script, no doubt adapted from a strong book. I am not familiar with the author of the novel, Michael Connelly, but the last film adapted from one of his books was the 2002 Clint Eastwood thriller Blood Work, which was well-received. Two solid films out of two ain't bad; I think it's a safe bet that he's got talent. The script follows the formula of including a twist at every opportunity and this twisty plot keeps the film surprising and interesting. There are elements that require you to suspend your disbelief a bit (nothing too extraordinary, just too convenient) and it does get contrived at times, but it's much smarter and fun than the average Hollywood legal thriller. There are really two types of films here, the first hour being a mystery while the second being a legal thriller. I was a bit taken aback when they spill the beans only an hour in, but found the courtroom drama just as engrossing as what came before it. The mystery element is effectively intriguing, while the courtroom stuff is well-played, with intensity and snappy dialogue.

It's been a long time since McConaughey was in such fine form. This is a role with real bite and he reminds us that he's a movie star with genuine acting ability. Mick Haller is a suave, charismatic, arrogant, crafty, and manipulative character that McConaughey really sinks his teeth into. As an actor, he naturally exudes charisma and he takes to this character in the same natural way a Jazz musician takes to their instrument. Marissa Tomei as the L.A. prosecutor, and Mick's ex-wife, has a natural chemistry with McConaughey and a likeability and natural warmth that brightens up a film just by having her walk on-screen. Macy doesn't have much screen-time, but has the unique ability as an actor to bring a distinct quirkiness to his role and effectively steal all of his scenes. As the comic relief of sorts, he does just that here. The stunning supporting cast is not short on big names and big talent, consisting of Josh Lucas, Frances Fisher, Michael Peña, Bryan Cranston, and Trace Adkins (!?).

The Lincoln Lawyer is consistently entertaining and suspenseful while it moves at a brisk, clever pace. It has structural similarities to recent films (one that comes immediately to mind is 2007's Fracture), but what it lacks in freshness it makes up for in execution. This is not a film that tries to reinvent the wheel, but merely keep its audience entertained while they watch the wheel spin. It's well-acted and addictive. It's nice to see a film that that aspires only to entertain, but doesn't disregard intelligence completely in doing so. It's not a great film, but it's great entertainment.


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Have you ever watched a movie thinking before hand it would be a good movie only to discover that it was just so so once it finished? A movie that just leaves you feeling a bit bland, as if had you not watched it you wouldn't notice it but that you thought was entertaining enough anyway? Such is the case with THE LINCOLN LAWYER.

Based on the best seller by Michael Connelly it tells the tale of slick lawyer Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey), a stereotypical lawyer who will do most anything to get his client off be he guilty or not. Mick is also likely to take his client for as much as he can get while the getting is good. Not the most loveable character you'll find in a movie.

Things get odd when Mick takes on a case for bail bondsmen/friend named Val Valenzuela (John Leguizamo). He has a client in need of an attorney, a young and wealthy guy named Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillipe) accused of attempting to rape and beat a young woman. Roulet claims innocence from the start and Mick is willing to take him at his word. Refusing money from his mother to differentiate the client from the witness base, Mick sets out to discover all he can about the case and all involved.

Using his best friend and investigator Frank Levin (William H. Macy), he sets out building an alibi for his client. But when he has Frank look into something different, Frank ends up dead and the most likely suspect in Mick's eye is Roulet. The problem is being his attorney Roulet is protected by the lawyer/client privilege. And when ties to a case that didn't set well with Mick years ago start to form, he begins to wonder just who this young man really is.

Along the way we meet an assortment of characters to round out the film. Marisa Tomei stars as Maggie McPherson, Mick's ex-wife who works in the D.A.'s office. There are several policemen who don't care for Mick's way of doing things, especially helping criminals evade justice headed by Bryan Cranston. And then there's Earl (Laurence Mason), Mick's chauffer, the man who drives the Lincoln town car that connects to the movie's title. Mick doesn't use an office you see, he spends most of his time in his car.

The mystery involved doesn't offer an incredibly difficult plot to follow nor puzzle to solve. Who did what to whom becomes pretty evident early on. The best part of the film deals with Mick's trying to find a way to not break the law by turning in his client and at the same time finding a way to get him convicted of the crime.

The performances here are for the most part pretty standard. There is no break out performance to be seen but everyone does a fine job. The cinematography is well done with a few hand held shots that aren't so obnoxious as to get in the way. The direction feels more by the book than anything. As I said, this movie offers a decent mystery but for the most part feels sort of bland. Still, when it comes to a rental its better than a number of movies out there and you just might enjoy it.

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