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by Moe - 0 Comment(s)

Just released to DVD in August and new to our shelves is the courtroom/murder drama Injustice. From the talented and prolific Anthony Horowitz (Foyle's War, Silk, Midsomers Murders) comes this 5 hour British mini-series. Once started it is hard to disengage from, so set some time aside to watch this.

The story follows William Travers, an accomplished criminal barrister living an idyllic life in rural Suffolk. Asked to defend an old friend accused of murder he does so reluctantly and then only because he knows him incapable of the crime of which he is accused. Interconnecting plots are nicely woven together as we watch William struggle with one or two unresolved issues of his own. Strong performances by James Purefoy and Nathaniel Parker—you'll recognize them when you see them.

Here Comes the Judge

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One of our first posts way back in 2008 was the American Film Industries 10 top 10. Check it out because there are 100 great movies listed here and believe it or not, CPL has all of them. Wow! All of the courtroom dramas contained in that list are superior movies and if you haven't seen them all, make sure to try and do so.

Here are a few more to consider.

The Rainmaker with a young Matt Damon and John Voight and based on John Grisham's best seller.

Place in the Sun with two of Hollywood's most beautiful people---Liz Taylor and Montgomery Cliff---I go out of my way to watch this one. Really, only the last 20 minutes is courtroom, but the movie is just so darn good.

Hart's War---no running across broken glass in bare feet (Die Hard), no airport teminals blowing up (Die Hard 2), no car chases (Die Hard 3)---just a surprisingly good dramatic performance from Bruce Willis. A trial takes place for a murder committed in a WW 2 German prisoner of war camp.

The Crucible---lots of recognizable faces in this 96 adaptation of the Arthur Miller story of the same name. With Joan Allen, Winona Ryder, Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Scofield---a spurned lover and accusations of witchcraft.

Caine Mutiny---one of my two favourite Bogart movie (the other being Casablanca)---a US Naval captain shows signs of mental instability which jeopardizes his ship and crew.

Philadelphia---mega-hit from 1993 that won Tom Hanks his first of two consequtive Oscars (followed the next year with Forest Gump). Grab the hankies for this one-you will barely recognize Hanks by the end of the film.

Amistada lesser known Steven Spielberg from 1997---with Matthew McConaughy (one of his rare performances where he manages to go through an entire movie without taking his shirt off) and Anthony Hopkins. Based on real life events surrounding the only known case of slaves on a transport ship attempting a takeover.

Two more from Grisham The Firm---with Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman and Runaway Jury with John Cusack, Hackman and Rachel Wiesz.

And because all of these are just so darn serious (as befits courtrooms dramas) why not lighten up with My Cousin Vinny?

Gregory Peck

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My previous Guaranteed Embarrassment Free post (The Yearling) got me thinking about Gregory Peck---not a bad way to while away a few hours! He started making movies in the 40's, remained very popular for the 50's and 60's and then hit a dry spell after his oscar win. He saw a resurgence of his career with the unexpected 1977 hit, The Omen. More roles appeared after this and he did several turns on television. He was the recipient of many awards, including an Oscar for Best Actor, the Academy's Jean Hershold Humanitarian Award and the Medal of Freedom. On June 12, 2003 just days after the AFI named him as the screen's greatest hero for his role as Atticus Finch, Peck died at the age of 87. Tall, rugged, handsome and by all accounts a very decent human being, he played many a heroic character over the years.

To Kill a Mockingbird---Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice. Depending on the age of your own children, say about 12 and up, it's one for the whole family to watch and discuss. This won Peck the best actor Oscar and was his own personal favourite from his many roles.

Captain Horatio Hornblower---if you've been reading our blog over the past months you know that we have recommended the Hornblower series from A&E. This film predates it by several years-decades actually, and Peck does an excellent job playing the swashbuckling hero.

Roman Holiday---with Peck and Audrey Hepburn in her Oscar winning role. A lovely, charming movie. Interesting bit of trivia here. The on-screen credit and Academy award for best Screen Writing were originally credited and given to Ian McLellan Hunter. Hunter was the 'beard' for Dalton Trumbo, who was one of several Hollywood writers blacklisted during the infamous McCarthy era. In December 1992 the Academy decided to change the records and to credit Trumbo for his achievment. Ian Hunter was removed from the Motion Picture Story category and the Oscar was posthumously present to Trumbo's widow on May 10 1993.

Boys From Brazil---one of his very few outings as a villian---and what a villian! He plays an aged Doctor Josef Mengele to Lawrence Olivier's equally aged Nazi hunter. I particularly like the scene with the telephone encounter between the two. This is based on the book of the same name by Ira Levin---who wrote many good stories adapted for theatrical release, including Rosemary's Baby.

Cape Fear--- the styish film noir original from 1962 (not the abysmal Robert De Niro remake). He plays another small town lawyer---this time one being stalked by a truly terrifying Robert Mitchum. (This makes the second time we have recommended a movie in which Mitchum is the heavy---the other being Night of the Hunter. One of our regular followers suggested a 'who's afraid of Robert Mitchum' post. After seeing this movie I'm sure you'll agree we ALL are).

Moby Dick---he is riveting as the maniacal, obsessed Captain Ahab. I once heard the book described as 600 pages of how to boil whale blubber, and after two failed attempts at reading it I just gave up. This movie will fair you much better.

On the Beach-based on Aussie writer Nevile Shute's story of the same name. In 1964 after atomic war has wiped out the northerrn hemisphere, all that remains of civilization is to be found in Australia. With the growing realization that their days are numbered as well, people struggle to carry on with a normal life. This is not your typical post apocalpytic movie.

Guns of Navarone--- the plot is so convincing that for years many believed that this movie was a retelling of an actual war time event. It is entirely fictitious and is an above average war/adventure movie.

The Big Country---Peck was no stranger to westerns, and this is a solid offering even though having a fairly well-worn 'fighting over water rights' plot. With Jean Simmons, Charlton Heston, and Burl Ives.