Sunday, February 26, 2012

Movie Update 40

Man, 40 of these stupid things. No witty comment, just: man.

Anatomy of a Murder

One of a pair of long courtroom dramas I saw this last week, and one of a pair of movies starring James Stewart. He plays an aging lawyer who despite being out of practice, agrees to defend a soldier who murdered a man after he supposedly raped his wife. Strictly, the rape wouldn't be enough to qualify the killing as self defense, but Stewart uses it as leverage to help push a plea of temporary insanity. The film examines how precarious the legal system is, requiring the jury to ignore information they have been given and having cases rely on the always unreliable human ability to lie or accurately remember what happened. There's some terrific acting, and it's interesting how the truth is not what's important, but rather the trial itself.


Another really good James Stewart performance, one that props up a movie that is watchable but I wasn't particularly drawn to. He plays a man with a friend named Harvey who happens to be an invisible six foot tall rabbit. Everyone thinks he's crazy, even his sister, who may or may not also be able to see Harvey. Various people act like assholes towards Stewart, but in the end things turn out okay because blah blah whatever.

Judgment at Nuremberg

A movie about one of the infamous trials at Nuremberg, where four judges are put on trial for rulings they made during the Nazi rule of Germany. It's undeniable that they made decisions that contributed toward the horrible things that happened under the Nazis, but the defense makes a great case that they are no more culpable than other people who didn't actively work against the regime and even other governments that didn't stop them earlier. Maximilian Schell actually won an Oscar for his depiction of the defense attorney, and he was quite good, though personally I preferred the more subtle work of Spencer Tracy as the chief judge on the tribunal. It's important to be reminded sometimes of just how awful the Holocaust was.


A pre-Ghostbusters Ivan Reitman/Bill Murray/Harold Ramis joint that substitutes cursing, nudity, and general silliness for true wit or an intriguing premise. There's something still likable about Bill Murray's dickishness, but I thought overall Stripes was pretty uninspired as a comedy, although that doesn't prevent it from being pretty watchable anyway. It has a fine cast, including John Candy and Judge Reinhold as two of the more recognizable supporting members. Really, there's nothing terrible about it, I was just hoping for more from its talented core.

No comments: