Judging: THE JUDGE

Monday, October 13, 2014

If you follow me at all, you know that I just think Robert Downey, Jr. is an adorable, charming, intelligent, funny, irreverent, satirical, sexy, talented, reformed screw up, who's a bit full of himself, all which adds to the package.  I can't say I've seen every single one of his movies, but I do adore him. Yet, I can assure you my assessment of his latest movie, The Judge, has not been biased by my long standing crush.

The Judge is about a hot shot Chicago Lawyer (Downey) with a reputation of being cut throat in the courtroom, returning to his small hometown in Indiana for his mother's funeral and stays to defend his estranged father (Robert Duval) on a murder charge; a decision neither father nor son finds appealing.

Last year we had the coming home family drama August: Osage County (click for T&T post), and a father/son going back to Nebraska (click for T&T post) last month we had Jason Bateman going home after his father dies in This is Where I Leave You (click for T&T post) and a similar situation with Zach Braff's Wish I Were Here, not coming home, but dealing with a dying estranged father.  Of course these kinds of things will always be movie themes, but I'm just saying, I've seen a lot of it lately; therefore, #TheJudge (directed by David Dobkins /screenplay by Bill Dubuque, Nick Schenk & David Dobkins) was going to have to really bring some powerful scenes, or a clever and/or tense courtroom drama; or make me fall in love with the family and town, in order to stand out.  So, did it deliver on all three?

- Robert Downey, Jr. & Robert Duval are well matched with plenty of love/hate and father son approval/disappointment.

- Vincent D'Onofrio as the big brother who loses his chance to make it in the Big Leagues, after a high school car accident caused by his younger brother, takes away his VIP status. Yet the resentment that smolders under the surface is never played out; which I think is good writing.

- You almost don't recognize Vera Farmiga as a small town brassy, blonde, former girlfriend with a secret.

- Billy Bob Thornton who has become downright distinguished in his old age, plays the prosecuting attorney and a good courtroom foil for Downey's character.

And yet, the answer to the question posed above, is against. Unfortunately, my verdict on The Judge is lukewarm - Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

T &T's LAMB Score: 2.5 outta 5

Around the Web - Interview with Director David Dobkin

HP: You're on the set, you're directing Robert Downey and Robert Duvall, how do you fight the urge to just let these two great actors make magic.... The scene in the shower was just draining. Not just literally, but emotionally. In terms of the performances, how do you fight the urge to just sit back and just let them do their thing? What do you see your role as Director? (note: slight modification/combination of original question for context)

DD: It doesn't just happen. You don't just put actors in a room and it's magic. You need a script. You need story points laying at the right time. You need all those things to happen, and they need to still fulfill an incredible performance moment, but you know, it's not just...that happened, there were takes and cuts and discussions, and we shot very quickly in preparation to capture it in a very documentary-type way.... There was an intention for that scene to be shot out by lunch. We didn't want to come back from lunch and have to continue. There was a lot of psychological preparation, conversations, and as much as I really love for my actors to feel like I've built a beautiful sandbox to really express and take risks, because that's when great work happens, you need to orchestrate it. Actors don't just show up and because Robert's funny or Duvall's intense, or vice versa, it doesn't just happen like that...READ MORE  Zaki Hasan Huffington Post 

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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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