Confession Review

Confession is an interesting trial film that shows us different perspectives as we learn more about the case along with the jury. It starts out a bit on the slow side but once we cut to the court room then the race is on. It ends up being a pretty solid film with good pacing and writing throughout. Definitely a nice title to check out.

The film starts out with Lisa getting a letter from the guy who seems to be stalking her. Inside the letter are 2 tickets to a play and Lisa’s friend who has all the bad advice says they should go and see what this is about. Turns out that one of the lead performers in the musical is a man named Michael who wants to be with Lisa. Lisa refuses him but the guy continues to follow her around and even tricks the school Lisa is at into allowing him in. Ultimately they have a brief affair but before things can go much farther, Michael is shot dead by a lady named Vera. This ends up going into trial. Can the Jury figure out what possible reason Vera could have for murdering this guy or will it all be a mystery all the way through to the end?

The second half of the film takes us back to the events leading up to the shooting from Vera’s point of view. We already knew that Michael was not a good guy and these scenes serve to further illustrate that. He really just thinks he can get away with anything and the main issue is that he always seems to since nobody actually holds him accountable.

Take the first girl Lisa. Part of the annoyance here is that she tells him several times not to call or write to her but he does so anyway. She then ultimately agrees to see him so in a sense his pestering actually paid off. He just keeps on going and she keeps on letting him. He even pulls the whole “I have to see you because I’m moving away” card and I don’t buy it for a minute. Seems awfully convenient if you ask me. If he hadn’t been shot by Vera then it seems like the affair would have actually continued.

Then you have round 1 with Vera. So she ended up choosing Leonide over him and got married. Michael doesn’t let this deter him though and still keeps on writing her which is then something that she tries to hide from Leonide. She should have just told Leonide herself the instant she received the letter what had happened so that he would at least hear the truth before the gossip. Running over to Michael was not the right move.

Additionally, I don’t think it was smart to go to this party either. It was quite clear that the main villain still liked Vera as he flirted with her openly so getting drunk out of her mind was not a great plan. If Vera had to go to the party because she was bored, then at least don’t indulge in all of the drinks. It just ended up putting her in a very vulnerable spot which did not end well.

I mean, the villain’s the villain. He’s a pretty terrible character of course so that goes without saying. The heroes are the ones who needed to be better judges of character and just keep their distance the whole time. That would have really gone a long way here.

As for Leonide, he was very quick to believe the worst about Vera. She didn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence but you would hope that he could have heard her out a bit. As for splitting up, well it’s easy to see how that would happen. Once you’ve lost trust it is incredibly difficult to the point of being near impossible to get it back again. So once the doubt was there, you could say the marriage was already all but finished at that moment.

The best part of the film would be the actual trial for me though. I always like a good case and this one was really on point. You had all of the players talking tough from different sides. Vera certainly wasn’t helping her case by staying silent for so long but her defense attorney was really trying his best anyway.

The main prosecutor was a tough but fair man. He actually did allow himself to be lenient when needed while also staying tough on the case. One of his best lines is when he yells that the courtroom cannot be blackmailed by the accused and demands that the suitcase be opened up. Now, the judge is the one who ultimately makes that call but I loved his conviction. This guy was definitely not going to be pushed around and he made that quite clear.

The judge was also a compassionate man who did his best to make sure that the proper justice was served in this case. He wouldn’t allow for any incomplete ruling to make a mess of things. If you’re ever in court, this is the kind of guy you would want to be judge over the case. To an extent you could say the courtroom part even overshadows the actual flashbacks that we get because it is easily the most compelling part.

Confession is a strongly well rounded film. The writing is good and the movie moves at a decent pace once the court scenes start. My main issue with the film is mainly in the slow first half. The scenes with Lucy right through to the villain getting shot feel rather slow and uneventful. You’re waiting for something to happen the whole time. After that is when the film really gets going.

The other issue is that the two heroines just allow themselves to be pushed around far too much. Lisa didn’t want to get into a relationship but lets herself get strong armed into one while Vera was married but still ends up attending a party and getting super drunk in the presence of someone who has threatened her marriage several times. The characters really needed to stand their ground more.

Overall, Confession is a good film. It ends on a high note which is always important and the writing is on point. You’ll be engaged as you watch the film. Even if the intro slows you down a bit, just hang in there until we get into the courtroom and it’ll have been worth the wait. We definitely need more films that take place during a trial since it’s always such a blast.

Overall 7/10

All of Me Review

It’s time for an interesting body possession story. Think of it as something like Freaky Friday only this time the soul is going to a body that’s already filled which leads to its own share of troubles for the main character. The film does its best to not make him all that sympathetic though so unfortunately we’re left in a trick place. Unfortunately the film has too many iffy moments preventing this film from reaching its full potential as a solid comedy film. Always a shame when you see the potential right there.

The movie starts off with Roger being tired of being put in charge of small legal affairs that he feels aren’t particularly important. He asks his boss for a real assignment this time and is placed in charge of the Edwina estate. She is a rich lady who’s about to die and then the company gets the land. She is now trying to change her will so she gives the entire fortune to a girl who is related to a worker there. The reasoning is Edwina has found a guy who can transport her soul to this other person. Roger thinks this is all hooey and lets her know this which almost backfires but the boss doesn’t sweat it. The issue though is when Edwina dies her soul gets thrown into Roger by mistake. Now they each own half of his body. Can the two of them get along long enough to find their way back to the mystic to fix this? In the meanwhile that girl Terry will now be rich and that idea doesn’t sound bad to her.

So there’s a whole lot you can do with this concept. The idea of body hopping is definitely nothing new but since the situations are endless that gives you a lot of creativity. The two of them not getting along just adds to the dynamic. The film does deliver some fun scenes of course and both characters are reasonable for that purpose. Where things get tricky is with Roger who definitely doesn’t seem like a reliable guy. He is very quick to allow Terry to seduce him and that’s where things get dicey. She doesn’t just ensnare him once but even twice. If not for Edwina he would have really been doomed at times. Fortunately the mystic saved Roger the second time. It was a little convenient how the guy just appeared but I certainly won’t complain about that. These romance scenes are definitely no good though and really hurt Roger as a character.

Then of course you have the fact that he was willing to manipulate the court and help out someone he knows was guilty. It’s part of why I would never really want to be a lawyer. The possibility that you have to defend someone that you know is guilty doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. The boss was definitely not a good character and it’s a shame because he did have one good scene early on. When Roger blows up at Edwina and the boss dashes him to the back you expect Roger to be canned because of what Edwina was saying. No, the boss didn’t care in the slightest which is something I wasn’t expecting. Now that was a good humor scene. The film certainly has others as well so make no mistake, it has its moments. Some don’t land though like the whole zipper thing which was just downright painful to consider rather than being humorous.

So this is a film that would have benefited from a better main character or at least less of the affairs going on. Those scenes definitely don’t add anything to the story and just serve as padding for the film. Cut them out and not much changes at all. I dare say that the characters also should have ended things with Terry on their first attack attempt. They really looked sloppy there. The climax is still solid though as we get a fun chase scene. It was also fun seeing the characters stroll up to her mansion only to be greeted with a gun. Terry was certainly prepared, you have to give her that.

As a main villain Terry is definitely intense. She certainly played her part relatively well although there are definitely ways she could have played this a bit better. Her final plan was good enough though where you feel like it was a solid attempt. She was very close to getting away with the whole thing. Pretty easy for earning 23 million in one shot eh? Roger also has a friend named Tyrone who is probably the most dependable character in the film. He may not be able to help out much with the water in the climax but fortunately things worked out okay. He had some of the funnier scenes like giving the play by play during the climax. He had a lot of fun with the role.

As for Edwina, well it’s clear to see why she doesn’t have any friends. She’s certainly not a particularly nice person. Her backstory is fairly tragic though since she’s apparently been sickly her whole life. In a way that’s why she’s thrilled for everything to be all over. If the spell had worked out right away she would have been one very happy camper. That said, she loses a lot of her sympathy points as she actively sabotages Roger the whole time. I don’t blame her stepping in during the scenes with Terry or at the court house, but in general she talks a whole lot even when it’s obvious that Roger will get in trouble. By the same token, Roger also keeps forgetting that he can think out his responses instead of saying them which wouldn’t be quite as crazy. That’s why they’re a perfect pair here. They keep on making mistakes together as a team.

Overall, All of Me is a film that has an interesting set up but the execution isn’t quite up to task with helping out the plot. The movie will be good for some laughs but ultimately just can’t get past the whole Terry plot. It’s also a shame because Terry is a great name so I’d rather it doesn’t get associated with the main villain here. If Roger was a little stronger mentally to resist her influences then that would have helped the film out more. I also think the film could have done more with Roger falling asleep so Edwina takes over the body and runs around making a big mess. There’s a lot you can do with that. Finally, we do get another court scene here which is nice although you’d think Edwina would be able to act a little naturally than she did. I’d recommend checking out a different comedy like Christmas With the Kranks, the execution there is stronger.

Overall 4/10

Stranger on the Third Floor Review

It’s time to look at a really old noir film. This one deals with the court system which is always fun and the heroes have to wonder if the Jury is really paying attention. After being on the jury I can say that this film was actually super realistic both in how the jury absolutely doesn’t care in with the judge who has already made up his mind. The film is a pretty solid thriller throughout and while a certain character can be rather annoying, it’s a fun package overall.

The movie starts off with Mike finally getting his big break. He noticed someone talking tough about murdering another guy and shortly afterwards we find out that the person was stabbed. The suspect is taken into court and thanks to Mike’s testimony he is taken to prison to await the chair. Mike’s friend Jane isn’t thrilled about all of this and decides to guilt trip Mike. She basically says that he should have just pretended not to notice and then the guy would have been caught. She believes that he is innocent and this gives Mike nightmares. A similar situation occurs in his house and now the cops think he is the murderer of a different case. How will he get out of this one?

In case you didn’t guess, the character I didn’t like here was definitely Jane. I definitely don’t think she was in the right with guilt tripping Mike so much. Once he was on the stand he was obligated to tell the truth after all. If her issue was that he let the cops know in the first place she should have specified that a little more. Even so that would be morally dubious as well.Maybe it was the fact that Mike seemed to take a little joy in all of this for his promotion. Either way she just didn’t handle the situation well and then showing up in court only to make a scene and run off didn’t help either. She shouldn’t have gone if she was going to be that excitable. She just didn’t really contribute much until the very end. At that point her plan also could have sued some serious work as she needed to call the cops right away or force herself into the house. Walking around with a murderer just usually isn’t going to end well. She also looked bad in the dream, but I guess I won’t count that since it wasn’t technically her.

Mike is a reasonable main character even if he tends to overthink things quite a bit by the end. Especially after the whole gloves thing he probably shouldn’t have just grabbed the door so casually. Beginning to pack was also sketchy since he knows that it didn’t really help the other guy’s case all that much. Phoning it in to the cops was definitely the right move at least even if it came close to backfiring. Mike just didn’t really think these things through. He was a fun character for the first half, but he just wasn’t very smart and got maybe too distracted by romance as well. Then we see his flashbacks where he constantly flies off the handle and is tempted to murder someone multiple times so I think the guy was just unhinged. It would explain his dream sequence as well.

The dream was quite good though. Also, while I wasn’t a big fan of the main duo, this was still a very solid film. The writing is on point and the court scenes are fun. It’s a quality thriller that builds up the tension and doesn’t go for any crazy shock value. That’s the kind of film that you want in your corner. The pacing is on point and even though it seems to be made on a fairly small budget you never feel confined to any one backdrop. The core characters have enough personality to keep you entertained.

I was getting mixed signals from Jane the whole time though. The scene inside Mike’s apartment was just odd as she kept moving away from Mike and denying him the whole time. She would do that, but didn’t actually leave and came across as half flirting. I thought the film was going to have her admit that she didn’t actually like him, but the movie never goes there. It just feels like a random plot point.

This film made sure to make the neighbor rather unlikable, but he wasn’t too terrible I’d say. The guy was rather annoying, but not completely unreasonable in some areas. If the rule really is not to have any guests over then he’s not technically wrong. The type writer part is tricky but it did seem rather loud so maybe Mike could have done something to be quieter. I don’t think he was ever intended to be a sympathetic character though.

The dream sequence is rather long, but certainly well done. It’s a nice look at what could have happened and the whole situation almost came to pass. I have no doubt that Jane would take the stand against Mike and the Jury probably wouldn’t believe his story. Especially since Mike was intent on mentioning his dreams and pre-cog abilities. Since he is a reporter you’d think that Mike would realize how crazy that all sounded. Again, he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

As for the actual villain in this film, I can’t say that he was very smart. He was constantly tempting fate by staying near the scene of the crime. It’s hard to even say what his goal was here. I assume he is murdering people to get some money and he doesn’t want to go back to prison, but once he has the money what is he doing with it? You’d think that he would have skipped town or something. He also doesn’t even have a home despite robbing 2 people successfully. I think this guy wasn’t very good at budgeting.

Overall, The Stranger on the Third Floor was pretty interesting. The title is almost a little odd though as the stranger doesn’t show up for a very long time in the film and technically doesn’t even appear all that much. I guess it will help you stay alert for when he pops up though. If you haven’t seen a quality Noir film yet then this is the way to go. It’s basically the complete package so you can’t go wrong here.

Overall 7/10

Miracle on 34th Street Review

It’s time to look at a very iconic Christmas film. Miracle on 34th Street is a film that I know by reputation but I was never aware of the plot. I figured it had something to do with a kid finding out his father was a famous basketball player but clearly the sport spinoff is completely different. It’s definitely a solid film and one that holds up quite well throughout the years. Mixing Santa Claus with the court room is a recipe for success!

This movie starts off with Santa Claus deciding to take a break for a little while to see if New York understands the Christmas spirit. Unfortunately it seems that they don’t and buying gifts is all they care about. He quickly replaces drunk Santa at the annual Macy’s parade and is a big hit. His boss doesn’t believe in Santa but Mr. Claus aims to change that. Unfortunately a psychiatrist wants him out of the picture and tries to tell the world he is crazy. Santa is now in a legal battle to prove he is the real deal but the opposition has a smoking gun in the fact that they found his home address…in Long Island!

With almost every delusion there’s a point where it breaks and a point where it should burst if enough facts are provided against it. Often the individual in question will have an identity crisis, stay in denial, or suddenly be very rational about it. That’s not the case in this movie as Santa sticks to his theory that he is the real deal. Of course, nobody challenges him with the tough questions like how many presents he delivers a year or why he doesn’t live in the North Pole. We can probably assume that he was asked those questions in the original nursing home but it’s still a pretty interesting premise. The big question of course I believe he is Santa? I’m going to have to say No here. I just think there are too many strikes against him. The evidence is overwhelming and leaving his cane in the House is the only impressive part by the end. I like to think he left it there to hint to the leads that they should buy the house which could be done without the supernatural. Still, even if Kris Kringle is a little deluded here, he is still a pretty fun main character. Seeing him confront the drunk Santa was pretty intense even if you could argue that the drunkard won that battle. Santa can just be a little too naive and shocked at times to take on a battle weary New Yorker.

The cast is actually pretty solid as a whole. Doris is a likable enough lead and I was on her side of the debate. She has decided to raise Susan practically. She teaches her daughter early on that Santa is fake and shows her that there is a trick behind everything. It’s certainly a different way to grow up but I can roll with it. At the end of the day there isn’t much of a reason to believe in Santa. It’s not like it’s going to help you in the future. Unfortunately the message of the film is against her and that believing in a little magic is good for you. I don’t buy into it, but at least the message wasn’t shoved at the viewer too much. As it is most of the characters don’t believe in Santa and just use him for the publicity.

The romance between her and Mr. Gailey is a little weak though. Considering that they didn’t know each other pretty well, they got serious pretty quickly. I couldn’t really get behind that, but Mr. Gailey is also a fun character. He actually comes up with strategies to improve his odds which is commendable. Getting Santa to stay at his house was certainly a brilliant nice and one that really helped him out. He was also persistent in trying to get Susan to believe in Santa even if that did turn out to be a little trickier than expected.

Susan is a nice enough kid. She can still be rather greedy for her age as she immediately asks for a huge house to put Santa on the spot. Why couldn’t you ask for a doll house or something like that? Even at Santa’s big party she comes across as a big ingrate the whole time. This was a big moment for him and all of Macy’s, you’d think she could have at least pretended to be happy. Of course, she is just a kid so I’ll try to cut her some slack but it does support my theory that often times the kids can get in the way.

The supporting cast can be pretty solid as well. Doris has a colleague who is able to quickly get on board with the Santa idea. When an opportunity presents itself you have to quickly get with the flow or be swept away. In this case Doris may have been swept away if not for this guy’s quick thinking. Santa’s jolly actions of sending customers to other stores is crazy but it brought results so of course you would want to throw your lot in with him. Mr. Macy’s is also a very reasonable character and doesn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. His visions of the newspaper during the court scenes were certainly handled really well. When push came to shove, Mr. Macy’s was definitely ready. The guy from Gimbles was also pretty solid but at least from this movie it’s clear who is in the lead. Gimbles is merely following while Macy’s leads. It’s pretty nostalgic to see Macy’s as well since it’s been years since I set foot in there. I should probably change that one of these days.

Really the only bad character here was the self proclaimed expert who had a grudge against Santa. That guy was definitely not even meant to be likable though. The kid that Santa mentored was also on the annoying side I suppose. I keep on forgetting that the kid even exists since he really doesn’t even serve a purpose in the story. I guess they needed a reason for Santa to hit someone and get in trouble but I’m sure we could have had other routes. Santa definitely should not have gotten in the car with the others either. You always want to let the top boss know what’s up in case things get tricky.

As always I definitely enjoyed the courtroom scenes. Seeing them debate on if Santa exists or not is definitely an interesting concept. The mail delivery may have been on the really convenient side of things but I suppose we take those. Both sides did a decent job debating and in this case I would actually be against team Santa. After all, there’s no way that guy exists even if the post office has conceded. Putting the kid on the stand was a low blow as well. This is why you always want to leave the kids home before engaging in serious business.

Overall, Miracle on 34th Street was a really solid movie. The pacing was tight and it went from start to finish quite smoothly. I wouldn’t say that it ever dragged on and the writing was solid. Kris Kringle could tow the line on whether he was a good character or simply an annoying one the whole time. For the most part I would definitely say that he was handled well though. I think making him the real Santa would have made the film even better but I suppose they wanted to keep the grounded aspect of the movie. If you haven’t seen it yet then you should definitely check the film out. It’s got heart.

Overall 7/10

A Few Good Men Review

This review is of the edited TV 14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such since a review of the unedited version would likely be more negative.
It’s time for a classic film and one that’s more critically applauded when compared to Galaxy Quest. Even the title can be seen as deep because you have to decide who the title is referring too. I personally think that it shouldn’t really go towards the two guys who choked the poor victim so I’d place it on Daniel and his partners, but I suppose that it’s ultimately your choice there.

Dawson and Downey are two U.S. Army Marines who have been charged with murder of another cadet in a hazing incident. They have pleaded innocent as the other cadet was murdered, but they claim to have been ordered to haze him. Their superior officer has given another story so it is time to go to court. Daniel has been assigned to the case, but while he is known as a skilled lawyer who can reduce a client’s sentence quite easily, he likes to take the easy way out. If a deal is offered, he’ll take it. JoAnne doesn’t want this to happen since she thinks the two guys are totally innocent and assigns herself as Daniel’s partner. There’s also a third partner who is involved, but he’s not thrilled at the prospect of helping these two bullies.

Before getting into anything else, I will say that I definitely agree with the third guy. Dawson and Downey are in the wrong here and spending a lifetime in prison is essentially what they deserve. Knowingly or not, they did murder someone and took away his chance at a future. They may say that they were ordered to put him into a suffocating position long enough to strike fear into him, but that’s essentially torture and any amount of common sense will tell you that this isn’t okay. When you’re in the Marines you’re expected to follow orders no matter what. Well, then you’ve got to set the example for the others or allow yourself to be discharged from your post. Assaulting a defenseless person is definitely not the right choice to make in any situation. It doesn’t make it any better when you consider that it was 2 vs 1 and the fact that these guys were supposed to be friends. Yeah, Dawson and Downey got no sympathy from me.

It doesn’t help that they don’t make it very easy for Daniel either. They hide crucial bits of information from their allies until the prosecutors bring up the evidence in court. (It’s way too late by then of course) They also don’t seem all that sorry about their actions either. There is basically no remorse for a while. They even say that they have a code. “Units, Corp, God, Country.” So, God’s third on that list and your Unit is above your Country? The priorities are really messed up here and when you put the Unit above morality then you know something is going to go wrong. As it stands, I was basically rooting for the opposing team although naturally I wanted the lie about not giving the order to come out.

Nathan is a pretty good villain and I instantly recognized the villain from the Shining. The actor’s voice is certainly iconic and he does a good job of playing the role here. Nathan is pretty confident and in his old age he really wants to command respect from just about everyone that he talks to. He has no respect for anyone but himself and he is committed to doing things his way. His personality is ultimately his downfall, but this was a villain that I could get behind.

Daniel’s a pretty good main character. I like the overconfidence and the fact that he treats everything like a game. It’s ultimately a front as he shows on different occasions that he actually has a good grasp on everything so it seems like he just has fun trolling everyone. His superiors clearly see his talent as they chose him…or that’s what he wants to think. They probably just wanted someone who would roll over when they attacked in court. Daniel’s only downfall is the fact that he panics a lot. When he panics, Daniel gets drunk and then he’ll start running around and yelling. This happens to a lot of main characters to be honest, they’ll just panic and then try to get sober in time for the climax. It may have been discouraging as the case had a lot of set backs, but getting drunk won’t help.

JoAnne’s a good heroine and she certainly does a good job of digging up a lot of info on her own. Without her prodding, the heroes would have definitely lost the case as she is the one who started to make Nathan look suspicious and Daniel would have given up several times if not for her. JoAnne is strong willed and you always need that in a lawyer. I’m also glad that the film avoided the predictable romance between her and Daniel. They ultimately stay in the friend zone and that’s the realistic way to handle this. Getting together after a few days of working on a case would have been dicey.

Daniel’s rival was a pretty interesting antagonist and he was actually reasonable, which is something that usually doesn’t happen. They were fighting as part of the case, but off the record they were still pals and even went out for drinks. They would feed each other info and the banter was always good. Meanwhile, the hardened secret agent was a bit of a let down. He talked tough and he got a lot of hype as well, but when the going got tough he decided to get out of there. By “there” I mean life and it was a rather anticlimactic way to go. There was really no point to doing any of that and it just made the guy look weak.

Of course, the main reason why this film was a lot of fun was the court room scenes. I always enjoy those and a good part of the film took place in court once the action started. The Judge kept them all honest as he overruled some of the objections. He also wouldn’t stand for any insults and not even Nathan could get away with any rudeness here. The court scenes were where you could really see what the characters were made of. Who had the skills and who simply did not. Daniel snatching away the rule book and bringing up the lunch room question was certainly one of the highlight moments in the court. He certainly did a great job debating even if the evidence was stacked against him from the start.

Overall, A Few Good Men is a solid film. There really isn’t much negative to say about it. The ending was satisfying since Dawson and Downey didn’t get a super happy ending. As far as I’m concerned, they’re just as guilty as anyone else. The characters were all pretty charismatic and I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of Nathan at the base. A few more scenes over there would have definitely been a blast. If you want a solid strategic film with good dialogue throughout, this is the film for you. You know that Nathan is lying from the start so you just have to wonder how the heroes can prove it. To an extent, the ending involves plot hax since there is no other way that the heroes could have made it, but it’s still pretty fun and the debate doesn’t use any hax until the very end so the rest is all very legit. We need more good court room films.

Overall 8/10

America vs. The Justice Society Review

It’s time to look at a very interesting Earth 2 story. I haven’t read almost anything with these guys except for the very old comics from way back in the day. This was an interesting way to find out about a lot of their adventures since then as the danger comes very close to home in this personal arc. I always root for America in films, but can I really root for them over my favorite heroes?

The plot is fairly straight forward. Shortly before dying, Batman gave his diary to an old scientist, who gave it to the newspaper to publish. The diary told a very frightening story about how the Justice Society actually worked for Hitler and the Nazi’s in World War II and have been covering it up ever since. Naturally, the Americans are outraged and decide to take the heroes to an unofficial trial to hear both sides of the story. The Justice Society decides that the best way to clear their name is to start from the beginning and recount their entire history to counter the diary’s lies. The thing is…are they lies? Robin isn’t so sure!

Naturally, this is Earth 2 so you should definitely expect some changes. This world seems to be farther in the future than Earth I so Superman and Wonder Woman are already quite old. Likewise, the Green Lantern and Flash have always been old in this place. The team isn’t exactly young anymore and the Sand Man has had a few strokes recently. They’re not in their prime, but they’re still tough enough to handle a villain or two when they pop up. That being said, old age has also changed them a little. Superman mentions a few times how he will probably abandon Earth so that he can finally retire with some peace and quiet. Wonder Woman wants to go back to the Amazons to take care of Steve Trevor, who’s in a pretty critical position after being injured recently and she does make a few outbursts in the comic.

This stresses the point that these aren’t the happy go lucky heroes that you are used too. Superman is even tempted to burn the diary several times even if it meant destroying something that could have been very important. Luckily, the heroes don’t take the easy route and even get a lawyer to help their case. That’s where the story really gets interesting and I was pleasantly surprised to see just how long the court case lasted. I’ve always been a big fan of seeing the courts so mixing that in with the superheroes was a winning combo.

That being said, it did come at the expense of the action as there are no real fight scenes to speak of in this collection. It’s all about trying to make a solid case and convincing the US that the heroes are for real and weren’t working for Hitler. The very premise is a little hard to swallow as you can’t imagine this ever being true and even the US acknowledges this except for the fact that Batman wrote it. That’s the only reason why anyone actually buys this.

Naturally, everyone reading the story probably figured that he had some kind of reason for doing this. Naturally, he did, but it was only a half reason. In the DCAU, it is acknowledged several times that Bruce Wayne actually believes himself to be Batman with Bruce Wayne as his alter ego. That seems to be the case here except it’s even more extreme as both of their personas now believe themselves to be completely separate. Bruce Wayne had gone crazy and was now completely suspicious of the League while Batman was still sane, but dying of cancer. It led to some interesting developments and Bruce making a lot of mistakes, which forced Batman into the ring. The plan was really convoluted and it’s hard to actually picture it succeeding, but this is Batman so we have to trust his plans.

If you haven’t read many Earth II comics before, then this can also be seen as a very large wrap up of just about everything that has ever happened on this planet. I believe some of the events may have been created for this arc, but I also think that most of them had simply happened and this worked as a nostalgia trip while reminding fans why they liked Earth II so much in the first place. It was definitely a pretty cool DC continuity even if the current Earth II is in shambles. This is really how Earth II should always be portrayed. An alternate Earth with similar heroes so that we can have more inspiring adventures!

Of course, due to the nature of the issues, there’s not really much to discuss. The heroes certainly saved the day very efficiently in all of their past cases and they won in the court setting fair and square. It was neat of the Spectre to offer to destroy this Earth though. A nice reminder of how powerful he is. Unfortunately, Robin did not look so good. He wanted to know Batman as a mentor who always took the right path so he decided to believe the diary. He mostly just spent every issue flinching, crying, and wondering why the heroes were trying to make Batman look so bad. It was their lives or Batman’s legacy and one has to hold more weight than the other.

I will admit that Batman’s version of the story was a lot of fun to read though. It was almost like an abridged version of a show as he showed many true events, but tried to make them look sinister by adding his own commentary. Batman essentially summarized all of the stories into one comic and then the Justice Society would expand upon that for the next 3 issues. It took a while to clear up the shadows that Batman had left, but the Society was certainly ready for the task. Superman and Wonder Woman were not really left in any danger since they weren’t accused of the same crimes (Even Batman couldn’t pull that one off) but they stuck around to support the team. All for one and one for all right?

The art is fairly solid as you can expect from a classic DC arc. The art definitely carries that retro feeling across while also being modern enough where you can picture it having some real action scenes. I definitely would not have minded a game changing villain for the ending to have a quick bout, but with the League members so old, the villain could not have been made to be That powerful. This League is definitely not as strong as the main one. Still, the good art just added another positive to the collection.

Overall, America vs. The Justice Society is a great DC collection. Finally, we get a full length court case where Superman and the rest of the League has to debate against the US. It would have been even better if Batman was here, but I suppose that the plot would have been completely different in that case. Still, the art is good and the writing is exceptional. You’ll be on the edge of your seat during the debate as the Judges continue to give the heroes a lot of time. You will need to be prepared for a lot of reading though as the collection is certainly very text based. Each page will take you about as long to read as 3-4 in the average comic. There is text everywhere as dozens of the team’s adventures finally come to light and we learn why they did not end the wars sooner. I’m going to miss the DC comics as I may not be checking one out in a while, but if you wanted to see a Superman who felt like Superman…this is definitely the comic to check out! It’s an AU future that actually feels fairly realistic and it could work with some mild tweaks in the New 52 someday.

Overall 8/10

Witness for the Prosecution Review

Looks like it’s time for a court room drama! I always liked that genre in a film as it is a lot of fun to see what goes on in the court room! There aren’t a whole lot of films that deal with this when you really think about it. This film came out a long time ago, which certainly raised the bar for it as I began to watch the film. Would it succeed or would I need to go make a sandwich for myself? Only time would tell!

The plot is that Leonard has been accused of murder. There is a lot of evidence against him so this seems like a done deal. He became acquainted with an older lady and then she mysteriously died. Leonard is now the first in line to inherit her vast fortune so this looks very suspicious. He goes to Wilfrid for help since Wilfrid is known as the best in the biz in this kind of work. Unfortunately, Wilfrid’s heart is weakening fast and his health is not what it used to be. He decides to take a gamble and accepts the case…even though it may be his last! Time is ticking and Wilfrid must find some way to prove his client’s innocence. This will likely be his most difficult challenge yet!

Wilfrid is a bit of a dicey character. He has his pros and his cons, but the cons ultimately win out. He’s the kind of guy who likes to insult and belittle people as often as he can. He is constantly rude to his nurse to the point of exaggeration that makes him rather hard to like. He simply goes too far in his threats. As sad as that may be, it also makes him a powerful force in the court room since nobody..not even the judge can intimidate him. Wilfrid sets the tone whenever he is in a room and he makes his presence clear. I didn’t like the character, but you can’t deny that Wilfrid is good at what he does. It’s no wonder why he never loses. Although, the circumstances here were a little deeper than they appeared to be on the surface.

The only area where I do feel bad for Wilfrid is in the health department. Because of his deteriorating health, he has to take constant shots, which would likely put anyone in a foul mood. The needles also look rather painful and this was before we got the pain relievers so you can imagine how sad this is. Luckily, Wilfrid still has some mild positives to keep his mind off of this. Like the chair that is installed into the wall. It’s cool that this concept still exists as I still see commercials of it all the time online. It would be pretty awesome to have around the apartment…even if I don’t have any stairs!

The court scenes are naturally the highlight of the film. The judge was legitamite and not a fake one so everything was played seriously. The opposing side did a good job of trying to prove that Leonard was guilty as well, which made the battle more interesting. The proceedings take up most of the film as they should, which helps the court case really feel intense. Wilfrid’s job would have been a lot easier if he had a better client, but at least he got to speak his peace.

Leonard certainly didn’t make things easy for Wilfrid though. He constantly panicked, yelled, and spoke out of turn. I was almost surprised that the judge didn’t kick him out at one point or just throw on some extra charged. “Contempt of court” or something like that right? Leonard isn’t a likable character naturally so you have to decide if you think he is guilty or innocent. After you make your decision, you are free to enjoy the case!

The writing is naturally very good here. There is a good amount of humor, but none of it is very obvious or annoying. It’s subtle things here and there that will make you smile. When one of the possible villains managed to defeat Wilfrid’s secret eye exam, you knew that things were definitely going to be tricky. Wilfrid’s whole personality can also be funny when he isn’t being too over the top. I still don’t like the lead, but he managed to have his moments.

The cast is very small here. Apart from Wilfrid and the client, we also have the client’s wife, a nurse, and Wilfrid’s partners. That’s just about it and it’s safe to say that Wilfrid’s partners appear to be out of their league right from the start. You could say that it’s all up to Wilfrid and without him Leonard probably wouldn’t have a chance. Trust me…Leonard is not used to talking to a judge in court! The small cast works though since that gives all of them a little more time for development. The partners may not be that useful, but they are still likable. The nurse also gives the whole situation her best and is a good character. The client’s wife appears to be rather devious and Wilfrid certainly doesn’t trust her.

I was fairly close to giving this film the ole 7, but something stopped me. The film went into flashback mode on more than one occasion and one of those times did take a star away. It was the origin of how Leonard met his wife. The flashback simply didn’t do the film any justice. We got a ton of romance scenes that didn’t do wonders for either of the characters and it also made the army joes look rather bad as well. This plot dragged on quite a bit and was the only part of the film where I can say that. It just goes to show that flashbacks aren’t always necessary..they rarely are.

The fate of the old lady is also sad. Luckily, it’s completely off screen, which is always preferable in these situations. Still, she seemed like such a nice person so it’s too bad that she got a bad roll of the dice. She was way too attracted to Leonard, but it’s possible that she just wanted someone to talk too. Either way, that’s why you need to have some hobbies so that you will have things to do when you’re older. After all, what’s the point of having unlimited free time if you don’t have any way to use it right?

As this is essentially a mystery film, get ready for some fakeouts and an ending that you may not see coming. I always like it when a film ends on such a note and the ending here is rather intense. It’s one of those, “Nothing matters anymore so I can do what I want” moments for one of the characters so things take a sudden spin. Where would we be without more endings like this right? That’s why they always say…it’s not over until it’s over!

Overall, This was a solid film. I definitely recommend it if you are interested in the law of like a good mystery. The writing is very good and the characters have strong personalities, which helps to keep you entertained throughout the film. You’ll want to really stay alert as you watch the movie to pick up as many tidbits as possible so that you can decide whether Leonard is innocent or guilty as the trial starts. I always find these films to be much more enjoyable if you try to guess the outcome first. At least, I’d say that this applies to all mysteries. You’ll also want to root for the nurse as she tries to keep Wilfrid away from the form of incoming death that is…the cigar!

Overall 6/10

Changing Lanes Review

Keep in mind that this review pertains to the edited TV 14 version of this film. All thoughts written below should be treated as such as a review of the unedited version would be significantly harsher.

Let’s look at a retro film from about 10 years ago. The two main actors are fairly popular in the form of Ben Affleck (Maybe not popular, but at least well known) and Samuel L. Jackson. Despite this, I definitely can’t say that I had heard of this film before. It’s a pretty good adventure and it’s certainly a lot more fun than I had anticipated. (Although, I did find the premise to have potential right from the start) It’s basically the light hearted version of the cop film that I saw a while back where Samuel L. Jackson was also a main character. The main difference is that this film is just better in every single way.

The film starts off with two main characters. One of them is Doyle who is preparing to buy a house. He must head over to the court house after that to try and convince his wife to keep the house and then hopefully they can get back on friendly terms. He has managed to quit drinking and things are looking up for Doyle. Meanwhile, we have a bright and upcoming lawyer in Gavin. Gavin is about to bring some critical evidence to his case and victory is just about assured. His firm will win 3 million dollars and he’ll probably get a raise or a promotion. Both main characters must alter their plans when they crash on the highway. Doyle is unable to make it to the courthouse in time and Gavin left his evidence with Doyle by mistake. Doyle is furious with Gavin while Gavin is panicking with this new development. So starts the battle between these two men as they take turns making each other’s life miserable. Who will win…or is it a matter of “Will anyone win?”

If you’ve been following this site for a few years then you may know that I love it when films add that court plot to the mix. I love a good trial and both plots revolve around the court house, which was pretty cool. Things definitely don’t go Gavin’s way in the trial and it’s cool to see how quickly the tides can turn. Even without the court scenes, the film is a lot of fun and that’s the main reason as to why it succeeds. It’s not without its weaknesses of course, but the positives in Changing Lanes far outweigh the negatives.

There aren’t many negatives here at all so I’m going to quickly get them over with right here. One plot that I could definitely have done without is the one where we find out that Gavin is cheating on his wife. She knows it and tolerates the act, but I would have preferred her to have just split up with him. Gavin also shouldn’t be messing around like that as it takes away any chance that he had of being a likable character. That being said, the film makes sure to show that the wife is pretty corrupt while the secretary seemed to care a little more about the injured party. By engaging in the act with Gavin, she’s still not a moral individual, but the film makes sure that both choices are unlikable.

And….that’s it. That’s basically the only thing that I could find wrong with this film as it’s basically up hill from there. There’s no animal violence here, no scenes to cringe at, etc. The film expertly maneuvered around the usual obstacles that a film faces while holding true to its positives. The writing is consistently good throughout the film as well. There’s no real soundtrack, but I’ll let it slide this time.

As we’ve already seen, Gavin is not a very likable main character. If not for his little affair, he would be a lot more sympathetic. That being said, he is a little unreasonable at the beginning of the film and he should have definitely given Doyle a lift. As it happened, they were both going to the same place anyway. If only he had known right? Still, Gavin makes a lot of good decisions by the end of the film and I like to think that he will manage to get his life back on track soon. I just wish that could have happened on screen instead of me just having to take a guess at that.

Doyle is definitely better than Gavin although he is also the first guy to escalate the tensions between the two main characters. His circumstances are more sympathetic than Gavin’s and he was really trying to do the right thing as the film began. Unfortunately, missing the court date was pretty major and he couldn’t get back from that very easily. He gets to have some nice closure as the film ends so he managed to stay on the side of the heroes.

Changing Lanes can get annoying as one character tries to do the right thing when something happens, which causes him to rethink that. This happens to both of the leads several times so that their battle can continue. One of them even brings in a hacker who is able to manipulate bank statements. That being said, the film manages to keep things light without ever getting too dreary and dramatic. The premise is one that can easily get silly if handled poorly, but the film does a good job of still keeping it fairly realistic as this happens.

One area that could have been tricky for the film was the ending, but it’s handled really well. I would have felt bad for the old man’s heir otherwise as the main character’s firm nearly got away with stealing 3 million dollars. Doyle’s plot also had the potential to have a pretty sad ending, but it’s wrapped up nicely by the end. It’s the kind of film that could get a sequel someday, but there really wouldn’t be a point. The two heroes were able to set aside their differences and Gavin will strive to be a better person in the future. I would be open to a sequel where the hacker decides to blackmail Gavin so the hero has to team up with Doyle. That could definitely be intriguing.

Overall, Changing Lanes is a fun film. The movie never gets too out there with the steps that the main characters take to defeat each other so it’s still pretty realistic by the end. It manages to have a happy ending that feels satisfying without being too perfect and the two main characters made the right calls by the end. It’s simply a complete film and it’s one where you will walk away feeling good about the time that you just invested in this film. This is also good news for Batman V(s) Superman since I have now seen an Affleck film where he looks pretty good. Perhaps a little different than I remembered him from Daredevil, but it was a solid performance. I definitely recommend this film if you want to see two grown ups go at it with all that they’ve got!

Overall 7/10