By George Rose
June 23, 2009
A Time To Kill (1996)
You should know by now that I not only like to discuss what's coming out and what just came out, but also what some of the stars of the new releases did before their latest pet project. This week, in honor of Sandra Bullock's hit The Proposal, I offer you A Time To Kill. As you read the reviews for The Proposal, you'll hear plenty of reference to the other rom-coms she's starred in. Miss Congeniality, Two Weeks Notice and Forces Of Nature are just a few of them, but what about the other movies? Bullock is an actress with a wide range of abilities (Crash is one you're all probably most familiar with) but one of my favorites is A Time To Kill.
Also starring Samuel L. Jackson and Mathew McConaughey (in one of his rare serious roles), the film is about a black man from the South named Carl Lee Hailey (Jackson), who is on trial for murdering the two white redneck men who got away with raping and torturing his daughter. McConaughey's Jake Brigance is his attorney while Bullock's Ellen Roark is the stellar law student on hand to help. Dealing with this during a time of racial unrest doesn't make any of this easier and neither does the involvement of the NAACP and KKK. Burning crosses, bombings and protesting are scattered through the film, helping to create the serious tension around the stars who are otherwise known for more comedic work.
What makes this serious movie so surprising is the involvement of director Joel Schumacher, who is also known for more comedic work (remember those rubber nipples in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin?). I guess having a script based on the book by John Grisham didn't give Schumacher too much of a chance to add in his own personal touch. Instead he lets the story and actors take over and what's left is an intense courtroom drama that's a perfect addition to the resumes of those involved looking for versatility.
Singing In the Rain (1952)
Another week, another throwback to the ancient films found in Hollywood's vault of classics. I've mentioned taking a film course in college before and while I only took one (I could only afford to take one since my focus was Marketing and Writing) they showed lots of movies worth mentioning. Obviously a class about filmmaking isn't going to reference the movies you shouldn't want to emulate (you know, movies like Wolverine). While I wouldn't have selected these movies for myself, they were mostly enjoyable and had something to learn from.
One I remember fondly is Singing In The Rain, starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds. Kelly is Don Lockwood, a silent film star who is about to appear in his first "talkie". As the film gets underway, he meets and begins to fall in love with Reynolds' Kathy, a chorus girl who is unimpressed with his acting accomplishments. When Don's usual leading lady, Lina, turns out to be a disaster in the talkie-musical, he suggests to the produces to dub over his costars voice with Kathy's. Naturally, Lina isn't happy about this and tries to sabotage the up-and-coming actress.