Lincoln Lawyer

Photo #8

Film: Lincoln Lawyer (R)


Studio: Lionsgate

 

Summary: A less-than-moral defense attorney (Matthew
McConaughey) working out of his chauffeured Lincoln automobile realizes his
slightly shifty life has come to a crossroads when he represents a wealthy
client who is either being set up, or is one evil scoundrel.

 

Review: Having a legal thriller with McConaughey at the helm
does sound a bit oxymoronic, doesn’t it? I mean, this is the guy who almost
always refuses to wear a shirt. But “Lincoln Lawyer” is a pleasant
surprise, thanks in large part to Mr. McC. Granted, I wanted to see the film
because it’s based on the book written by fellow journalist and ex-L.A. Times
crime reporter Michael Connelly. I don’t either love or hate McConaughey’s
work, mainly because for every stinker he’s in (“Failure to Launch”),
there’s a winner (“We Are Marshall.” ) I hoped “Lincoln”
would fall into the second camp, and it did.

This shirtless, pot-smoking bongo
player (I wonder if he’ll ever live that down) fell right into the role of Mick
Haller, a Southern drawling, cocky, smooth-as-baby-skin defense attorney who is
not always concerned with the moral ramifications of getting his clients
acquitted. But when he represents a seemingly innocent man with enough wealth to
buy Los Angeles, Haller is shocked to learn that this case and another one from
his past may be linked in ways he never even imagined. McConaughey pulls off
all of these emotional twists and turns with believability and likeability.
Even though Haller, at first blush, isn’t someone you’d want your daughter or
sister to date, McConaughey quickly molds him into a deeper, more respectful
character than I thought possible.

The film plumps up with strong supporting
roles by Marisa Tomei and William H. Macy. Unfortunately, Ryan Phillippe once
again gets an acting job despite his lack of talent. I didn’t for one second
buy him in his role of Louis Roulet, the one Haller is hired to defend. He’s
too robotic for the big screen. Also, the latter scenes leading up to the end
seem a bit forced and rough, but they work so long as you don’t probe too
deeply.

All in all, the film is definitely worth watching, even if you’re not a
fan of. And if you’re a fan of Mr. McC? Rejoice–He does show some skin.

 

Extra highlight: “Michael Connelly: At Home On The
Road”

 

What to serve for dinner: Since McConaughey is a
spokesperson with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s “Beef: It’s
What’s For Dinner” radio ads, let’s listen to the man and serve up some Teriyaki-Marinated
Beef Steak (www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com).

 

1 thick-cut beef bottom round (Western griller) steak, cut
1-1/4 inches thick (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds)

3/4 cup prepared teriyaki marinade and sauce

 2 tablespoons dry
sherry

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

 

Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Place beef steak and
marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn steak to coat. Close bag securely and
marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight, turning occasionally.

 

Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak on
grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 18 to 20 minutes (over
medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, timings remain the same) for
medium rare doneness, turning occasionally. (Do not overcook.) Carve steak into
thin slices. Serve with roasted corn on the cob, garden salad and a crusty loaf
of bread.

 

What to talk about over dinner: Did you see the plot taking
the direction it did? Who was your favorite character? Do you enjoy Connelly’s
books? Which one is your favorite and why? Did you buy McConaughey in this
role? Who would have been better? What about the role of Roulet? I’m thinking
Ben Affleck. What would it take to get Phillippe to show some emotion on his
face? We all know McC sports a smoking body, but is there any other reason he
goes sans clothing most of the time? A way to commune with nature perhaps? What
is your favorite McC film? Least favorite? Anyone remember him in
“U-571?