50 Greatest Courtroom Dramas

50. Jagged Edge (1985)

The Case:
Lawyer Teddy Barnes (Glenn Close) is hired by Jack Forrester (Jeff Bridges) when he’s put on trial for the murder of his wife.

Only In The Movies: A number of fun, tried and true courtroom conventions fire up Jagged Edge. Not only has Barnes not practiced criminal law in a while but, naturally, she also falls in love with Forrester. Who says law’s dull?

50 Most Extreme Movie Performances

10. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

The Movie: Ground-breaking sequel in which future saviour of mankind John Connor is targeted by a deadly new Terminator (Robert Patrick).

The Extreme Performance: Linda Hamilton went from poofy-haired wallflower in The Terminator to ball-busting warrior in T2. She trained for 13 weeks, three hours a day with former Israeli commando Uzi Gal. Her training included lifting weights, Judo and learning to pick locks. It was so extreme that she refused to do it all again for T3.

50 Greatest Star Wars Scenes

50. The Arena

The Scene: In Attack Of The Clones, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Padme are all tied to towering stone columns in a colossal colosseum. Then giant monsters are released into the arena. To think Russell Crowe only had to fight tigers…

The Awesome: It’s Episode II’s Rancor moment, and a neat little set-piece that includes Padme saving herself instead of waiting for the boys to rescue her.

49. Torture

The Scene: In The Empire Strikes Back, Vader and his evil minions hold Han Solo hostage and torture him with very pointy things. His screams will give you chills all over.

The Awesome: There’s no end to Vader’s evil, and this is just one example of how far he’s willing to go in order to acquire information.

The Exterminator (1980)

If you’ve ever wanted to see a man put through a meat grinder, The Exterminator’s here to help. James Glickenhaus’ silly shocker puts the ‘x’ into exploitation: topless ladies get maimed and pimps are roasted alive, which makes up for Robert Ginty’s bland anti-hero, a vigilante bent on bringing down a granny-bashing gang.

More engaging is Basket Case director Frank Henenlotter, whose trip to New York’s once sleazy 42nd street (one of Exterminator’s locations) is the set’s best extra. 2/5

100 Worder: Chalet Girl (2011)

Felicity Jones recalls her namesake Bridget in this chilly charmer, as her likably blabbermouth heroine bumbles into all sorts of comedy scrapes.

Among those are a cockle-warming encounter with rich boy Ed Westwick, who she’s working for at a super-slick ski resort.

The predictable romance won’t melt many hearts, but Jones is a good sport in what is essentially a silly snowboarding romcom.

And any film that gives Bill Nighy the odd chance to snark it up (here as Westwick’s pa) is worth a frost-free reception. 3/5

Maniac Cop (1988)

Law and disorder collide as a belligerent bobby paints the New York streets red, with only horror icons Bruce Campbell and Tom Atkins in his way.

Paper-thin plotting (it was written in 10 days), hilariously obvious stunt doubles and horrific prosthetics are all part of the cheesy charm, while the picture’s been dusted down nicely for this hi-def re-issue.

Shame, though, that Campbell’s absent from the extras – although we do get a 20-minute chat with Atkins, plus writer/producer Larry Cohen explaining why this schlock favourite is actually a social commentary. 3/5

Deserter (2002)

Ten years before he bulked up for The Dark Knight Rises, skinny Tom Hardy’s enigmatic French legionnaire Dupont here easily steals the limelight from Paul Fox’s troubled Englishman, as they’re toughened up by callous sergeants and sent out to protect Algiers from suicide bombers.

It’s punchy at 90 minutes, and features enough blazing gunplay to stop it becoming too Sunday-afternoon special. They missed a trick with Hardy, though – he’s only let off the leash in the final stretch. Still, there’s always Bane… 3/5

Via Total Film

Olivia Thirlby interview – Dredd

What was it like wearing your leather Dredd outfit?
I’m totally leather body-suited up! It’s like a proper comic-book action hero. One thing I love about Dredd is its really realistic approach, it’s a very dark and gritty approach, so my look is much less sexy femme fatale and a little bit more like a football player.

Is the new Dredd gritty to counteract Stallone’s cheesy ‘90s adap?
It doesn’t go that way only to separate itself from the former Dredd movie, it takes its air of seriousness and violence from the comics, so our idea was to really honour the world of Mega City One in the comics.

Had you seen the Stallone movie before?
You know I actually still haven’t seen it. I didn’t want to see it before shooting and I haven’t seen it since. It’s definitely on my list of movies to see, but I must admit it’s not at the very top!

What was it like working with Karl Urban?
He is definitely a dude. I loved working with him, he’s so good at what he does. We went through the script and really fleshed out the relationship between Judge Dredd and Anderson, who is a rookie. The movie really rests on the bizarre complexities of their working relationship. We wanted that to be the emotional foundation of the film. Explosions and guns and leather body-suits are great, but they get boring if there’s not a story being told.

Did you ever imagine yourself as an action heroine?
Definitely not! I’ve always hoped I could play some kind of role where I could be a really strong, ass-kicking female. It was a really empowering thing to learn how to fight and use weapons. While I was shooting Darkest Hour is when the role for Dredd came up, so I really had no choice but to dive into these 3D sci-fi action worlds.

You seem to get quite beaten up in The Darkest Hour…
That’s true, I did all my own stunts! It was crazy, I have photographs of the bruises that I had all over my body. I was picked up and dropped on the floor of this bus repeatedly. It was really brutal, but I’m pretty proud of it. Actually, I fractured my foot and that moment is in the movie, so I put my blood sweat and tears into that movie!

Kerry Washington interview – Django Unchained

Kerry Washington can’t tell us anything about Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s dusty, now-shooting slave thriller. “I’m not actually at liberty to talk about that yet,” the actress says when TF calls her up for a natter. Really? Has she signed a blood oath that means she’ll answer to The Bride if she lets anything slip? “No, no, I just can’t,” Washington artfully dodges. “But I will. I will soon.”

Damn. Despite TF’s best efforts, the Bronx-hailing actress is remaining tight-lipped about Tarantino’s much-hyped latest. To be fair, it’s no surprise security’s this tight. Tarantino’s first film since 2007 Grindhouse revival Death Proof, Django could be the director’s most daring project yet. What we do know sounds massive: a fist-shaking response to America’s slave trade past, Jamie Foxx is the titular Django, enslaved to Leo DiCaprio’s evil plantation owner, and desperate to be reunited with his wife, played by Washington.

Alright, so Django’s off the menu, but what can Washington talk about? Well, new film Mother And Child, in which she plays a young woman desperate for a child but unable to conceive. Directed by Rodrigo Garcia, Washington shares the screen with Annette Bening and Naomi Watts in a movie that she’s clearly passionate about. “I love this movie,” the actress enthuses at the mere mention of its title. “In a world where women are so often the accessory to the story, to have three really fully developed, three dimensional women on such different journeys… I think it’s a special film.” And Bening? “I love her, she’s been a hero of mine for many years.”

Seeing as we’re talking Hollywood big wigs, how is it working with Leonardo DiCaprio on Django Unchained? “What is your next question?” Washington laughs. Clearly nothing’s getting past this smart cookie. And she is a smart cookie. Having grown up in the Bronx, raised by a professor mother and a real estate broker father, Washington studied at The George Washington University before heading to India to study art and culture (“I really wanted to ground myself before selling my soul to do adverts for Burger King!”).

Did she ever imagine she’d end up working with someone like, say, Tarantino? “No, I mean, I didn’t imagine that I would,” the actress says. “When I was growing up I loved acting and theatre, but I didn’t know anybody who did this for a living. Then I realised people could make a living being an actor, and that was the goal for me. And it continues to be; to be able to do what I love to do.”

For the past decade, Washington has done just that. She played Idi Amin’s doomed wife in The Last King Of Scotland, a spy in Mr & Mrs Smith, and The Thing’s squeeze in both Fantastic Four films. Though she admits that she still has “a comforting level of anonymity”, that’s set to change with upcoming Eddie Murphy comedy A Thousand Words, not to mention Django Unchained, her most high profile gig to date.

OK, TF’s grovelling now. Is there anything Washington can tell us about Django? Is she Tarantino’s new muse? What’s Leo like as a baddie? Her favourite line from the script? “I can’t, but I will,” the actress says, sounding genuinely remorseful. “When I can, I’m sure I will.” We’ll be listening Kerry, we’ll be listening…