If the title of the new courtroom drama starring Michael Douglas and Amber Tamblyn seems a little unwieldy, it's because the movie is a remake of a 1956 Fritz Lang film, and titles didn't have to fit onto a DVD cover back then. It's also a well-known legal term, one that has particular bearing on the movie's plot, which is all about circumstantial evidence and how it can be misleading. In fact, whenever a courtroom drama is looking for a title, the language of lawyers is always the first place to turn, as seen in such films as The Juror, Class Action, Hostile Witness, Trial by Jury, Presumed Innocent and Witness for the Prosecution. We put together a list of legalese words and phrases that we think would make great movies -- and not just in the plain-old legal thriller vein, either.
After his brother is sentenced to death for terrorism, an explosives expert wires every bench in the offending judge's courtroom to explode if enough of the people in each row stand up. A courthouse employee finds out about it, but the terrorists kidnap his family to keep him quiet, so he has to find a less-obvious way to convince the judge to cancel the session, and to keep the bailiff from saying... "All Rise!"
Everyone knows that lawyers are blood-suckers, but this one actually is, after he's attacked by a vampire one night on the streets of New York and becomes undead himself. He quits his high-paying gig defending the rich to get a job as a public defender in night court, but when a client is accused of killing a pimp and draining him of all his blood, the guilt-ridden lawyer finds himself braving the daylight to prevent a good man from being punished... for a crime he, the man's lawyer, actually committed.
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The sole court stenographer in a small town is hired by two out-of-towners to translate a section of transcription from a stenotype machine. However, she realizes that the text contains corporate secrets, and after she asks too many questions, her employers decide to kill her, sending her on the run.
Accessory to Murder
A fashion-loving Manhattan girl with dreams of starting her own label is accidentally left behind at a catwalk show after everyone has gone home, where she witnesses the murder of the show's designer. Now the star witness at the trial of the century, she has to dress to impress a courtroom full of the designer's fashion-industry peers, as well as help put the scumbag who did it behind bars.
Approach the Bench
A stringbean pre-law college student is tired of getting turned down by the ladies at his football-obsessed school, so he tries out for the team and, through a fluke, makes it as a third-stringer. When he finds out that the football team's star quarterback, who is also pre-law, is having trouble in class, he agrees to trade study help for football practice. Luckily, most of the American legal system has some sort of analogy in football, which is revealed in the final test-prep montage, right before the big game.
After a man dies under suspicious circumstances, his teenage son is left several mysterious objects in his will. At first, the boy is uninterested, but when his uncle approaches him and offers to buy them off of him, he realizes that his father specifically didn't want his uncle to have these items, and has to solve the mystery of what they are and who killed his dad.
Xzibit, the rapper, movie star and host of Pimp My Ride, is up for the role of a lawyer in the new John Grisham movie, but he knows nothing about the law, so he shadows a real-life lawyer to prepare for the audition. When the lawyer starts getting death threats and wants to bow out of the case, Xzibit and his crew step to the assassins and help their new pal prosecute the crook.
Got a legally-inspired title you want to disclose? Swear in below.
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