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MU Law Films Guide: U-V

The Ultimate Gift

Title: The Ultimate Gift (2006)

Director: Michael O. Sajbel

Location: MU Law RESERVE PN1997 .U58 2007

Format: DVD

Rating: PG

Length: 114 minutes

Plot: Jason thought his inheritance was going to be the gift of money and lots of it. Was he ever in for a big surprise. Based on the best-selling book "The Ultimate Gift" by Jim Stovall, the story sends trust fund baby Jason Stevens on an improbable journey of discovery, having to answer the ultimate question: What is the relationship between wealth and happiness?

Legal Angles: Estates & Trusts, Lawyering, Property Law

Genre: Drama

Cast: Drew Fuller, Bill Cobbs, Abigail Breslin, Ali Hills, Lee Meriwether

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The United States of Leland

Title: The United States of Leland (2003)

Director: Matthew Ryan Hoge

Location:  MU Law RESERVE PN1997 .U55 2004

Format:  DVD

Rating:  R

Length:  108 minutes

Plot:  After 15-year-old Leland commits a chilling crime, he is sent to juvenile hall where he meets Pearl, a teacher and aspiring writer who dreams of making Leland's story into a book. As Pearl digs deeper into Leland's life and the people caught up in it - his mother, his famous writer-father, and his troubled girlfriend - he uncovers Leland's disturbing motive. The tables soon turn when the enigmatic teen forces Pearl to examine his own morally questionable behavior. Climaxing with a shocking collision of violence, understanding, and hope, Leland will take you to states you never imagined.

Legal Angles:  Juvenile Justice, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Corrections & Punishment 

Genre:  Crime, Drama, Romance

Cast:  Don Cheadle, Ryan Gosling, Chris Klein, Jena Malone, Lena Olin, Kevin Spacey, Michelle Williams, Martin Donovan

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Up

Title:  Up (2009)

Director:  Pete Doctor

Location:  MU Law RESERVE PN1997 .U6 2009

Format:  DVD

Rating:  PG

Length:  96 minutes

Plot:  Carl Fredericksen, a retired balloon salesman, is part rascal and part dreamer who is ready for his last-chance at high-flying excitement. Tying thousands of balloons to his house, Carl sets off to the lost world of his childhood dreams. Unbeknownst to Carl, Russell, an overeager eight-year-old Wilderness Explorer who has never ventured beyond his backyard, is in the wrong place at the wrong time. The world's most unlikely duo reach new heights and meet fantastic friends. Stuck together in the wilds of the jungle, Carl realizes that sometimes life's biggest adventures are not the ones you set out looking for.

Legal Angles:  Property Law

Genre:  Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Cast:  Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai

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Up in the Air

Title:  Up in the Air (2009)

Director:  Jason Reitman

Location:  MU Law RESERVE PN1997 .U65 2010

Format:  DVD

Rating:  R

Length:  109 minutes

Plot:  Ryan Bingham is truly living the high life. Flying all over the world on business, he never stops moving...until he meets Alex, a fellow passenger, and learns that life is not about the journey, but the connections that we make along the way.

Genre:  Drama, Romance

Legal Angles:  Employment Law

Cast:  George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman

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Valentino: The Last Emperor

Title: Valentino: The Last Emperor (2008)

Director:  Matt Tyrnauer

Location:  MU Law RESERVE PN1997 .V35 2009

Format:  DVD

Rating:  PG

Length:  96 minutes

Plot:  It is a behind-the-scenes look at the world of fashion, featuring unprecedented access to the high temples of Haute Couture. Follows the legendary Valentino and his longtime business partner, Giancarlo Giammetti during the final two years of their careers, and shows the struggles the two men face as they confront the final act of a nearly 50-year career at the top of the world's most glamorous and competitive game. An intimate, engaging and very funny fly-on-the-wall exploration of the singular world of one of Italy's richest and most famous men. Tells the story of his extraordinary life and work, and also explores the larger themes affecting the fashion business today.

Legal Angles:  International Law, Comparative Law, Business Law

Genre:  Documentary

Cast:  Valentino Garavani, Giancarlo Giammetti

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Veer-Zaara

Title: Veer-Zaara (2004)

Director:  Yash Chopra

Location:  MU Law RESERVE PN1997 .V44 2004

Format:  DVD

Rating:  NR

Length:  192 minutes

Plot:  Saamiya Siddiqui, a Pakistani lawyer, struggles to unravel the truth about Veer Pratap Singh and win him justice.

Legal Angles:  Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Comparative Law, Corrections & Punishment, International Law,  Lawyering,  Politics, Wrongful Conviction

Genre:  Drama, Music, Romance

Cast:  Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta, Kiron Kher, Divya Dutta

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Vera Drake

Title: Vera Drake (2004)

Director:  Mike Leigh

Location:  MU Law RESERVE PN1997 .V473 2005

Format:  DVD

Rating:  R

Length:  125 minutes

Plot:  Vera Drake tells of a woman in 1950s England who is devoted to caring for her family, but secretly aids women who want to terminate unwanted pregnancies. When the authorities find her out, Vera's world and family life rapidly unravel.

Legal Angles:  Comparative Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Civil Rights, Reproductive Rights, Trial Practice

Genre:  Crime, Drama

Cast:  Imelda Staunton, Phil Davis, Peter Wight, Alex Kelly, Daniel Mays, Adrian Scarborough, Heather Craney, Eddie Marsan, Ruth Sheen, Sally Hawkins, Fenella Woolgar, Lesley Sharp, Anthony O'Donnell, Jim Broadbent

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The Verdict

Title: The Verdict (1982)

Director:  Sidney Lumet

Location:  MU Law RESERVE PN1997 .V47 2006

Format:  DVD

Rating:  R

Length:  129 minutes

Plot:  An alcoholic, failed attorney is reduced to ambulance chasing. A friend gives him a supposedly easy malpractice case which becomes a last chance to redeem himself and his career.

Legal Angles:  Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Evidence, Lawyering, Torts, Trial Practice

Genre:  Drama

Cast:  Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Milo O'Shea

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Vertigo

Title: Vertigo (1958)

Director:  Alfred Hitchcock

Location:  MU Law RESERVE PN1997 .V478 2005

Format:  DVD

Rating:  PG

Length:  130 minutes

Plot:  Scottie Ferguson, a San Francisco police detective, is forced to retire when a freak accident gives him a severe case of acrophobia. Ferguson is hired by a rich shipbuilder to follow his wife who is behaving suspiciously and might be planning suicide. He falls in love with her, but she is later murdered and Ferguson becomes demonic in his desire to re-create her in another woman.

Legal Angels:  Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure

Genre:  Crime, Mystery, Romance

Cast:  James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore, Henry Jones

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The Visitor

Title: The Visitor (2007)

Director: Thomas McCarthy

Location: MU Law RESERVE PN1997 .V575 2008

Format: DVD

Rating:  PG-13

Length: 104 minutes

Plot: Walter Vale is a widower who teaches economics at a Connecticut university. He lives alone and is no longer motivated by his work. In New York to present a paper at a conference, he goes to the apartment that he has not visited in some time, but has kept since his wife was alive, only to discover a young couple living there. Despite their great cultural differences, Walter befriends Tarek, a Syrian citizen and drummer, and gradually builds a friendship with Esi, his girlfriend from Senegal. One day, when returning from Central Park with Walter, Tarek is arrested for jumping a stuck subway turnstile, despite the fact that he had paid. The police discover he does not have legal papers and transfer him to an immigrant detention center in Queens. Feeling responsible for and connected to Tarek, Walter decides to stay in New York to help and support him. Not hearing from her son, Tarek's mother arrives from Michigan to find out why, and she and Walter support one another while they attempt to free Tarek.

Legal Angles:  Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Immigration Law, International Law

Genre: Crime, Drama, Music

Cast: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira, Hiam Abbass

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Volver

Title: Volver (2006)

Director: Pedro Almodóvar

Location: MU Law RESERVE PN1997 .V65 2007

Format: DVD

Rating: R

Length: 121 minutes

Plot: The central character in Volver is a family of women: mother and grandmother Irene, her daughters Raimunda and Sole, and Raimunda's 14-year-old daughter Paula. Irene is dead: She died with the girls' father in a fire many years ago in their birth village in La Mancha. Raimunda lives in Madrid with Paula and her shiftless husband, who is malevolent, irrelevant, or absent. Separated Sole runs an unlicensed beauty parlor in her apartment. Their old aunt, Paula, still lives in the village and speaks about her sister Irene as if she were still alive. When the aunt dies, some things change, many things return, and Raimunda's troubles become extremely complicated. She bustles through them with passionate determination, a hard-working woman pulled in fifty directions, making a life for her family, reveling in every emotion but self-pity.

Legal Angles:  Criminal Law, Family Violence, Incest, Vigilantism

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama

Cast: Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo, Chus Lampreave, Antonio de la Torre, Carlos Blanco

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