There are enough holes in the legal minutia of "Runaway Jury" to keep anyone with a law degree laughing from beginning to end. But for the rest of us, this fast-paced thriller's twist-crescendo-ing plot and sharp performances should at least delay the feeling of being duped until after the credits roll.
Another popcorny courtroom concoction from a John Grisham novel, the movie is a sensationalized peek into jury tampering during a big-money wrongful-death suit filed against an assault-weapon manufacturer after a workplace shooting.
The film wears its politics on its sleeve: the rich, cigar-smoking, unrepentant gun industry honchos have hired an unscrupulous jury consultant (deliciously iniquitous Gene Hackman) with the high-tech means to dig up dirt and create graphic-intensive computer-screen portfolios on everybody who received a jury summons for the case.
Continue reading: Runaway Jury Review
A standard-issue kiddie-kidnapping adrenaline thriller, "Don't Say a Word" has a single reason for being -- one fertile, previously untapped plot hook that goes completely to waste in the hands of director Gary Fleder.
The hook: The kidnappers want a nugget of information locked away in the head of a delusional teenage mental patient (Brittany Murphy), and they snatch an Upper West Side psychologist's 8-year-old daughter to force him to help.
But the movie (based on a book by Andrew Klavan) pays little more than lip service to the logistics of such a demand. Even though no doctor has been able to get through to her in 10 years, this shrink (Michael Douglas) garners the crazy girl's trust in a matter of hours -- thus negating the only fresh element in the entire script.
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The very notion that Rob Schneider has what it takes to carry a movie is probably the funniest thing about "The Animal," another sloppy comedy produced by his buddy Adam Sandler.
I mean, if you're looking for an obnoxious sidekick or five minutes of physical schtick, Schneider might be a good person to have on your short list. But it would take more than his rubbery face and a complete lack of shame to make something entertaining out of this lowbrow, high-concept gimmick of a movie.
Schneider plays a toadying, inept evidence room clerk who drives his car off a cliff in the first reel and has his life saved by a mad scientist (Michael Caton) who gives him a multiple-organ transplant using guts from animal kingdom donors. When he comes to, our hero can run like a horse, swim like a dolphin and smell and hear like a dog.
Continue reading: The Animal Review
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A standard-issue kiddie-kidnapping adrenaline thriller, "Don't Say a Word" has a single reason for being...