RUNAWAY JURY How do you make the mind-numbingly dull subject of jury selection interesting? Adapt a recent John Grisham bestseller to tell the story of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that seeks to hold a gun-maker liable for a shooting death. Have John Cusack star as a man who’s a little too eager to land the jury foreman’s job. Have Cusack’s girlfriend, Rachel Weisz, work over attorneys on both sides — one of whom is Dustin Hoffman — in an attempt to get them to pay Cusack to sway the panel. Then, throw in more layers of double-crossing and blackmailing. Sounds swell. One problem: There’s so much interesting stuff going on, it all threatens to make the film unwieldy. Still, it’s far more compelling than your best day of jury duty. Opens October 17.
MYSTIC RIVER Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Laurence Fishburne, Laura Linney, and Kevin Bacon star. Clint Eastwood directs. On paper, that sounds like a good movie. So does the plot. Penn, Bacon, and Robbins are childhood friends reunited after Penn’s daughter is murdered. Bacon is the detective on the case. Robbins is a suspect. Penn is an ex-con bent on revenge. You want to see that, right? Eastwood thinks so. He recently said, “I still like to think there’s an audience there for serious adult stories.” Now go watch his movie, punk. October 10.
- JOE GUINTO