Saturday, October 18, 2003
There is a lot of tension in area theaters this weekend, thanks to a number of new thrillers.
First up is "Mystic River," director Clint Eastwood's stark, brooding drama about how a murder in a Boston community dredges up the guilt of the past. Although well-acted by an A-list cast -- particularly Sean Penn as a grieving parent -- the movie still relies too heavily on contrivance and manipulation in its "whodunit" final act.
In "Runaway Jury" -- the latest big-screen version of a John Grisham potboiler -- John Cusack stars as an idealistic juror serving on a suit targeting gun manufacturers. Gene Hackman plays an unethical jury consultant and Dustin Hoffman a righteous defense attorney in this slick adaptation.
Despite the Halloween holiday, only one true horror flick hits the screen, and that's the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This remake of the influential 1974 benchmark gained its shock value from the fact it was shot almost like a grainy documentary. The glossy new one cranks up the speed and volume but not necessarily the thrills.