Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Gary Felder
Film Length: 127 Minutes
Aspect Ratio:Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish and French Dolby Surround
Subtitled in English and Spanish
-Full-Length Audio Commentary by Director Gary Felder
-Scene-Specific Commentary by Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman
-Deleted Scenes with Commentary
-5 Additional Featurettes (Acting, Making-Of, Cinematography, Production Design, Editing)
Release Date: February 17th, 2004
I have to say. I really, really like Runaway Jury. I have seen it 3 times now. It is an excellent film! I like how it was written, directed and cast. It is enjoyable to watch a movie with such an all star cast, as everyone is at the top of their game. Seeing Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman in the same movie was a real treat as well. Runaway Jury was definitely one of my top three movies from last year!
Here is the synopsis from the back cover:
From master storyteller John Grisham and the director of “Don’t Say A Word” comes a taut suspense-thriller that “grabs hold of you and never lets go” (Philadelphia Metro)
In their first film together, screen legends Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman face off in this electrifying nail-biter about a ruthless jury consultant who’ll do anything to win. With lives and million of dollars and stake, the fixer plays a deadly cat-and-mouse game with a jury member (John Cusack) and a mysterious woman (Rachel Wiesz) who offer to “deliver” the verdict to the highest bidder. Packed with danger, intrigue and pulse-pounding twists and turns, “Runaway Jury” rules!
I am going to try and new thing with this review. Most of the times Fox sends me a press release with the DVD’s, and along with that press release is sometimes a thorough synopsis of the film. When that particular synopsis is present, I am going to start including that with my review. Especially since I think the majority of you out there are reading the review for the audio, video and extras portions, rather than the “Ebert and Roeper” section.
So here it is, the debut “long synopsis” section:
From master storyteller John Grisham (“The Firm,” “The Pelican Brief’) comes
Runaway Jury, a suspense-thriller about a high-priced and ruthless jury “consultant”
(Gene Hackman) who will stop at nothing to secure a verdict on an explosive trial. With
lives and millions of dollars at stake, the fixer wages a deadly battle with a jury member
(John Cusack), a mysterious woman (Rachel Weisz) and an honest lawyer
(Dustin Hoffman). The film marks the first pairing of screen legends
Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman.
When a young widow in New Orleans brings a civil suit against the powerful corporate consortium she holds responsible for her husband’s murder, she sets in motion a multi-million dollar case. But it’s a suit that may be won even before it begins — based solely on the selection, manipulation and, ultimately, the attempted “theft” of the jury.
Representing the widow is Wendall Rohr (Hoffman), a courtly Southern lawyer with a moral center and a heartfelt passion for the case he’s presenting. His opponent is ostensibly the attorney representing the corporation. But in reality, defense counsel is only the front man for Rankin Fitch (Hackman), a brilliant and ruthless jury consultant.
At a high tech command center set up in an old French Quarter warehouse, Fitch and his team work on the surveillance and assessment of potential jurors. He will know everything about their lives, and strategically manipulate the jury selection process. The only acceptable result is the perfect jury to vote in favor of his client.
Fitch and Rohr soon realize they’re not the only ones out to win the jury. One of the jurors, Nick Easter (Cusack), seems to have his own plan for swaying the panel. And a mysterious woman known only as Marlee (Weisz) contacts both Rohr and Fitch telling them the jury’s for sale to either of them — and that the verdict won’t come cheap.
While the case is argued in court, a dangerous cat and mouse game begins to play out in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Rohr’s morality put to the test, and Fitch is poised to cross the line from selecting a jury to stealing it — no matter who gets hurt in the process.
Picture quality for this DVD was outstanding!!
I tell you what, while watching this DVD, I was just floored at how good it looks. This is one of the best looking DVD’s I have ever watched. I am sure a lot of it has to do with Gregg Loewen calibrating my Sony, and it being the first modern anamorphic DVD for me to review, but damn, this DVD looks fantastic!!
The detail is really stunning. The colors are just perfect! Lush, and saturated, they just pop out at you from the screen! The black levels are deep and rock solid. This DVD is also superb in the background video noise! There is almost none of it! No video noise that you can really see unless you really looked for it. It could be because of the lack of white backgrounds, as there are a lot of night scenes or dark backgrounds for most of the film.
I can’t really say that I noticed too much edge enhancement either. It is in a few scenes, but very minimal. The picture is just rock solid all around. There are few flaws for this DVD. I did notice some film dirt/dust, but that is about it. One of the nicest looking pictures you will ever put in your DVD player! Even my girlfriend mentioned how nice the picture looked!
SEE FOR YOURSELF!: (click on the picture for a bigger version of the screen-shot)
More screen shots here
Picture Quality Rating:
Picture: 5 / 5
The DVD is encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1.
Sound was great. The audio was rock solid! Runaway Jury is a lawyer movie, so we are not talking explosions and flyovers, but the audio was perfect in what it needed to do. Dialog was bold and clear without any crackling or hissing. Dialog was very centered on screen, only panning to the left or right if the camera panned. The soundtrack was clear, had nice separation between the left and right channels. The audio threw a very pleasing front soundstage. The surrounds were mostly for echoing and ambience, but they did get a few instances to come alive. The first scene of the movie, and a few fight scenes towards the middle and end gave the rear a little bit of action.
LFE: The subwoofer was definitely active at times, particularly in the opening scene with the gun shots! It sounded great. Bold clear gunshots that packed a punch! My girlfriend jumped a few times, actually. There are also a few spots in the soundtrack where the bass kicks in as well.
Sound Quality Rating:
Sound: 4 / 5
This DVD has a lot of good extras for a one disk DVD![/b]
Commentary by Director Gary Fleder
Ahhh, one of the only commentaries that matter… the Director’s commentary. This is a full length commentary by Gary, and I highly recommend watching the film with it when you have time. Lot's of goodies!
Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Director Gary Fleder
Nick calls Marlee from the Motel
Total Running Time: 01:05
Someone is on the take
Total Running Time: 00:50
Selected Scene Commentary
The Washroom: Dustin Hoffman
This shows the great bathroom scene with Dustin and Gene. Dustin Hoffman gives background on the scene, and behind the scenes conversations between himself and Gene Hackman. Very cool@!
Total Running Time: 03:52 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Letterboxed and Split screen
The Bar: Gene Hackman
Gene Hackman gives his commentary on the second to last scene of the movie. He gives a little bit of info on the scene and the bar that it was filmed in. Gene likes the scene and thought it was very clever. I’d have to agree with him!
Total Running Time: 02:32 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Letterboxed and Split screen
Exploring the Scene: Hackman and Hoffman Together
This was a really interesting extra. It turns out that the washroom scene wasn’t even in the original script. They Director wanted a scene between Dustin and Gene, but there was no time to write one. So Dustin filmed and wrapped his scenes, and then Gene filmed all of his scenes. Then with two days left of filming, the two of them came back to film this great washroom scene that was finally written.
The whole piece is background info on the scene, and a lot of filming of the rehearsals for the scene. This is a really great extra!
Total Running Time: 13:59 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Off The Cuff : Hackman and Hoffman
Gene and Dustin tell of the story of how and wear they met for the first time back in 1956. We also find out how Dustin Hoffman originally got into acting.
Total Running Time: 08:56 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3
The Ensemble: Acting
This is an extra the starts out with John Cusack and Rachel Wiesz talking about how Runaway Jury is about, and what their characters represent. There is also some throwing back and forth of compliments.
Total Running Time: 04:23 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3
The Making of Runaway Jury
This is your standard snippets of interviews with the cast and director, giving background on the movie and the characters in the movie. Also some behind the scenes stiff as well.
Total Running Time: 12:02 / Aspect Ratio: 16:9 / 4:3 / 4:3 Letterboxed
Shadow & Light: Cinematography
This is a piece about the cinematography for Runaway Jury. We hear from Director Gary Fleder and Cinematographer Robert Elswit.
Total Running Time: 05:48 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3
A Vision of New Orleans: Production Design
This is a piece where Nelson Coates, Production Designer for Runaway Jury walks us through the courtroom set, and give us info on all aspects of the set.
Total Running Time: 05:07 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Rhythm: The Craft of Editing
This extra gives us interviews with Film Editor, William Steinkamp, and Director Gary Fleder. As you might have guessed, they discuss film editing aspects of Runaway Jury. We do see a very interesting tidbit on how one of the important sections of the film, started out completely different before it was re-edited.
Total Running Time: 05:04 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Man On Fire Trailer
Total Running Time: 02:33 / Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Extras / Bonus Features Rating:
Extras: 4 / 5
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"Runaway Jury" is a superb single DVD offering. It’s a great movie, and the video transfer is gorgeous. Audio is solid, and the extras are great too.
I can surely RECOMMEND buying this DVD! Run out and buy it….. NOW!
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