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Koppelman Wows 'Jury'

Koppelman Wows 'Jury'In his first screenplay since ‘Knockaround Guys’ Tufts graduate Brian Koppelman adapted John Grisham’s ‘Runaway Jury’ – garnering big stars and critical acclaim. Hollywood, Calif.

Boston [01.01.01] Five years ago, Brian Koppelman made his cinematic debut as the screenwriter of "Rounders," a clever film with a cult following starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton. Last fall, Koppelman added to his Hollywood resume as director of "Knockaround Guys"-his directorial debut. Now, the young Hollywood veteran is pleasing audiences again with his newest script: an adaptation of John Grisham's "Runaway Jury."

"Runaway Jury is adhesively entertaining, a thriller whose outcome is a walloping surprise," said NBC's film critic Gene Shalit. "If Runaway Jury is not a runaway hit, America's critical judgment is in a fix."

Guns trigger the action in this courtroom film - which centers on an elaborate jury tampering scam in a high-stakes gun industry trial. The movie - which grossed over 46 million dollars in the U.S. -- is a fast-moving twist on law drama.

"The new thriller is about a jury consultant who tries to guarantee a friendly panel, and a juror who does a little free-lance jury consulting of his own," wrote Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Koppelman - who worked on the script with David Levien, his high school friend and co-director of "Knockaround Guys" - upped the tension in "Jury" by keeping the audience guessing.

"If you think it sounds hard to know who to root for, you're right, with corrupt gunmakers and their mouthpieces vying with a native ambulance chaser and a tainted juror for the role of the hero," reported The Washington Post. "But that's what makes it good."

As The Boston Globe reported, "Runaway Jury derives most of its pleasure from psychological gamesmanship. The battle is fought on two fronts: in the jury box, and out on the streets."

The movie is earning praise from critics applauding its fine technique and all-star cast including Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, John Cusack, Rachel Weisz, Dylan McDermont - and even a small role by "Flashdance" star Jennifer Beals.

"The movie hums along with a kind of sublime craftsmanship, fueled by the consistent performance of Hackman and Hoffman, the remarkable ease of John Cusack, and the juicy typecasting in the supporting roles," wrote Ebert.

And reviewers are saying Koppelman - whose film credits include last year's "Interview With The Assassin" - has done it again.

"No objections," reported Cleveland's' Plain-Dealer. "[The] Hackman, Hoffman courtroom drama is a runaway success."

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