Directed by Joel Schumacher.
Written by Larry Cohen.
Starring Colin Farrell, Forest Whitaker, Katie Holmes and Keifer
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 4/21/03
After teaming up for the military drama
“Tigerland” (a great rental, by the way), director Joel Schumacher
approached his star Colin Farrell about a script he had seen which
takes place in just a phone booth. Liking the idea that it was just
him for an hour and a half, Farrell took the bait and the result is
the new thriller “Phone Booth”, a so-so movie that never seems to
deliver on the stellar idea upon which the film is based.
A New York City publicist named Stu
(Farrell) stops at a phone booth downtown to make a call to his
mistress (Katie Holmes, the only actress in movie history that might
be getting younger as she moves from film to film). After hanging
up, he gets another call from a sniper (Kiefer Sutherland) that
explains to Stu that he will kill Stu if he leaves the booth. We
learn why the sniper has put Stu in this position over the next
hour, and why Stu’s wife, a NYC police commander (Forest Whitaker),
and the mistress could all potentially be the next victim of sniper
I think an interesting irony of “Phone
Booth” for Farrell is that his intrigue over being the center of
visual attention in the film is that the film’s biggest asset is
Sutherland, who supplies voiceover work as the caller we never get
to see. Sutherland, who finished his work on this film while on
hiatus from “24” last fall, sounds like he is having a blast as a
bad guy. He hasn’t been this good in a film since maybe “Young
Guns”, delivering his often-hilarious lines with high energy and
passion. Farrell is quite good, performing his Brooklynese mostly
to perfection without slipping into stereotype. Every time out
Farrell shows you why, at 26, he could be the next big thing--a
good-looking, watchable character actor that can play action or
drama with equal aplomb...when will he try comedy? He’s been in
five films in the last 14 months (“The Recruit”,
“Hart’s War” and this film) and he’s mixing up
his projects and parts quite nicely...he’s even in two more films
this year to boot.
The actors here cannot, however, make this
what it needs to be--an hour-long TV drama, not an 80-minute feature
film, because even at 80 minutes, the felt half an hour too
long...not so good for a film that cannot justify the $10 admission
that my friend Rob paid for himself, his wife Colleen and myself for
each of us to get into the Boston theater that we went to. And, the
ending for “Phone Booth” left a bit to be desired. Otherwise, an
entertaining film that won’t make you angry that you saw it.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard