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Phone Booth
DVD disk
Oct 7, 2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Phone Booth order
Director:
Joel Schumacher

Actors:
Colin Farrell
Forest Whitaker
Katie Holmes

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Publicist Stu Shepard (Farrell) makes a quick stop at a Manhattan phone booth to call some girl (Holmes) that tickles his fancy. As he leaves the booth, the phone rings and he, unfortunately, picks it up to find that what he's got on the other end of the line is a crazed sniper with a bead on him and a chip on his shoulder.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Ive gotta hand it to Joel Schumacher. Every time I completely write him off and swear that Ill never watch another of his fiascos again, he rebounds with a film I get a real kick out of. After the putrid 8MM: TIGERLAND. After the despicable BAD COMPANY: PHONE BOOTH. While I doubt the world will ever forgive him for his massacre of the BATMAN franchise, it seems ready to accept his smaller films, in which he has to rely on actual scripts and acting rather than on ridiculous effects and pathetic attempts at shock value or one-line humor. Maybe producers should just cap all his budgets at $10M...we might get to see some good films.

And a good film is just what PHONE BOOTH is. Running at a brisk pace for an intense 81 minutes, Farrell sweats it out big time as a smooth-talking, arrogant publicist who gets caught up in what is arguably one of the worst days anyone has had since Al Pacino and John Cazales in 1975s DOG DAY AFTERNOON. Strutting his best Bronx accent (notice I said his best, not the best), Farrell is joined by Forest Whitaker (arguably Hollywoods most underrated actor) who plays the cop in charge of figuring out why the hell this nut wont leave his phone booth. These two actors take up most of the film's screen time, although the pimp played by John Enos III also proved to be loads of fun in his limited role as another guy whos probably had much better days. Most of the creeps came courtesy of the nut job at the other end of the line. If you dont already know who it is, try not to find out before you watch the movie. Its worth it (Note: for some reason, they have his face plastered on the front of the DVD case so if you want to preserve the mystery, try to avoid staring at it).

Schumacher himself also does a pretty good job of keeping the movie running, proving worthy of the challenge of entertaining a viewer while confining his set to the immediate surroundings of a phone booth. The real-time effect of the movie also helps keep viewers on their toes and adds to the grit and realism of the whole thing. Its an original idea and while it doesnt necessarily make for anything extraordinary, it does provide some thrills and entertains. A few laughs are even had along the way in spite of the tense situation. They go a long way in smoothing out some of the edges and in providing temporary relief from the creepy son of a bitch with the high-powered rifle. To sum it up, PHONE BOOTH is quick, fun and fresh. A good, edge-of-your-seat watch that can be had at pretty much any time.
THE EXTRAS
Beside the theatrical trailer, the only special feature on this DVD is a full length audio commentary with Joel Schumacher. Schumacher sounds like a nice enough guy and he manages to be pretty interesting throughout the track. The shoot for this film only lasted 10 days so I guess stuff had to happen pretty quick and thus, his speech is rife with stories, anecdotes and other information. The only downside is that his voice sounds like that of a man who needs a laxative to free him from several days' torture.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This is a fun film that can be watched in under an hour and a half and won't let you down in the entertainment department. The DVD package is quite limited, but it may be worth buying if you can get a good deal just because its length and pace make it highly rewatchable. If you only have a passing fancy for Farrell though, you may be better off just renting it for a night.
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