ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Phone Booth (2003)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Joel Schumacher

Starring:
Colin Farrell/Stu
Forest Whitaker/Ramey
Radha Mitchell/Kelly
Katie Holmes/Pamela
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Married shaker, mover and professional liar/publicist Stu (Farrell) gets a jarring wake-up call when he stops at a phone booth to call his potential mistress (Holmes) one afternoon. A sniper, who has his rifle scope aimed at his melon from afar, rings him up, he answers and the game is set: if he leaves the phone booth or hangs up the phone...he dies.
THE LOWDOWN
My cell phone is down so I walk up to a phone booth to make a business call. I go to slip in a quarter but suddenly...the phone RINGS! I look around…fuck it…I pick it up.

ARROW: Hello?

CALLER: There’s a gun pointed at your head Mr. Arrow, tell me quickly, who wrote and who directed "Phone Booth". Tell me now OR DIE!

ARROW (smiling): Yeah sure…I’ll play along…"Phone Booth" was written by Larry Cohen, writer of such genre treats as "It's Alive", "The Ambulance", "Maniac Cop" and directed by hit-and-miss Joel Schumacher of "Lost Boys" fame and "Batman & Robin" infamy. Good enough, tough guy? Can I make my call now?

A bullet hits the phone booth window and cracks it...missing my head by an inch.

CALLER: Don’t test me, you pathetic horror frat boy critic wannabee or I’ll put a bullet in your dumb skull faster than you can say “Kool-Aid”! GOT IT!?!

ARROW (scared): Sorry man, sorry…what…what do you want from me? Who are you anyway?

CALLER: Who I am is of no importance at the moment, just play this game and I might spare your hollow life. Now why did you enjoy this movie known as "Phone Booth"?

ARROW: I shouldn’t be reviewing it dude, it's not really a horror movie...check out JoBlo’s review instead…

CALLER: THERE’S A GUN TO YOUR HEAD, YOU MULE! CRITICIZE OR DIE!

ARROW: Ok, ok! I dug "Phone Booth" a lot because it’s a high concept film riding on one idea and pulling it off. Think "Duel" in a phone booth….

CALLER: Fuck Duel…fuck Spielberg…he plays it too safe…there’s never any nudity in his…

ARROW: Hey chill out, man! No need to bash E.T.'s dad because you got a hard-on for me.

CALLER: I GIVE THE ORDERS AROUND HERE! GOT IT?

ARROW (pissed off): Sure.

CALLER: NOW GO ON! I WANT MORE “REVIEWING”! If you can call your childish rantings that…hehehe…

ARROW: Uuuuuh…yeah…the film could’ve easily fell flat on its face, but thankfully the mostly solid script, acting and directing in the house kept it all together. The dialogue was well written, the back and forth between Stu and the sniper engaging, the pacing tight and Kiefer Sutherland’s creepy voice worked like a charm up a leprechaun’s ass. Also, the plot twists just kept coming like dames raining on Hugh Hefner’s head, the ante was always upped as the movie moved forward and there was not a dull moment to be found. I was on the edge….

CALLER: …of your seat? Right? RIGHT?? I KNEW YOU WERE GONNA SAY THAT! You're so damn predictable, poseur...how original!

ARROW: You must be psychic…

CALLER: Did the film reach you emotionally, sissy boy?

ARROW: That’s none of your damn business!

CALLER: Impressive, you’re feisty, I like that. I’m aiming at your crotch right now Arrow...nice package by the way...wherever the red dot goes, you bang. I’ll be sorry to see it go.

ARROW: OK!!!! Yes! The main character of Stu hit home...I related to him big-time! He’s was a cock-sure, take no prisoners type of guy at first and through the ordeal, his mask crumbled and he revealed his true self in all of its imperfections and insecurities. I was affected by the themes of “coming clean” and “redemption” which surfaced through this transformation. I mean, we live in a world shrouded by lies; it’s scary to lower all of your defenses and expose yourself so emotionally naked. Stu’s eventual confession and baring of the soul really moved me. He had me at "hello".

CALLER: Had you at "hello"? Should I slap a dress on you and retort with “you complete me”? GOD, I HATE YOU ARROW!!

ARROW: I’m not a fan of yours either, to be honest…

CALLER: What did you think of Farrell’s performance?

ARROW: This was, without a doubt, Farrell’s show. The man's in almost every single frame of the picture and he was up to the task. Although his New York accent came and went early on, he nailed it down the road and stuck to it till the end. He delivered an on-the-ball and poignant show that kept me in there full blast.

CALLER: Now what didn’t you enjoy? You got 10 seconds to spill it or your head goes "splat". My watch is set…GO!

ARROW: Ten seconds…here it goes: I didn’t particularly care for the pretentious opening that also capped off the film. The voice-over was useless and annoying, no need to spell it out for me; let the images paint the picture. I also would’ve liked more sweet Katie Holmes in the mix; her character was underplayed too much.

CALLER: Aaaaaaaaaaand...??

ARROW: Mmmmmm, let me think. Oh yeah, I hated that one dimensional “angry” negotiator duder. Who put a carrot up that guy's rectum? I also felt like the film stretched it a few times in terms of plausibility and lastly, the ending was a tad underwhelming-- not fully feasible and also echoing another “unseen killer” movie seen in 2001 to a T. That’s it…I think…

CALLER: I’ll live with that.

ARROW: Can I know why you’re doing this to me now? Who are you anyways? Maltin...is that you, you twat?

CALLER: Guess again…

ARROW: Is this JoBlo? It is, isn’t it? Bro, sorry about stealing your XXX DVD. I know you love the Diesel, but I needed some Asia Argento stuff that night and…

CALLER: I’m not JoBlo, you fuckhead!!!

ARROW: Who then…WHO?

CALLER: He He He He He!

ARROW: WHO FOR THE LOVE OF HALF NAKED CHICKS AND THE HORROR FANS THAT LOVE THEM ?????

CALLER: Two words genius…"Teenage Caveman"…

ARROW: NO!!! It can’t be…NO!!!! Larry Clark!!!! LARRY CLARK!!!! Dude, that Teenage Caveman review was all in good fun…

CALLER: Payback Arrow...it's payback time!!!

ARROW: Please, I don’t want to die; I still got some living to do! I haven’t asked Mandy Moore out yet! I haven’t massaged Asia Argento’s feet yet! I haven’t shared a bottle of JD with Mickey Rourke yet…I…I…I NEED MORE FUCKING TIME!

CALLER: Time’s up Arrow.

ARROW: NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

CALLER: YES!

A bullet suddenly hits my head; I crumble to the ground…dead.
GORE
Gun shot wounds and a bullet-induced scraped ear. Nothing special.
ACTING
Colin Farrell (Stu) owned this movie with his charisma and strong acting chops. He hit all the right emotional notes and looked great in that kool ass suit. YOU GO BOY! Forest Whitaker (Ramey) was effective as the vulnerable cop; I felt for the guy. Radha Mitchell (Kelly) and Katie Holmes (Pamela) both did what they had to do very well; I wanted more screen time from both though.
T & A
Colin Farrell’s hair rocked! Does that count?
DIRECTING
Schumacher does go a tad too heavy-handed with the opening sequence, but calms down the rest of the way while cleverly tossing in split-screens, fly camera moves and pop-up windows to communicate the action and the multitude of phone conversations. Add to that, Matthew Libatique's (he worked on "Requiem for a Dream") gritty cinematography and you get a slick and good looking thriller.
SOUNDTRACK
Harry Gregson-Williams supported the images like a good “stand by your man” type of wife.
BOTTOM LINE
I know, I know...I should be RIP right now, but Larry Clark’s bullet only grazed my ear. He escaped the law and is now back at work doing what he does. As for "Phone Booth", the flick had some no-nos, but on the whole, was a very satisfying watch from start to finish due to its simple yet clever premise, its groovy execution, its stand-out acting by all, with Farrell in particular raising the roof and its whooping plot twists. Don’t hang up on this one!
BULL'S EYE
"Phone Booth" was originally set to be released in November 2002, but because of the shooting carnage by a real-life Washington D.C. sniper, Fox decided to hold off on the release.

The flick was filmed in 12 days.

Screenwriter Larry Cohen originally pitched his idea for Phone Booth to Alfred Hitchcock in the 1960s. Hitchcock dug the idea, but he and Cohen were not able to figure out a way to keep the story and the character in that booth. Once Cohen thought of the sniper idea in the 1990s, he wrote the script within a month.
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