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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Phone Booth

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Judy Thorburn

Phone Booth

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“PHONE BOOTH” – IS ANOTHER GOOD CALL FOR COLIN FARRELL

Next time you are out and about and happen to hear a pay phone ring, I guarantee you will think twice about answering it, after seeing Phone Booth.  Just like Hitchcock’s original Psycho created fears about taking a shower, this tense thriller takes another simple everyday occurrence, turns it into a scary scenario, and does it quite well.

Colin Farrell commands the screen and is the major camera focus, in a film that gives a new definition to the word “cell” phone. He plays self centered, fast talking, hot shot New York publicist, Stu Shepard, who finds himself at the mercy of a psycho at the other end of the line when trying to leave a pay phone booth on 53rd Street and 8th Avenue in midtown Manhattan. Always moving through the crowed streets with a cell phone attached to his ear, he nevertheless makes routine visits to one of the last phone booths,in order to ring up a potential lover (Katie Holmes) so that his wife (Radha Mitchell) wouldn’t catch on..  However, someone else did, with frightening results. Just when Stu is ready to walk away from the booth, the phone rings and like a reflex, he answers. The “caller” tells him if he hangs up, or leaves the booth, he’s dead. Armed with a high powered rife from an unknown location, and aimed at Stu’s chest, he wants Stu to confess his “sins” and expose himself for what he really is, a liar, cheat,and fraud. But, when some hookers are unable to get him out of the booth so they can make some calls, they send over their pimp, who becomes a victim to the sniper’s bullet. This causes the police to arrive on the scene, led by Captain Ramey (Forest Whitaker), who tries to decipher the situation about what everyone thinks is a crazed gunman held up in a booth. It also becomes a media circus and a rude awakening for Stu when both his wife and  girlfriend show up on the scene making them potential targets.

Director Joel Schumacher, redeems himself in what has been an inconsistent directorial career as of late (think of the last two Batman film flops). Using split screen images to show the action going on around,  but still keeping the attention on Stu, he delivers a taut thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout its fast paced eighty minutes. Reuniting with Colin Farrell, his Tigerland star, in what was the actor’s American debut, Schumacher delivers a thoroughly enjoyable and exciting film, the first worthwhile thriller of the year.

Centered on Stu’s dilemma, Farrell is almost never out of frame, and gives another stellar performance that captures both the brassiness and vulnerability of his superficial character with dead on believability. He proves once again his versatility to play any kind of role. Pretty boy aside, he has the charisma, star power, and the ability to carry a film, which he exemplifies here.  Although heard, but not seen, until the end, Kiefer Sutherland is excellent as the menacing “voice” at the other end of the line. However, Mitchell and Holmes are given very little to do, besides looking pretty in their brief scenes.

Phone Booth was originally scheduled for release last October, but was shelved until now due to the sniper killings in the Washington D.C area.  Thankfully,  the suspects have been apprehended, and the studio feels enough time has passed for the public to be comfortable enough to accept the film for what it is meant to be – pure escapist entertainment, nothing more. I could be picky and mention some plot flaws (like why, when there are much more morally and ethically corrupt people around, does he pick a jerk like Stu to impose his own brand of judge and jury?). But, that aside, it still doesn’t detract from what is ultimately, a satisfying movie experience. The fact of the matter is  - it works! That’s my call! No need to be on hold. Sprint down to your nearest theatre to catch this flick . Just don’t have any hang ups about waiting on line.