Tag Archives: Katie Holmes

Phone Booth (2003) Review

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Phone Booth

Time: 81 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
Colin Farrell as Stuart “Stu” Shepard
Kiefer Sutherland as The Caller
Forest Whitaker as Capt. Ed Ramey
Katie Holmes as Pamela McFadden
Radha Mitchell as Kelly Shepard
Director: Joel Schumacher

Stuart Shepard (Colin Farrell), a publicist, finds his life under threat when he answers a ringing phone a phone booth. The caller (Kiefer Sutherland) tells him that he will be shot the minute he cuts the call.

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I heard about Phone Booth for a while, I knew that it was a thriller directed by Joel Schumacher and was about Colin Farrell stuck in a phone booth and terrorised by a shooter on the other end of the call. I had already heard that it was pretty good, but it actually turned out to be much better than I thought it would be, and was engaging all the way to the very end.

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Phone Booth is a pretty short movie at an hour and 20 minutes long, and that was the right length for this plot. It makes the most of that runtime, quickly setting up the main character, as well as the situation that he finds himself in for the rest of the movie. From the point that he gets the call from Kiefer Sutherland’s character, you are locked into the plot and the tensions only raise as it progresses. It’s all paced rather well too, never allowing for a dull moment. While I wouldn’t say that it’s nothing that any other movie has done before, it’s nonetheless a very good movie and absolutely succeeded at what it set out to do. Looking at it on the whole, it’s a very good script from Larry Cohen, and the dialogue is great, especially between Colin Farrell and Kiefer Sutherland. I wouldn’t say that Phone Booth is a great movie, but the only significant criticism I have of it is something that happens at the end. While I’m fine with the ending, there was something implausible that happens towards its conclusion I couldn’t really buy, and up to that point I was on board with the rest of what happened. It’s a small gripe but it really does stick out.

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The performances are also very strong. Colin Farrell is the protagonist stuck in the phone booth, and he does very well on his part. His character goes through a lot emotionally during the film and Farrell really sells it incredibly well, especially in the last act. He’s front and center for the whole movie and carries much of it, however he’s not the only one who gives a great performance. Kiefer Sutherland is the voice of the caller, and while this movie is pretty good, in all honesty I’m not sure that this movie would work quite as well without him. Sutherland is truly menacing and deliciously evil in his part, his voicework really made this movie work even better. Other supporting actors work well enough, including Forest Whitaker who is decent as the police captain who is trying to handle the tense situation.

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Joel Schumacher directed this movie very well, raising the tensions effectively, especially with the editing and cuts to windows and vantage points. He also helps make it feel claustrophobic, with it primarily taking place at one closed off location at the phone booth. You can tell that it’s a movie with a lower budget but it was put to some good use here. The only part of the direction I didn’t really like was the editing which feels very early 2000s to say the least, at some points there are some split screens and really I think they could’ve done without those.

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Phone Booth is an engaging, claustrophobic and tense thriller, directed very well and featuring two great performances in Colin Farrell and Kiefer Sutherland. I’d say that it’s among Joel Schumacher’s best movies for sure. If you want a brief yet very effective thriller, I highly recommend this movie, it’s rather overlooked.

Batman Begins (2005)

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Batman Begins

Time: 140 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Michael Caine as Alfred
Liam Neeson as Ducard
Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes
Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow
Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon
Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox
Director: Christopher Nolan

As a child, a young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) witnesses the death of his parents at the hands of a criminal. As an adult, Bruce travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice. He lives among the boroughs of criminals and thieves in central Asia. Eventually, he meets and is trained by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) and Ra’s Al Ghul (Ken Watanabe) who are part of a group called the League of Shadows. When he returns, Bruce finds that Gotham City has become overrun with crime and corruption. Discovering a cave under Wayne Manor, Bruce assumes the identity of Batman to take on the criminals and organized crime underworld of Gotham.

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After Batman and Robin, the Batman franchise desperately needed a reboot. This is the first superhero movie that tried to take the movie into a more realistic direction and changed the way superhero movies are being made today. This movie does take its time to set up its plot and characters’ backstories which will put some people off as usual superhero movies set up their backstories fairly quick. Unlike other adaptations of Batman, this shows how Bruce Wayne became Batman. One thing that I found better in this movie compared to Tim Burton’s version is you get to learn more about Bruce Wayne. In the 1989 film it immediately starts and Batman has existed for some time. There are lots of superhero movies which show the main characters’ backstories such as Spiderman and Superman but this was the first superhero that really spends a lot of time delving deep into the psychology of the character. The movie isn’t predictable at all; it takes many twists and turns. With Batman Begins, everything is played as realistic as possible; the characters mostly feel like real people and it somehow manages to make the idea of a millionaire dressing up as a bat and fighting crime somewhat plausible. As much as I like Tim Burton’s Batman, this is the first adaptation of Batman that for me got the character right. It is also the second representation of a superhero that I felt was perfect after the original Superman.

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When it comes to playing Batman, the actor actually needs to play two characters: Bruce Wayne and Batman. Michael Keaton in Batman nailed that role, Val Kilmer did an okay job in Batman Forever and the less I say about George Clooney in Batman and Robin the better. Christian Bale managed to pull off both parts off well as Batman, even as well as Keaton. He managed to personify Bruce as a millionaire playboy and Batman as an intimidating presence (with a raspy voice as well). Also great in the supporting roles are Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy. The characters felt and were acted like real people.

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Hans Zimmer’s and James Newton Howard’s music in this movie is very effective and atmospheric. The action is filmed very well: one thing about the Dark Knight Trilogy is that most of the things that go on look like they could happen in real life, this includes the action scenes. This Batman Begins’s cinematography always seems to give this atmospheric realistic feel to me. When the action scenes are paired with the score, it is a masterclass of filmmaking. The best example of this is a scene with the tumbler, Batman’s
car.

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This movie changed the ways comic book movies were made, no longer did they just focus on just action (which still was fine) but also focused on character development and plot. The Dark Knight Trilogy goes beyond just being superhero movies. This film is both a fun action movie and a thrilling drama that takes many twists that will keep the audience of the edge of their seats.