Tag Archives: Radha Mitchell

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.

Silent Hill (2006) Review

Time: 125 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains horror scenes, violence
Cast:
Radha Mitchell as Rose Da Silva
Sean Bean as Christopher Da Silva
Laurie Holden as Cybil Bennett
Jodelle Ferland as Alessa Gillespie
Deborah Kara Unger as Dahlia Gillespie
Alice Krige as Christabella
Kim Coates as Officer Thomas Gucci
Tanya Allen as Anna
Director: Christophe Gans

Unable to accept the fact that her daughter is dying, Rose (Radha Mitchell) decides to take the girl to a faith healer. On the way, the pair drive through a portal in reality, leading to an eerie town called Silent Hill. The town is surrounded by a potent darkness, and the human survivors fight a losing battle against it.

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It’s pretty well known that video game movies most of the time just don’t work. However, I did for a while hear about how Silent Hill movie is actually one of the better video game movies. I haven’t played any of the Silent Hill games but I know that some of the games are known for being some of the best horror video games ever. Silent Hill is definitely better than most video game movies and has a lot of good elements to it, mostly with the direction and how the town of Silent Hill is portrayed. However, it also has some elements that bring it down from being as good as it could’ve been.

Full disclosure, it’s been years since I’ve seen this Silent Hill movie and I’ll do my best to remember what’s in the movie. This movie doesn’t take characters or stories from one of the games thankfully, this means that they won’t be tied down with a particular story or characters to adapt and so they have much more freedom to do whatever they want. This movie just uses the most important part of the game series, the town of Silent Hill itself. The story itself isn’t bad but it’s not that great either. Some characters, as per usual with generic horror movies, just really makes some really bad decisions. With that said, the movie started off quite well and had my attention. However, it starts to fall away in the second act when it gets needlessly convoluted. This might be a bit of a spoiler but I’m pretty sure that the movie would’ve been better if the film didn’t connect the daughter character to Silent Hill in some convoluted way. From what I can tell from the Silent Hill series (or at least from the best games of the series), the problems that the main characters encounter while in Silent Hill are mainly influenced by their own issues, the town just brings out their own fears. By having this needless connection, it just feels very Hollywood and is just not as impactful, it’s much less psychological. All the while I’m trying to follow what’s going on and as a result, any atmosphere or tension that is being built up just disappears over time. By the time it gets to the end, it just feels underwhelming. The movie does feel a little too long, even at just over 2 hours. Granted it’s been years since I’ve seen the movie and it could be better or worse than I remember, but that’s how I recall it being.

The acting by the main cast is okay enough, not really anything special. Radha Mitchell is quite good as the lead character of Rose as she’s going to Silent Hill. Sean Bean is perfectly fine as Rose’s husband but he feels out of place, he ultimately feels pointless to the movie, it’s really focussed on Mitchell’s character when she’s in Silent Hill and at random points cuts to Sean Bean trying to figure out what happened to her and their daughter. It’s like he was only in the movie so that he could appear in the sequel like 6 years later. We also have Laurie Holden and other actors who are fine enough in their roles.

Christopher Gans’s direction works well and a big part of the reason why this makes the movie somewhat work. For the most part, the visuals of Silent Hill were truly great. The designs of the monsters were really great and horrific, and the best part is that practical effects are in use, far more than I expected there to be. I haven’t played the Silent Hill games myself, but from the brief glimpses I had of some of the games, it looks like the movie was staying true to them. The movie has a good atmosphere of isolation that is really needed in a Silent Hill story. There’s a lot of walking and long moments to build up atmosphere but it doesn’t succeed as well as I think it could’ve but it was still alright. There are some predictable jumpscares but not as many as most bad horror movies.

The Silent Hill movie was better than I thought it would be, given that most video game movies aren’t all that good. It started off well, the direction and the visuals are really good, and at times it seems to capture the spirit of the games. Unfortunately, there are things holding it back from being even decent as a movie on its own. I think that a Silent Hill movie released nowadays with the recent comeback of horror movies could be something really good, and I’d be open to seeing that. Till then, this is the best we got in terms of video game horror movies (and no, although I haven’t seen it yet, apparently the sequel is really terrible).