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'P h o n e B o o t h' aka the possible redemption of Joel Schumacher.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Paul_D, Jul 30, 2002.

  1. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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    A very positive review.
    I can't wait to see this. I love Colin Farrell, and the set-up sounds really cool. From the plot desciption and this review, this sounds more like Joel 'Falling Down' Schumacher than Joel 'Batman and Robin' Schumacher. Hopes are high.
    Also, am I imagining it or has this been in development/production for a long, long, long time. November 2002 sounds late to me.
    Rated R for pervasive language and some violence.
     
  2. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    I am very fond of Schumacher's Tigerland (also stars Farrell). Nice DVD to boot, with one of Schumacher's typicaly insightful commentaries. I kind of put the Batman incident out of my mind upon watching Tigerland.

    The wait for Phone Booth seems like forever, harking back to the days of Schumacher wanting Jim Carrey and even before that. It goes way, way back to 1997, maybe even before. I like Joel Schumacher as a filmmaker very much. For the man to have had such a longing for so many years to make Phone Booth I've never been able to feel it would not be something special, or at the very least... interesting.

    Dan
     
  3. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    As a Katie Holmes fanboy (:b) I'd been looking forward to this one for a while. I'm not pleased to hear she has only a limited appearance in the film, but the rest of the review has me hooked. Katie or no Katie, I'm seeing this one when it hits theaters (which I rarely do unless the film is titled "Star Wars" or "The Lord of the Rings" [​IMG])
    EDIT: Dan, I agree on Joel Schumacher. I like most of his work. I HATE his Batman films with a passion (I just don't think he understands the character at all), but I don't consider those two turds to be representative of what he's truly capable of as an artist.
     
  4. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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  5. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Hole...so...deep...not...sure...can...crawl...out. ..

    I'll definitely give it a shot, but Bad Company did nothing to restore faith. It was directed on autopilot.
     
  6. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    "Batman and Robin" was not a good movie, but I've seen far worse films than that. It isn't even as bad as "Ishtar," perhaps the most infamous big-budget flop...

    As for Joel Schumacher's better work, I liked "Flatliners" and "Falling Down." "St. Elmo's Fire" wasn't bad, but the characters were rather unlikeable. But I won't be seeing "8MM," which is just too seamy for my tastes...

    EDIT: Any word on "Falling Down" being reissued in a special edition? The disc is movie-only, but that film really begs for a commentary...
     
  7. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    In my book, Joel was already redeemed when he did 8mm. All past Batman sequels has been stricken from the record. And never to be mentioned again under penalty of torture.
     
  8. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Glad I found a thread to cover both my topics.
    1. I actually interviewed Joel Schumacher at the SXSW Film Festival. The article should be up sometime next week, but he DOES mention the Batman flicks and is painfully honest about 'em.
    2. Phone Booth. I'm usually required to hold my theatrical reviews until opening week, but since the director himself told me early reviews were OK (plus I saw the flick at a festival and not courtesy of the local Philly publicists - with whom the 'hold reviews' arrangement originates) here y'all go:
    Phone Booth [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of 5
    Thanks to Phone Booth, I now have another movie to point to when people assume that Popcorn Flicks always have to be stupid. Not likely that this flick will be permanently etched on your brain as one of the most memorable thrillers ever conceived - but damn if it's not a lightning-quick and fantastic way to spend a few hours.
    Very few filmmakers get the undeserved shaft like Joel Schumacher does. Sure he's given the world two rather unsatisfying Batman flicks (and the less said about last summer's Bad Company the better) but we're also talking about a guy who's delivered fairly consistently over the course of his eclectic career. Instead of harping about the bat-nipples, keep in mind that this director also gave us The Lost Boys, Flatliners, St. Elmo's Fire, The Incredible Shrinking Woman (stop giggling; it's a childhood fave), Falling Down, Tigerland, 8MM and A Time to Kill - not exactly the resume of some studio hack trying to play it safe. Plus his latest, Phone Booth, is 90 minutes of rock-solid thrilling fun...so get off that damn Batman schtick already.
    Colin Farrell is one of my new favorite actors. If his disarmingly aggressive turn in Minority Report is what caught my eye, it was his colorful performances in disposable fare like The Recruit and Daredevil that made me appreciate the value of 'one cool actor stuck in a tiresome flick'. Phone Booth is poised to toss Farrell into the A-list stratosphere, partially because it's an extremely entertaining film and mainly because Farrell knocks the damn screen down with his lead performance.
    Farrell plays Stu Shepard, a callous and mercenary (and therefore wonderfully entertaining to behold) publicist who's as slick and stingy as he is good at his job. An extended introduction comes as Stu and a doting lackey parade through the streets of New York, Farrell bellowing arrogantly into his cell phone while the assistant desperately tries to keep up - physically as well as professionally.
    Right off the bat it's clear that Stu's not all that nice a chap - yet most audience members will immediately like the guy anyway. Coolness often has the effect. In between calls from obnoxious clients, disinterested reporters and a decidedly indecisive potential conquest, Stu hears a ringing pay phone and picks it up.
    Bad move.
    The caller on the other end has a few bones to pick with Stu, and since the gravel-voiced intruder clearly has a powerful rifle pointed directly at Stu's heart, the initially skeptical cad quickly begins to realize how much trouble he's really in. When the caller orders him to remain in the phone booth no matter what (despite the vociferous protestations of various hookers, pimps and policemen), Stu finally gets it: he's been scheduled for execution no matter what.
    But what precisely does the caller want from our arrogant pseudo-hero?
    Phone Booth has surprises, jolts and even a few delicious moments of 'ohmigod gitouttathere' tension - and each of the most enjoyable 'trailer moments' are spread out expertly throughout the film's rather brief running time. (Or maybe the movie's not short, but just breezing by on the power of its own colorful intensity.) Suffice to say that things get suitably shrieky before it's all over - and don't be surprised to find yourself caught up in all of it.
    If Schumacher deserves high praise for the slick visuals and quick pacing (this movie has virtually zero slow spots) it's the screenplay by Larry Cohen that deserves accolades for getting such a 'high-concept' conceit to work from the very beginning. In a thriller like this, the audience members are almost always smarter than the protagonist - but I challenge one moviegoer to divulge a better course of action than what Shepard eventually comes up with. Cohen's been a staple of low-budget genre flicks for well over 20 years now, offering movie freaks all sorts of colorful goodies. (If you've ever enjoyed flicks like Q, The Stuff, Best Seller, Body Snatchers, the It's Alive trilogy, or any of the wacko Maniac Cop movies - you can thank screenwriter Larry Cohen. Nice to see the guy's getting a big Studio Payday with this script since Phone Booth is quality "popcorn entertainment" through and through.)
    If Farrell is the backbone of the flick (experience his Act III "confession scene" and tell me you're not moved at least a little), the supporting cast provides most of the heart and soul. Forest Whittaker is forceful-yet-clearly intelligent as the ranking police officer on the scene, while Katie Holmes capably fills the role of Beautiful Young Actress. (She is a Beautiful Young Actress after all...) Radha Mitchell has a tough role and handles herself wonderfully. (Try being told your husband's about to die AND he was planning a hotel room tryst with a Beautiful Young Actress and try to drudge up the appropriate emotions for both - at the same time.) Kiefer Sutherland provides the voice for The Caller...and we all know how creepy Kiefer can be when he amps up that Dark Vibe he's obviously got brewing inside.
    -> The phone just rang and I explained to a friend that I couldn't talk because I was near-finished my Phone Booth review. "Ooh, how was it?" he asked. Without missing a beat I said "It's candy but it's really well-made and tasty candy". He called me a dork for using the word 'tasty' but I'd stand by that assessment: Phone Booth is popcorn entertainment of the highest caliber; not a flick that will grace your All-Time lists any time soon but one that will absolutely keep your ass glued to the seat for 90-some minutes and force you from the theater discussing the fun you just had.
    And in my book that's always worth 8 bucks.
     
  9. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    From the shameless rip-off of a b-film dept.:
    I liked this film better when it was called liberty stands still. At least you could look at Linda F for 90 minutes or so.
     
  10. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I had seen Liberty Stands Still and it was fairly good to see Linda hold the movie as long as she did. The plot was pretty silly, though.
     
  11. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Hmmm, early word on this film since it was screened at the Toronto film festival was mostly mixed at best. Here are a couple:

    Todd McCarthy of Variety:

     
  12. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    ...or you could just trust MY review cuz I'm a genius.

    Your choice.
     
  13. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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  14. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I'll reserve judgement until after I've seen Phonebooth.

    I'm surprised by the very short running time though. Perhaps LSS will have an edge in the plot department.
     
  15. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I wonder if we would get the same level of advance scepticism if David Fincher had done the exact same movie.


    The automatic Schumacher slamming is getting a little old.
     
  16. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

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    This flick looks excellent! I still understood how Joel could make these really great dark movies like Lost Boys and Falling Down...yet when he does Batman...a dark character...he makes it all flashy....but oh well....this looks excellent....
     
  17. Ross Williams

    Ross Williams Supporting Actor

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    I saw this film a couple weeks ago, I'd put it somewhere between Scott's review and the two that Edwin posted. It's okay. An entertaining ride while you're watching it, but nearly instantly forgetable. Colin Farrell is pretty great in it, he's definately the highlight of the film.

    My main complaint was that they shouldn't have used such a recognizable voice for the sniper. I wanted him to be anonymous, I felt it would have been much creepier that way. Sort of ruins the ending too.
     
  18. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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    The sniper has to be...

    Our own Jack Bauer_Kiefer Sutherland


    Good to see him in a movie, not sure how much screentime other than his voice.
     
  19. KerryK

    KerryK Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw this at the Toronto Film Festival and I enjoyed it. It's a slight movie, but the cast is all great (I always love Forrest Whitaker) and the concept is fun. I think "tasty candy" is exactly right.
     
  20. Rob Bartlett

    Rob Bartlett Stunt Coordinator

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