FARRELL.  SCHUMACHER.  TOGETHER AGAIN FOR THE SECOND TIME.

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I'm a sucker for movies like this.  But perhaps not as much as other suckers out there.  The only other ones that come to mind are 'Nick of Time' and 'Liberty Stands Still', so I don't know my stuff as well as I should.  Does 'Faithful' belong in that category?

Anyway, De Palma has his obligatory split screen scenes.  Spielberg's got the obligatory shooting star, although I don't think he's used it lately.  Spike Lee's got the obligatory Shouting Match in each movie.  Robert Altman has the obligatory Overlapping Conversations.  Kevin Smith has the obligatory Ben Affleck.  Who else?  Penelope Spheeris has the obligatory punk rock characters.  Great motifs from great directors.  So what, you might ask, does Joel Schumacher have?  It seems his telephone conversations have the obligatory Audio Equality: you can hear both characters clearly, not the main one clearly and the other person on the other end coming in all grainy.  So if you're a sucker for that motif, this is indeed the movie for you.  If not, not.

'Liberty Stands Still' is actually a better movie.  At least, the characters are a little more interesting.  The sniper here just wants to humiliate his target to death and get away clean; that's his job.  It's harder to say what's the bigger star here, the actors or the hardware involved: phone- or gun-related.  Just kidding, it's the actors.  This isn't a Brett Leonard picture, after all.  Colin does good (good accent work, too) as about the feistiest opponent possible to go up against Kiefer's calmly psychotic sniper, prone to the occasional volcanic outburst.  Oh, 24 will never be the same now!  Why must actors subvert our expectations like this?  Forest Whitaker does a nice turn in a role written for Denzel Washington as a high ranking police officer who must do battle with Colin and the white cop who wants to take over.

Still haven't seen all of Dog Day Afternoon; gotta put it on the To Do List.  However, unlike Airheads, Phone Booth only had one moment where it seemed like a good time to end the movie, but they've got 3 more reels to go so this train's gotta keep rolling.  I haven't heard all the stories of the making of, but the script is apparently one of these ones that have been lying around for 20 odd years, along with Toys and Trespass.

This is Joel's second collaboration with Colin Farrell (it is, isn't it?  Let me check... I'm sorry, I left out Veronica Guerin, make that third), and his fourth with Kiefer.  With this and 'The Hulk', cinema has found an innovative new way to cram more visual information down our eyepipes by copying 'Timecode'.  And with the 'Men In Black'-style visual finale (hence the large budget), can you even doubt there's a sequel in the mist?  Or at least, a spin-off series on UPN?  I kinda hope not, as it would make this movie less special.

Time of Transition: The last phone booth in New York (8th Street).  We see publicist Stu Shepard's routine, and the episode in which his routine will be irrevocably changed.

**1/2

-so sayeth the Movie Hooligan

(c)2004 Bulk Entertainment

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