20th Anniversary TLDR: Daredevil and Phone Booth (2003)
Some of Colin's earliest performances.
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Plot: He dwells in a world of eternal night, but the blackness is filled with sounds and scents, tastes and textures that most cannot perceive. Although attorney Matt Murdock is blind, his other four senses function with superhuman sharpness. By day, Murdock represents the downtrodden. At night he is Daredevil, a masked vigilante stalking the dark streets of the city, a relentless avenger of justice.
Direction: Director and screenwriter Mark Steven Johnson has had one weird ass career. From writing Grumpy Old Men and Jack Frost to directing the very similar Ghost Rider to rom-com directorial efforts like When in Rome and Love, Guaranteed. I miss when Marvel movies just weren't a big deal, so could be helmed by random people like this.
Screenplay: I could definitely do without lines like, "I hope justice is found here today, before justice finds you." Or, "Watching from the darkness. Forever in darkness. A guardian devil." Or ESPECIALLY, "They say your whole life flashes before your eyes when you die. And it's true, even for a blind man.” I mean, they are funny as hell. And they are very 2003 and very Ben Affleck and very this is a comic book movie who gives a shit, but this one, in particular, takes it a little far sometimes.
Performances: Sometimes, I wish I didn't but I love Ben Affleck. I know he hated this movie and you even feel that sometimes, but his floppy hair early-aughts bullshit is perfect for this his floppy hair early-aughts bullshit. Jennifer Garner kicks some ass (I kinda want to watch the Elektra spin-off, I know I know...), Michael Clarke Duncan was the perfect choice for a live-action Kingpin, but Colin Farrell steals the show. Unencumbered by the limits of struggling through a crappy American accent, he gets to just go balls to the wall. I don't watch WWE, but this is what I would imagine it would be like if I did like it. Does that make sense?
Cinematography: Boo-hoo, boo-hoo, but I miss the days when stupid movies were allowed to look stupid. Cinematographer Ericson Core also shot the first Fast and Furious, as well as shooting his own directorial efforts like Togo and the Point Break remake. His work feels like a PS2 game and I mean that lovingly.
Best moment: The playground fight between Matt Murdock and Elektra. It was elektric.
Fun fact: According to IMDB: (at around 2 mins) The rat in the opening sequence is entirely CGI, the result of a real one not moving appropriately during filming. (Who writes this shit?)
Imaginary accolade: Best Movie Starring Two (Soon-To-Be Married) Red Sox Fans
Everything is too long. Is it too long? Remember when comic book movies could be an hour and forty minutes? Those were the days.
Rating: 3 Colin Farrell 2003 movies out of 6.
Phone Booth (2003)
Plot: A slick New York publicist who picks up a ringing receiver in a phone booth is told that if he hangs up, he’ll be killed… and the little red light from a laser rifle sight is proof that the caller isn’t kidding.
Direction: Joel Schumacher, the very best at over-the-top, over-directs the hell out of this one with on-the-street video footage, split-screen scenes, and picture-in-picture phone calls. I love that he gives every movie its own distinct flair. His style is the movie's style and that can go from prestige to camp with varying levels of success, (for example, I love Batman Forever, but just can't get on board with Batman and Robin) but the one thing I think he always does well is dramatic tension, (A Time to Kill is a personal favorite). His tendency to lean silly with a movie this silly is a perfect match.
Screenplay: Larry Cohen is known for some wacky stuff, everything from writing Maniac Cop to working behind the camera for Q: The Winged Serpent. However, he beats it all with the line, "Get the fuck outta here before I call Hillary and have you deported to New Jersey!"
Performances: Kiefer Sutherland does his best Roger L. Jackson, Katie Holmes does her best Britney Spears, and Forest Whitaker does his best Forest Whitaker. It's Colin Farrell's movie, though. He's definitely green as this is one of his earliest roles, and his Bronx accent sounds very Irish. It's amazing that this is just a few ticks away from Daredevil, where he seems so confident.
Cinematography: Matthew Libatique is Darren Aronofsky's go-to DP. Shocker, I know, that Joel Schumacher and Darren Aronofsky both like(d) his work.
Best moment: Colin's big speech.
Fun fact #1: Larry Cohen pitched this movie to Alfred Hitchcock in the '60s.
Fun fact #2: The film's release got bumped from November 2002 to April 2003 in large part to its similarities to the October 2002 D.C. Sniper attacks.
Fun fact #3: I was once...propositioned...exactly like Colin's character was by the third...woman who approached the booth.
Everything is too long. Is it too long? On the seventh day, God rested. On the eighth day, he made 80-minute movies.
Rating: 3 out of 5 free pizzas.
Credit: Each plot synopsis comes from Letterboxd via TMDb.
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I’ve really come to appreciate Colin Farrell’s work in the past few years. Especially with his performance in The Batman where he is absolutely unrecognizable. With In Bruges (2008), it shows that he’s at his very best working with his frequent collaborators Brendan Gleeson and Martin McDonagh. He might just take home his first Oscar this weekend for their recent collaboration. It’d be very well deserved.