The duo which brought us The Beach in 2000 now brings to theaters a zombie movie that will ultimately change the genre from one predominated by B-movies to one where humanity is examined after society has been removed to help us learn more about how essential socialization is to humanity. If that sounds like something too profound to be jammed into a mere 113 minutes of film, think again.
Phone Booth is a better-than-average psychological thriller, pitting the voice of “The Caller”, wonderfully played by Kiefer Sutherland, against the life of Stu Shepard, played by Colin Farrell. Shephard is an almost stereotypically flamboyant publicist living in New York with his estranged wife, Kelly, percolating a potentially adulterous relationship with a young actress played by Katie Holmes, and stringing along the most current of a long line of unpaid interns.
Ben Affleck‘s first time behind the camera as a director comes in this adaptation of a novel by Dennis Lehane in a screenplay he also wrote brings with it immense critical praise which is well-deserved. Casey Affleck plays Patrick Kenzie, a private detective familiar with the streets and neighborhoods of Boston, living with his girlfriend and partner Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan).
In Layer Cake, which is based upon a British novel of the same name, we get a rare peak into the British criminal underground through the eyes of a very successful cocaine trafficker who is never named, but is played by Daniel Craig. He is well-educated, smart, respectful, and not greedy. Having accumulated enough of a modest fortune for himself to live pleasurably he plans to leave the business while he is still ahead, but that all changes when his supplier Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham) assigns him two very difficult tasks before he will be allowed to leave: find the whereabouts of a young woman named Charlie, the daughter of a powerful associate name Eddie Temple (Michael Gambon) and find a buyer for a massive amount of ecstasy pills which have recently been stolen in Amsterdam.
Christian Bale’s performance as Travor Reznik in The Machinist may rank as one of his best ever. He plays an industrial machinist plagued by chronic insomnia and a mysterious weight-loss that is bringing him down to levels that make him appear like someone from Ethiopia during its infamous famine. He is, essentially, dying of insomnia and his work as a lathe operator begins to suffer because of it. He claims to his friend/lover/prostitute Stevie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) that he hasn’t slept in a year.