Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hope is found in the darkest places, but not in Powder Blue

What do you get when you combine these actors -- Jessica Biel, Forest Whitaker, Ray Liotta, Lisa Kudrow, Patrick Swayze and Kris Kristofferson -- in a hotly-anticipated, straight-to-DVD release? You get a long waste of a film called "Powder Blue."

The tagline for this film is "Hope is found in the darkest places." After watching this movie, it's pretty safe to say it wasn't in this film, that's for sure.

First and foremost, anyone reading this may recognize this film as Jessica Biel's first foray into "serious" film; she plays a stripper and single-mother (one character). And yes, I had as difficult a time writing that without breaking out laughing as you did reading it. The film's release was anticipated by men around the world because this marked Jessica Biel's first nude scene. Unfortunately, even her bare boobs didn't bring this back from the abyss.

Disappointment, I think, should be this film's hallmark, and not (merely) because the film fails despite the aforementioned bare boobs. Anne Hathaway had a similarly awful first step towards movie drama mixed with nudity in "Havoc," and this film had a far better cast (and you could understand most of the dialogue herein, whereas in "Havoc" the majority of the film is in 'ebonics' and even if you wanted to know what was being said, there was so little of value there it wasn't worthwhile finding an online Ebonics to English translator. Put another way, shit is shit no matter what language is being spoken.

With a cast of heavy hitters, this film should and could have been better. To be completely fair, it wasn't an awful film, it was a film based on an awful story. "Dark" films are not to be avoided, and this film -- on certain levels -- qualifies as dark. The point being that there's so much depression happening here that by the time the climax arrives, the viewer has, most likely, reached the point of not really caring. I won't spoil any of the theoretical surprises, but I can say that the performances were fairly solid -- Forest Whitaker, for sure -- but the story, which is interspersed between the lives of these disparate, desperate characters, is scattered and it almost seems like the action is following one story of modern pathos to another.

This film's title will be the answer to the trivia question "What movie did Jessica Biel first bare her knockers" -- but the real question should be how an assembly of such talented actors and actresses (and I'm not sure if, or where on, the list Ms. Biel should be) managed to get roped into doing a film this, at best, mediocre.

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