Saturday, October 10, 2009

Quick Movie Review: Powder Blue

Powder Blue, 2008

Director: Timothy Lin Bui
Starring: Jessica Biel, Ray Liotta, Forest Whitaker

I pulled this from Netflix last week because the site suggested it to fans of Beautiful Daughters, which was GEM's movie selection last month. When I read the description online, it didn't sound familiar, but I like indie movies with A-list actors, so I added it to my queue.

As an aside, I've got to say that Netflix added to Xbox Live is a winning combination. Netflix by itself (getting movies by mail) is great. When they added streaming video from the site at no extra cost, it was a nice bonus. Streaming movies directly over the TV from an Xbox 360 is the piece de resistance. When the feature was first added, all you could do was watch. Now you can browse through thousands of titles, rate them, and even watch movies with a party of your friends, over the Live network. Sometimes they add programs that haven't come out on DVD yet. I'm currently working my way through the first season of Legend of the Seeker, and it doesn't hit DVD for a week or two. Anyway, back to the movie.

Powder Blue tells the story of the intersection between a handful of characters in the days before Christmas. Ray Liotta is Jack, just released after a long prison sentence. Jessica Biel is Rose, an exotic dancer with a comatose child. Forest Whitaker is a former priest mourning the loss of his wife. Kris Kristofferson, Lisa Kudrow and the late Patrick Swayze all play supporting parts. Injected into the middle somewhere is Alejandro Romero as Lexus, a transgendered prostitute.

I read a handful of reviews both before and after watching the movie, they all compare this film unfavorably with Crash, which I am embarrassed not to have seen. The pacing is a little awkward. Ray Liotta and Jessica Biel's story arcs intersect fairly early, and their story then connects with a third arc. Forest Whitaker's story, which involves Lexus, takes place almost in another film. Those two characters never interact with the rest. I kept waiting for the "Aha" moment which would connect it all, but it never came.

Afterwards, I remembered this film being promoted over the winter as the "Jessica Biel stripper movie". There were some videos shown of her dancing for the film, and I'll admit, her scenes on stage are pretty hot. If only the rest of the film was that good. I gave the film three stars on Netflix, but only because there's no option for "Meh". Needless to say I will not be recommending this one for Movie Night.