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on April 25, 2009
Everyone has their problems. This we are constantly reminded of in Timothy Linh Bui's latest film, Powder Blue. Linh Bui, who both wrote and directed this film, is a newcomer to mainstream film, having previously directed one feature-length film, 2001's Green Dragon.

Powder Blue is the story of a pivotal week in the life of four individuals struggling to keep their lives together. Charlie (Forest Whitaker) is an ex-priest battling suicidal tendencies due to the anguish of losing his wife. Jack (Ray Liotta) is a recently released hit man who recently found out about the cancer in his body. Qwerty (Eddie Redmayne) is an awkward, twenty-something mortician whose asthma acts up when he tries to talk to women. And Rose Johnny (Jessica Biel) is a stripper trying to pay the medical bills of her comatose son. Each is hurting immensely. Each is looking for some glimmer of hope.

This is a strange film in terms of the press that it has been getting. The overwhelming majority of articles and news surrounding this project have narrowly focused on the fact that Jessica Biel has a small handful of topless scenes. In fact, one online site boldly proclaims, "this film is always going to be known for one thing -- Jessica Biel was topless in it." Many other sites which have written pieces on this movie have uniformly dubbed Powder Blue "the Jessica Biel Stripper Movie." Commentary on the hyper-sexualized yet stuck in a 15-year-old boy's body nature of American culture aside, this film is much more than a stripper movie and will hopefully be remembered as a good piece of art, rather than the fact that one of the actors shows some skin.

The core of this film is the nature of love. What is love? How do we find it? What happens when we lose it? Everyone has their problems, but no one should have to face them alone. The characters understand this and each has a deep sense of the need for relationships, they just don't quite know how to pursue real and lasting love. Instead, their pursuit is initially selfish, built on what they themselves can get out of feeling loved and fulfilled in hopes that their problems will all go away. So Qwerty attends functions in hopes of getting a date. Jack attempts to restore and build a relationship with his daughter out of the guilt of never being there for her. Rose Johnny throws herself at men looking for someone to not only financially provide for her and her son, but also to treat her and love her as a woman rather than a piece of meat on a stage. And Charlie, the most desperate of the lot, cries out for help to anyone he can find, propositioning them to end his life for him in exchange for $50,000.

Each must discover, however, that honest love can only be so if both parties give of themselves to each other. Each of these characters must be willing to be vulnerable, to let others see the hurt and struggles that they are going through, and then be willing to let others help them and love them in ways that they never imagined anyone could. But again, this is a two-way street, and they must also be willing to do the same for others, allowing them to be vulnerable as well and to work with them through the pains and trials of life. It's only after each of the characters realize this that they are able to see glimmers of hope and redemption in their otherwise shattered lives.

Powder Blue is a fascinating film. Linh Bui has captured something very real and true about life, a feat which most of Hollywood either avoids or fails miserably at. He shows that life isn't a fairytale, hope doesn't come easily, and, again, everyone has problems. However, he also shows that there is true love out there, that there is hope and redemption even if such comes through the pain and hardships that each of us face in life, if we will only allow others in and allow others to help us through whatever it is we are going through, and be willing to do the same when the chance presents itself.

It is this writer's hope that this is what Powder Blue will be remembered for.
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on September 14, 2009
"Several Los Angelinos meet on Christmas Eve through chance, tragedy and divine intervention. Velvet Larry (Patrick Swayze) is the sleazy owner of the strip club where Rose Johnny (Jessica Biel) dances. Qwerty Doolittle is a mortician who falls in love with her. Randall (Chris Kristofferson) is the head of a corporate crime organization who tries to convince his former employee not to seek vengeance on his former co-workers. Charlie (Forrest Whitaker), who also serves as a producer on the film, will play a suicidal ex-priest. Lexus is a transsexual prostitute who shares an unexpected bond with the priest".

The parallel stories of four individuals meeting by chance in this movie only to show the big picture: How lonely people can be living in a big city like LA. With a star cast, I recommend this movie that has a very modern urban plot and photography similar to "Crash". It was entertaining and I would recommend it for fans of Jessica Biel (she plays a stripper hooked on drugs), her role in this movie is far different from previous ones she starred in movies. Her character's story is sad and troubling. But, she is very convincing as Rose Johnny. An unexpected chain of events will take place and it could change her life or not.

It was a good movie and I recommend it. It was very entertaining. The R rating is appropriated due to the thematic of the movie.
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on December 11, 2009
Much better than other "better" Crash-like films. Humble production values are its own strength. Swayze was perfect. Beil is lovely with clothes. Her nudity is part of the film which has a lot to offer in the total product; despite so called 'critical' 'weaknesses'. LA Blue Xmas Redemption film has legs. It may take decades for this movie to be appreciated.
Blu-ray looks and sounds fine.
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The tendency to tell interconnected stories has cornered many scripts in this decade. Some of them have been forgotten, but just a few have been able to achieve a respectable status. This is one of them.

This picture has unforgettable moments, that remain in our memory although it never reaches the coveted dramatic oneness.

Forest Whitaker adds his powerful presence in his role as a troubled man in search of love. Ray Liotta shows us his huge talent in this secondary role. But the most surprising fact was to watch Jessica Biel in the central role around which two stories are articulated. For the first time, I mu8st confess she chews the scennery in the most complex role of her career and the final outcome was succesful.

Haunting, thoughtful and gloomy film superbly photographed and better edited.
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on January 24, 2014
This is one of those films inspired by Paul Haggis' "Crash" where lost souls who trod the same ground seemingly unconnected except for their sense of loneliness, despair, and heartache. They are looking for redemption and closure to their crises and in unexpected ways they find it. Nothing truly original here but the characters are meticulously drawn by director-scenarist Timothy Linh Bui and expertly performed by a first rate ensemble cast. Though Jessica Biel plays an exotic dancer it is incidental to her role as grieving mother to a comatose young son and Biel has never been better. I can't say enough about Ray Liotta who after "Goodfellas" seemed destined for mainstream success but seems inclined to independent fare like this. Again he impresses as a terminally ill ex-con trying to tie up the loose ends of his life before time runs out. Ditto, Forest Whitaker as a defrocked priest grieving the loss of his wife. This film probably went straight-to-video but given the right marketing could have achieved modest arthouse success.
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on February 9, 2016
I found this movie to be some what mediocre. My attention was stagnant at times which caused me to stop watching and view at a later time. If you're looking to be uplifted,don't watch this, you will be feeling low. So, mostly I'm saying it's more of a human interest story if you're in that sort of atmosphere.
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on February 19, 2015
I found this reasonable but certainly not exceptional entertainment. Cast is great but movie lacks cohesiveness. JEssica Biel is beautiful as always and Forrest Whittaker is great as always. Ok for a do nothing saturday night with some popccorn.
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on April 12, 2014
But the other actors were so great. I love Forrest Whitaker in everything he has ever done. Jessica Biel was really good too in a very difficult part. I am not familiar with the young mortician but I expect to see him more and more. I would recommend this movie to most anyone who like dark intense films.
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on May 27, 2009
This is a desperate quest on several levels that is very real for these times.

Ray Liotta portrays a dying man, who - after 25 years in prison - attempts to connect with a daughter he has never met in this powerful drama of a desperate journey to make things right, before it's too late. His daughter (expertly played by Jessica Biel) is a "performer" in a gentleman's club and he pretends to be just another customer to talk with her.

With Lisa Kudrow and Forest Whitaker, the major characters are flawed and troubled, but have not given up hope to achieve something - anything - that can make life pleasant (tolerable?) for at least a short period of time, though they are stretched to the limit due to a battering from the wicked tsunami of daily living.
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on June 19, 2016
Works beautifully! I recommend wearing an oven mitt or equivalent because the handle gets hot even with the guard. I recommend this to anyone who uses a charcoal grill. I use it with newspaper or FATWOOD.
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