WEIRDLAND: Stephen King's "It", "The Dark Tower", "Carrie"

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Stephen King's "It", "The Dark Tower", "Carrie"

The running time of Stephen King adaptation It has been confirmed - and fans should prepare for an onslaught of sustained terror. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) website reveals that the duration of the long-awaited horror film is a sizable 135 minutes meaning audiences will have to put up with the evil Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) for two hours plus - good news for fans of the source material considering King's novel spans well over 1,000 pages. It will be released on September 8, 2017.

There's another King adaptation to come ahead of It. Later this month, 18 August, The Dark Tower - starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey - will be released, the confirmed running time of which (95 minutes) caused concern among fans despite getting the nod from Stephen King. Source: www.independent.co.uk

In the last few years alone, we’ve had a new-new Spider-Man, a new Batman, a new Power Rangers movie, a revival of “Full House,” “One Day at a Time,” “Arrested Development,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Samurai Jack,” and The Mummy, as well as variously faithful adaptations of Archie Comics, Anne of Green Gables, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast. Remakes are nothing new, but the type of remakes in development these days consistently emerge under a cloud of 'Dark and Edgy.' Who are these reboots for? Are they doing so to attract that elusive, all-important Millennial viewer, capable of blowing up a show’s popularity with a single tweet? Or are they hoping to capitalize on the nostalgia of Generations X and Baby Boomer, in order to create a wider audience ? 

The present-day contexts in which “Riverdale,” and “Anne with an E” are located also differ wildly from when they were originally introduced. When Archie, Anne, and the Power Rangers first showed up, their audience was largely children. But even though the CW is for teens, it’s still watched by plenty of adults, who recap its shows and write critical think pieces on them. Would a “Riverdale” that matched the precise tone of the comics — light, happy, slapstick, non-serialized — even be greenlighted, even if it was no longer a period piece?

Archie Andrews first popped up in the 1940s - 1950s, and was supposed to be reminiscent of popular movie star Mickey Rooney. By the time he got his own series, he and his world were perfectly suited to the ideals of the era: a bright, clean town, everyone declaratively heterosexual, front lawns, nuclear families, America as the greatest — a wholesome, idyllic vision of the United States. “Riverdale” (2017) in contrast, responds to a very different world, of the recent television landscape. If “Gossip Girl” were being made today, surely it too would have a murder mystery thrown in as well. Source: theawl.com

If De Palma’s vintage masterpiece Carrie (1976) was one part adolescent dream, three parts nightmare, with a sly streak of satire unning through it, Kimberly Peirce’s Carrie (2013) is a more earnest take on the story that should connect with contemporary teens. Aimed at captivating a new generation of viewers unfamiliar with the tale of a cruelly unloved high schooler who unleashes telekinetic revenge on her classmates, Peirce’s version (with her impressively coherent vision) eschews De Palma’s voluptuous style in favor of a somber, straight-faced retelling. Certainly there’s a case to be made for revisiting “Carrie”, given the alarming prevalence of cyber bullying in the post-Columbine era. Chief among the film’s selling points are an intensely committed Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore, enacting a subtler, more psychologically insidious take on the mother-daughter relationship immortalized by Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie. 

Chloe Moretz, though superficially deglammed with a strawberry-blonde mop, is still rather too comely to resemble the pimply, slightly overweight figure described in Stephen King’s novel, and her efforts to look downcast and withdrawn strain credulity at first. Still, the actress is canny and sympathetic enough that she eventually slips under Carrie’s skin. And when she puts on that dress and strolls into the prom on the arm of handsome Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort), it’s hard not to feel a rush of bittersweet emotion, as well as anticipatory dread, as this Cinderella story proceeds to go terribly wrong. 

A delicately winning turn from Ansel Elgort as Sue’s boyfriend, Tommy, who Sue convinces to take Carrie to the prom, movingly displays the transition from charity to sincerity. And not in a “She’s All That” kind of way. Both the hateful Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) and conflicted good girl Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) are fleshed out with a touch more nuance than usual.

Carrie spends time cultivating her telekinetic powers, in “Exorcist”-style levitation scenes that suggest the origin story of a comicbook superheroine, or a more adult version of Roald Dahl’s “Matilda.” De Palma’s luridly funny sensibility is little in evidence; Peirce has excised every dirty chuckle and whisper of camp from the material, nudging the story in a more textured, realistic direction.  Source: variety.com

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