The Movie Pit Podcast is up!
It’s a long one this week with some crazy movie news updates.
The Movie Pit Podcast is up!
It’s a long one this week with some crazy movie news updates.
Director: Andy Muschietti
Writers: Gary Dauberman, Chase Palmer and Cary Fukunaga
Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Nicholas Hamilton, Stephen Bogaert, Jackson Robert Scott and Bill Skarsgard
Synopsis: A group of bullied kids band together when a monster, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children.
*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*
Based off the novel by Stephen King, at least the first half, Pennywise the Clown is back to make us afraid of clowns again. Of course, most of us know the two-part TV movie with Tim Curry playing Pennywise, but while that version may have scared us with some uneasy visuals and Curry’s performances, this new version of It is here to be a little more faithful to the original source material. and add the real horror that was written by Stephen King himself.
To be fair, I hadn’t watched the TV movie in a long time, and I ended up watching some clips online. While some of it sticks, for the most part I didn’t end up remembering half of the things in it. Seeing that – and that this film was going to be more faithful – my judgment and now broken bias was going to be left at home. Granted, the trailers proved this version of It was going to crack up the horror to eleven, and this was going to have a movie budget, against a early 90s TV movie budget. Either way, do yourself the favor, and try not to compare the two versions since they are very, very different, but more importantly, you’ll miss out on a great movie.
Set in Derry, Maine in 1989, people – most kids – have gone missing by the dozens. The film starts off by showing us the much promoted disappearance of Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott), the younger brother of Bill (Jaeden Lieberher). It is also were we are introduced to Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard) for the first time. We then jump forward a year, Bill holds on to hope that his younger brother is still alive, but we are now introduced to his closest friends; the always joking Richie (Finn Wolfhard), the germophobe Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Stan (Wyatt Oleff). The three eventually become friends with the new kid, whose obsessed with Derry’s history, Ben (Ray Taylor), the home-schooled Mike (Chosen Jacobs), and Beverly (Sophia Lillis).
They forge a friendship and call themselves The Losers Club. However, before they can try to enjoy their summer, they deal with bullies, lead by Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton), but also have to face their fears when Pennywise puts all of them on his radar. It then becomes a race against time for The Losers Club to defeat “It” before one of them disappears. Because everyone floats down there.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m sure we all know someone that has seen the original It, or maybe even read the novel. Either way, Pennywise and The Losers Club have a following so this new version of It had a lot of eyes on it. Thankfully, it turned out great, because not only is It a great horror movie, it’s a great coming-of-age story with humor and heart to back it all up. That said, I applaud director Andy Muschietti and the writers in Gary Dauberman and Chase Palmer – Cary Fukunaga is also credited, since he was the original director and writer of the film, but dropped out due to creative difference – for being able to balance all the tones in the film and make it work for the film instead of making them work against it.
Next to the balancing act working, it’s the young cast that really makes It shine. Each of them having their moments to shine, and face their respected fears, but it’s the fact that we get to know them that makes us not only root for them, but also worry for them. Lieberher gets to shine the most as Bill, who is determined to find out what happened to Georgie and holding on faith that he’s still alive despite what people think. Lillis’ Beverly, personally, gets the more complicated and emotional arc as she seen as the town’s slut, but also the fact that she has to deal with her father, played by Stephen Bogaert, who makes uncomfortable advances toward her. Jeremy Ray Taylor’s Ben has probably one of the most realest arcs for a kid his age that involves Beverly.
Not everyone has the opportunity of being fleshed out unfortunately. Wyatt Oleff’s Stanley doesn’t really have too much going on other than being the Jewish kid who is about to have his bar mitzvah and wants to ignore everything. Finn Wolfhard’s Richie can sometimes come off as annoying and has a fear of clowns, but that fear doesn’t come up until after the group acknowledges that Pennywise exists. Jacobs’ Mike, obviously the only person of color, has his own problems especially with bully Henry Bowers. Finally, Jack Dylan Grazer does have his moments, but for me, his big moment comes near the end and has nothing to do with Pennywise.
However, the biggest drawn here is Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. Bill, the youngest of the Skarsgard family, will probably become a household name with his performance here. We don’t see a hell of a lot of Pennywise, but just enough to know when he pops up, you better be scared – or at least unnerved. His introduction scenes with Georgie is disturbing from the get go as we can see him salivating which just adds that creepy layer to Pennywise that was, arguably missing from the previous version. Yes, Tim Curry’s Pennywise was creepy, but he was creepy when the character had to be, Skarsgard’s version is always creepy.
All in all, It is like I noted earlier, not only a great horror movie, but a great coming-of-age film. The young cast is great, and the best part is they actually act like kids, so when they’re put into a fearful and dangerous situation we want them to make it through and we see can the genuine fear they have. Not only that, their chemistry is top notch, I can believe they’re friends and they have a bond, and when they face Pennywise, it is something special.
Whether you prefer the 90s It or this version of It, there is no denying that Stephen King’s story has touched everyone. Everyone has their fears, and the question becomes will you face them head-on yourself? Or have someone there to face them down with you? This version does lend itself to be horror especially considering this has a movie budget opposed to a TV movie budget – and R-rating which they take full advantage of. Whatever the case, the cast – including Skarsgard’s Pennywise – and their chemistry together make It not only a worthy adaptation of Stephen King’s stories, but a great film.
4.5 out of 5
Another month has gone by and we’re on to another packed month full of great films. September seems like it’s going to be great by the end of the month, and may even have some early Academy Award nominees. I know, too early to think of that, but you know what? When you look at these films, you’ll be saying the same thing too. Let’s take a look at what’s coming out this month.
Re-Release – Close Encounters of the Third Kind
One of the, arguably, best sci-fi films of all time will be re-released for its 40th anniversary and re-mastered. The film will only be in theaters for a week, so if you’ve never seen it, hopefully you’ll get the chance. For those that don’t know, the film is directed and written by Steven Spielberg and after an encounter with U.F.O.’s, a man (Richard Dreyfuss) feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.
Unlocked (Action Thriller – Di Bonaventura Pictures, Silver Reel, Bloom, Lipsync Productions)
A CIA interrogator is lured into a ruse that puts London at risk of a biological attack. The films stars Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, Toni Collette, John Malkovich and Michael Douglas.
Tulip Fever (Drama Romance – The Weinstein Company, Ruby Films, Worldview Entertainment)
Based off the novel by Deborah Moggach, an artist falls for a young married woman while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam. The film has been moved around so much, let’s hope this one finally sticks. The cast includes Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Christoph Waltz, Cara Delevingne, Zach Galifianakis, Holliday Grainger, Jack O’Connell, Kevin McKidd, and Judi Dench.
Limited Release: Rebel in the Rye
The life of celebrated but reclusive author, J.D. Salinger, who gained worldwide fame with the publication of his novel, The Catcher in the Rye. The film stars Nicholas Hoult, playing Salinger, Kevin Spacey, Zoey Deutch, Sarah Paulson, Lucy Boynton, Hope Davis and Victor Garber.
9/11 (Action Drama – Atlas Distribution Company, Black Bear Studios, The Film House, Thunder Studios, Sprockefeller Pictures)
Based off a play by Patrick James Carson, a group of five people find themselves trapped in an elevator in the World Trade Center’s North Tower on 9/11. They work together, never giving up hope, to try to escape before the unthinkable happens. The film stars Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Gina Gershon, Luis Guzman, Wood Harris, Jacqueline Bisset and Olga Fonda.
Home Again (Romance Dramedy – Open Road Films, Black Bicycle Entertainment)
Life for a single mom in Los Angeles takes an unexpected turns when she allows three young guys to move in with her. The film stars Reese Witherspoon, Reid Scott, Lake Bell, Nat Wolff, Lola Flanery, Candice Bergen and Michael Sheen.
It (Horror – New Line Cinema/Village Roadshow Pictures/Vertigo Entertainment/Lin Pictures/KatzSmith Productions)
A retool of the famous Stephen King novel and TV film before it, in a small town in Maine, seven children known as The Losers Club (Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Lieberher, Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, and Sophia Lillis) come face-to-face with life problems, bullies and a monster that takes the shape of a clown called Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard). The film also stars Nicholas Hamilton, Owen Teague, Steven Williams, Megan Charpentier and Javier Botet.
All I See is You (Drama Thriller – Open Road Films, SC Films, Wing and a Prayer Pictures)
A blind woman’s relationship with her husband changes when she regains her sight and discovers disturbing details about themselves. The film stars Blake Lively, Jason Clarke, Yvonne Strahovski, and Danny Huston.
American Assassin (Action Thriller – Lionsgate, CBS Films, Di Bonaventura Pictures)
Based on the novel series by Vince Flynn, the film follows Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) … The film also stars Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Scott Adkins and Taylor Kitsch.
Mother! (Horror Drama Mystery – Paramount Pictures, Protozoa Pictures)
Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, the film centers on a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. The cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Domhnall Gleeson, Kristen Wiig, Stephen McHattie, Brian Gleeson, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Limited Release: Woodshock
Directed by Black Sawn production designers, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, a woman (Kirsten Dunst) fall deeper into paranoia after taking a deadly drug. The film also stars Pilou Asbeak, Lorelei Linklater, and Joe Cole.
Limited Release: Victoria and Abdul (Drama – Universal Pictures/Focus Features/BBC Films/Working Title Films/Cross Street Films)
Based on the book by Shrabani Basu, Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). The film also stars Eddie Izzard, Adeel Akhtar, Tim Pigott-Smith, Jonathan Harden and Robin Soans.
Limited Release: Battle of the Sexes
The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs. Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Sarah Silverman, Andrea Riseborough, Jessica McNamee, Alan Cumming, and Elisabeth Shue.
Limited Release: Stronger
Based on the book and memoir by Jeff Bauman, a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 helps the police track down the killers while struggling to recover from devastating trauma. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, and Clancy Brown.
Friend Request (Horror Thriller – Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, Seven Pictures, Two Oceans Productions)
When a college student unfriends a mysterious girl online, she finds herself fighting a demonic presence that wants to make her lonely by killing her closest friends. The film stars a young unknown cast, but it is lead by Fear the Walking Dead star Alycia Debnam-Carey.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie (Animation – Warner Bros./Warner Bros. Animation/Vertigo Entertainment/Lin Pictures/Lord Miller/Animal Logic)
Six young ninjas tasked with defending their island home, called Ninjago. By night, they’re gifted warriors, using their skills and awesome fleet of vehicles to fight villains and monsters. By day, they’re ordinary teens struggling against their greatest enemy: high school. The voice cast includes Dave Franco, Olivia Munn, Justin Theroux, Zach Woods, Abbi Jacobson, Michael Pena, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, and Jackie Chan.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Action Comedy – 20th Century Fox, Marv Films, TSG Entertainment)
When an attack on the Kingsman headquarters takes place and a new villain (Julianne Moore) rises, Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) are forced to work together with the American agency Statesman to save the world. The film also stars Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal, Sophie Cookson, Vinnie Jones, Elton John and Colin Firth.
Limited Release: Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
The story of Mark Felt (played by Liam Neeson), who under the name “Deep Throat,” helped journalists Bob Woodward (played by Julian Morris) and Carl Bernstein uncover the Watergate scandal in 1974. The film is jam-packed with star power as it co-stars Diane Lane, Michael C. Hall, Maika Monroe, Ike Barinholtz, Kate Walsh, Josh Lucas, Noah Wyle, Eddie Marsan, Marton Csokas and Bruce Greenwood.
Til Death Do Us Part (Thriller – Novus Content, Footage Films, 51 Millimeter)
Michael and Madison had planned to spend the rest of their lives together, until one day Michael’s controlling way turned their perfect marriage. With help of her best friend, Madison decides to get away. Despite adopting a new identity, she meets Alex and learns to love again, until Michael finds Madison again. The film stars Annie Ilonzeh, Stephen Bishop, Taye Diggs, Malik Toba, and Robinne Lee.
Flatliners (Sci-Fi Horror – Sony Pictures, Screen Gems, Village Roadshow Pictures, Furthur Films, Laurence Mark Productions)
A sequel/reboot of the original early 90s film, medical students experiment on “near death” experience that involve past tragedies until the dark consequences begin to jeopardize their lives. The film stars Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, Kiersey Clemons, James Norton, Charlotte McKinney and original star Kiefer Sutherland.
American Made (Crime Thriller – Universal Pictures/Cross Creek Pictures/Imagine Entertainment/Vendian Entertainment/Quadrant Pictures)
Directed by Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow), and based on a true story, a pilot named Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) land works for the CIA and as a drug runner in the south during the 1980s. The film also stars Domhnall Gleeson, Jesse Plemons, Jayma Mays, Lola Kirke, Caleb Landry Jones, Benito Martinez, Jed Rees, April Billingsley, Sarah Wright and Connor Trinneer.
So, what are you looking forward to?
Dir: Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry, Stop-Loss)
Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Ansel Elgort and Judy Greer
Synopsis: A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom
*Reviewer Note: This will be a non-spoiler review as always. I do want say I know it’s going to hard for some not compare this to the original Brian De Palma version. I even found it a bit hard because this movie is a real homage and shares some similarities (and even lines) but I’m going to review this movie for what this movie is.*
The movie starts with an interesting scene of Margaret White (Moore) that gives you the sense of how Margaret sanity truly is when he daughter Carrie is born. We fast forward and see Carrie (Moretz) as a teenager in high school. She’s shy, unpopular, a social outcast, and a bit naïve of her body. When Carrie has her period in the school shower she’s truly concerned with what’s happening with her body, even to the point where she thinks she’s bleeding to death. Of course instead of helping, the other girls lead by our main bully Chris (Doubleday) laugh at her and record her pain. It’s at that moment when we start to notice Carrie has something special about her.
It’s also here when we see popular girl Sue Snell (Wilde) take some pity on her and gym teacher Ms. Desjardin (Greer) who shows Carrie some kindness. After everything calms down, Carrie is told that her mother is coming to pick her up and we see that besides being put on the spot, she’s afraid of her mother.
We don’t blame Carrie for being afraid of her mother. Her mother runs a very strict house, so to speak. She’s very religious and will at times quotes things from the bible (sort of) to Carrie because she’s “misbehaving.” She’ll be even punish herself sometimes to make Carrie stop. Needless to say, she’s a bit unstable.
Moore does do a good job of playing up Margaret. She is subtly frightening and fierce and there is an interesting addition to her character that I kind of wanted to see more of. But, on the other end she can show that she truly loves her daughter and wants to protect her but when she turns on her it makes us look at her differently.
But let’s not forgot, this movie belongs to Chloe Grace Moretz playing our title character. Many believe Moretz was miscast or even saying that they can’t see why they cast Moretz because she’s to pretty to play someone who in the book is not pretty. I don’t think that any of that really matters. Without sounding like most of the pervs out there, Moretz is pretty but it’s her acting that makes her Carrie. Her performance as someone who has been raised in such a horrific, abusive home by her mother is what makes her so uncomfortable in her own skin and withdrawn around her classmates. Some of her strongest moments are when she’s acting across from Moore, especially the final scene, and as Carrie tries to stand up to Margaret and gaining more self-confidence her powers get stronger.
The rest of the cast do their parts as well as they could. Greer as Ms. Desjardin who plays Carrie’s protector and even tries to cheer Carrie up does okay in the small role she has. Wilde and Ansel Elgort are likeable as the school’s it couple, Sue and Tommy, who decide to do something positive for Carrie, after Sue can’t get past her guilt over joining in on the cruel incident with Carrie, so you kind of feel for them at the end.
Of course everything leads up to the infamous prom scene. It’s still a bit disconcerting to see Carrie having a good time at prom only to know she going to have pig’s blood dumped on her. It’s there of course where everyone that’s made fun or laughed at her learn what happens when you push someone to far. Carrie taking out her classmates is a bit terrifying especially when you see she’s kind of enjoying it and doesn’t care who’s in her way.
All in all, Carrie isn’t a bad movie. There are some standout moments and the acting from Moretz and Moore is top notch. However, the movie never really reaches it’s full potential even with the pay off prom scene. Again, there’s nothing wrong with the movie but for my only original movie comment, some of this has been done before.
3.5 out of 5