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Stephen King

It: Chapter Two (2019)

DIRECTOR: Andy Muschietti

CAST: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Isaiah Mustafa, Andy Bean, Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Nicholas Hamilton, Teach Grant, Bill Skarsgard

REVIEW:

IT: Chapter Two, the film adaptation of the “27 years later” adult section of Stephen King’s novel, hasn’t saved the best for last. The conclusion to 2017’s IT is far from the worst film adaptation of a King written work, but it’s bloated, overstuffed, and unwieldy, clocking in at a formidable—and unnecessarily drawn-out—-three hours, a full thirty-five minutes longer than Chapter One. That’s a lot of meandering runtime. To be sure, there’s a number of strong scenes in the mix, but it requires a bit of sifting through uneven material.

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It (2017)

DIRECTOR: Andy Muschietti

CAST: Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Bill Skarsgard, Nicholas Hamilton

REVIEW:

The big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 novel was a long time coming.  A TV miniseries has existed since 1990, but the low budget, made-for-TV quality, and (apart from Tim Curry’s gleeful scenery-chewing) dubious acting level held it back and left plenty of room for a definitive rendition.  The movie which has finally ended up in theaters lingered in pre-production for six years (at one point set to be directed by Cary Fukunaga and starring Will Poulter as “It” before they eventually departed the project).  Now that It has finally arrived, fans of King’s work can be pleased to know his novel—-or at least part one of two—has largely been done justice. Continue reading

The Green Mile (1999)

DIRECTOR: Frank Darabont

CAST: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, James Cromwell, Patricia Clarkson, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene, Gary Sinise, Dabbs Greer, Harry Dean Stanton, William Sadler

REVIEW:

For the second convergence of Stephen King and Frank Darabont, following 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption, lightning has struck twice. The two films stand tall together as not only the best book-to-film adaptations of King’s prolific works, but also as great motion pictures period. It’s only Darabont’s second film since his impressive debut with Shawshank, but it demonstrates that the previous movie was not a one-hit wonder. Like Shawshank, The Green Mile is a well-crafted, emotionally powerful drama that requires a sizable commitment of time and attention, but the rewards are worth the effort.

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The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

DIRECTOR: Frank Darabont

CAST: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, James Whitmore, William Sadler, Mark Rolston

REVIEW:

Among the film adaptations of Stephen King’s written work, pickings are slim for cinematic quality. Apart from The Shining (which King himself disliked), Stand By Me, and Misery, most of the rest runs the gamut from mediocre to bottom of the barrel. The Shawshank Redemption, a product of first-time director Frank Darabont in an impressive debut and Castle Rock Pictures—the company of producer Rob Reiner, who directed Stand By Me and Misery—and an adaptation of King’s novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, is a notable exception. In fact, The Shawshank Redemption is not only possibly the best film adaptation of a Stephen King work, it’s a great film period, telling a powerful and compelling story that involves wrongful imprisonment, prison abuse and corruption, but despite its grim subject matter ultimately manages to be both uplifting and cathartic.

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