For months now, cinephiles have been anxiously anticipating the release of William Friedkin’s documentary The Devil and Father Amorth, the documentation of a real-life exorcism by the man whose film The Exorcist made the practice (in)famous. Last December, Friedkin wrote an op-ed piece in Vanity Fair detailing some of the things he had seen happen during the exorcism of Rosa, an Italian woman who was undergoing her ninth exorcism with Father Amorth. Skeptic or not, the possibility of a true crime angle to the practice of exorcisms — one that explores the science and psychology of the practice, bookended by some shocking footage of the exorcism itself — was a really hard thing to pass up.
One of the most challenging parts of any Stephen King adaptation is walking that fine line between childhood fears and adult terror. It is a perfect example: how do you take images meant to be frightening to 12 and 13-year-olds and adjust them for an adult audience? This is the formula that King has used to make him one of the most successful authors of all time, but stepping outside of the characters’ heads — and behind a movie camera — only ramps up the challenge of balancing tone just right. That’s why it’s been so heartening to hear It director Andy Muschietti say all the right things in pre-release interviews. For better or worse, it sounds like he really gets it.
If the early buzz is to be believed, fans couldn’t get any more excited for the upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s It. Not only does the film have one of the most-watched movie trailers of all time, and is also projected to make over $60 million in its opening weekend, it’s also coming into theaters riding a wave of impressive reviews. And somehow, the movie has done all of this without tipping its hand on some of the most impressive scares. All of this for an R-rated horror movie about children being jeopardized. We’ve come a long way since the original miniseries, America.
One of the underrated elements of the horror community is how many of them have the opportunity to meet their heroes. When famous actors and filmmakers die, they tend to be remembered at a distance on the quality of their work; when horror icons like George Romero or Wes Craven pass, however, people have first-hand accounts of meeting them at festivals and conventions. So as word spreads today about the death of legendary Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper, you’ll hear more than a few first-hand accounts of what it was like to talk about the genre with Hooper. That’s the power of the horror community.
You know who’s having quite the August? Josh Brolin is having quite the August. The past few weeks have brought us no fewer than three decent-sized stories featuring Brolin’s work, including our first look at his character in Deadpool 2, the news that he had been cut from George Clooney’s upcoming Suburbicon, and, perhaps my most favorite, the fact that James Cameron cussed him out for turning down a role in Avatar 2. Some actors are lucky if they have a single movie make news headlines in a month; Brolin has made the rounds with three fun stories from three entirely separate franchises.
With a flurry of DCEU announcements this past week — we’re getting two more Joker movies with two separate Jokers! The Batman isn’t going to be one big crossover affair! — the writing seems to be increasingly on the wall for some of the second-tier Warner Bros. projects. Projects like Gotham City Sirens, the woman-driven comic book movie featuring popular characters Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Catwoman. Gotham City Sirens was noticeably absent from Comic-Con this year, and while alleged director David Ayer recently took to Twitter to reassure everyone of his involvement, things have been quiet. A little too quiet, maybe.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of The Dark Tower isn’t that it failed to live up to expectations decades in the making, or even that it mangled Stephen King’s source material in a way that die-hard fans found unforgivable. No, the most frustrating aspect of The Dark Tower is that it’s just… fine. Despite the plethora of negative reviews, it isn’t some disastrous flop a movie, nor is it an ambitious mess that reached for the stars and came crashing back to earth. It’s just sorta there, a Young Adult action-fantasy film that limps through its paces before ending with a thud. Really, how do you even make a King adaptation that doesn’t have a little bit of ambition?
Given that David F. Sandberg launched his career on the basis of a viral YouTube short film, it only makes sense that Warner Bros. would look to leverage that narrative for the release of Annabelle: Creation, the fourth film in The Conjuring cinematic universe. Back in July, Warner Bros. announced the contest on its site, encouraging fans to create their own new additions to The Conjuring universe. The contest would feature winners in multiple countries, meaning multiple chances to win.
For years now, Death Note has been one of the more popular franchises in Japanese popular culture. Originally a manga series, Death Note has since spun out into multiple television shows and four live-action feature films, making it all-but-inevitable that the franchise would eventually find its way into the hands of a Hollywood studio. Thus, when Netflix announced that it would be releasing a Death Note movie with Adam Wingard (You’re Next, The Guest) directing, people were curious to see what kind of cultural accommodations Netflix would make for its Japanese adaptation. The answer? Not many.
If you only pay attention to blockbuster movies, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Geena Davis was no longer active as an actress. You’d be wrong. Davis has been anything but quiet, continuing to act full-time on shows like The Exorcist while serving as a force for gender equality in Hollywood. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, created by the actress in 2004, has worked with creators to help improve the representation of women in Hollywood films and television shows. Davis has also launched her own film festival, the Bentonville Film Festival, with the stated mission of selecting film celebrating diversity.
Here’s a question for you: is it time to add Vin Diesel to the list of actors whose career is defined entirely by a single film franchise? Sure, Diesel has shown up in other successful movies throughout his careers — Saving Private Ryan, The Iron Giant, and Guardians of the Galaxy have all been critical and commercial successes, not to mention his more niche productions like Find Me Guilty and his Riddick movies — but none of this holds a candle to his work on the Fast and Furious franchise. He’s been producer, screenwriter, and star of those movies for over 16 years now… I mean, nobody goes up to William Shatner and praises him for his work in Judgment at Nuremberg, right?
While Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been dominating the conversation, Rian Johnson’s film wasn’t the only movie featured in next week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly. Their annual Fall Movie Preview includes updates and photos from a handful of upcoming releases, including Stephen King’s It, arguably the most highly anticipated movie of the fall. We’ve already seen Mark Hamill fight people with a lightsaber, but a bunch of kids running around the Northeast in the 1980s fighting a supernatural monster? Why, we haven’t seen that since Stranger Things came out! And that was a whole year ago!
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