Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around


Stephen King

Review: The Dark Tower

Aug 04 // Matthew Razak
[embed]221796:43721:0[/embed] The Dark TowerDirector: Nikolaj ArcelRelease Date: August 4, 2017Rated: PG-13 The Dark Tower is one of those movies that you're going to get a lot more out of if you've read the books despite the fact that it is really only loosely based on them at all. There are hints and allusions to bigger things that readers will pick up on, but much of the massive quest that Roland (Idris Elba), Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) and their ka-tet (those bound by fate) go on in the books as they confront the Man in Black/Walter (Matthew McConaughey) is missing. The film pieces together key parts here and there, dropping entire characters in what feels like an attempt to put much of the quest into a 90 minute running time.  In our world we find Jake having dreams of the Dark Tower and the Man in Black/Walter, a powerful wizard who can kill simply by telling people to stop breathing. He is nigh-invulnerable and more akin to a comic book super villain than the mysterious trickster of the books. Using the "shine" of children kidnapped from the many worlds that are all connected by the tower, Walter is attempting to destroy it in order to let the blackness in from the outside. Enter the gunslingers of Mid-World, of which Roland is the last one. His sole quest is to kill Walter in order to get revenge for the death of his father and the fall of his homeland Gilead. Eventually Jake, who is gifted with the most powerful amount of shine ever, finds his way into Mid-World and the two set off on a universe-hopping quest to stop Walter. That, my friends, is the least complicated way of explaining the plot that the film has attempted to cram into a 90 minutes. There's a lot of lore and other items that get shoved in here and there too, but instead of opening up the story all the different themes and myths make it more obtuse and unfocused. As a reader of the books I understood a lot of the background that was going on and where ideas came from, but coming from an outside perspective it must feel more like idea vomit -- a bunch of tropes pushed onto the screen one after the other. It makes for a flat film that peaks the few times it focuses on its characters and not the world. Those characters do work, but thanks to the limited running time we never really get to know them. Idris Elba's gunslinger shows hints of the depth behind his fantastically stoic front, but he's never able to turn it into anything thanks to the movie heavily focusing on the far less interesting Jake and overplaying Walter. McConaughty is fantastically slimy as the wizard/magician/evil-person, and a far better choice of casting than I thought he would be, but instead of an air of mystery about the character they turn him into a big bad that plays generic. Taylor meanwhile plays Jake well enough for a child actor, but as the linchpin for the film his character feels more like a McGuffin than an actual person.  This isn't all to say that The Dark Tower is a bad movie, but instead of the tent pole of a large franchise it feels like a half-baked standalone. In that light it could be seen as a moderate success, delivering some interesting concepts here and there. Roland's gun fighting shines every so often as interesting, and Walter's ability to have people do anything he wants is played up for effect pretty well. The action itself is pretty interesting, but limited as well. Roland's expertise with the six-shooters delivers some memorable moments, but Arcel can't piece together a coherent enough action sequence to make anything truly stand out. There's things that work here, just not in a big picture way. They work in a single scene way. Walter's nearly unlimited super powers are a great example of this. They seem immeasurable and unstoppable, which makes for some enjoyably evil scenes, but on the whole make more of a mess. They raise questions about why a man who can hurl massive chunks of buildings that could easily crush our hero doesn't do just that the second he wants to. Roland is supposedly a bit immune to Walter's magic, but he's clearly not immune to being crushed, stabbed, or run over by large objects, which in turn are not immune to Walter's ability to hurl them through the air at Roland.   This leads directly to the biggest issue the film may have. Since Walter is turned into a super villain instead of the enigmatic torturer of Roland he no longer acts as a convincing foil. The great metaphorical duel between the two characters is nothing more than a shootout since the film doesn't spend any time developing the cat and mouse game it wants the two to be playing. There is no true tension there. Roland and Jake's relationship is a bit better, with the replacement father/son story line giving charm to the two, but it again often feels forced thanks to the movie's breakneck pace to get to its conclusion. I do have to applaud the film for avoiding a direct adaptation. While King's first book in the series could have maybe kind of been turned into a film it would have been a mess from there out. Instead The Dark Tower takes a cue from the books and presents the story as the last time around the wheel (another reference fans will love, but newcomers won't understand). It's a good move that means the film (and still in the works TV show) can forge their own path that isn't bound by the idiosyncrasy of the books, and if the movie was anything other than dull it could have worked. I stress this because I'm not upset that the film isn't like the books, but that it isn't that good on its own. The Dark Tower series has some magic in its world that is engrossing, but this movie can't find it. It's not an issue with ignoring the source material, it's an issue of making a good movie. 
 photo
The elevator pitch of an epic
If you've read Stephen King's prolific Dark Tower saga you know it's a weird, wonderful, flawed, brilliant, mess of an epic that touches so many genres it's hard to classify it at all. It bounces from western to sci...

 photo

The Dark Tower is the latest blockbuster to be filled with production problems


This is becoming a thing
Aug 02
// Matthew Razak
Based on reports from some inside sources Variety is reporting that The Dark Tower had a very rock production. This might not come as a surprise since the entire process of bringing Stephen King's book series to any size...
 photo

See The Dark Tower Early and free


Washington DC screenings
Jul 31
// Matthew Razak
I am so incredibly worried about The Dark Tower. The series of Stephen King books that the film is based on is some of my favorite writing, but this movie doesn't really look much like them. It's got a good cast, but the stud...
 photo

First full trailer for IT makes it really hard to write a story about it without the pronoun it


Thank goodness for italics
Jul 27
// Matthew Razak
IT is finally here. Or the remake of it is finally here. Stephen King's classic horror story already had a TV version that made us all insanely afraid of clowns (or at least Tim Curry dressed up as a clown), but now...

 photo

The Dark Tower receives another trailer, still has a tower


Andy Serkis rumored to play the tower
Jul 10
// Drew Stuart
Okay, no, Andy Serkis is not actually playing the tower, much to my own disappointment. Though, I'm sure if he did, there'd be some article praising how he gave the tower some much-deserved characterization, and truly brought...
The Dark Tower photo
It definitely has a tower
First, if you haven't read Stephen King's The Dark Tower series go and do that. It's fantastic, and his greatest undertaking as a writer. It's a massive western, science fiction, fantasy, met narrative that can get ...

The Mist trailer photo
The Mist trailer

Trailer for Spike TV's The Mist series takes the Stephen King story beyond the store


It's all foggy and misty
Apr 12
// Hubert Vigilla
Frank Darabont's 2007 adaptation of The Mist played out like a long, taut episode of The Twilight Zone. The movie offered one hell of a downbeat final scene--maybe mockingly downbeat--that differed drastically from the closin...
It/Cat In the Hat trailer photo
It/Cat In the Hat trailer

Watch an It trailer parody featuring Mike Myers' Cat in the Hat as Pennywise


OH YEAAAAAAH!
Apr 06
// Hubert Vigilla
Even though we were skeptical and mockingly dismissive about the look of the new Pennywise, we can't deny that the trailer for the 2017 It adaptation is frightening and well done. It's racked up 22.9 million views on YouTube ...
 photo

New IT reboot Pennywise sewer artwork is full of $#!+


Dec 28
// Rick Lash
Because Christmas is over, Entertainment Weekly debuted some exclusive new artwork from next year's IT reboot/remake, and boy is it special. The highly anticipated reboot will be the first original take on Stephen King's...
Dark Tower photo
Dark Tower

First look at Idris Elba in The Dark Tower


And a very photoshopped EW cover
Jul 14
// Matthew Razak
If everything goes to plan Stephen King's Dark Tower adaptations will be a long running movie and TV franchise and it all officially kicks off with this image (and a cover) of Idris Elba as the gunslinger Roland and a fe...
Pennywise photo
Pennywise

Here's the first look at the It reboot's new Pennywise


No Tim Curry, but that's not too bad
Jul 13
// Nick Valdez
The re-adaptation of Stephen King's It has been through some rough times. New directors (currently under Mama's Andrés Muschietti), and creative and studio differences changed the project from two films (adapting ...
 photo

Bill Skarsgard cast as Pennywise the clown in new adaptation of Stephen King's It


Because people love clowns
Jun 03
// Rick Lash
The last time Stephen King's "It" was adapted to film, I was still in diapers (i.e. I was 10). The book was made into a two night television event which was largely forgettable outside of Tim Curry's epic performance as Penny...
Dark Tower photo
Maybe Roland will finally make it
I was pretty confident that this round of "we're making a Dark Tower" movie was going to end in the same way all the others did: cancellation. However, they got a director and then there were casting rumors and now we have ac...

The Chickening photo
The Chickening

Watch The Chickening, a NSFW and WTF parody of The Shining


What has been seen cannot be unseen
Jan 27
// Hubert Vigilla
Nick DenBoer and Davy Force's The Chickening is a poultry-centric parody of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. I want you to pause a moment, read that sentence again, and then just watch the NSFW video below. That was the Citize...
Dark Tower photo
Dark Tower

Matthew McConaughey up for villain role in The Dark Tower


The Man in Black is all right, all right
Nov 17
// Matthew Razak
If you said to me that Matthew McConaughey was going to star in The Dark Tower films being made I'd instantly think he'd be playing Roland, the Stephen King series's protagonist. However, Variety is reporting that he's b...
Dark Tower gets director photo
Dark Tower gets director

A Royal Affair director Nikolaj Arcel signs on to direct Stephen King's Dark Tower


Ever closer to a Gunslinger Born
Jul 13
// Sean Walsh
The man in Black fled across the Desert, and the Gunslinger followed. After what feels like an eternity of heartbreaking ups and downs, The Dark Tower inches ever closer to actually existing. The little franchise that co...
Screw You photo
Screw You

Cujo remake has terrible new title


Things that are OK to hate
Jul 07
// Matthew Razak
Ready to bash your head against your keyboard. They're remaking Cujo (no, don't bash yet) and the new film is going to be called C.U.J.O. That stands for Canine Unit Joint Operations (you're good to bash now).&...
It  photo
It

"It" no longer has director


Just cancel it already
May 26
// Per Morten Mjolkeraaen
Well... It is supposed to start shooting in mid-June, but over the weekend, the adaptation of the Stephen King-classic It, has lost its director, Cary Fukunaga. It is a shame, isn't it? According to Deadline, the True Detecti...
Dark Tower at Sony photo
How many times will we write this headline?
I know, I know. You've heard it all before. Stephen King's massive, world-spanning book series The Dark Tower will be made into a movie or TV series or both and Ron Howard is on board to produce and possibly direct. Well...

 photo

Cary Fukunaga to start It adaptation next summer


Tim Curry not confirmed to make you afraid of clowns
Dec 05
// Matthew Razak
A new film adaptation of Stephen King's It has been bouncing around for a while now with director Cary Fukunaga attached. It hasn't really gotten off the ground, though, but now, possibly because Fukunaga is so cool nowa...
Pet Semaremake photo
Pet Semaremake

Pet Sematary gets a remake with 28 Weeks Later director


Nov 01
// Nick Valdez
As someone who enjoys the occasional horror film, I don't love seeing original concepts run through the ground over and over again. Sure that's what most of the genre is built on, but I do avoid lots of unnecessary sequels an...
 photo

Affleck off The Stand, Scott Cooper in to direct


What else shall fall before the Batman?
Aug 23
// Matthew Razak
One of the things that happens when you get cast as Batman is that Batman becomes a major time suck. Affleck now has a Batman/Superman movie to start in, a JLA film to star in (and possible direct) and most likely a stand alo...
 photo

Rumor: The Dark Tower may head to Netflix


May 02
// Logan Otremba
Rumor alert people! Nothing is definite as of yet, but keep your eyes and ears open. There was news a long time ago that director Ron Howard had been working with HBO regarding the Stephen King series, The Dark Tower. That ha...
Trailer: Carrie photo
Trailer: Carrie

Trailer: Carrie


You should know her name by now, right?
Apr 05
// Nick Valdez
Now we finally have our first, full look at Carrie following that teaser from a few months back (before Carrie was bumped back to October 18th) and it definitely delivers. Although it shares more than a fair share visual con...

Trailer: Carrie

Oct 16 // Hubert Vigilla
 photo

Here is the first teaser/trailer for Kimberly Pierce's remake of Carrie. It's pretty much how Matt described it in his Carrie panel recap for the New York Comic Con. There's something promising about the imagery here, especi...

 photo

New Carrie reboot photos spoil the ending


Aug 24
// Nick Valdez
Granted Stephen King's story is so well known by now that everyone knows the ending, but these images kind of take out the emotional punch that Carrie needs. The final scenes are supposed to be so shockingly vibrant that Carr...
 photo

[Update: Deadline is reporting that Media Rights Capital is now in "serious talks" to pick up the financing reins for Ron Howard's adaptation of The Dark Tower, as co-chairman and co-CEO Modi Wiczyk is evidently a very big fa...

 photo

After reading through the entire Dark Tower series because I thought that it was actually, finally going to be made into a movie/TV series I was pretty much crushed when production halted. But never keep a rambling, all-over-...

 photo

Stephen King's It getting adapted into two movies


Jun 08
// Alex Katz
It is one of my favorite Stephen King books, to the point where I wind up re-reading it every year, and every year I thoroughly enjoy it until the adolescent gangbang at the end. Seriously. If you don't remember that, yo...
 photo

Stephen King novella A Good Marriage getting adapted


May 23
// Alec Kubas-Meyer
I stopped reading Stephen King novels years ago, so I seem to have missed this one. A Good Marriage is a novella that was released in 2010 as part of the collection Full Dark, No Stars. And now it's going to be a movie. ...

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...