Top 5 Best Stephen King Adaptations

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Hello! So, in between The Dark Tower and IT, I thought I would share my top 5 best and worst Stephen King adaptations. The Best got the popular vote leading into The Dark Tower, so here we go!

5) Misery (1990) – Kathy Bates’s terrifying performance is enough to watch this disturbing psychological horror flick. Misery is the tale of a fangirl who takes her obsession with an author one step too far.

4) The Dead Zone (1983) – Want to watch a thriller that’s politically relevant? Look up David Cronenberg’s classic supernatural thriller The Dead Zone. It tells the tale of a psychic teacher (a restrained Christopher Walken) who realizes that the popular presidential candidate (a terrifying Martin Sheen) tends to start WWIII.

3) The Shining (1980) – Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece is far different from the novel and that makes it a special gem. Kubrick’s adaptation is superior to King’s work, thanks to haunting imagery and an amazing performance from Jack Nicholson.

2) The Mist (2007) – Which was better? Stephen King’s horror novella with an ambiguous ending, or Frank Darabont’s no-holds-barred adaptation that polarized audiences? I’m going with the adaptation! The Mist is an unsettling film about good versus evil and features the most twisted ending of any horror film.

1) Stand By Me (1986) – I didn’t pick a horror film or The Shawshank Redemption, so sue me! Rob Reiner directed a funny, sad, and nostalgic film about growing up. I watched Stand By Me several times growing up and was touched every time.

That’s it for my top 5 best Stephen King adaptations! What are yours? And stay tuned for reviews of The Dark Tower, IT, and my top 5 worst list coming between this weekend and early September.

Special 100th Post!

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It’s my 100th post! It’s hard to believe that in summer of 2015, I launched Donttalkaboutmovies.net with my review of Jurassic World. I want to thank everyone who’s followed my site since then, and I have a special treat.

I took a voting poll last month on what my readers wanted between an about me story and a top 10 all-time favorite movies countdown. Since I honor the popular vote, let the countdown begin!

10) Drive (Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn) (2011) – I saw this film in theaters, expecting a cool thriller with Ryan Gosling as a charming criminal. Drive is more than that. It’s a tribute to 80’s Neo-Noir, the French New Wave era, and even Slasher films. Gosling has received criticism for playing quiet characters, but his facial expressions highlight a number of the Driver’s emotions. He’s charming, awkward, protective, loyal, sad, and violent, making  the Driver one of the most complex characters in recent years.

9) Blade Runner (Dir. Ridley Scott) (1982) – Blade Runner is a science fiction film I see something new about every time I watch it. It’s not only an artsy hybrid of science fiction and Neo-Noir, it’s a commentary on death, life, and existentialism. Harrison Ford’s on-set misery bolsters Deckard’s own moral ambiguity. Without Blade Runner, we wouldn’t have been introduced to Christopher Nolan or Denis Villeneuve.

8) Se7en (Dir. David Fincher) (1995) – Okay, so I like Neo-Noir, but Se7en is more a horror film to me. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman’s buddy cop chemistry adds much-needed charm to this grim tale of nihilism. Special shout out to the iconic “What’s in the box?” scene, and its legacy.

7) The Dark Knight (Dir. Christopher Nolan) (2008) – I honestly have nothing special to say about The Dark Knight that other people haven’t already said. I will say it’s an epic superhero film that set the standard for modern superhero and action films, but you probably heard that already.

6) Aliens (Dir. James Cameron) (1986) – Aliens is the action film that both thrilled and terrified me. I first saw Aliens when I was nine, and my dad regretted letting me watch it then (lots of nightmares). From today’s standing point, I admire Aliens because it pulled off the near-impossible task of topping Alien. Alien is a brilliantly artistic horror film, while Aliens is a nonstop action-packed ride. Sure, it’s funnier and lighter than Alien, but it still maintains Alien’s fierce horror and shocking gore effects. Game over, man!

5) The Thing (Dir. John Carpenter) (1982) – The Thing, along with Carpenter’s other films, is part of my annual October horror marathon. It’s sad Carpenter’s career nearly ended due to The Thing’s financial losses. This is a horror film with gruesome effects, a cynical tone, and one of my favorite morally ambiguous endings.

4) Boogie Nights (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson) (1997) – Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the greatest filmmakers. He makes an epic ensemble comedy reminiscent of Scorsese and Kubrick’s finest works. Anderson also has a talent for taking rather mediocre actors and directing top-notch performances out of them (Mark Wahlberg and Burt Reynolds in this case).

3) True Romance (Dir. Tony Scott) (1993) – My compatibility test film is also Quentin Tarantino’s best film of his filmography. I know he didn’t direct True Romance, but this Bonnie & Clyde-esque film has his charm, dark humor, and sharp dialogue. It’s a brilliant blend of romantic comedy, crime, and action genres, and it’s also my favorite romantic comedy.

2) The Big Lebowski (Dir. The Coen Brothers) (1998) – Jeff Bridges’s The Dude is my movie role model. The Coen Brothers combine Film Noir with Stoner Comedy and Art-House film, creating a surreal and hilarious experience. I’m still grateful my mom showed me The Big Lebowski. The Dude abides!

1) Fight Club (Dir. David Fincher) (1999) – Fincher made Se7en, Zodiac, and The Social Network, but Fight Club is his masterpiece. It’s a transgressive work of art, bringing out the best in both Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. In a way, it’s underrated because without Fincher’s vision, we wouldn’t have gotten other great works like USA’s Mr. Robot. I wouldn’t have gotten into film without Fight Club.

Honorable Mentions: The Departed, Toy Story, The Shining, Inglourious Basterds, Shaun of the Dead, and There Will Be Blood.

Thanks again for taking the time to read this post, along with the remaining donttalkaboutmovies posts. Stay tuned!

Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

 

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Happy New Year! Did you have fun? Are you tired of countdowns? Well, bare with me because I have one. I’ve chosen my top 10 most anticipated Movies of 2017. Let the countdown begin!

10) Wonder Woman (in theaters 6/2) – The DC Cinematic Universe has been rather tame since Man of Steel was released in 2013. With Gal Gadot arguably being the strongest part of Batman vs. Superman, and a trailer demonstrating the titular character’s humanity and positive attributes, Wonder Woman has the potential of being the first great DC-CU movie.

9) Split (in theaters 1/20) – I never thought I’d say again that I’m excited for an M. Night Shymalan movie. The trailer for Split features some of M. Night’s flaws (overly intelligent kids, exposition-fueled dialogue), but in terms of direction and acting, Split looks like a bone-chiller. James McAvoy showed his sinister side in Trance and he appears to embrace it again with Split.

8) Power Rangers (in theaters 3/24) – This one’s on my list out of nostalgia. Plus being a sucker for superhero movies and John Hughes movies, Power Rangers looks like a solid combination of the two. Here’s to hoping it’s not just a generic origin movie.

7) The Lego Batman Movie (in theaters 2/10) – The Lego Movie was the biggest surprise of 2014, and Will Arnett’s satirical performance as Batman was one of my favorite parts. Two hours of Will Arnett as Batman, Zach Galifianakis as The Joker, and Michael Cera as Robin? I’m sold.

6) Star Wars: Episode VIII (in theaters 12/15) – If The Force Awakens followed A New Hope, then we can expect Episode VIII to be as dark and epic as Empire Strikes Back. With the underrated Rian Johnson (Looper) writing and directing, he can potentially satisfy the disappointed Force Awakens viewers.

5) Kingsman: the Golden Circle (in theaters 10/6) – For the first time, Matthew Vaughn isn’t flaking out on a sequel to his own movie! Kick-Ass 2 was watered down lackluster compared to his mayhem-fueled Kick-Ass, and X-Men: Days of Future Past wasn’t as imaginative as X-Men: First Class. Can The Golden Circle be as good as The Secret Service? With Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, and Julianne Moore cast, here’s to hoping!

4) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – The Guardians are back in what appears to be another visually arresting and hilarious space opera. Plus we get a little Tango and Cash reunion with Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone being cast in key roles? I’m in.

3) Dunkirk (in theaters 7/21) – I’ve been a fan of Christopher Nolan’s work since Batman Begins (the first film I saw of his), and Dunkirk looks like Nolan is branching out of his comfort zone. Instead of science or psychology, Nolan explores history. We have an ensemble cast, so we’ll see various perspectives in Dunkirk, giving us a potentially epic and powerful journey.

2) Alien: Covenant (in theaters 5/19) – Alien and Aliens both excited and terrified me simultaneously when I saw them as a kid. The red band trailer for Alien: Covenant gave me that same reaction. Besides the nostalgia, I’m happy to hear that all of Prometheus’s questions will be answered and Covenant will be a full transition into the Alien franchise.

1) Blade Runner: 2049 (in theaters 10/6) – Harrison Ford is rumored to be in Blade Runner: 2049 for a short amount of time, but that’s okay. Ryan Gosling is our new lead and his acting style suits the psychological and ambiguous tones of Blade Runner. Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Prisoners, Arrival) is now director and with his trademark cinematographer Roger Deakins (Skyfall, No Country for Old Men) and composer Johan Johansson, Blade Runner: 2049 will be a dark, artistic experience that suits our world.

Top 16 Films of 2016

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That’s right! I saw 16 movies that were great and worth mentioning. Before I count them down, I have a few things to mention:

  • Grades are arbitrary. So, just because a movie has an A+, that doesn’t mean I’m going to rank it above the A’s and A-‘s.
  • If there’s a movie missing, keep in mind I saw well over 70 movies throughout the year for review. So, if there’s one you liked that’s missing, I either didn’t see it or didn’t like it.
  • As much as I loved Hail, Caesar!, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, The Edge of Seventeen, and The Witch, these are honorable mentions, as I found the top 16 films superior.

And my top 16 films for 2016 are:

16) The Hunt for the Wilderpeople – This New Zealand gem is loaded with heart, humor, and a myriad of action movie references that left me entertained beginning-to-end. The underrated Sam Neill also gives an award-worthy performance that’ll sadly be looked over.

15) Manchester by the Sea – The most recent film I reviewed, Manchester by the Sea is a funny, heartbreaking, and sincere depiction of grief. Casey Affleck once again delivers a powerful performance as Lee Chandler, this year’s most haunting on-screen protagonist.

14) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – I know a lot of fans are mad this isn’t higher on my list, but hey, I still loved Rogue One! This is a refreshingly dark and political installment in the Star Wars franchise, featuring one of the year’s best final acts.

13) 10 Cloverfield Lane – Semi-sequel to the decent monster film Cloverfield10 Cloverfield Lane is an old-fashioned thriller reminiscent of 80’s sci-fi and horror films. John Goodman delivers a chilling performance as survivalist, Howard. His relationship with Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Michelle is also an in-depth commentary on abuse that left me floored.

12) Doctor Strange – Benedict Cumberbatch steals every seen as our charismatic and arrogant titular character. Between his performance and Scott Derrickson’s bizzare and innovative visuals, Doctor Strange is a must-see for Marvel fans.

11) Deadpool – Speaking of Marvel, Ryan Reynolds gave me what I wanted: a damn fine Deadpool movie. Reynolds brings his A-game in a movie packed with meta jabs at himself and the superhero genre, frenetic action, and quotable dialogue. Deadpool has set the new bar for R-rated superhero movies.

10) Hacksaw Ridge – Mel Gibson makes a directorial comeback with this harrowing and spiritual war film. Hacksaw Ridge has some pretentious moments, but they’re redeemable thanks to Andrew Garfield’s amazing performance as conscientious objector, Desmond Doss. Between his performance and Gibson’s visceral direction, it’s now a top contender for best WWII movie.

9) Moonlight – Director Barry Jenkins directs this year’s most ambitious and unique film. It’s a tough film to watch, focusing on three periods in one man’s life. The journey pays off as we’re treated to some innovative cinematography, a kinetic score, and beautiful storytelling.

8) Zootopia – One of the most important films of the year, Zootopia is an insightful and funny animated film with a lot on its mind. Did anyone expect a cartoon to have thought-provoking commentary on race, discrimination, xenophobia, and gender roles? We’ll need more films like Zootopia over the next four years.

7) Kubo and the Two Strings – Kubo and the Two Strings is a magical animated film with heart and superb animation. Dario Marianelli’s brilliant score and the ensemble voice performances make Kubo an unforgettable experience.

6) Green Room – Jeremy Saulnier’s third film Green Room is sick, twisted fun. Combining arthouse elements of Gus Van Sant with grindhouse elements of John Carpenter and Sam Peckinpah, Green Room is an explosive tribute to siege movies and punk music. It also features an against-type performance from Patrick Stewart and one of the late Anton Yelchin’s final performances.

5) Captain America: Civil War – As a Marvel fan, I was satisfied with the morally ambiguous turn in Captain America: Civil War. The second and third acts contain the year’s best action sequences and one twist that made the movie into a dark dysfunctional family tale.

4) The Nice Guys – Shane Black takes his buddy cop formula and mashes it into the Film Noir genre (my favorite genre); the result is a smart, hilarious, and stylish throwback on 70’s New Hollywood. Russell Crowe returns to form in his most badass role since 3:10 to Yuma, while Ryan Gosling shows off his hidden comedic talent. The duo’s chemistry is brilliant!

3) Hell or High Water – A modern Western reminiscent of the Coen Brothers, Hell or High Water is a cynical and poetic tale of brotherhood. Ben Foster and Chris Pine shine as a pair of troubled brothers while Jeff Bridges steals every scene as the persistent lawman. The final scene alone makes Hell or High Water a haunting, but rewarding experience.

2) Arrival – Arrival is the year’s most challenging film. It’s slowly paced with minimum dialogue, but expressive. Director Denis Villeneuve makes an uncommonly optimistic and beautiful hard sci-fi film, featuring the best twist ending I’ve seen in years. It’s an emotional journey, and it shows Blade Runner 2049 is in the right hands.

1) La La Land – I’ve been singing “City of Stars” nonstop since I saw La La Land, this year’s best film. Director and writer Damien Chazelle follows Whiplash with another love letter to jazz. La La Land is a more hopeful commentary about passion and dreams, and it’s packed with masterfully directed musical numbers and more winning performances from Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. This will be the Best Picture winner!

Those were my favorite movies of 2016! What was yours?

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2016

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I’m getting this out of the way as quick as possible! I’ve seen enough movies this year to make a 10 worst list, and I don’t need to see any more!

10) Jane Got a Gun –It’s a dull, illogical, and sexist Western soap opera that features Natalie Portman’s weakest performance to date.

9) I Saw the Light – The emotionless Hank Williams biopic, I Saw the Light is Tom Hiddleston’s worst choice to date. Instead of diving into the psyche of the country icon, director Marc Abraham shows us highlights without context.

8) Suicide Squad – Suicide Squad is the latest addition to DC’s live-action screw ups. Some scenes have kinetic energy, but then others are packed with cartoonish effects and bad stunt work that make Batman v. Superman look like a damn masterpiece!

7) The Sea of Trees – Gus Van Sant and Matthew McConaughey’s collaboration received a widely negative reaction at 2015’s Cannes Film Festival. I get it because this movie tries so hard to make you feel emotions, instead resulting in laughs at its pretentious twist.

6) Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – I thought this was going in the right direction. Instead, this was another Michael Bay-produced lackluster overstuffed with bad jokes, too many whiny characters, exposition, and a misused Dean Winters.

5) London Has Fallen – It’s an outdated and offensive action movie that should have been released 30 years ago. Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart are about as equal, xenophobic gun-happy ‘Miricans as Trump and Pence.

4) Get a Job – I love Miles Teller, Anna Kendrick, and Bryan Cranston, but they all embarrassed themselves in the creepy and stupid Get a Job. This is a comedy that glorifies cheapskates, stalking, and office sexual harassment. I’m 25, finished school, and in debt, but I sadly couldn’t relate to this immoral crap fest.

3) The Do-Over – Adam Sandler acknowledged recently that he knows his talent is limited. Was he thinking this during the tonally uneven, overly violent, and misogynistic Netflix film? Kudos to Sandler for switching to Netflix, but not for forcing us to watch him and David Spade get paid for hanging out and bore their audience.

2) Nine Lives – Nine Lives is the only movie I have walked out of halfway through. My walkout is the only reason sparing this disturbing cat comedy from being the #1 worst film.

1) The Darkness –  I love horror movies and Kevin Bacon, but NOT The Darkness.  There’s no originality, vision, or intrigue as we suffer through redundant cheap scares, gender and racial stereotypes, and a horrid, offensive depiction of autism. The look on Bacon’s face shows he’s aware The Darkness is garbage.

And that’s all folks! I saw these worst movies, so you didn’t have to. What was the worst film *you* saw this year?

Top 10 Horror movies of the 2010’s (So Far)

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Halloween’s here! Well, almost here. Every October, I like to take some time to talk about horror movies or Halloween-themed movies. This year, I decided to discuss my top 10 favorite horror movies I’ve seen since 2010. This has been a great decade and for me, it revived the horror genre.

The 2000’s seemed obsessed with torture porn, zombies, and found footage. Granted, we’re still stuck with a myriad of found footage movies, but we’ve also seen several cool aesthetics I hope to see more of. Horror movies are relying less on cheap scares and gore and more on psychological terror. We now have directors who are paying homage and splicing the genre with other genres.

Enough babbling, let’s get down to it!

10) V/H/S 2 (2013) – Yeah, I bashed a little on found footage and have a found footage movie on here, so what? Unlike its predecessor, V/H/S 2 has segments that flow better and each one increases its scares and visceral impact. The most standout segment is one where a guy films his bike ride on a GoPro, is attacked by a zombie, then we see his zombie rampage through the GoPro POV. If you’re going to make a found footage movie, take a some notes here.

9) Green Room (2016) – Those who follow my reviews and know me personally have heard me rave about this white-knuckle punk siege movie. It’s more of a realistic horror move, depicting just how potentially vicious, albeit incompetent someone might get in a fight-or-flight situation. And that’s all I’ll say since this might make my top 10 at the end of the year.

8) I Saw the Devil (2011) – It’s a Korean  revenge horror film about a spy versus a serial killer. With an insane body count, some memorably gruesome moments, and a surprisingly powerful story, I Saw the Devil is one of the more character-driven horror films in recent memory.

7) The Conjuring (2013) – I hate movies that pull the “Based on a True Story” card, but leave it to a horror geek like James Wan to win me over. This is a rare horror film that focuses more on suspense than cliches. What I like the most about The Conjuring is that it’s part horror film, part family drama. We spend time with the Warrens (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) and see they’re a lovable couple, and maybe the first to make exorcisms look romantic (jokingly speaking).

6) ParaNorman (2012) – An animated horror film that’s a tribute to the 70s and 80s horror era, ParaNorman also features an investing Sixth Sense-style story. It’s an animated horror film that’s more for kids, ages 12 and up, but that’s okay. Horror can be for all ages if executed accordingly.

5) Oculus (2014) – Like The Conjuring, Oculus derives away from horror movie cliches. Director Mike Flanagan uses editing to trick the viewer into feeling like they’re hallucinating, like the main characters. It’s a disturbing movie about a pair of siblings trying to prove that a possessed mirror killed their parents, but the most frightening aspect is its ambiguous ending.

4) It Follows (2015) – How scary would it be if you contracted an STD in the form of a ghost that stalks you until it kills you? It Follows answers that question. It’s a blend of arthouse filmmaking and a John Carpenter tribute that had me looking over my shoulder repeatedly after seeing it.

3) The Cabin in the Woods (2012) – Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard delivered one of the funniest, bloodiest, craziest, and most twisted horror movies I’d seen in years. I watched this on Netflix after avoiding it and was blown away. I don’t want to say much for those who haven’t seen it, so just watch it!

2) The Babadook (2014) – The Babadook is a horror film that still gives me nightmares to this day. It’s an unsettling psychological study about a mentally unstable widow and her equally unstable son, and whether or not you believe the Babadook is real or imaginary, that’s part of the fun. Kudos to first-time director Jennifer Kent for using a minimum budget to design one of the creepiest creatures to date.

1) The Guest (2014) – Not many people have seen or even heard of Adam Wingard’s underrated gem. It’s an odd combination of 80’s slasher movies and action movies, making Rambo look like Michael Myers. It focuses on a soldier named David who befriends a family. He begins helping them make their life better, but once they realize he’s a supersoldier, the body count increases. It’s more thriller than horror, but its style and pacing qualify it as a brilliant horror homage.

Those are my favorite horror movies of this decade. Do you agree?

2016’s Top 5 Summer Movies.

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In a surprisingly disappointing summer movie season, there were still a select few movies worth recommending. Here are my top 5 summer movies below:

5) Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping/Sausage Party – That’s right, a tie! Both Popstar and Sausage Party made great uses of vulgarity, musical numbers, and satirical commentary, making them the smartest (and funniest) comedies of the summer.

4) Hell or High Water – “Why isn’t this higher?!” Some might ask. Hell or High Water is a masterpiece, but not the best summer movie (I’ll explain at #1). However, in a summer full of lackluster action movies and unnecessary sequels, it was refreshing to see a modern-day Western filled with both heart and cynicism.

3) The Nice Guys – This was a flop, given it was released the same weekend as Neighbors 2, and only two weeks after a certain ensemble superhero movie. Too bad because The Nice Guys is a funny and consistently entertaining revival of the buddy comedy genre, benefiting from Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling’s performances.

2) Kubo and the Two Strings – Laika does it again, delivering a beautiful (and emotional) animated film that’s part horror, part melodrama, and part samurai tribute. Move over, Pixar!

1) Captain America: Civil War – You surprised? I named this #1 because it has everything I look for in a summer movie: intelligence, spectacle, epic grand scale, and humor. Civil War manages to improve upon its predecessors in those categories, making it the best of the franchise. With so many disappointing franchise installments this summer, Civil War is the only summer sequel that came out on top.

Honorable mentions: The Conjuring 2Hunt for the Wilderpeople, & Star Trek Beyond.

That’s my thoughts on the summer of 2016. What were your guys’ favorite movies this summer?