When I was a child I saw the original IT mini-series on television. It (the mini-series and the clown) frightened me so much that I was unable to use the bathroom without the shower curtain open for years to come. I was always afraid Pennywise would be there waiting to snatch me up! Now, that I’m an adult and I’m over those illogical fears, I was excited to see this updated version of IT. Based off of the Stephen King novel of the same name, IT tells the story of a group of kids, who dub themselves the Losers Club, who begin to investigate the many disappearances that have been plaguing their hometown Derry, Maine for years. I really enjoyed this film even though it did not scare me one bit. The film was like a combination of Bad News Bears meets Stranger Things, which is fitting because of the fact that Stranger Things star, Finn Wolfhard, also stars in IT. While the film did not scare me, I did find it rather creepy and can see how a child would be completely horrified by the imagery in this film. This is mostly due to Bill Skarsgård’s performance as the menacing clown. The way he moved and drooled as he spoke was threatening and funny at the same time. His eyes looked as if they were looking past the children and into their souls. Some of his movements were touched up with CGI flawlessly. All of the children in the Losers Club were terrific and have bright futures ahead of them. Watching them come together on-screen was both believable and fun to see. The director does a great job at keeping the focus of the film on each of the children. In contrast, we do not get too much time with the adults of Derry. This is good because we get to see how the children actually behave around each other, which is accentuated by the language that they use in conversation. Each kid had a distinct personality and they played off of each other very well, making the group of friends even more believable. In my opinion, the stand out actress was Sophia Lillis, who portrays Beverly Marsh. She brings the right amount of fear and strength to her version of the character. Her scenes with Beverly Marsh’s father and Pennywise were shot and scored in a very dramatic way, which brought more weight to what was happening. The audience wasn’t quite sure how the scenes would turn out even if they had read the original source material. I give IT a Decent 8.4/10. Even though I was not scared by IT (the clown and the film), I had a great time at the theater. I heard more laughs from the audience of this film than I did in The Hitman’s Bodyguard. I’m excited about the sequel and hope that some of the Losers Club get their ideal adult selves to be cast.
The Dark Tower is a sci-fi western film based off of Stephen King’s eight-book series. The film actually serves as a sequel to the events of the seventh book The Dark Tower series. The story of the film is very straightforward. Basically what you see in the trailers is the plot of the film. The boy, Jake Chambers, has visions of the Man in Black and the Gunslinger. He finds a portal to Mid-World where he luckily runs into the Gunslinger and they team up to stop the Man in Black from destroying all worlds via destroying the Dark Tower. We are given a little exposition on what the purpose of the tower is in a scene that is reminiscent to Thor explaining the nine realms to Jane in the first Thor film. Going into this film I did not read any of the books as I expected that I would be brought up to speed on the details that happened within their pages. However, the film did not go into much detail on any of the characters, let alone provide any backstory for them. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are fantastic actors and they do their best with the roles of Roland Deschain, the Gunslinger, and Walter Padick, the Man in Black. Their characters have an interesting dynamic that would have played better if they had more screen time together. Newcomer, Tom Taylor, did a fine job as Jake Chambers. He had great chemistry with Idris Elba and most of the scenes they had together worked well. A few of the jokes the writers tried did not translate well on-screen, but that can happen in any film. The mythology that the film sets up is pretty great and they leave the ending open for more sequels. I did have a good time watching it, but I would not have minded if it were 30 minutes to an hour longer. A film of this nature should be longer, especially if they intend to use it to set up a franchise. I feel some of the issues with this film sit with the director. He is not as seasoned as some other filmmakers and probably was not ready for a film of this caliber. Originally, J. J. Abrams was attached to direct when the film was first being produced back in 2007, but ultimately those plans fell through. I could only imagine how great this film could have turned out in the hands of a director like Nolan or Abrams because they understand sci-fi so well. I give The Dark Tower a Normal 6.5/10. I’m interested in seeing more from this universe, so hopefully, it makes enough money to warrant a sequel, prequel, or even a Netflix continuation.