Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Overlook Hour Reviews: IT

10 of 12 viewers "Liked" "IT" (2017, USA)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

The Impostor - "Stephen King's IT mini series is a film I'd revisit every couple of years for nostalgic reasons. When it first came out, Pennywise the dancing clown creeped me out. I genuinely was afraid of clowns for a bit growing up. Now in 2017, the film version hits theaters. I originally had my doubts but went in with an open mind and man was I blown away. I haven't felt this good about a film in a long time. The opening scene sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the film. I've only read half of the book in the past but I will say it follows more closely than its 90's predecessor. The first part of the original was always my favorite and the film version does an amazing job casting and creating The Loser's Club. I felt connected to them and made it that more interesting. It definitely has a Stand By Me mixed with Stranger Things vibe that works quite well and which I loved. Not much I can say bad about IT; it's easily my favorite film of the year. I've seen It three times in the theater and loved it more each time. Of course the cgi could have been toned down a bit and I wanna see more diolouge from Pennywise in the sequel, this was a near perfect film for me. I'd highly recommend this film to not just horror fan but film fans in general. IT has great heart and  story that's captured beautifully. But at the same time is still creepy and thrilling. Go see IT you'll float too." - 6 Stars (default 5)

Trash (R) - "A disingenuous, personality-less product, lacking any artistry whatsoever. Three wonderful little white boys and their pet cliches (a girl, a black kid, a Jew, and a fat kid) spend way too much time doing absolutely nothing of interest, littered with obnoxious unfunny jokes, inter-cut with some fantastic horror set pieces of a malevolent clown. If not for how riveting some of the Pennywise sequences were, I think I would have walked out of this, or maybe just puked in the aisle, as heavy, artificial nostalgia makes me violently ill. The whole thing seems to be a product, specifically geared towards Stranger Things fans who saw the mini-series as kids and have spent the last 25 years bragging about how scary it was." - 2 Star

Lord Battle - "There are so many things to consider when talking about Andy Muschietti's IT so I'll stick to the most important to me, nostalgia, adaptation, and entertainment. Nostalgia aka IT (1990) vs IT (2017) is perhaps the least constructive way to talk about either film; they simply don't compare. I will say however both Tim Curry and Bill Skarsgård brought plenty to the table for their respective Pennywise portrayals and I enjoyed them both immensely. Yet there was so much CGI (Good CGI to be clear) in the new IT that any real tangibility was stripped from Pennywise. It's hard to explain but it's like comparing Michael Chikless' Thing to Ang Lee's CGI Hulk's. They are both poorly written characters yet I'll empathize with the Thing much quicker simply because he occupies real space... Also moving the story to the 80's really makes it impossible to remove nostalgia from any conversation concerning IT. Adaptation/Entertainment I'll do together since they heavily impacted one another. Adaptation is important because so many people are familiar with the source material. I should mention I am a big fan of the book, which I consider a brilliant love letter to HP Lovecraft but that's another conversation. IT (2017) stays much closer to the original story than the 1990's adaptation which really omitted quite a bit. It's hard to tell if this choice was in the interest of making the best film or an attempt to please a modern audience which has access to the internet. I personally believe the latter and see this as another example of studio horror emphasizing "Content" over a singular story, ultimately offering up 90% of subplots from the novel and exploring none. Having said that, IT is well over the 2 hour mark and hardly felt over an hour to me. The nostalgia machine at work here completely missed the film fan I've turned into as an adult but completely locked in on the 12 year old VHS watching child I was (am). I think this IT will be remembered as the R rated horror escape we all needed in our North Korea bomb testing, Donald Trump presidency era." - 4 Stars

KillDozer (R) - "I would like to start off by saying that I will not be reviewing this film against the 1990 made for TV original. I approached the viewing of this movie as a stand alone experience as to not completely bias myself or ruin what could be an awesome movie. What I could not remove from my mind was the little I knew about the story from attempting to read the book 5 years ago. I failed after 6 chapters but have since picked up the book again and have made it to chapter 3.  Keeping that in mind, some of you may understand why I felt this film was cowardly in its retelling. The film makers/writers decided on completely removing the "true" evil witnessed in the book, not the kind that goes away if you're not afraid of it but the evil we face every day in society.  I feel as though this successful cash grab may be so due to the fact that it has helped its audience escape reality if only for a short while. Much like the residence of the town of Dairy, film goers have chosen to turn their heads and ignore the terrible things happening in front of them. The child characters, although well acted, were weak in development and rushed to completion "fast food" style, good and quick but with no real value or substance. In actuality, these kids have been battling evil long before Pennywise came into their lives. They have fought against racism, antisemitism, misogyny, homophobia and more but you would never know that from the first chapter of the film and that's where my dislike of the film begins. I was even able to ignore the overused and terrible GC and the egotistical nod to the directors first bad film "MaMa"( 2013). I will give credit to Bill Skasgard for bravely attempting the difficult task of becoming Pennywise. He gave a great performance. Now back to what I didn't like :). I also didn't appreciate the the film makers cheaply aiming this film at Stranger Things fans by placing the film in the 1980's for no reason and then having the kids constantly riding bikes. Basically I thought this film was extremely weak and has robbed people of what could have been an uplifting tale of strength and diversity in the face of all evil, both above and below the sewer. I will be back for the second chapter just to finish the journey and hope the film makers some how develop a back bone and stop pandering to the audience. It's worth noting that a lot of the audience I watched this with also did not take very well to the film and a lot of film goers seemed confused over who the characters were and what their back story was. Horror can be so much more and its audience deserves better." - 2 Stars (for some solid performances, camera work and a few fun moments)

Wandering Panda - "A superb and successful comeback. Excellent chemistry from the Loser's Club. It felt like they have been friends their whole life. Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise is excellent, though I feel he was in it a tad bit too much. Still an excellent performance. The score of this movie is very good!!! The music choice on certain scenes of the movie adds to it setting up moments with a great pay off. This movie has a lot of memorable scenes, the rock fight in particular is one of my favorites. I highly recommend this movie if you have a chance see it in theatres or in a dark room that's very quite for the amazing score." - 4.5 Stars

Book Wyrm - "I have never seen the original IT movies, or read the book, and I pretty much know nothing about it other than that it's like the penultimate scary clown movie. But I saw the movie spontaneously today and I really enjoyed it! The kid actors were by far one of the best parts of the film, Pennywise was scary, but also charismatic, and I was really creeped out by several parts throughout the movie. I wasn't ever bored, I felt real sympathy for the kids, and I was lowkey super scared by Pennywise. I can't wait for part 2!" - 4 Stars

Dabbles - "Finally a movie I can watch. I really don't mind clowns, and this movie it was an interesting experience. I love the way it was shot, the characters, and the villain. Everyone acted really well and was believable. So many zingers thrown amongst the cast and all hit at the right moments. With the plot I can see why they chose to go the route they did as far as timeline, but because of this choice it almost came off as an anthology for a bit when all the characters were introduced. But all in all the way it all came together was pretty masterful. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be, but it did have its moments." - 4 Stars

Prang-69 - 
"IT doesn't have enough focus and ends up playing out as a series of vignettes. Good vignettes, but ultimately too little provided for any real emotional weight. Scares are solid and watchability is high but not enough follow through substance-wise to be great." - 3.5 Stars

Huntress - "Although IT was not unanimously deemed a necessary revision, the film probably came the closest that any movie will to being loved by all since you could count the number of production studios on one hand. So far. We are in the first wave of people seeing the killer clown movie after all and, being that was risky and unapologetically violent, the majority of people are loving their experience watching it. And that's not surprising to me because this was a fun adventure movie with a cool looking monster! I'm not sure how much of the human there was in Pennywise's performance, but Bill Skarsgard was at the very least a great face for a villain, which already exceeded my initial expectations. He loomed over every child in this movie and embodied coulrophobia to a tee." - 4 Stars

The Ascendant - "Previous to his adaptation of (Author) Stephen King’s 1986 novel, Writer/Director Andrés (Andy) Muschietti only had four films credited to his name. While his output might seem miniscule laid across a twenty-two- year career, Muschietti is clearly staying within earshot of studios. In 2008, his short film Mama caught the attention of Director Guillermo Del Toro, who served as an Executive Producer for Muschietti’s 2013 full-length feature of the same name. Since then, Muschietti has stayed relatively quiet (as throughout most of his career), so I was a bit surprised in 2015, when his name appeared as Director of the latest (film) adaptation of IT. Muschietti’s 2017 film is somewhat difficult to review, as there are so many expired & moving pieces directly attached to the film. This incarnation follows the much-beloved 1990 TV Mini-Series (with a legendary performance by Actor Tim Curry), faced several re-writes after the departure of Writer/Director Cary Fukunaga (of HBO’s True Detective) & Chase Palmer, as well as having to live up to (yet another) adaptation of Stephen King’s massive 1,138-page novel. As a film, detached from all the above, there is much that Muschietti’s film gets right. First off, the Cinematography (by Chung-hoon Chung) is gorgeous, fully capturing the look & feel of small-town Summer. This comes as no surprise as Chung is responsible for the visual aesthetics of such films as Oldboy (2003), Thirst (2009), Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005) & I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK (2006). Secondly, the casting of The Loser’s Club & Pennywise (the Dancing Clown) are well-thought out. The standouts in The Loser’s Club (for me) were clearly Actress Sophia Lillis (Beverly Marsh) & Actor Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie Kaspbrak), who anchor the film with their layered (and sometimes subtle) performances throughout the film’s 135-minute run-time. Actor Bill Skarsgård (Victoria) is also fantastic here as Pennywise (the Dancing Clown), drooling & cackling his way into our hearts (and nightmares). Skarsgård also benefits from a much-needed visual redesign of Pennywise, which in Muschietti’s 2017 film, bring forth something a bit more modern but also reminding us that this is a being that is archaic. For all the film does right visually, as well as with some of its casting decisions, there are a lot of bumps along the way, such as tremendous issues with pacing, un-inspired scares as well the casting of Netflix’s Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard (in the role of loud-mouth Richie Tozier). Wolfhard’s casting was a mere coincidence (even though the world seems infected with 80's Nostalgia) yet his performance is incredibly tiresome and distracting. Bits of humor are necessary for a script such as this one but this iteration of Richie Tozier seems hellbent on capping off every scene in the film with a gross-out joke, causing riotous laughter but also burying any semblance of emotional subtlety that other members of The Losers Club setup prior. Spreading out the frequency of Richie Tozier’s jokes would have helped the film tremendously. Andy Muschietti’s first film after a four-year absence is an acceptable wart-covered introduction to life in Derry, Maine. Here’s hoping the next Chapter will come with tube of Clearasil." - 3 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "I had never read the novel or seen the series.  I had no attachment to It through nostalgia nor fear. I was excited through the first half of this movie seeing the cast of kids form bonds and piece together the mystery of the town, while the monsters and scares of the story just felt like window dressing to me.  At one point in the film I just stopped caring about what was going on and it took me a while to figure out why: the supernatural elements of this story just fall flat for me. The clowns, the spirits, the balloons; as much as I appreciate the design of this film I kind of wished it would have been a story about a group of kids piecing together a mystery about why kids went missing while ducking loathsome adult figures and peers, full stop. There's much to enjoy here still, and some of the horror set pieces are amusing, but a fun evening I'd call this and leave it at that." - 3 Stars

Midnight Bloom - "Where do I even start? I had very high expectations for the remake of IT and I was very pleased. You might think "Oh great another remake of a horror movie" but no it wasn't like that at all! During the whole movie I was at the edge of my seat whenever Pennywise popped out. The movie has a very good cast and the acting was phenomenal. Bill Skarsgård was so amazing as Pennywise. I honestly can't pick a favorite scene from the movie because it's basically every scene that includes Pennywise. I would totally recommend watching this movie! Love it!" - 5 Stars

Math Mage - "Superb casting, acting, and settings, but not scary. Rather un-scary, each frightening scene sets up an excellent creepy feeling that is immediately ruined by a guy jumping out to go "Booga Booga"." - 3.5 Stars

(R) - Creature watched the film separate from the main screening

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Many of the creatures attended the record breaking Thursday night premier of IT at the Alamo Drafthouse. After the screening we did a special episode of the Overlook Hour in an attempt to capture the post-screening chatter that comes with seeing a film in the theatre. This actually turned out to be a little more chaotic than we anticipated but I did my best to wrangle to creatures in an orderly fashion. So checkout the podcast and let us know if you'd be interested in hearing more episodes like this "BONUS! IT" episode. 

-Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized in the New Mission theatre for a screening on 9/7/2017
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

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