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Posts Tagged ‘Pennywise’

“IT” My rating: B-

135 minutes | MPAA rating: R

First, let’s all take a slow, non-hyperbolic breath.

Rarely has a mere horror movie gotten the advance raves and widespread cultural attention being lavished on “It,” the new film based on Stephen King’s novel (it was filmed once before, for a 1990 TV miniseries).

Well, it’s a good movie. Not great. It’s way overlong and trips over a few narrative dead ends.

It’s not as interesting or satisfying as either “It Follows” or “Get Out,” two recent groundbreaking examples of the horror genre.

But “It” — written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Doberman and directed by Andy Muschietti (“Mama”) — does hit the sweep spot between jump-in-your-seat thrills and the sort of Spielberg-influenced 1980s adolescent adventure most recently championed by Netflix’s hit series “Stranger Things.”

Basically you’ve got a group of pre-pubescents taking on a supernatural evil that resurrects every three decades or so to snatch unwary children. This creature is a sinister circus clown called Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) who lives in a small town’s sewers and marks his approach with red balloons.

There’s no explanation of Pennywise’s back story; the screenplay presents him as the pure embodiment of every child’s deepest fears (making him a clown was a brilliant stroke on King’s part) and pretty much leaves it at that.

Dramatically, “It” is a deft balancing act between growing creepiness, an often hilarious examination of youthful behavior, and a compassionate (but superficial) look at adolescent angst.

The leader of these young misfits is Bill (Jaden Lieberher, so terrific in “St. Vincent” and “Midnight Special”), whose little brother vanished a year earlier when he ventured too close to a street grating during a rainstorm. Motivated by sibling love, the stuttering Bill is determined to face his own fears to stop Pennywise’s quiet rampage. (more…)

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“THE OTHER  F  WORD” My rating: B- (Opening Nov. 18 at the Screenland Crossroads)

98 minutes | No MPAA rating

The whole punk movement was about giving the finger to the Establishment, about spreading political, musical and social anarchy, about just not giving a damn.

So what happens when hard-core punkers become parents?

That’s the intriguing question posed by Andrea Blaugrun Nevins’  “The Other F Word,” a documentary that allows a dozen or so punk rockers to comment on their lives as fathers.

The film’s subjects — like Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Duane Peters of U.S. Bombs, Lars Frederiksen of Rancid and especially Jim Lindberg of Pennywise — remain working musicians. They tour, they sing angry songs, they rant and spit from the stage.

But all describe a profound change brought on by having their own children.

“Nothing in the punk rock ethos prepares you for parenthood,” one observes.

(more…)

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