The Green Mile (1999)

Genre: Crime, Mystery, Fantasy, Drama

Director: Frank Darabont

Writers: Frank Darabont, Stephen King

Starring: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan

Rating:★★★★★

The Green Mile is a film which seems to never get boring or lacklustre no matter how many times you sit down and watch it. It is a true great, with a full display of brilliance in everything aspect from acting, writing and directing. I have to admit, this is a rare film which has brought tears to my eyes, an emotional story told with excellence from some of the best-written and most-famous characters within cinema.

The story focuses around Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), as he reminisces on his years as a death row prison officer on E block’s green mile, however one year and one prisoner sticks in his mind more than any others, 1935 the year of John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan). Coffey is massive, bigger than massive, and has been sentence to death by electrocution for the murder and rape of two little girls; however his mere presence and persona produces questions that if he is responsible for such a crime. A gentle man, a man scared of the dark and a man with a supernatural gift which stuns Paul and the guards of the green mile.

There’s so much more to the story of The Green Mile, the involvement and impact of a tiny smart mouse, the inclusion of vile prisoner “Billy the Kid” (Sam Rockwell) the relationships between the guards of E Block and the horrible, petty officer Percy (Doug Hutchison), who is in my opinion one of the most hated characters in cinema.  Paul’s worst ever urinary infection, Warden Hal’s (James Cromwell) dying wife, and the deaths of those sentence to the chair. All these people, all these stories, all affected by the presence of John Coffey, a name no one will forget.

The Green Mile has been written and adapted brilliantly by Frank Darabont and Stephen King. The characters and overall concept is faultless and refreshing. Paul is brought to life by Tom Hanks excellently, just like the rest of the cast, Paul is caring and funny, and as the audience we are moved by the moral judgements he has to make due to his job and Coffey. Michael Clarke Duncan’s John Coffey is everything we expect him not to be, simple, harmless and quite sweet for a man who seems to be the size of two people, everyone is with Coffey and no one wants him to serve his punishment, and the ending always reduces me to tears. The rest of the cast and the characters are flawless, Officer Percy is by far the vilest character and gets our blood pumping, whilst Billy the Kid is pretty much equal.  Michael Jeter also deserves a mention as prisoner Eduard Delacroix, whose time on death row and his own story again is emotional and touching. The Green Mile shows of some brilliant acting talent and equally, the writing talent of Stephen King but also the ability to adapt a source from Darabont. The structure to The Green Mile is great, the use of flashbacks, and the way that everything we are shown is linked and pays off is simply great and there’s no wonder he was awarded so many times along with the film itself.

The directing is great; Darabont’s techniques and shots when we first see John Coffey are a nice touch whilst throughout the film there are some really brilliant and faultless perfect shots. The effects are something that should be credited too and for me they stand out, when Coffey displays his gift the effects are good whilst the make-up throughout on characters, especially Hal’s wife, is faultless and completely believable.

The Green Mile is a film all about emotion, and such a great intriguing story; however it has been brought to life making it a film I can’t find faults in. Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan performances are worthy of all praise as they produce a relationship which really is iconic. The directing and writing is flawless, showing off some real talent and skill. The Green Mile is a classic film, I will never tire no matter how many times I see it, it is a must-watch and a film which will be remembered rightly for a long time to come.

 

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Carrie (2013)

Genre: Horror, Drama

Director: Kimberly Pierce

Writers: Lawrence D. Choen, Stephen King, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore

Rating: ★★★

Carrie is classed as a cult classic which upon release in the early months of 1976 inflicted terror and shock into all its audience. Lawrence D. Cohen adapting the chilling novel written by one of the most well-known horror authors, Stephen King, managed to be a huge success picking up two Oscar nominations alongside a lifetime recognition for creating a horror favourite. 2013 being a year which saw Evil Dead, another prestigious name from the horror genre ruined and shamed, the pressure on the remake of Carrie only grew, alongside the nerves of director Kimberly Pierce who saw the eyes of the film nation firmly placed on her.

Carrie for me is brutal, bloody and shocking with a well thought and modernised script making Carrie White a name you will always remember. Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore capture chilling and creepy performances making for a rather decent and brave attempt of remaking a classic.

The film starts with a gruesome pre-title sequence as we watch a disturb woman give birth. Blood in abundance complemented by monstrous screams we wait anticipating the climax. The seemingly possessed mother grabs for a pair of scissors, mid-stab she is stopped, with a shine in its eyes we assume it was the new-born, informing us this baby is powerful, special and possibly evil. We soon learn that it was Carrie!

Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) is now a 17 year old quiet high-school outcast who is victimised by her peers and contained by her religiously obsessed mother (Julianne Moore). After being attacked and humiliated by the popular and “glamorous” group in her sport class everything changes for Carrie as she then realises the true powers she obtains. Seeing her changes, Carrie’s mother only enforces her ridiculous and extreme religious beliefs even more, consequently increasing the pain and neglect felt by her troubled little girl. In a sick act of revenge Carrie is targeted once more on the night of her senior prom but angry and upset she releases telekinetic powers making sure everyone in her small town remembers who she is, whilst getting revenge for 17 years of horror.

Carrie has a great storyline that is at the same time minimalistic and thrilling. Staying true to the original, not much is changed accept from the obvious modernised elements that brings it up to date. The focus however seems to be more on the pain afflicted on Carrie White somehow creating a greater amount of sympathy than Cohen’s 1976 version. Although at first it seems like an advertisement or campaign video for an anti-bullying organisation the traumatic events that Carrie experiences are touching and truly shocking. Although tense and traumatic the early stages of the film are not really horrifying or thrilling setting up for a very slow paced film, however it’s unnerving as we await the switch in momentum.

The final act of the film certainly delivers that switch of momentum as Carrie’s long-awaited revenge and reaction takes place. However it was all too extreme, you had to admire the original’s simplicity and perfect execution something that I think this remake has ignored. Scenes as roads collapse and Carrie levitates aren’t as affective as before in my perspective but they still manage to create a good and entertaining watch.  A real positive I thought was regarding the effects used and Carrie’s telekinesis when the reverse feelings were shown, when Carrie felt happiness, such a rare emotion for her, trees fluttered and birds sang really enforcing the sadness when it all gets taken away.

For a horror there aren’t as many jumps or scares as you might have expected but it still makes a thrilling watch. Maybe the lack of impact this film makes is due to many of us already knowing the full story to Carrie. As first thought and many speculated it wouldn’t surpass its original however like most remakes this is down to the lack of surprise, something that always happens when a story is told the second time. Many have ruled-out and labelled Carrie as a complete failure however much to my surprise I found it an entertaining watch, which certainly stands its own in a year that was slightly disappointing for horror. If you watch Carrie without any comparisons to its original than it’ll be sure to thrill and shock.

Top 5: Films To Look Out For In The Rest Of 2013

So we’ve had The Great Gatsby and our Pacific Rim but let’s have a look at what 2013 has left in its film closet.

 

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Action

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Writer: Nicolas Winding Refn

Release Date: 02/08/13

Staring: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas

#5 Only God Forgives: For those who have seen the brilliant film that is Drive (2011) this is a sequel following the story of Julian (Ryan Gosling) 10 years later after fleeing to Thailand. Owning a boxing club, being the main man on a drugs front and an all round respected criminal he gets ordered to kill those who murdered his brother. Feeling the same emptiness and rage that he did in Drive I’m sure the action in this film will be amazing. Staring Ryan Gosling whose performance in Drive was thrilling and from the same director Nicolas Winding Refn you can expect the same quality meaning this film will definitely be a must watch.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Director: Francis Lawrence

Writers: Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt (Screenplay), Suzanne Collins (Novel)

Release Date: 22/11/13

Staring: Jenifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth

#4 The Hunger Games- Catching Fire: A sequel to the 2012 film The Hunger Games it follows  Katniss and Peeta after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the districts.  An inviting story and a great cast makes this film very much-anticipated, especially following its prequel it the Hunger Games Trilogy.

Genre: Comedy

Director: Adam McKay

Writers: Will Ferrell & Adam McKay

Release Date: 20/12/13

Staring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell. Paul Rudd

#3 Anchorman- The Legend Continues: After the much famous success with Anchorman (2004) here comes a sequel, with an amazing all-star cast it provided us with many laughs and is possibly one of the most popular comedies. With Will Ferrell once again staring and writing it looks to have the same success and effect making it a film to look out for.

Genre: Horror

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Writers: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Screenplay), Stephen King (Novel)

Release Date: 29/10/13

Staring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer

#2 Carrie: A remake of the prestigious and greatly known 1976 horror, Carrie a lonely awkward teen is bullied at school and is beaten at home by her religious mother. However Carrie is blessed with an evil power and after a prank at her high school prom she teaches people a value lesson, If you play with fire, you’ll get burnt. With this film being tipped to be the best horror this year, better than Evil Dead (2013) this will definitely be a film people will flood to see.

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

Director: Peter Jackson

Writers: Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, Philippa Boyens

Release Date: 13/12/13

Staring: Martin Freeman, Elijah Woods

#1: The Hobbit-The Desolation of Smaug: The Hobbit the prequels to the most popular trilogy of all time, Lord Of The Rings are very  anticipated films. After the Unexpected Journey (2012) became a huge success and left us with a cliff-hanger you can expect the film to flood the box office with unbelievable sales. Following the story this time Bilbo (Martin Freeman) meets our golden dragon as he goes on his adventure.

That concludes my list of what I think the most top 5 most anticipated films will be for the rest of 2013 but I would like to hear what you think, comment below and let me know.