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Stephen King on Film

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Thought I'd take a look at Stephen King and steer you to some of his better film adaptations. The prolific Mr. King (over 70 titles and still counting) has had more than 20 films made of his novels, short stories and novellas, (6 more currently in production or post production) with varying degrees of success. There are several reasons for this, but I think mostly it is because his characters are well thought out, interpersonal relationships are strong and his plots are rich and well developed---and they need more than a 90 minute 'blood and gut fest' to do them justice. King himself prefers to have his books done as mini-series and doesn't always feel he has been served well. But don't feel too bad for King. He has been known to sell the screen rights for $1.00 on the understanding that he gets a % of the box office returns. By his own reckoning he estimates that he made over $20 million on The Green Mile alone. And that's not counting the book sales! He appears in the Guiness Book of Records for 'the highest number of motion picture adaptations by a living author', has been translated into 35 languages and has sold an estimated 350 million books. I prefer King in print, but following are the movies that in my mind work, and work well....and if you thought King only wrote horror, you may be surprised by a couple of the titles.

Green Mile

Starring Tom Hanks and James Cromwell, this tells the story of inmates awaiting execution on death row in the 1930's. Prison Guard Paul Edgecombe (Hanks) tries to provide a little dignity to their final days, and in the cases of the more deviant, keep things from progressing to anarchy. A giant of a man awaiting execution for the brutal slaying of two little girls falls under Edgecombe's care. But it soon becomes apparent that all is not as it seems.

Kathy Bates is romance writer Paul Sheldon's (James Caan) "#1 fan" and is willing to do anything to prove it. He will do anything to escape her unwanted attentions. With most of the film revolving around just the two actors, this is delightfully tense. Bates won the 1991 Oscar for Best Actress for her performance. It was well deserved- she is utterly chilling. Misery.

Shawshank Redemption

Stephen King you say? Absolutely. Based on an early novella, this is another one that attracted a lot of nominations, including one for Best Picture (losing to Forrest Gump). Another prison scenario, this time we see life through the eyes of the inmates rather than the guards. Over the course of decades of incarceration in a Louisiana prison, Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman forge a bond of true friendship.

Salem's Lot

This is a made for t.v series from 2004. Starring Rob Lowe (pre West Wing) as a man determined to overcome the memories that have plagued him since the day he entered a haunted house as a child. Now an adult, he returns to his hometown, where much more is going on than just bad memories. This is not your good looking, dreamy, steamy Twilight vampire- this is a blood-sucking, soul-destroying ancient evil.

Although we don't carry the following titles, here are four more of my favorites that are definitely worth a look: From 1980 The Shining with Jack Nicholson---doing what Jack does best---being equal parts manic, frightening and charismatic. 1995's Dolores Claiborne, again with Kathy Bates. From 1983 The Dead Zone, with the always bizarre Christopher Walken and the quintessential coming-of-age story, Stand My Me. You might also try the following books which are about Stephen King rather than by him.

Stephen King goes to Hollywood

Science of Stephen King:

The Complete Stephen King Universe.

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And the Oscar goes to

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The 81st annual Academy Awards were presented on February 22, 2009.

The winners of the major categories are as follows; for Best Picture-Slum Dog Millionaire; Best Director-Danny Boyle for Slum Dog; Best Actress-Kate Winslet for The Reader; Best Actor-Sean Penn for Milk; Best Supporting Actress-Penelope Cruz for Vicky Christina Barcelona; Best Supporting Actor- Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight; Best Animated Film-Wall-E. Of the winners, CPL presently has Wall-E and Dark Knight, but will be adding other winners as these current movies move to DVD. See Mat's previous post And the Nominees Are, for other nominated titles that we do have.

For a complete listing follow this link to Oscars home page

Movie Quote Answers

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Here are the answers to the Feb 12th post:

  1. Cool Hand Luke
  2. Jerry McGuire
  3. A Few Good Men
  4. Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  5. The Terminator
  6. Frankenstein
  7. Sixth Sense
  8. A Legue of Their Own
  9. The Shining
  10. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  11. Lord of the Rings
  12. Moonstruck
  13. Titanic
  14. Casablanca
  15. Dr. Strangelove
  16. Sudden Impact
  17. Maltese Falcon
  18. Gone With the Wind
  19. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  20. Princess Bride

Ready to try a few more?

  1. You're gonna need a bigger boat.
  2. If you build it, he will come.
  3. Stella! Hey,Stella!
  4. Houston, we have a problem.
  5. La-dee-da,la-dee-da.
  6. A boy's best friend is his mother.
  7. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
  8. Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.
  9. A martini, shaken not stirred.
  10. Revenge is a dish best served cold.
  11. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys.
  12. Yo, Adrian!
  13. Rosebud.
  14. Is it safe?
  15. You don't understand! I coulda had class.
  16. I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse.
  17. Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.
  18. I'll have what she's having.
  19. I want to be alone.
  20. All right, Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my close-up
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Baftas

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The 62nd annual BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) were awarded on Feb 8/2009 in London, England. Established in 1947--- by among others, the great David Lean---they honour excellence in film, television, television craft, video games and forms of animation. Previously held in April or May, since 2002 they have taken place in February in order to precede the Oscars. Looks like the one to beat this year is Slumdog Millionaire, winning best movie and director and also the Golden Globes in the same categories.

Movie Quotes

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Thought a little bit of trivia might prove fun for our fellow movie maniacs. See if you can come up with the name of the movie that the quote comes from. These are all well known- but from where? I'll start with some easy ones and if this particular post proves popular over the next few weeks, I'll add some harder ones. Just resist the urge to Google the answer- that would be far too easy. Check back in a week or so for the answers---or send us a comment.

  1. What we have here is a failure to communicate.
  2. Show me the money!
  3. You can't handle the truth.
  4. Badges? We ain't got no badges? We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinking badges!
  5. I'll be back.
  6. It's alive! It's alive!
  7. I see dead people.
  8. There's no crying in baseball.
  9. Here's Johnny!
  10. Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
  11. My precious.
  12. Snap out of it!
  13. I'm king of the world!
  14. We'll always have Paris.
  15. Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the war room!
  16. Go ahead, make my day
  17. The stuff that dreams are made of.
  18. As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again.
  19. Why did it have to be snakes?
  20. Twoo wuv.
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