Monday, June 11, 2012

News from the Kingdom: June 11, 2012

Time for another of these news round-up thingies, which if I'm being honest I must admit is only an excuse for me to post something.  And an excuse for me to present my incredibly well-reasoned and unassailable opinions, which you should all bow before and not question in any way lest ye be smited.

I think that's what you're supposed to do on the Internet, at least.

So, what's been happening in the world of Stephen King lately?

Well, let's start with the news that this fellow has been hired to write and direct a two-movie adaptation of It:


That's Cary Fukunaga, an up-and-coming filmmaker whose star has been on the ascent lately.

He's best-known as the writer/director of Sin Nombre, a 2009 Spanish-language movie that has something to do with drug gangs.  I never saw it, but it got terrific reviews, and also landed Fukunaga the directing reins on last year's remake of Jane Eyre.  I didn't see that one, either, but it got good reviews, and co-starred Michael Fassbender, so I assume it is worth checking out.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news last week, which also included the revelation that Warner Bros. is setting the film up as a two-picture deal.  And here's where I suddenly become skeptical.  Warner Bros., as you may recall, also allegedly has plans for a multi-film version of The Stand, which may or may not be directed by Ben Affleck.  And Imagine Entertainmet has plans for a multi-film version of The Dark Tower, which may or may not star Javier Bardem.  And Showtime has plans for a multi-part miniseries based on Under the Dome, which is supposedly being developed by Brian K. Vaughan.  Jonathan Demme, so they say, is directing a movie version of 11/22/63.  Remakes of Pet Sematary and Firestarter have been said to be in the works.  SyFy claims to be producing The Eyes of the Dragon.

My point is, there are a LOT of King movies in the works, but other than Kimberley Peirce's Carrie, none of them seem to have any forward momentum at the moment. That doesn't mean they won't eventually be made, but if you know Hollywood at all, you know to never believe it's happening until filming begins.

In other words, don't get too excited about this idea.  Or, conversely, don't get too down on it.  In both cases, the emotion may end up being wasted.

That said, I'd love to see this happen.  It deserves better treatment than the mostly-awful television version we're currently stuck with.  Yes, Tim Curry is great in that movie.  He's the only thing that is.  And he's not SO great that he can't be improved upon.  My mind immediately came up with Andy Serkis as one suggestion for who could pull the role off, but I'm sure there are many others.

Just ... please, let's not have the Ritual of Chud.  Ick.

*****

In more important King news, and news that this blog has been strangely silent about due to its author's many failing as both a blogger and a human being, it was announced a couple of weeks ago that Joyland -- the amusement-park-killer novel King mentioned in his interview with Neil Gaiman back in the spring -- will be released in June of 2013.

The catch: it's another paperback original from Hard Case Crime, the same imprint that released The Colorado Kid in 205.  That means there will be no hardback, and according to the New York Times, there will also be no e-book.  In both cases, you'll probably want to append an asterisk indicating "at least not for now."  I'm sure Cemetery Dance or someone else will eventually produce a limited-edition hardback (for which I need to go ahead and start saving NOW), and sooner or later the book will almost certainly be available for Kindle and Nook and all the other e-readers out there.

The news of Joyland being a Hard Case Crime release seemed to put a bit of a damper on the enthusiasm a lot of the King fan community was showing for the book.  Not mine, though.  I love the idea of King producing a short, nasty serial killer tale set in a theme park.  I just hope it's a bit more substantial than The Colorado Kid was; I enjoy that novel, but it is quite slight, and was certainly a bit of a marketing misnomer, as there was virtually no crime; odd for a book carrying the "Hard Case Crime" imprint.

One question that has yet to be answered definitively is whether Joyland will be King's next release, or if Doctor Sleep will hit shelves first.  And the rumored three-disc-plus-a-book companion to Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is still a possibility, too, although there has been no news on that in quite some time.

Time will tell.

*****

Finally, it's worth mentioning that Amazon.com currently has the Marvel Comics omnibus of every issue of The Stand available for pre-sale.  Don't believe me?  Check it out.  Also, why are you so skeptical?  Sheesh...

At first blush, $150 -- $120 currently -- for a comic book seems like a lot of money.  And it is.  However, the omnibus of Marvel's first series of The Dark Tower was gorgeous, and this one will likely be no different.  I'm undecided as to whether I want to buy it or not.  Scratch that; I definitely want to buy it.  Whether I will buy it is another matter.  I bought every issue, and while I'd love to have an edition that collects them all, I wonder if that money shouldn't be put to better use.  Example: I have no Blu-ray player.  Example the second: my cats insist on eating. Like, EVERY day.  Example the third: I could cross a dozen or so things off of my wish list with $120-$150, or I could scratch one thing off the list.

It's a tough decision.  Plus, I wasn't overly thrilled by the comics.  I'd give 'em a B- or so.

But I may go ahead and buy this omnibus anyways.  Lord knows it'll look nice on my shelf.

*****

That's all I've got for you today, folks.  I've been slowly -- VERY slowly -- working on a lengthy post in which I rank all of the Stephen King movies from worst to best.  Another week or so, I might be ready to put that one up.

Until then, just remember: ants in your pants will make you dance, even in France while in a trance.

2 comments:

  1. So, what is your take on Marvel's Stand adaptation?

    Better than the Gunslinger comics?

    My take, sort of good, not great though, and as always the ending could have been better.

    ChrisC

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    Replies
    1. We are, as they say, in agreeance.

      I read the series issue-by-issue, and loved it in places. In other places, I felt like it was not all that great. I would be curious to see how my opinion of that changed by reading the whole thing straight through, the way you'd read the novel.

      As an adaptation, it was good. The guy who wrote it is writing the new movie based on "Carrie," and his work on "The Stand" is one of the reasons I'm looking forward to that movie.

      The art . . . well, sometimes, it was good, and sometimes I thought it was close to being awful. Mike Perkins had a tendency to draw characters with really odd expressions on their faces, or to draw them in mid-movement to try and give a sense of action, and a lot of times those bits of character work fell totally flat. He was especially prone to doing this with Flagg, and I have no reservations at all in saying that I despised the way he drew the Walkin' Dude.

      But all in all, it was decent.

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