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As a certifiable Scorsese fanboy, I’ve been waiting to hear what he had lined up after Hugo. Turns out his next film will be an adaptation of a Norwegian crime novel, The Snowman, by author Jo Nesbo. The story involves a hard-living, hard-drinking detective, Harry Hole, who hunts a serial killer who leaves a snowman in the yards of his next victim. Though Scorsese is no stranger to gritty crime films, it sounds like the film will be more David Fincher than Michael Mann. Given Scorsese’s recent predilection for genre-hopping, it comes as no surprise.

This announcement once again relegates Silence, the novel by Japanese author Shusaka Endo, to the backburner. The project was slated to be made after The Departed, but was set aside in favor of Shutter Island and Hugo. The story, which involves two Christian missionaries in Japan, seems right up Scorsese’s alley, and he’s been planning on adapting it for years, finally announcing his intentions in 2007. Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio del Toro were attached, but given the silence (sorry) surrounding the project, it’s a mystery whether they’re still on board.

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The Exorcist is so firmly entrenched as one of the scariest movies ever made that watching it these days it’s a surprise to see how restrained and low-key it is. Everybody remembers the profanity, the pea-green vomit, the head turning 180 degrees, and of course that bit of indecency with the crucifix, but The Exorcist is largely a religious drama, building its mood and tension through character and style, not shocks.

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No Country for Old Men is one the best films in the catalogue of Joel and Ethan Coen, arguably the best American directors working today. Though it lacks the humorous tone of many of their previous works, they don’t suffer under the weight of dramatic pretension, and No Country is about as flawless a movie as you’ll find in recent memory. It’s no easy task to adapt a Cormac McCarthy novel to the screen (in addition to the difficulty of translating his inimitable tone and style, there’s the uneasiness of portraying the rather brutal violence in his films and doing justice to his themes in a new medium), but the Coens manage it without a hitch.

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There’s a certain pattern to the critical consensus of Stanley Kubrick films. Films as varied as 2001: A Space Odyssey, which baffled many critics and viewers; A Clockwork Orange, which repulsed many with its violence; and The Shining, which was considered a jumbled mess, all divided critical opinions upon their release. But eventually, as the years went by, each found themselves gaining acceptance as masterpieces by the critical community. Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick’s final film, was equally divisive when it was released in the summer of 1999, but unlike those other films, has yet to benefit from the same critical re-evaluation. However, I think it’s one of his best, ranking with 2001 and The Shining (as well as Paths of Glory) in the pantheon, and its lack of widespread acceptance may have more to do with the enigmatic nature of its narrative than its merits as a film.

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Film adaptations of Stephen King novels are a mixed bag. On the one hand, you have masterpieces like Kubrick’s version of The Shining and De Palma’s Carrie. On the other hand, you have the TV miniseries of The Shining (which, ironically, King himself had a hand in due to his disappointment with Kubrick’s artistic license) and It which are forgettable at best (and often worse than that). On that scale, Misery falls somewhere in the middle – it’s certainly not a masterpiece, but it’s far better than some of the dreck with King’s name on it and proves itself a fairly creepy and efficient thriller.

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