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Misery  [DVD]
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Sick of his 19th Century romantic heroine, Misery Chastain, novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) kills her off and writes a more personal, modern novel. When his car crashes in remote mountains he is saved by 'number one fan' Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), who adores Misery and has even named her pig after her. As she nurses him back to health at her remote dwelling, he realises she is not just going to let him go...
Based on the chilling bestseller by Stephen King, Misery was brought to the screen by director Rob Reiner as one of the most effective thrillers of the 1990s. From a brilliant adaptation by screenwriter William Goldman, Reiner turned King's cautionary tale of fame and idolatry into a mainstream masterpiece of escalating suspense, translating King's own experience with obsessive fans into a frightening tale of entrapment and psychotic behavior. Kathy Bates deservedly won an Academy Award for her performance as Annie Wilkes, an unbalanced devotee of romance novels written by Paul Sheldon (James Caan), whose books provide Annie with a much-needed escape from her pathetic life and her secret, violent past. After Annie rescues the injured Sheldon from a car accident, she seizes the opportunity to nurse her favorite writer back to health, but her tender loving care soon turns to terrorism as she demands that Sheldon write his latest novel according to her wish-fulfillment fantasies. From this point forward, Misery percolates to a boil as equal parts mystery, thriller, and cleverly dark comedy, with the helpless author pitched in deadly warfare against his number one fan. While Bates carefully modulates her role from doting kindness to sympathetic loneliness and finally to horrifying ferocity, Caan is equally superb as the celebrated author who must literally write for his life. It's essentially a two-actor film, but Richard Farnsworth and Lauren Bacall are excellent in supporting roles as they investigate the writer's mysterious disappearance. Frightening, funny, and totally irresistible, Misery was such a hit that some of Bates's dialogue entered the popular lexicon (particularly her nagging reference to Caan as "Mister Man"), and its nail-biting thrills remain timelessly intense. --Jeff Shannon
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It's about a harrowing game played between two cunning minds - one as sharp as a tack and the other as blunt as a sledgehammer. It's like a game of chess, except its one very long one.
Novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) doesn't remember the blinding blizzard that sent his car spinning off the road. Nor does he remember being nursed back from unconsciousness. All he remembers is waking up in the home of Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) - a maniacal fan who is bent on keeping her favourite writer as her personal prisoner...for the rest of his cock-a-doody life!
The acting in Misery is of a very high standard, making the feature easily enjoyable in that respect. The acting from the main cast, namely Caan and Bates is faultless. Bates received an Oscar for her portrayal of Annie Wilkes, and well deserved it was too. She seemed to fit the shoes perfectly for that role and I can't imagine anyone ever playing Wilkes better than Bates. She is a top actress and each scene where she acts like a twisted weirdo is memorable. It is obvious, not from the start, but as the film progresses that Annie Wilkes is mentally disturbed. We have suspicions all the way through and are pretty certain of this and our worst fears are confirmed when we discover that Annie was responsible for a high number of infant deaths when she was a nurse, she is unstable and unpredictable. The film, at the same time as being scary and tense, is quite genuinely humorous. Especially the scene where Bates shouts "He didn't get out of the COCK-A-DOODIE CAR!", so funny and you will find yourself tickled by that for the rest of the feature. The plot is so well crafted, Rob Reiner did an excellent job at directing this one. "Thrillers come little better than this" by the Daily Mail is spot on, they don't. Misery is a really tense film and the amount of dread and expectation, like a lot of King's films, develops as the movie goes deeper and deeper in. The main breaking point is when Annie finds out about MISERY, a character in Paul Sheldon's latest book in a series of books. He kills off Misery, and we are waiting for her to find out - then we know nurse is going to fall out with patient. The climax to Misery is really well done too, they couldn't have pulled it off any better.
This is a really gripping movie, from start to end it doesn't disappoint and maintains the same standard of quality throughout. It is a remarkable adaptation of the novel, maybe even better. I personally thank you, Stephen King for writing this piece of excellence, we would not have it without you. Misery is one of the best thrillers ever made, it is a cross between horror and thriller, but both combined make its one of a kind. It has a bit of everything, congesting: humour, scare factor, entertainment value and a high standard of writing all too well to form a memorable thriller that will always stick in the back of your mind somewhere. If you haven't seen this then you really are missing out, if it isn't in your top ten films, then I will be surprised.
If you like an excellently crafted thriller with a superb story, high standard of writing and a perfect cast then Misery is the film for you. It's a winner all round in my view. It's a heart-stopping psychological thriller, an award winning 1990's film - a suspenseful masterpiece. One of the best horror thrillers ever...
Many Stephen King stories have been adapted for the small and silver screen over the years with varying degrees of success. This film, from the moment it begins to the moment the end titles roll, hardly puts a foot wrong - even a hobbled one (see the film).
The cast is probably one of the most perfect ever assembled as they all fit their roles so well. James Caan is Paul Sheldon, a disenchanted romantic novelist who wishes to leave behind "Misery Chastain" (the popular heroine he has created) and turn his hand to more serious novels. Has anyone else in cinematic history acted out excruciating pain as realistically as James Caan does in this picture? Kathy Bates is utterly brilliant as Sheldon's deranged super fan, Annie Wilkes - Bates skilfully manipulates the audience into being scared of and hating Annie one minute to feeling slightly sorry for her in the next. Richard "Diamond" Farnsworth and Frances Sternhagen portray the lovable, kind-hearted, but playfully bickering small town Sheriff and his affection starved wife. Lauren Bacall manages to make her mark in a small, but significant role as Sheldon's literary agent.
Film ratio is 1.85:1. Audio is DD 5.1. Both are very good.
The extras included commentaries, documentaries, photo gallery and trailers.
Whether you're a Stephen King fan or not you should see this excellent film.
Sheldon murders Annie - does he ever stand trial?
Then there are Goldman and Reiner looking mighty pleased with themselves in the extras. Then there's Bacall - one of the most overrated 'stars' (together with Monroe and Audrey Hepburn) in the history of post-war cinema.
As a two-hander, however, it's gripping enough if you haven't seen it before. It probably works well in the theatre. But it doesn't hold a candle to, say, 'Rosemary's Baby', 'Carrie' or even 'Nightmare On Elm Street'
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