Rated: PG-13
Release Date: 08/04/2017
Production Company: Columbia Pictures

Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee Kershaw and Jackie Earle Haley.

Director: Nikolaj Arcel. Producers: Stephen King, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Akiva Goldsman, Cheryl Eatock and David H. Venghaus Jr. Executive Producers: G. Mac Brown, Trish Hoffmann, Erica Higgins, Anders Thomas Jensen and Jeff Pinkner. Screenwriters: Nicolaj Arcel, Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner and Anders Thomas Jensen. (Based On The Novel By: Stephen King). Cinematographer: Rasmus Videbaek. Music: Junkie XL.
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

I haven’t read any of Stephen King’s "Dark Tower" books, but I knew a little bit about them which was probably a good thing. But it didn’t really matter, because I still enjoyed this new movie, “The Dark Tower” which King co-produced.

I was able to focus more on what director/Screenwriter Nicolaj Arcel (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) brought to the big screen without questioning and worrying about how faithful he was to the source material.

For starters, I like that “The Dark Tower” clocks in at a brisk 95 minutes. Not every movie has to be nearly three hours long. “The Dark Tower” is an effective, sci-fi western that gets in to the action and gets out.

And Idris Elba (“Thor: Ragnarok” and TV’s “Luther”) makes everything he’s in, just so much better. He’s the cherry on top of the sundae. Actually, he’s the hot fudge too. So, it’s no surprise that Elba, who stars in “The Dark Tower” alongside Oscar winning actor, Matthew McConaughey (“Gold,” Interstellar” and “Free State of Jones”), nearly steals the show.

In “The Dark Tower” we’re first introduced to Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor, TV’s “Taboo”). He’s a troubled 11-year-old that can’t shake off the constant dreams he has of an evil Man in Black named Walter Padick (McConaughey) and a good guy known as the Gunslinger/Roland Deschain (Elba) who lives in a tower that shields him from Walter’s villainy.

Walter is an ageless deceiver and sorcerer who wants control over the tower so that he can rule over its kingdoms. But with all his powers and even those of the young kids he uses, Walter can’t take down the Gunslinger. It angers him to no end too.

Jake’s mother Laurie (Kathyrn Winnick, TV’s “Vikings”) and stepfather Elmer (Karl Thaning, “Accident”) believe it’s time to get their son some professional help because no kid spends all their time drawing pictures of their dreams. But, Jake does and it’s causing problems at school.

If only his mom and crazy stepdad knew that Jake has the "shine.” It’s a special gift that allows him to see into other worlds.

However, things change drastically—and not necessarily for the better-- when Jake is sent to a clinic in upstate New York. He soon realizes that what he’s been seeing in his dreams are real, including many of the people he meets on the street.

Jake runs away from these goons as far as he can and winds up entering a time portal that beams him into Mid-World, home of Roland, the Gunslinger (Elba).

They agree to work together to fight the good fight and ensure that Walter doesn’t get his way. The CGI filled battle scenes are fun and Jake and the Gunslinger have terrific onscreen chemistry.

Even more enjoyable is watching a snarky McConaughey go toe-to-toe with Elba who has a personal score to settle with Walter since he killed his father (Dennis Haysbert, upcoming “The Marcus Garvey Story” and TV’s “Shots Fired”).

“The Dark Tower” really shines when Roland and Jake return to New York. Elba, not only brings charisma to the film, but also his cool humor. There’s a funny scene with him looking puzzled while eating a hot dog for the first time and asking Jake what breed it is.

“The Dark Tower” has the potential to be a successful franchise. I hope it takes off. It has piqued my interest so much now, I want to know what comes next. I may have to read a few of King’s novels to get my “Dark” fix.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:40 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.

Look At This Trailer For "THE DARK TOWER"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.


Brian's Song Title: Brian's Song
Year Released: 1971
Running Time: 90
Production Company: Screen Gems (Sony)
Director: Buzz Kulik
Director of Photography: Joseph F. Biroc
Screenwriter: Gale Sayers, Al Silverman and William Blinn
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: This Review Reprinted In Honor Of Movie Critic Bill Gibron--May 14, 1961--May 11, 2018. Pictured Top Left.

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