Originally published in 1999, Walter Dean Myers’s novel Monster has been a favorite among young-adult readers, using both a third-person screenplay device and first-person diary format to tell the story of honors student Steve Harmon, a black teenager with dreams of becoming a filmmaker, who is arrested and tried for felony murder in New York City after a bodega robbery goes wrong and the owner is killed. Was this kid from a supportive home a part of this crime? Or is he simply guilty of being young, black and on trial when he walks in the courtroom?
Music video veteran and first-time feature director Anthony Mandler has been desperate to bring Monster to the screen for years, and now he’s done so with a cast that includes such heavyweights as Jennifer Ehle, Jeffrey Wright, and Tim Blake Nelson, as well as musicians-turned-actors like Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, Nas, and A$AP Rocky (real name Rakim Mayers) as Harmon’s co-defendant. Told in a non-linear fashion, Monster moves from Harmon’s life just before the crime to his time in prison and the eventual trial, all culminating in a look at the actual events surrounding the robbery. Various versions of the truth are told, and Mandler illustrates how a kid who wanted to capture the reality of his neighborhood got caught up in way he could never have imagined or wanted.
Harmon is played by Kelvin Harrison Jr., best known as the son in last year’s It Comes At Night. However, he was also in the Oscar-nominated Mudbound and was in two other Sundance films this year: Assassination Nation and Monsters and Men. Harrison delivers some truly rage-filled inner monologues in Monster that add a depth and level of frustration to both the character and the experience of watching the film.
This interview with Mandler and Harrison took place at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where Monster debuted. /Film spoke with the two about the process of bringing the novel to the screen and the movie’s fluid definition of “the truth.” Monster has yet to announce a distributor or release date.
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Ever since its publication in 1999, author Walter Dean Myers’ award-winning novel Monster has be a favorite among young adults, providing them a glimpse into the world of Steve Harmon, a black teenager whose life is thrown into chaos when he is arrested and put on trial for taking part in a robbery gone wrong, resulting in the death of a Harlem bodega owner. The film adaptation from music video veteran and first-time filmmaker Anthony Madler is an ambitious, complex, and layered look at how the court system in America is virtually designed to keep defendants like Steve from every getting a chance at actual justice.
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(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.)
It’s time for another edition of Now Stream This, where all your dreams can come true – provided your dreams involve belonging to multiple streaming services. In this edition, we’ve got a new Disney classic, an old Nicolas Ray classic, some creepy puppets, and a baby-faced Jeff Bridges. There’s also a glimpse at some humble beginnings as we look at two debut films from two directors who have new movies in theaters this month.
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A project once intended to be a feature film is getting a new, different life at HBO. Naoki Urasawa‘s manga Monster — about a disgraced doctor’s global search for a warped young criminal to whom he has very particular ties — is something that Guillermo del Toro was once negotiating to make at the movie studio. Now he and HBO are working together to turn it into a TV series. Read More »
This week, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley dwell on the execrable It’s Pat, ponder the ethics of “gay” jokes, and evince ambivalent feelings towards artificial scarcity in the home video market. Special guest Laremy Legel joins us from film.com.
You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us on Sunday (11/14) at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST at Slashfilm’s live page as we review Skyline.
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Breaking News: On January 17, 2003 a devastating earthquake hit Japan. This event was caught on tape by two American filmmakers. But it wasn’t an earthquake. And it wasn’t Cloverfield. It happened five years before. Like, duh. No, it wasâ€¦MONSTER. And, oh yeah, it hits stores on 01-15-08.
The source of everyone’s favorite video store spam, the Asylum, has “found” a trailer for its latest, uber-timely magnum o(cto)pus, MONSTER. Hollywood’s new ruler in the shower is having your film turned into an Asylum mockbuster, so congrats in advance to Cloverfield‘s J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves. Don’t drown in the bubbly. With its lack of marquee names, faux-handheld camera work, and a mashed down panic button plot, MONSTER looks to faithfully cash-in where its sly cousins, I Am Omega, Transmorphers and, our favorite, The Da Vinci Treasure, merely faltered into profitability. Here’s an early review from IMDBâ€¦
So we got this movie in at the Blockbuster I work at, it comes out on Tuesday January 15th. I rented it already (because we get to rent movies early to let customers know if they are good or not) and have to say it is quite possibly the worst move I have seen… and I have seen the mess known as Gigli. Not only is it incredibly boring with the picture cutting in and out all the time, but the characters constantly bring up You Tube. Since this movie takes place in January of 03 they couldn’t possibly have known about You Tube since it was not launched until DECEMBER 05!!!
So yeah, if you waste your time on this movie and do not heed my warning to stay away from it, you deserve the lost hour and a half of your life.
The guy who conveniently found this cephalopod-attack footage is director Eric Forsberg. Ring a thimble-sized bell? Yep, he directed 2006’s Snakes on a Train and Night of the Dead: Leben Tod. According to his mini-biog, he directed his first super 8mm film at age 9 and Bill Murray painted his family’s kitchen. Alright, enough, everyone get in the poolâ€¦
MONSTER versus Cloverfield, who wins?
MONSTER tricks plebeians and empty nest parents in video stores nationwide on, say it with me, “01-15-08.”
[flv:http://media2.slashfilm.com/slashfilm/trailers/monster.flv 470 316]