I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Posts Tagged ‘M. Night Shyamalan’

The Last Airbender

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

a survey of summer movies that just didn’t catch on

It was kinda risky to do a whole series of unpopular or forgotten summer movies, because I could very well have been forcing myself to watch an all star lineup of all the suckiest failures from across a couple decades. A dirty dozen of squirming and boredom. Luckily, many of the movies I chose have been better than their reputations, or even misunderstood gems, and when they’re not it’s still kind of nice, because I’m seeing them from a better position than the people who saw them their respective summers. I don’t go in with high expectations. I don’t hope for the next great summer movie. Just maybe something that’s more interesting than people said at the time.

In this case I also knew not to hope for an M. Night Shyamalan comeback after THE VILLAGE, LADY IN THE WATER and THE HAPPENING, or a good live action version of the popular cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender, which I haven’t seen anyway. Knowing nothing about the cartoon I was able to appreciate the cool concepts they borrowed from it without knowing they apparently did it all wrong. So I have a higher chance of being pleasantly surprised and a lower chance of feeling like I didn’t get my money’s worth. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Split

Monday, February 6th, 2017
Request: please be extra careful in the comments not to give away that one surprise thing where people might see it by accident.

SPLIT is M. Night Shyamalan’s odd little thriller about three teenage girls abducted from a parking lot and kept locked in a room by a man calling himself Dennis (James McAvoy). Terror turns to confusion when he starts coming to the room talking different, acting different, claiming to be different people. It turns out Dennis is just one of 23 personalities in this guy, and they don’t all necessarily support what he’s doing.

Logically you assume this kidnapper is gonna be a rapist or killer, and these may be true, but for now he’s being told to cool it by “Patricia,” a female personality who shows up occasionally to make the girls mayo sandwiches and assure them “he’s not supposed to touch you.” Oh, okay, that’s comforting. He also shows up as “Hedwig,” an 11 year old boy who likes to dance and listen to Kanye West and giggles a little when he warns them that “The Beast” is coming.

I haven’t always been on board for McAvoy (WANTED, VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN, X-MEN FIRST CLASS), who’s obviously a good actor but seems weirdly prone to playing heroes who are a little too douchey to completely root for. But here he’s truly great. Each character has a different voice, accent and body language – you can recognize them even before he speaks, even if he doesn’t change his clothes. (Though he usually does. He seems to be very fast at it.) McAvoy is clearly having alot of fun with this, taking his acting skills and doing a bunch of donuts and wheelies and shit. Going off jumps.
(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Visit

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

tn_visitM. Night Shyamalan has had one of the harshest popularity drop-offs of any name brand movie director. THE SIXTH SENSE got him a couple films worth of “could he be a new Spielberg?” goodwill before the love affair ended non-amicably. He rubbed many of us the wrong way by becoming increasingly self-aggrandizing as his movies got more and more misguided, arguably culminating in the ridiculous LADY IN THE WATER, where the villain is a pompous film critic and Shyamalan himself plays a writer whose work is destined to inspire the next Martin Luther King. Of course, most people limit their critique to making fun of the twist endings he used to do and xenophobically refusing to expend a regular amount of effort to learn his last name. (SHAW-MUH-LAWN, guys. Fewer syllables than Tarantino or Kurosawa. You can learn it.)

These days he doesn’t even get a fair shot. AFTER EARTH, for example, did not deserve the disdain it got. But I think we’re fair in assuming he’s not gonna turn out to be a great director for the ages.

THE VISIT is not a rebirth of the once promising writer-director, but it’s a positive step. It shows an awareness I didn’t know he had. Instead of floundering with ambitions far beyond his abilities he’s decided to slum it in the middling subgenre of the Jason Blum produced found footage/fake documentary horror movie (see also: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 1, 2, 3, 4 and GHOST DIMENSION, THE BAY, AREA 51, THE GALLOWS, UNFRIENDED 1 and 2). While the format is usually used as a workaround for filmmaking competence and professional actors, Shyamalan treats it as a creative challenge. It never seems like laziness, it seems like a puzzle. Can he use this “kid with handheld camera” bullshit and still get in some of his favorite things: great performances by young actors, some beautiful shots, some sadness and sentiment? (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

After Earth

Friday, October 18th, 2013

tn_afterearthor JUST THE TWO OF US: THE MOVIE

When I kept seeing the trailer last summer, AFTER EARTH didn’t look so hot to me. It’s hard to have hopes for an M. Night Shyamalan joint these days, and also it got absolutely terrible reviews. I mean, it has an 11% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes – that’s lower than ALEX CROSS, R.I.P.D., THE SMURFS 2 or the joyfully pre-hated Paul Schrader/Lindsay Lohan collaboration THE CANYONS. But you know me, I watched it anyway and I’m not unhappy to tell you that it’s not bad.

Jaden “KARATE” KID Smith stars as Kitai, a talented young cadet in some futuristic military outfit, trying to make ranger, but he fails because he’s Too Reckless In the Field. There’s alot of pressure on him because his dad (played by real life dad Will Smith) is the Big Willy of the future, the warrior who saved the human race from giant alien bugs called ursas. This happened after humans polluted earth so bad they had to colonize a place called Nova Prime, then some other aliens invaded using the ursas as attack dogs. Ursas are blind but they can smell pheremones, and dad can chop them up completely unsmelled because he has no fear. This technique, Kitai explains in narration, is called “ghosting.” The only thing we have to not ghost is not ghosting itself.

So his dad is awesome, but I’m not gonna say what his name is because then you’ll never believe me that this is a decent movie. Okay, his name is Cypher Raige. But seriously guys. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Happening

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Okay, you guys were right. I’ve been defending M. Night Shyamalan as a talented director based on how he moved the camera around in THE SIXTH SENSE and UNBREAKABLE. I didn’t like SIGNS as much, but alot of it worked. I didn’t see THE VILLAGE, which may have strengthened my argument through the ancient technique of “denial.” And LADY IN THE WATER was a hilarious disaster, which means he’s at least interesting even when he’s embarrassing himself and all of his ancestors and descendants and anyone who has ever known him or seen one of his movies.

But after this one I’m with you guys, I give up on Shyamalan. And it has nothing to do with twist endings (there isn’t one in this movie). This is just a bad movie that blows it from the beginning and gets more silly as it goes along, and there isn’t even much of the technical skill he used to display to make up for it. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Lady in the Water

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN’S LADY IN THE WATER
a bedtime story by M. Night Shyamalan
directed by M. Night Shyamalan
produced by M. N. Shyamalan
written by M. Night Shyamalan
co-starring M. Night Shyamalan
inspired by the true adventures of M. Night Shyamalan
dedicated to M. Night

The movie I really wanted to watch this week was WASSUP ROCKERS, but for some reason it went straight to the second run theater in Seattle. That theater’s a little out of the way for me and today I just wanted somewhere nearby with some air conditioning, so instead of seeing Larry Clark ogle Hispanic skateboarders from Compton I got to see M. Night Shyamalan ogling Ron Howard’s daughter. I’m not sure which one’s freakier. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Signs

Friday, August 2nd, 2002

There are bigger fans of M. Night Shymalan than me. He seems a little too nice to me, trying too hard to please everybody. They call him a new Spielberg but if so he’s a new Spielberg who skipped over the young vital years of Spielberg when he made shit like DUEL and JAWS. Still, I really like this young man’s style. He seems to have a couple of trademarks already. He treats supernatural themes very seriously and in a unique style that tricks mainstream audiences into thinking they are not watching a genre picture. He populates his stories with precocious child actors and movie stars who give uncharacteristically quiet performances. His stories have themes of tragedy and loss, and they are much more about character and suspense than about actual action. SIXTH SENSE was about discovering what’s goin on with these ghosts, not running from them or fighting them. And UNBREAKABLE was a super hero movie without a single scene of somebody swingin on a rope or shooting a laser or something. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Unbreakable

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2000

BRUCE WILLIS’S UNBREAKABLE

Starring Bruce Willis

If you know Vern then you know I am not the kind of Film Writer who avoids giving away surprises or “spoilings” in movie reviews. The dude from Felicity is the killer in Scream 3 to name only one example. Apparently the girl in the Crying Game has a dick but I haven’t seen that one. I can verify that it does happen in one of the Sleepaway Camp pictures though so keep your eyes peeled for that one as well. Anyway point is if you want to go into a movie fresh you shouldn’t read my review first is the point. Especially when it comes to the films of Bruce Willis. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Sixth Sense

Friday, August 6th, 1999

This is one of Bruce’s more gentle movies where he is not a Badass. There is not exploding in this one and he never says a funny line after he kills someone because, to be frankly honest, he never kills ANYONE in this movie. However despite this disappointment I think alot of motherfuckers will like this movie if it catches on on the videos.

Bruce plays Malcolm Crowe, a psychologist type dude who just won an award for his work with the children. Unfortunately a naked guy is in his bathroom and shoots him. Turns out naked man was a former patient of his and lets face it, SOMEBODY dropped the ball on this kid he ends up in Bruce’s bathroom, waving a gun around, WITH NO CLOTHES ON. I have known a lot of motherfuckers who shot people or broke into their houses, some with no shirts on. This is pretty popular in fact for guys with big muscles or tattoos of any kind. Even a guy who has just a Tasmanian devil tattoo wants to show it off for some reason, I mean jesus christ these tattoo guys and their vanity. Anyway sometimes guys do it with no shirt on, and sometimes guys do it in their boxer shorts, when it’s on short notice and they didn’t have time to put pants on. You know, crimes of passion. But in another mans’ house WITH NO CLOTHES let me tell you that’s a whole different ballpark in my opinion.

A year later or something Bruce has a new patient who reminds him quite a fucking bit of the naked man when he was a kid. You start to figure out right away that Bruce is trying to redeem himself by solving this case. I have never been into the psychologist scene so I’m not sure but I bet he was embarrassed about the whole no clothes thing I mentioned. I mean people start snickering and you gotta do something, you gotta prove that you know how to help a kid. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.