Posts Tagged ‘M. Knight Shyamalan’

The Last Airbender: Bending a career

July 2, 2010

The movie isn't as cool as this picture.

Every time I see M. Knight Shyamalan’s name on a movie poster, hope wells up inside of me. Hope that I’ll see something that was as beautiful and human and brilliant as Unbreakable. There have been moments in his last few films. In The Village when he takes her hand and pulls her safely inside or when the knife slowly slides out of him only to be sunk in again and again like a warm spoon into ice cream. Lady in the Water has even fewer of these moments, and in turn has more of M. Knight on screen. In his newest film The Last Airbender you see him only briefly and he’s in full costume, but you know its him. Why? Because he’s worse than a horrible actor. He has anti screen presence. Even the brief moment he’s on screen it’s almost like a black hole is created. Hitchcock was smart and never gave himself lines.

(I’ve concluded that the more times you see Shyamalan’s name in the credits, the worse the film will be.) (more…)

“I Live in Fear” of “The Happening”: The Art of Boldness, Kurosawa, and Shyamalan

June 23, 2008

I Live in Fear

It would be easy to point out Akira Kurosawa’s great films like Rashomon or Seven Samurai as examples of his work, but there’s something to be said about his lesser known films – films that speak volumes and contain moments that are difficult to find anywhere else. He makes as a director and storyteller and he has his actors make very bold decisions. More often than not these choices will make an otherwise mediocre or common melodramatic film quite remarkable and incredibly memorable.

Take for instance Kurosawa’s I Live in Fear starring Toshiro Mifune. Mifune plays Kiichi Nakajima the elderly owner of a foundry. Wanting to preserve his family’s lives he wishes to move them all, lovers and bastard children included, to South America so as to avoid a Nuclear holocaust in Japan. Needless to say this story takes place post World War II. But his children will have none of it and take him to court, so that they can prove their father incapable of handling the family’s fortune.

It’s an interesting enough idea for a film. Kurosawa introduces us to Nakajima’s family through one of the Domestic Court Counselor’s put on the case, Dr. Harada, a dentist played by another Kurosawa mainstay, Takashi Shimura. We follow Harada as he leaves his family dentist business and goes to the court. Next we’re introduced to the squabbling family members, who seem more concerned about how they’ll continue making money for themselves than they are about the wishes of their Father. They are quick to apologize for belittling Harada before knowing who he is. But you still don’t get a sense of who’s film this is. Harada is shot from behind, a silent observer…very meek, humble.

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“The Happening”: Meaning in the Mess

June 23, 2008

The Happening

My friend would argue that there is no meaning in The Happening. But a lot of people are stumbling over my little blog looking for the meaning. They want to know JM! (You can also check out my later post in which I talk about the boldness of directors like Shyamalan, and I continue to do some dissecting of this film.)

The reasoning for the events are given to us in the first ten minutes of the movie and repeated again later. The talk of the bees becomes a larger metaphor for the reaction of the foliage. The reason is…unexplainable. An act of nature. Sure people can point fingers, but they’re all just guessing. In many ways this movie is the same thing; we can guess and assume what Shyamalan is up to or why he chose to tell this story in this fashion, but when it comes down to it, none of us will ever really know. (more…)

Trying to find meaning in “The Happening”

June 22, 2008

The Happening

Why write so much about a movie that probably doesn’t deserve it, because lessons can be learned more from a film that’s lacking that something than by one that’s got everything. Jim Emerson has an interesting write up at his blog Scanners, with a lot of nice comments in return. This was my comment to him, and my own way of continuing to work out what worked and didn’t work in Shyamalan’s new film The Happening. If you want to read my original post, here. And a later post that’s about the boldness of directors like Shyamalan and further talks about why this film may not completely work.

Jim,

I kind of completely agree that there is no logical reason for this movie to have been made like this.

Because I also agree that he’s attempting things that other filmmakers would not and in ways they probably would not approach it. The idea of the film alone would have been scoffed at by most people. It’s almost an experiment unto itself and took true cahones to even attempt to pull off. That doesn’t mean Shyamalan does pull it off. Or that he successfully pulls off his attempts to stage things differently.

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“The Happening”: Even if you don’t see the movie…read this review!

June 20, 2008

The Happening

I am absolutely one hundred percent completely exhausted from the heat and the work I did today, but something has been compelling me for the past couple nights to sit down and write about M. Knight Shyamalan’s new movie The Happening. There are certainly better movies I’ve seen recently that I should probably be writing about instead… The Hulk, Mongol, even Don’t Mess With the Zohan, but when it comes down to it, I have to write about The Happening, because…I just do.

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Everybody’s Marketing! Film and Theatre.

June 13, 2008

Not only does being Artistic Director of a theatre company (Theatre Unleashed) keep me too busy to make any money, but you couple that along with acting in the shows, writing original material for the shows, producing the shows, being at every meeting and on every committee…well, you start to see where my 40 hours a week goes.

But it’s all for a great cause (my need to be an artist), and I’m learning too much. More than I ever wanted to. I jest, it’s a good thing.

But all of the chores that pertain to the skill sets above, the one I didn’t mention, and the one that challenges me in ways that I enjoy is being the Viral Marketer on the Marketing Committee. As much as I love live theatre, I do love film, and this gives me the opportunity to combine both of my passions. Basically I’m shooting short films to help promote the stage shows.

But they aren’t just short films. The trailers are dictated by the tone of the shows. They have to get people curious enough to pay 20 bucks and sit in a seat for two hours…a few more dollars than a movie with explosions and stars. You have to excite them about the live experience.

Here’s a trailer I put together for our currently running show (check out the website for details and come see it! I’ll have a few other trailers below.

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