Author Topic: Bondo's Great Directors  (Read 51103 times)

Bill Thompson

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Re: Revisiting Great Directors
« Reply #70 on: May 09, 2010, 02:31:20 PM »

oldkid

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Re: Revisiting Great Directors
« Reply #71 on: May 10, 2010, 02:31:15 AM »
Not touching anything within twenty yards that 'Noke might call "lies".

I will just say that I placed Castle In The Sky among Miyazaki's top tier.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Bondo

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Re: Revisiting Great Directors
« Reply #72 on: May 10, 2010, 11:02:13 PM »
Signs (M. Night Shyamalan, 2002)

Even as an M. Night apologist, I'll admit he at times is too indulgent of his own vision. Sometimes allowing a creative person's vision to run wild produces something special, but sometimes it creates a wreck and would be better served by someone putting some constraints on. While Sixth Sense and Unbreakable keep up the dramatic tension throughout the film, Signs doesn't ever really get it established. We see many interesting shots here and a few thematic constructions that do ultimately pay off, but the film gets too much into Graham's (Gibson) crisis of faith and not enough into the intrigue or threat of an alien invasion. The crisis of faith is a fine backdrop, but it can be the entire film. The dialogue here just starts to feel like a sermon. Yeah, we get it, God sent aliens (in collaboration with the Jews no doubt) to go after mankind as a way to scare Gibson back into the fold.

A few other points...Culkin! Every good film needs a Culkin, and thankfully there are about a dozen of them so I'm pretty sure every good film CAN have a Culkin. Also, Abigail Breslin before she was in every film that the Culkins couldn't get a spot in. The film is a bit clunky with backstory of the other three with the asthma, water compulsion and baseball career. We learn only what we need to, it seems.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that if this film is effective in arguing that there is a God, and that things happen for a purpose, then my watching Signs means it is a vengeful, old-testament God. I think Signs is probably my least favorite of Shyamalan's films, though we have more rewatches to come.

Rating: 2/5

P.S. Hattip to flieger for inspiring the Gibson joke.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Revisiting Great Directors
« Reply #73 on: May 10, 2010, 11:04:59 PM »
Sheash, you are so wrong about the lama. I'll be interested in your thoughts on the next film thought.

Although, the understanding of God in this film is pretty lame.
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Bill Thompson

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Re: Revisiting Great Directors
« Reply #74 on: May 11, 2010, 08:47:11 AM »
Signs is yet another very good-great film from the Shlymamama Man.

smirnoff

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Re: Revisiting Great Directors
« Reply #75 on: May 11, 2010, 08:50:02 AM »
I remember enjoying it, and there being a few spooky parts. I could stand to rewatch it though.

Bondo

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Re: Revisiting Great Directors
« Reply #76 on: May 11, 2010, 09:46:03 PM »
The Village (M. Night Shyamalan, 2004)

The Village could have easily been M. Night's best film. For a while I even considered it to be as such. It has the most impressive thematic content of all of his films. Unfortunately it does not quite have the execution of Sixth Sense or Unbreakable and thus falls just behind those two but still qualifies as top-tier M. Night and a really great film. Spoilers to follow as I'm not sure the thematic content can be appropriately addressed otherwise.

So I guess the big twist here is twofold. The film follows the conventions of a period piece, placing you in a pastoral, amish sort of community. It is certainly stated that there is an urban environment, but it is impossible to discern the exact era. The other intrigue is the monsters that reside in the forest surrounding the valley within which the village resides. When the film hit, most of the negative reviews focused on how obvious it was that the monsters were not real and that the village was in modern time. I don't understand this claim at all. Sure, those elements of mystery serve to provide a little heightened tension, but the movie isn't about them; it is about the attempt of people to respond to fear by blaming modernity. It shows how people, with perfectly good intentions, will create a web of lies to constrain people and try to build utopia...and how these attempts fail. It is, in essence, a kindly critique of organized religion, following on the heels of Signs which was in some ways a promotion of faith in the faith of atheism. In some ways, The Village would be a good double feature with The Invention of Lying (which would certainly lighten the mood after the deadly serious film M. Night has assembled).

In its thematic intent, I think The Village holds together quite well. However, the film has a very plodding pace and get a bit heavily written at times. The cast is pretty strong with Bryce Dallas Howard's breakout role joined by Joaquin Phoenix, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver and Brendan Gleeson. Then there is Adrien Brody, who clearly didn't learn the lesson that you never go full retard. He provides the retard ex machina for the film, providing plot turns to move things along that only make sense if you have a character who is forgiven for acting unpredictably. A bit unfortunate, but it doesn't take away from the solid whole.

Rating: 4/5

smirnoff

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Re: Revisiting Great Directors
« Reply #77 on: May 11, 2010, 10:27:17 PM »
I really really enjoyed this film when I saw it. Twist and all. I need to see it again. It was gorgeous to look at, suspensful and unique. 4/5 sounds right. Maybe even too low ;)

Bondo

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Re: Revisiting Great Directors
« Reply #78 on: May 11, 2010, 10:43:00 PM »
Maybe even too low ;)

I'm thinking the same. The part of me that recognizes the flaws is fighting for a 4 while the part of me that admires the themes is fighting for a 5. But there lies the weakness of ratings, the point is it should be seen and cherished.

smirnoff

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Re: Revisiting Great Directors
« Reply #79 on: May 11, 2010, 10:45:35 PM »
Here here.

Another film awaiting blu-ray release. ::)
« Last Edit: May 11, 2010, 10:47:38 PM by smirnoff »

 

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