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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:20 am 
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He's like the inverse of Kiyoshi Kurosawa.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:53 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:51 am
I feel that M. Night is a bit of a one trick pony. I've never seen any of his non big budget work but almost everything he's released follows the same formula. He's proven to be rather one dimensional in that aspect. Last Airbender seemed like a good project to take considering it should be easy money. The cartoon is a hit and the content is well thought out. I haven't seen the movie so I don't know if he butchered it or not.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:06 am 
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Far more important than his latest movie which is by all accounts even worse than expected, apparently Shyamalan ghostwrote She's All That


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:48 pm 
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I saw some activity here, so I was curious if it was an extension of the debate in the SF Chronicle: Who's the worst (major release) director still working in the industry: M. Night Shyamalan, Guy Ritchie, Michael Bay or George Lucas? Shyamalan seems to be the clear winner.


Last edited by Lowry_Sam on Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:51 pm 
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That seems like an incredibly non-productive debate


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:15 am 
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I would recommend reading Michael Bamberger's "The Man Who Heard Voices", which tells the rather entertaining story of how Shyamalan made 'Lady in the Water'. The man clearly thought of himself as a genius, albeit a very insecure one.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:23 pm 
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George Lucas isn't still working as a director AFAIK.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:23 pm 
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...and Michael Bay directed one of the best films of the year.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:49 pm 
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I'll give After Earth this much: It's only mildly boring and stupid, but I actually prefer Shyamalan's worse movies, which are frequently hilarious and stupid. It feels like he's lost a lot of passion for the whole moviemaking thing and that's sad, because his misguided passion is what made movies like The Last Airbender and Devil so funny. Devil's "Jelly side down" speech (one of the great so bad it's good scenes in recent film history) could only be born from the mind of someone who thought they were a genius and were hopelessly wrong. Will Smith's bland "I don't give a shit" performance and the lazy use of CGI for everything regardless of necessity are born from someone who just wants it to be over with.

I will say though that the volcano was pretty funny, because they forgot to animate it, so it's just a still-frame with lava flows and smoke that don't actually move. Whoops!


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:14 am 
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I'll admit that I found the trailer for After Earth to be mildly effective, but the movie really isn't very good. As sci-fi it's pretty unimaginative, taking a decent premise and doing nothing with it. We're told that everything on Earth has evolved to kill humans, but the demonstrations of this that we see are pretty banal. Frankly, I found myself thinking that Earth seemed a lot less dangerous than the humans' new planet, especially since the writers gave so little thought to their future Earth and the implications of their premise that they had to resort to an alien creature (from the adopted planet, no less) to be the real alpha menace. It just seems really lazy.

And as a father-son relationship drama, the film is so unfailingly familiar that I might have entertained the possibility that it was parody if it wasn't so deadly earnest at all times. Kid feels pressure to impress his dad, blah blah blah. I probably don't have to tell you that the father is overly stern, and that the mother actually tells him that their son "doesn't need a commanding officer [pregnant pause] he needs a father." Or that the son will eventually have to defy his father to prove his own worth. Or that at his moment of greatest trial, the son will remember the wisdom of something his father told him to get through. I mean, you already know all of this.

Overall I have to echo CSM126, that the film more than anything demonstrates a woeful level of effort. No one really seems to be trying, except Jaden Smith, who ... well I hate being mean to the kid, but it's hard to see how he could have landed a role like this without his dad pulling the strings. He's just not very good.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:56 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:00 pm
I shouldn't be admitting this in a public forum, but I really enjoyed Lady in the Water (I couldn't resist, however, always referring to it as the more aptly titled, "The Girl in the Pool"). It may have been because I was so disappointed in almost everything up that point, except Unbreakable, that I came in with low expectations.

I appreciated that, for the first time, there wasn't a paradigm shift. That allowed some of his strengths as a filmmaker to resonate. For example, even up through Devil, he nailed the tone he was going for each time--no time more squarely than in Lady. And, the lack of a paradigm shift masked some of his failings as a filmmaker. For instance, he is very sloppy with the camera, due at least in part to his need to provide visual "clues" along the way to the twist ending. The camera work always ends up giving away the twist within the first 20 minutes of the film. In Lady, because the fairytale world we end with is the same fairytale world we began with (and were maybe even more entrenched in) the sloppy camera was just sloppy camera work. The pieces of the story it gave away, were just pieces, and not the whole enchilada.

Outside of all that, I found the entire tale charming and appreciated how much he developed the characters--certainly more developed than he had in previous movies. Like I said, maybe I just had low expectations.

They did After Earth on the How Did This Get Made podcast this week. It's a great listen. Plus, the guest on the episode was Paul F. Tompkins. He's always worth listening to.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:44 pm 
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Brian C wrote:
And as a father-son relationship drama, the film is so unfailingly familiar that I might have entertained the possibility that it was parody if it wasn't so deadly earnest at all times. Kid feels pressure to impress his dad, blah blah blah. I probably don't have to tell you that the father is overly stern, and that the mother actually tells him that their son "doesn't need a commanding officer [pregnant pause] he needs a father." Or that the son will eventually have to defy his father to prove his own worth. Or that at his moment of greatest trial, the son will remember the wisdom of something his father told him to get through. I mean, you already know all of this.

I haven't seen the film yet, but you are making it sound very similar in structure to The Karate Kid remake, Jaden Smith's previous film!


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:53 pm 
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What is weirder than Shyamalan writing She's All That? Shyamalan not writing She's All That but taking credit


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:21 pm 
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Even though After Earth is very silly I highly recommend people check out the score which is one of the better ones I heard recently. I was really shocked it was by Howard who I usually can't stand.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:58 pm 
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It's not a lie if you believed it was true but have since changed your mind.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:39 pm 
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knives wrote:
Even though After Earth is very silly I highly recommend people check out the score which is one of the better ones I heard recently. I was really shocked it was by Howard who I usually can't stand.

I love JNH's work, but why he still works with Night is astounding to me.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:06 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:59 am
I'm a hot & cold M. Night fan. Ever since The Sixth Sense (which I thought was brilliant, and still do) I've kept up with his films throughout the years, though have widely varied opinions regarding them:

I just watched the Shyamalan-produced Devil for the first time - wow, this film was @*&^%$$ brilliant! Excellent suspense...it's tough to make a film with a small group of actors/actresses in a confined space, but I felt it worked well here. I also didn't mind the convenient coincidence:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I.e., one of the guys in the elevator being the one who had caused the family tragedy of one of the other characters...


The ending was amazing, and one I didn't see coming. It's ironic that one of Shyamalan's best recent films wasn't one he actually directed...

Conversely, I just re-watched Signs on BD (for the first time since seeing the film in the theatre). I really wanted to like this film - however, after a second viewing I still find the film terrible. Sure, it's suspenseful at times, but I can't see Mel Gibson as a former (or existing) priest & I'm not a big fan of J. Phoenix. Re: the editing, I felt it dragged in way too many scenes - I like talky films, but didn't think these scenes worked here. Also, the effects on the alien look awful - very fake. Sure, the film is 12 years old this year, but I've seen sci-fi films that came out prior to 2002 with much better effects...


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:24 am 
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I haven't gotten around to Devil yet, but how would you say it compares to Vincenzo Natali's short film Elevated?


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:10 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:59 am
colinr0380 wrote:
I haven't gotten around to Devil yet, but how would you say it compares to Vincenzo Natali's short film Elevated?


Unfortunately, I haven't seen Elevated, so can't comment on that. One of the many things I liked about Devil was that it showed how different people react differently to stress (i.e., being trapped in an elevator that has stopped working). Some will make jokes, most will take it very seriously, some will panic, etc. Very interesting character study..Again, it's too bad that the films Shyamalan is involved with aren't all this good...


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:36 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:59 am
Recently re-watched The Village for the first time since seeing it in the theatre 10 years ago. Like a lot of movies I revisit after many years, when I first saw it I didn't like it at all - however, this second time I re-evaluated this, & now it's one of my favorite Shyamalan films.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
On my first viewing, I was extremely dissapointed with the "twist" at the end. I felt that the idea of an isolated village in the middle of the U.S. that was isolated & protected from overhead air traffic, other intruders, etc. to be completely unrealistic and unimaginative. However, during this second viewing I appreciated what Shyamalan was doing here - I saw those in the village as a much more extreme version of the Amish, who have rejected modern society/technology & chosen to live much more simply (the difference was that the elders' progeny in the film had no idea that there was an outside world, or what it was). And, it was inevitable that something would come up (in this case, an extreme medical emergency) that would force them to have to go to the outside world...


I also think it's cool how Shyamalan, like Hitchcock before him, has cameos (and in some cases significant roles) in his movies...


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:47 pm 
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The Village is hugely underrated and, along with Unbreakable, is easily one of his best films. The Village is beautiful to look at and fun to watch. It doesn't depend nearly as much on its twist as you think it will. I remember friends and critics almost universally hating this when it came out. Though I think Jonathan Rosenbaum had some perceptive things to say about the way in which this film functions as a critique of all organized religion.

In other M. Night news, watch and be astonished as the normally egomaniacal director explains to Chris Matthews how he somewhat selflessly came to study the crisis in American education and write what turns out to be a surprisingly sensible book on it called I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America’s Education Gap.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:52 pm 
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LavaLamp wrote:
...I also think it's cool how Shyamalan, like Hitchcock before him, has cameos (and in some cases significant roles) in his movies...

However, Hitchcock never tried to make his cameos anything more than a fleeting appearance in the background. Shyamalan kept giving himself meatier roles until, in what might be his greatest lapse of judgement, he cast himself as the misunderstood writer whose work ultimately saves the world in THE LADY IN THE WATER. That he continued to portray a "misunderstood" writer in interviews for a year or two after that was quite unbecoming.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:21 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:59 am
warren oates wrote:
The Village is hugely underrated and, along with Unbreakable, is easily one of his best films. The Village is beautiful to look at and fun to watch. It doesn't depend nearly as much on its twist as you think it will. I remember friends and critics almost universally hating this when it came out. Though I think Jonathan Rosenbaum had some perceptive things to say about the way in which this film functions as a critique of all organized religion.


I agree. I despised The Village when it was first released & never wanted to see again. However, I've become much more open-minded in the ensuing ten years and truly enjoyed the film the second time around.

I had a similar reaction to Mann's Miami Vice film (2006). When I saw it in the theatre, I felt kind of luke-warm towards it -I didn't necessarily dislike it but didn't think it was that great either. On my second viewing (last Fall), I felt it was excellent, and it's become one of my favorite films of the 200X's.

And, I agree that Shyamalan has more than just cameos in his films. I was just making the comparison to Hitch because M. Night likes to be seen in his own films, unlike a lot of directors who are never in their own movies (unless you're someone like Clint Eastwood, who stars & directs in many of his films...)


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:33 pm 
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LavaLamp wrote:
And, I agree that Shyamalan has more than just cameos in his films. I was just making the comparison to Hitch because M. Night likes to be seen in his own films, unlike a lot of directors who are never in their own movies (unless you're someone like Clint Eastwood, who stars & directs in many of his films...)

I have to say, this is just about the most irrelevant metric (are they prepared to make Hitchcock-styled cameos?) for assessing directors that I can think of. I don't think it tells us anything whatsoever about the filmmaker beyond their level of comfort in front of a camera, which I can't see has any bearing on their facility behind it. And when you add in the fact that almost every contemporary cameo-ing director (Shyamalan, Scorsese, Jackson) does so as an explicit allusion to Hitchcock, and not out of any kind of self-expression, it becomes even more meaningless.

I'll grant that the fact the Shyamalan is one of the few (non-actor) directors to graduate from Hitchcockian cameos to bigger roles does tell us something about him, however. It tells us that he's probably an egomaniac.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:24 pm 
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Shyamalan self-funded and shot a film in secret, the Visit, which has been picked up by Universal


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