2- The Sixth Sense
4- The Village
This movie was decent. Better than Lady in the Water but not as good as The Village, so still a low mark in his career. Here is a thumbs up review from Ebert.
[QUOTE]If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live."
-- Albert Einstein
By Roger Ebert
An alarming prospect, and all the more so because there has been a recent decline in the honeybee population. Perhaps it is comforting to know that Einstein never said any such thing -- less comforting, of course, for the bees. The quotation appears on a blackboard near the beginning of M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening," a movie that I find oddly touching. It is no doubt too thoughtful for the summer action season, but I appreciate the quietly realistic way Shyamalan finds to tell a story about the possible death of man.
One day in Central Park, people start to lose their trains of thought. They begin walking backward. They start killing themselves. This behavior spreads through Manhattan, and then all of the Northeast. Construction workers throw themselves from scaffolds. Policeman shoot themselves. The deaths are blamed on a "terrorist attack," but in fact no one has the slightest clue, and New York City is evacuated.
We meet Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg), a Philadelphia high school science teacher; the quote was on his blackboard. We meet his wife, Alma (Zooey Deschanel); his friend, Julian (John Leguizamo), and Julian's daughter, Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez). They find themselves fleeing on a train to Harrisburg, Pa., although people learn from their cell phones that the plague, or whatever it is, may have jumped ahead of them.
Now consider how Shyamalan shows the exodus from Philadelphia. He avoids all the conventional scenes of riots in the train station, people killing Philadelphia, not New York, and shows the population as quiet and apprehensive. If you don't know what you're fleeing, how would you behave? Like this, I suspect.
Julian entrusts his daughter to Elliot and Alma, and goes in search of his wife. The train stops -- permanently -- at a town. The three hitch a ride in a stranger's car, and later meet others who are fleeing, from what or to what, they do not know. Elliot meets a man who talks about a way plants have of creating hormones to kill their enemies, and he develops a half-baked theory that man may have finally delivered too many insults to the grasses and the shrubs, the flowers and the trees, and their revenge is in the wind.
By now the three are trekking cross-country through Pennsylvania, joined by two young boys, who they will eventually lose. They walk on, the wind moaning ominously behind them, and come to the isolated country home of Mrs. Jones (Betty Buckley), a very odd old lady. Here they eat and spend the night and other events take place, and Elliot and Alma find an opportunity to discuss their love and reveal some secrets and speculate about what dread manifestation has overtaken the world.
Too uneventful for you? Not enough action? For me, Shyamalan's approach is more effective than smash-and-grab plot-mongering. His use of the landscape is disturbingly effective. The performances by Wahlberg and Deschanel bring a quiet dignity to their characters. The strangeness of starting a day in New York and ending it by hiking across a country field is underlined. Most of the other people we meet, not all, are muted and introspective. Had they been half-expecting some such "event" as this?
I know I have. For some time the thought has been gathering at the back of my mind that we are in the final act. We have finally insulted the planet so much that it can no longer sustain us. It is exhausted. It never occurred to me that vegetation might exterminate us. In fact, the form of the planet's revenge remains undefined in my thoughts, although I have read of rising sea levels and the ends of species.
What I admire about "The Happening" is that its pace and substance allowed me to examine such thoughts, and to ask how I might respond to a wake-up call from nature. Shyamalan allows his characters space and time as they look within themselves. Those they meet on the way are such as they might indeed plausibly meet. Even the TV and radio news is done correctly, as convenient cliches about terrorism give way to bewilderment and apprehension.
I suspect I'll be in the minority in praising this film. It will be described as empty, uneventful, meandering. But for some, it will weave a spell. It is a parable, yes, but it is also simply the story of these people and how their lives and existence have suddenly become problematic. We depend on such a superstructure to maintain us that one or two alterations could leave us stranded and wandering through a field, if we are that lucky.
[SIZE=2]Thank god for Roger Ebert! And thanks to nyjet80 for posting his review. Whewwww! I thought all the movie critics were pre-pubescents worshipping adult cartoon adventure movie-makers. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]I liked The Happening. I like all M. Night’s movies-- they make you think…..glad Ebert got it. You either get Shyamalan’s movies or you don’t. Not saying they’re all flawless, but they’re all a breathe of fresh air. He doesn’t ass kiss movie goers or whatever the targeted demographics are for movies these days :rolleyes: I still don't know what the latest Indiana Jones movie was-- gratuitous to young audiences? or self-gratifying to the movie-makers? probably the latter, in either case-- it sucked. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Yes, The Happening is about nature striking back and about how clueless and isolated we’ve become as beings on this planet. Funny how all the network news stations and their guest PHD experts all speculated on what was happening as did the science teacher and mathematician-- only to have 2 common-sense people have the answer 1. The student who said it was nature and we might not know or understand and 2. The nursery owner who was written off as a little crazy. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]The ‘problem’ started in the city parks which makes sense if you think about how we misuse and take for granted what a park is and how they are surrounded by buildings and industry and that we’ve used trees for lynchings (note scene with the suicide hangings), hanging swings on, climbing on, tearing them down for a million reasons, etc. So, they finally came up with a defense mechanism. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Other things to think about:[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]-- the people who lived away from the cities were less civilized-- isolated and crazy[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]-- they were running away from what was happening to Harrisburg, yeah Three Mile Island nuclear plant was in the background of the nursery owner’s house[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]-- the 2 main characters were also isolated but from each other though they lived in the big city[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]-- there was a theme throughout of chasing or being chased[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]What else did some of you see in this movie? [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]His movies are always worth a second look, there’s things you’d didn’t catch first time around.[/SIZE]
[quote=Starkweather;2584373]I saw the movie last night.... it wasn't as bad as everyone is saying. My wife and I both enjoyed it.... that being said.... not many people other than us did.
I will not recomend it if you are expecting to see the next 6th Sense. but if you don't take is so seriously, it's really not a bad movie at all.
MNS's uniqueness is his vice, his movies are all outside the box.... not many people get him, and/or are not ready for his type of suspense. You want big explosions and giant lizards attacking Manhattan.... MNS is not for you[/quote]
Yep! ITA :yes:
The other interesting thing I forgot to mention in my previous post
was how things that you expected to happen didn't and vice versa. Think
about some of the scenes that you really didn't think *that* would happen, but it did. And the things that you thought would happen, but didn't.
There were twists and suspense ala MNS.
(not mentioning details for spoilers)
[QUOTE=dbatesman;2569930]Millions of Americans apparently disagree, but I think Shyamalan is a complete hack. I've never liked a single one of his movies (no, not even [I]Sixth Sense[/I]).
What really bothers me is that he's not a bad filmmaker; his use of lighting, sound, and shot placement are all very good. Of course, that just makes it even more infuriating when he springs yet another idiotic "surprise" ending on you. "ZOMG THEIR ALLERGIC TO WATER!!!" Really? As in, the vapor that fills our atmosphere, falls out of the sky, runs through our drains and pipes, and provides life to the entire planet? Really? Asshat. I hope he drowns in quicksand.[/QUOTE]
He's a poor man's Stephen King... and a very poor man's at that. The guys from South Park have already lampooned him, you know he's going down. South Park guys are so on the money it's not even funny.
I was secretly hoping that, after the spoilers and leaks about what the "happening" really was, there would be some major twist and that the spoilers were simply a smokescreen. Especially when it's revealed relatively early on in the movie about what the cause is, I was hoping that it would turn out to actually be something else. THAT would have made things interesting. This movie was a one-trick pony....and the pony's one trick was laying a turd and having 400 people pay $10 to watch it for 2 hours.