Last night, at a midnight screening of Inception in NYC, the new trailer for Devil came up. The audience, obviously the target demographic, was wrapped up in it, very excited at the prospect of an enclosed horror film (strangers stuck in an elevator with some sort of supernatural element). That is, until the following title card came up: From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan. The house erupted into a load moan, very close to a boo. Then they all laughed off their unanimous disdain. Then they applauded once the trailer wrapped.
Had they paid better attention, they would see that M. Night penned the story, not even the script, while directing credits go to Quarantine brothers John Erick and Drew Dowdle. It is clear that people are fed up with Shyamalan, especially after the unforgivable The Last Airbender, however I think we can learn a lot about this reaction.
First off, the whole celebrity attachment thing is getting to be a bit much, especially when even the press isn’t always taking the time to look at who directed a film. I saw a great deal of misreportage — no, not on blogs — about Robert Rodriguez directing Predators, which is entirely untrue. Nimród Antal worked closely with Rodriguez to be sure, but the buck ultimately stops with the director.
Of course, Rodriguez is a name you want attached to a film like that. Viewers are clearly over M. Night’s trickery, but people should remember his beginnings. Shyamalan is a man of many talents who, most would argue, has been corrupted by his fame. He started as a writer and is an extremely gifted storyteller, so I think the move to bringing his story to another director is perfect. Perhaps we will even see him move away from the camera on more projects so he can slowly win back the hearts and minds of the horror and thriller fans he has (not really) betrayed.
That being said, an entire film that takes place in an elevator is very easy to screw up. So we’ll just have to wait and see. The trailer itself looks pretty wonderful.
It’s entirely possible that I’ve seen this film before, but it’s also possible that I never swallowed it down all in one sitting. I’ll be brief:
There is only one thing not to love about Martin Brest’s Scent of a Woman: the very serious hunk of jarlsberg that must be downed while watching it. Certainly, the film reeks of early 1990s overwritten performance-vehicle sentimental pieces of cheese whiz. But that goes down much better if you take it with a grain of salt. Read on…
A solid if unoriginal indie flick with moving performances and a tight, quirky script is what I had hoped to see at the movies. Instead, I saw Sunshine Cleaning, which plays like an idea trying desperately hard to find a story.
The film follows Rose Lorkowski, played by Amy Adams, a down on her luck single mother in Albuquerque who makes ends meat by cleaning houses. Rose’s sister, Norah, is a former punk-kid who never grew up, can’t hold down a job, and lives with their idiosyncratic father, played with respectable charm by Alan Arkin. When Rose’s police officer boyfriend, who is married, tells her how much money there is to be made in cleaning up messy crime scenes, a lightbulb goes off and the tiny glint of a plot begins to form. Of course, the two sisters start a business cleaning up crime scenes while dealing with their own emotional hangups.
I’ve been looking forward to Tony Gilroy’s followup to his incredible Michael Clayton ever since I hot wind of it. Apparently, I’m not alone. The 6:30 show I tried to go to was sold out, as is this 7:35 show. It’s packed and there was a line when I got here at 6:50. I’m going into this blind ( haven’t read any reviews) so I’m really excited. Congrats Tony Gilroy. Now let’s just hope I like this one, I’ll let you know tomorrow.
The film hinges on a real slick concept, essentially the pen being mightier than the sword. Our main protag, Dr. Collins, spends the bulk of the film trying to figure out a nebulous recurring dream of the dastardly Al Walker, played by William Holden. Of course, the film is a cautionary tale, warning that emotions left unchecked could rot, fester, and grow into, well, into a murderous thief. Pretty basic stuff these days; the film plays like the last quarter of every episode of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent”. Lee J. Cobb imbues Dr. Collins with an Atticus Finch level of imposing paternity. Hmmmmm, an analytic cautionary noir film, do you think the bad guy might have some daddy issues?
So anyway, check this one out if you’ve got a chance. I enjoyed it. Now back to writing…