In praise of... M. Night Shyamalan

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In praise of... M. Night Shyamalan

Postby Kevin » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:12 am

To the man's credit, he has made four movies that rose above the trash that people (particularly users here) only recently flame him for. The Sixth Sense was one of the best movies of 1999 if not the decade, Unbreakable was a good follow up with another decent twist, Signs was decent to watch and The Village was also decent to watch (people's feelings about this might vary). There's a pretty impressive streak right with those movies. The man wrote us one of the most impressive twist endings of the decade, if not of all time, in The Sixth Sense. That's proof that the man does have talent and is not a hack. He gave Hollywood and the world a lot before he made Lady in the Water, and we started to kick him down for it.
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Re: In praise of... M. Night Shyamalan

Postby Steve T Power » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:36 am

Never got the love for the guy from the word go. Walked out of The Sixth Sense in theater with a profound sense of confusion, wondering what everyone was wagging their tongues at. It's not that I predicted a twist or "saw it coming", I didn't perceive it to be a twist at all, I just assumed Willis was dead after the opening scene. I missed something somewhere. What's worse, people praise the film for the twist, rather than the pedestrian 2 hours that precedes it.

Unbreakable has the dubious honor of being the slowest super-hero movie I've ever seen, with an ending that feels like a woefully forced curveball. Signs was a frustrating film to watch, just a narrative mess that's too chock full of contrivances and conveniences. I never bothered with The Village, but somehow managed to catch Lady in the Water, which was another plodding, emotionally sterile tension-less mess of a film. The Happening intrigued me until I heard the premise, and saw a two minute clip of Whalberg stammering, and the less said about the wretchedly awful The Last Airbender, the better.

Shyamalan has an interesting and often arresting visual style, and he's a very coherent shooter. His flicks have an earthy dark look that reminds me of a less flashy David Fincher, which is entirely a good thing, but all of his films sit on this sterile emotional middle ground that feels cold, lifeless and distant. I also have to say; for the love of god, Night, STOP writing your own material.
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Re: In praise of... M. Night Shyamalan

Postby Jim_Thomas » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:01 am

Liked The Sixth Sense, but thought that Unbreakable was a better movie--the twist ending worked for me.

The Village was OK, and then things pretty much went off the rails. Great visual style, but Steve's right--he needs to let someone else do the writing.
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Re: In praise of... M. Night Shyamalan

Postby Andrew Forbes » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:27 am

Steve T Power wrote:Never got the love for the guy from the word go. Walked out of The Sixth Sense in theater with a profound sense of confusion, wondering what everyone was wagging their tongues at. It's not that I predicted a twist or "saw it coming", I didn't perceive it to be a twist at all, I just assumed Willis was dead after the opening scene. I missed something somewhere. What's worse, people praise the film for the twist, rather than the pedestrian 2 hours that precedes it.

Word. Awful movie. Shyamalan reminds me of myself at twelve: full of "awesome" ideas that don't play out because he's writing the story to accommodate the twist and not vice versa.
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Re: In praise of... M. Night Shyamalan

Postby HGervais » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:38 pm

Jim_Thomas wrote:Liked The Sixth Sense, but thought that Unbreakable was a better movie--the twist ending worked for me.

The Village was OK, and then things pretty much went off the rails. Great visual style, but Steve's right--he needs to let someone else do the writing.

Pretty much a ditto. Unbreakable is far and away his best film. Sixth Sense was great for the first 30 or 40 minutes until I realized no one was looking at Bruce Willis and figured "I speak to dead people" was meant to be taken literally. Signs has stuff I like....I would love to have seen a movie made up of that home footage of the alien attack....but falls apart under its own weight. The Village starts out strong and then goes downhill quickly. The rest of his films go from bad to worse. The man can direct atmosphere like no ones business but he is in desperate need of a writer who pushes him to the side and says "I got this." So you can praise him all you like Kevin, still doesn't make you right or most of his movies any good.
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Re: In praise of... M. Night Shyamalan

Postby Bryan Pope » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:18 pm

I've seen only The Sixth Sense and The Happening.

The Newfie makes a good point that hadn't occured to me: People praise Sixth Sense for the twist more than for the movie as a whole. I found it effective the first time around. Second time I watched it, though, I became... well, sleepy. Not because I was bored, I think, but because of the movie's dark color palette and the way everyone speaks in such hushed tones.

We caught The Happening on FX recently and were surprised by how engrossed we were in the story. I thought the premise -- which I won't give away in case anyone hasn't seen it -- was pretty cool. There were one or two things that didn't make sense to me even after I accepted the premise, but I can forgive that. We were entertained.
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Re: In praise of... M. Night Shyamalan

Postby mavrach » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:22 pm

I think Shyalaman's biggest problem is that he's become the "twist" guy, he took his greatest strength and ran with it for every movie. Twists don't work so well when you're looking out for it the whole time, that's the whole point of a suprise ending. And The Sixth Sense & Unbreakable were his only movies with decent twists anyway. And if the twist doesn't come off so well then the whole movie is judged by the twist alone.

I actually loved Signs, taken just as a horror movie. It has two incredibly effective scares (the Spanish birthday part & the hand under the door), and works as a large-scale event being witnessed by only a simple family. It's real flaw is the stupid twist at the end, and without that I bet this would be a more respected movie.

Lady in the Water & The Village were ok. I don't think they were as bad as everybody says, but they certainly weren't good movies. At that point everybody realized Shyalaman wasn't the great director they'd predicted him to become.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: In praise of... M. Night Shyamalan

Postby Attrage » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:54 pm

I like Sixth Sense. Could give or take Unbreakable. I really dig Signs. Didnt think much of the Village. Lady in the Water I thought was really good if you watch it for what it is - a bed time story (ie not supposed to be "realistic" in any way as so many people seemed to have wanted it to be) and as for the Happening...no comment. As for his directorial style, I think he's a bit pretentious...he seems to genuinely believe he's making "important" films, rather than just being an entertainer. But...lol...I'm sure he's a nice enough guy.
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Re: In praise of... M. Night Shyamalan

Postby Boba Fett » Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:01 pm

"Sixth Sense" was a well-made, one view gimmick.

"Unbreakable" was a great superhero film.

"Signs" was one of the best alien invasion films, up until the hokey, tacked on ending. It's still a very good thriller.

"The Village" is a flawed, average movie due solely to building an ad campaign around a twist ending that wasn't much of a twist.

"Lady in the Water" is just sad.

"The Happening" is hilarious and my viewing of his films has ended there.

His biggest problem is his ego; from his self-important grandstanding that every movie he's making is a masterpiece to his habit of interjecting himself as an actor into his films. He needs to get over himself, and then maybe, he'll have a chance at making a good movie again.
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Re: In praise of... M. Night Shyamalan

Postby stypee » Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:28 am

I saw Devil which he produced and I'm really losing my patience with this guy. It had a fairly good idea and maybe a decent 12 minute start but after that it was watching an overblown, overly dramatic, poorly written and quite frankly embarassing twilight zone episode.

I feel bad for the guy who did the soundtrack, it was well done but unforutnately could have been used in a much better movie.
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