I have never known what to do with M. Night Shyamalan’s career. You can’t fault the guy for trying to do unique things with the thriller genre. But there are recurring aspects of his filmmaking which have bothered me, and these problems came to a head with the one-two punch of Glass and Old. The writing, acting, and tone in those movies irk me.
On the other hand, Shyamalan has surprised me pleasantly on multiple occasions. Split is really well-shot and holds the tension. The Visit has a few memorable moments. Going back to the first act of his career, The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable both hold up well, I think. And Praying with Anger is Continue reading Knock at the Cabin (2023) Movie Review →
The cold open to M. Night Shyamalan’s new venture, Split, features an intriguing mix of directorial choices. There is a Hitchcockian motivated mobile POV, one that starts as an innocent track. There are motivated pans and tilts that follow our protagonist Casey’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) increasingly cautious gazes. There is a sense of impending dread with each edit.
This opening kidnapping was shown in almost its entirety in Split‘s trailer, which presents the premise of a man with multiple personalities (James McAvoy) who steals away three teenage girls (Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, and Taylor-Joy). Ignore the ridiculous notion that Continue reading Split (2017) Movie Review →
A divorced mother of two (Kathryn Hahn) hasn’t seen or talked to her parents in 15 years. After all this time, they contact her online asking to see their grandchildren (Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould), whom they have never met. She reluctantly agrees on her children’s insistence.
Her children are a cute sibling pair, natural and appropriately childish. Tyler is charismatic and naive, free style rapping with a train conductor and purporting to “sext” with classmates. He desperately wants to live up to a masculine stereotype that he does not truly embody.
Becca is verbose and dramatic with her words as she narrates her way through exposition like a quick knife-stroke through butter. She has recently armed herself with cameras, hoping to tape their week-long visit in a style as close to a professional documentary as she can muster.
Shymalan channels an inexperienced auteur in Becca. Early interactions are light and bubbly as she sets the scene for her “documentary.” It also serves a meta purpose in its intended humor. She explains that with a camera you need to build tension and make people want to imagine what is lingering just beyond the frame. It sounds very much like Shymalan is Continue reading The Visit (2015) Movie Review →
Fall movie season is upon us. This means Oscar watch. Big Holiday films (like a certain space opera…). And the possibility of a September slump. September isn’t the same as January, but there is always a big drop off from Summer box office numbers. This said, September 2015 has some intriguing films to take note of.
Continue reading Most Anticipated Movies of Fall 2015: September →