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Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

And a PPPPS to all that...


4. The Happening is out! And Cinecism is not a happy bunny. Why is Cinecism an unhappy bunny? Because it's not out over here. Which means I'll have to endure it being criticised by all and sundry, and won't be able to defend it. Fair enough - If i'm already resolved to defend it, why can't I do it without having seen the film first. After all, being an M. Night fan, I know what one of his movies looks like; and the trailer doesn't seem to have broken the mould. And it never stopped me with Grindhouse. But if the best the Times critic can come up with to justify his 3 star review is "the good news is this film isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be", you know there's not justice in the world.

Fair enough - that's exactly what my most recent Hulk review said. But that was the Incredible Hulk - a comic book adaptation, a sequel to a not-great film, a movie about two big lumps of CG smashing each other. Forgive me, but I'm allowed to be critically sniffy.

We're talking about one of our classiest directors here - a guy who has proved that "mainstream" and "shit" are not necessarily synonomous. Ghosts, superheroes, alien invasion! Only with style and a lot of heart. That's the deal-sealer for me - the way he takes these unlikely movie situations, and really gets into the emotions of what that situation would be like.

We're also talking about a group of petty, petty people who're still peeved about getting caught out by Sixth Sense; the same cynical people who've cheerfully struck back at everything he's done since. Until Lady in the Water that was OK. Because Unbreakable was insanely classy; Signs a brilliant thriller, even if you couldn't make a leap of faith at the end; and The Village had nice music. But Lady has become an open invitation to just lay in. It was not a terrible film! It was an attempt to do something different - and it only failed a little bit.

Michael Bay! Uwe Boll! Ed Wood! There aren't lines of people waiting to pour scorn on their movies, some of which are truly terrible. Check out his IMDB's director's board - the hate never stops and I don't know why.

Maybe it's just the undercurrents. Every director has underlying ideas and themes which he brings to every movie. For M. Night it's redemption through the supernatural, Philidelphia, great set pieces, James Newton Howard music and me crying at the end. The things the masses admired in Sixth Sense - i.e. heartstopping terror - aren't in the other films. People keep saying "ugh, but the Village wasn't scary..." But was it meant to be? No. Incidentally, the things which attracted me to Res Dogs aren't always there in QT's other movies - the sincere human drama and tension. So it works both ways.

In any case, I am peeved that I can't see it at the cinema, already on the defensive, at war with anyone who doesn't like it - on principle unless they first prove that they thought Unbreakable was a decent piece of cinema, and very annoyed.

3 comments:

Rob said...

I saw The Happening the other day, in an empty theatre. I have not seen a film by said director before, and I have to say, I'm simply amazed this made it to cinema. It's just....hilariously bad.

You seem to be keen to defend until you've seen it, which is good, but I'm not sure this movie will find too many defenders. It's certainly not boring, that's for sure, but it's just constantly bizarre. Not in a good way, but in a "This doesn't belong in this movie" kind of way.

Anyway. I wrote about it. Immaturely and sarcastically, certainly, but I've written about it.

In the end, though, it's worth seeing for the scene in the lion pit alone. Brilliance.

Ninquelosse said...

Ach, how demoralising. I don't want to judge it either way before seeing it - my problem is, on the basis of the trailer and a pretty close knowledge of his style, I can already see the characters and scenes unfolding in my mind. It's one thing to be an auteur. Its another to stick too doggedly to the same old things.

I will read your analysis, probably wincing, once I get around to seeing it. Meanwhile, I'd be interested to see what you thought of another of his films, if you dared brave another. In which case I recommend Unbreakable (slow, moody, serious look at superhero genre), Signs (atmospheric, tense, house-under-siege, best movie never made of War of the Worlds, very good at pissing off the cynical) or Sixth Sense (I see dead people...all the time...)

Rob said...

I've been keen to see something of his, but avoided The Sixth Sense for the general pop culture overload. I think I'll pick up Unbreakable on my next trip to the video store, though. Thanks.

The Happening was predictable in the narrative sense, but each intra-scene movement was just nonsensical. Changing tonally mid-sentence was common, people's actions and reactions made no sense and nothing seemed to be normal. It's worth seeing just because it is hilarious, but also because I've seen nothing like it. Even trashy movies pretend to have an internal logic, but this has nothing.

 
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