Tag Archives: M. Night Shyamalan

Old (2021) Review

Old

Old

Time: 108 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence, horror scenes & content may disturb
Cast:
Gael García Bernal as Guy Cappa
Vicky Krieps as Prisca Cappa
Rufus Sewell as Charles
Alex Wolff and Emun Elliott as Trent Cappa
Thomasin McKenzie and Embeth Davidtz as Maddox Cappa
Abbey Lee as Chrystal
Nikki Amuka-Bird as Patricia Carmichael
Ken Leung as Jarin Carmichael
Eliza Scanlen as Kara
Aaron Pierre as Mid-Sized Sedan/Brendan
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

A thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day.

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Old was one of my most anticipated films of the year. I am a fan of M. Night Shyamalan, I know that his movies aren’t for everyone and there are a few of his films which don’t really work for me personally. On the whole though, I like his movies. There was a lot of mystery surrounding Old but I knew it was a thriller about aging set on a beach starring Thomasin McKenzie and Vicky Krieps, and it was directed by Shyamalan, so I was interested in how it turned out. I actually really liked it a lot.

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Some have described Old as being Twilight Zone esque and while I’ve never watched the show, I can kind of get what they mean. The plot is fairly straightforward and fairly predicable at times, but has a high concept that they take advantage of, the horror of inescapable aging. The movie is about time as to be expected, with plenty of themes about growing old, experiencing major moments in life in a short time, and effectively is a meditation on time despite being a thriller first and foremost. In most Shyamalan films there is a level of sincerity to how seriously they take the story, and that goes a long way here. The movie is a family drama, and while this dynamic and concept has been in many movies (including horror thrillers), it was handled quite well here. This is one of Shyamalan’s darkest movies, but it also has a lot of heart in it, and it nails the emotional aspect of the story. I face found the story gripping on the whole. In terms of issues with the writing, it does have Shyamalan’s trademark awkward and artificial sounding dialogue as expected. However at this point I accepted it as a Shyamalan thing, if you’re used to it from his other movies, then Old won’t be too hard to get through. The movie has this general level of weirdness to it but I find that it helps the movie have an off kilter feel to it. There are some moments which are funny but some of those feel intentional. I know that a lot of people will compare Old to The Happening, but the former definitely does things a lot better. The invisible horror certainly works a lot better in Old, perhaps because of the existential nature of the rapid aging in the movie. I will say that the tone is a little messy and all over the place. There is indeed a twist as to be expected from Shyamalan, and I think the twist is just okay within the context of the story, but it is one that I’ll need to think about. It does have a big exposition dump and an odd tonal shift that makes it feel out of place, otherwise I was fine with it.

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This movie has quite the talented cast, and I thought that everyone performed their parts greatly. The main family is greatly played by Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Alex Wolff and Thomasin McKenzie. They had strong chemistry between them and they really felt like a family. The rest of the cast including Rufus Sewell, Abbey Lee, Ken Leung and Eliza Scanlen were also really good in their parts. The performances of the actors playing children who age up quickly (Wolff, McKenzie and Scanlen) particularly do very well at portraying older versions of the children while believably capturing the mentality of the younger people they were hours before. Vicky Krieps, Thomasin McKenzie and Rufus Sewell were the standout performances to me.

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M. Night Shyamalan’s direction is really solid, I think this is some of the best work he’s one on a technical level at the very least. He definitely excels at his smaller scale movies, and this is certainly one of his smallest movies, with it mostly taking place on a beach. Speaking of which, the setting of the beach was great and there were some stunning shots, and certainly a notable amount of use of blocking to hide certain things and capture characters’ perspectives. Shyamalan does a lot with the claustrophobia of the setting and being trapped there, much like how the characters feel. Most of the movie doesn’t have anything overtly violent but when it does, it is effective. There’s even a surprising amount of body horror and in those moments, Shyamalan lets it loose and gets more gnarly than I was expecting it too. Finally, the score works very well for the movie.

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I have heard some people say that Old is M. Night Shyamalan at his absolute ‘most’, and I can sort of see why. If you aren’t a fan of many of Shyamalan’s movies, there might be some aspects about it that might not work with you, from some clunky dialogue, weird tonal changes, and odd story and technical choices. However, I actually quite liked the movie and found it entertaining, the actors were great, I was invested in the story, and it was very well made. It is definitely a divisive movie, but I think it’s worth checking out. It is possibly among Shyamalan’s best films.

Wide Awake (1998) Review

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Wide Awake

Time: 88 minutes
Cast:
Denis Leary as Mr. Beal
Dana Delany as Mrs. Beal
Joseph Cross as Joshua A. Beal
Rosie O’Donnell as Sister Terry
Timothy Reifsnyder as Dave O’Hara
Robert Loggia as Grandpa Beal
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

A fifth grader (Joseph Cross) goes on a search for God after his grandfather (Robert Loggia) dies. Along the way he gets into tons of trouble at Waldron Academy an all-boys school.

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Most people first learned about M. Night Shyamalan upon the release of The Sixth Sense, which became an instant hit and the point where his career took off. What most people don’t know is that The Sixth Sense wasn’t his directorial debut but rather his third movie, having made two prior movies that not many people heard of with Praying with Anger and Wide Awake. Both are pretty hard to gain access to, but I managed to watch the latter. Being overshadowed by later films aside, there’s also a good reason why Wide Awake is not really heard of. Despite being made in 1995 (and written in 1991), Harvey Weinstein basically buried the film’s release with the distribution, and was not released until 1998 (1 year before The Sixth Sense was released). Honestly I wasn’t expecting much based off the premise, although I was interested to see how Shyamalan started before his first hit. The movie wasn’t actually that bad, although I wouldn’t call the movie good either.

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The premise of Wide Awake does sound like a premise of a lifetime movie about religion, and much of the actual movie feels like that. With that said, the premise did have potential, it could’ve been about exploring grief from perspective of a child. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really do anything interesting. The movie consists of the main kid trying to speak with God, having doubts and then something makes him believe again. Most of the time the movie is spent at the catholic school and at his home with occasional flashbacks of him hanging out with his grandfather. The themes were heavy handed with no subtlety at all. Not that every movie needs to feature their themes in a subtle way but for this topic it needed to be handled with a degree of nuance. However this is a movie where the main character literally Googles “Who’s God?”. The subject matter is presented clumsily and overly sentimental, with a whole lot of cheese. It never reaches a level of profoundness. The journey of the lead character’s search for God and answers isn’t particularly interesting. Spoiler alert, it pretty much ends up with “God works in mysterious ways”. It’s a very bland movie with very little surprises, and the characters and writing feel rather fake. The writing for the children especially doesn’t actually feel like what children that age would do or say. Despite aiming to be touching and moving, ultimately it feels rather hollow and doesn’t really leave any impact. Even the attempts at humour fall flat. Despite how bland the story was, in some ways I found the movie weirdly interesting in some of the odd choices it made. It especially felt odd that this 10 year old kid is having this desire to find God, so it was somewhat intriguing at first to see what they would do next. However by the time it reached the third act, I wasn’t into it any more. One way it does feel like a Shyamalan film is a twist at the end, which was certainly a weird choice to make that really didn’t add anything to the movie.

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The acting is nothing special, it’s functional and not bad, but nothing really worth mentioning. Generally, the acting of the children was surprisingly okay for the most part, the writing for them however is weird because some of these 10 year olds speak with so much self-awareness that it’s unbelievable. Joseph Cross does relatively well in his part of the lead character. Nothing much to say about the adult actors, I will say that despite Rosie O’Donnell being on the cover art of the film, her character of a baseball loving nun basically doesn’t have much involvement with the plot.

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As I said earlier, M. Night Shyamalan directs Wide Awake, and there is basically no hint of Shyamalan from this one movie. He’s definitely still learning as a filmmaker and it does have some technical missteps. There is so much voiceover throughout, with the main character constantly giving internal exposition about the past and his feelings. It can get overbearing and annoying really quickly. The cutesy and quirky score can get a little annoying too. On the whole though it is competently made, some shots are nicely composed, and I wouldn’t say it’s a badly directed movie.

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Honestly the most interesting part of the movie is the fact that M. Night Shyamalan made it at all. That is probably what kept me somewhat patiently staying with this movie, without his name attached I probably would’ve given up on it earlier on. That aside, it’s a very mediocre yet harmless Hallmark movie that’s quite forgettable. I would actually put this as one of Shyamalan’s worst movies, though keep in mind I only dislike a few of his movies. Wide Awake is honestly not worth checking out unless you’re interested in seeing how he started as a filmmaker.

Glass (2019) Review

Time: 129 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & content that may disturb
Cast:
James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Horde
Bruce Willis as David Dunn/The Overseer
Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price/Mr. Glass
Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple
Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke
Spencer Treat Clark as Joseph Dunn
Charlayne Woodard as Mrs. Price
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

From Unbreakable, Bruce Willis returns as David Dunn as does Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price, known also by his pseudonym Mr. Glass. Joining from Split are James McAvoy, reprising his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities who reside within, and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the only captive to survive an encounter with The Beast. Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.

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Glass was one of my most anticipated films of 2019. While M. Night Shyamalan has the reputation of being a polarising and hit or miss director, his work on Split was great and one of the most stand out aspects about it was the twist at the very end which indicated that the movie was set in the same universe as Unbreakable. Unbreakable is often hailed as one of Shyamalan’s best films, and seeing him expand on that universe was exciting. Naturally the third and final film of this trilogy had a lot of anticipation behind it, and upon its release, it has been receiving very divided reactions. Having seen it myself though, I’m on the side that loves it, and it just gets better the more I think about it.

While I guess you could watch Glass without watching the other movies, you’ll really only get the full experience if you watch both Unbreakable and Split. If you’re not that interested in these movies, I don’t think you’ll be as invested in Glass as others. Something that should be noted is that this is not a superhero movie. While Unbreakable is sort of a superhero origin story and Split is sort of a supervillain origin story, this trilogy is meant to be a take on superheroes, not necessarily meant to be superhero movies. Because of that, it tends to subvert and play around with a lot of superhero movie tropes, and I really liked that. Glass’s genre and tone is a mix of Unbreakable and Split, but it leans more towards the Unbreakable side. There are a few thrilling scenes but most of the movie is slow paced and smaller scale like Unbreakable, and I loved Unbreakable. There is a lot of dialogue in the movie and going into it knowing that, I really thought it was good and I was invested in the conversations. The movie also doesn’t get as big as some may think. The trailers do oversell the scale of the movie, it really is a small scale and enclosed movie, and I’m glad that it doesn’t get absurdly over the top. There will be some things in the third act that are going to divide some people, I personally really liked where he took it, even if I really wasn’t expecting that at all. It is clear whatever the case however that the direction that Shyamalan took the plot was his plan, it’s not a studio mandated decision or anything, this is what he wanted to do with the story. As for the writing itself I really liked it. It does have the typical writing of Shyamalan, both the good and bad. By the bad I mean that there’s some occasional lines of dialogue which don’t sound human at all, but I’ve become used to seeing that from Shyamalan. In terms of problems I had, the first thing that came to mind was that the second act at times could drag. I wasn’t necessarily bored and I was invested throughout, but I did feel it slow down a little too much. With that said, Unbreakable had more pacing problems than Glass. I feel like I’ll need to watch Glass again to be sure how I feel about it, however my instant reaction after watching it was loving it.

Much of the returning cast from Unbreakable and Split are back and they all do great jobs. Bruce Willis reprises his role as David Dunn from Unbreakable but he wasn’t as prominent as I thought he would be. He was sort of in the forefront earlier on and then gets less screen time over time. With that said it worked for the movie, he was still present in the plot and it was nice to see him again. It’s also the best performance that Willis has given since Looper, he really does seem committed to the role. Also returning is Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price/Mr Glass. It was surprising that despite his name being the title of the movie, for a while he doesn’t do much. Even when he showed up in the first half, he was just there, not even saying a single word. It’s really the second half where he is more in the forefront and Jackson absolutely kills it. It’s been 19 years since we’ve seen him in this role and he is back with the same level of dedication and still feels very much like the same character, albeit more certain in his beliefs about superheroes. James McAvoy as Kevin Wendall Crumb/The Horde however was the standout of the entire movie, no surprise really. While David Dunn is in the forefront in the first half while Elijah Price is in the background, as well as vice versa for the second half, Crumb and his other personalities were consistently present throughout. McAvoy was fantastic in Split but he’s even better here. While his character’s split personality wasn’t necessarily a gimmick in that movie, it was quite reliant on it. In Glass it feels like his characters are even more fleshed out and McAvoy just transforms into each of them with ease (sometimes jumping between them in the same shot), convincingly making them feel like distinctly different people. While the personalities we see most are Hedwig, Patricia, Dennis and The Beast, we do see appearances from the personalities in Split, as well as a bunch more new personalities. I’m not sure how you’ll feel about the overall movie but I’m pretty sure that everyone will be able to say that James McAvoy did a phenomenal job, because he really did. An addition to the movie is Sarah Paulson in the role of a psychiatrist trying to convince the main 3 characters that they aren’t superheroes. Paulson is a very talented actress but was often underutilised in some movies, often in minor supporting roles. In Glass she is in a supporting role but she really shines in her role and has a lot to work with. Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark and Charlayne Woodard return as their characters, with Anya as Casey Cooke (the surviving kidnapped girl from Split), Spencer as David’s son, and Charlayne as Elijah’s mother. They aren’t in the forefront and maybe weren’t super essential to be in the movie but they fit well in the story and played their parts well.

I’d go so far as to say that this might be the best directed film by M. Night Shyamalan, he does some great things here. The cinematography is immaculate and the visuals are great, particularly the use of colour. This is not an action movie but there are a few action scenes. It’s nothing great but it was more than I was expecting from the movie, and worked quite well. The music by West Dylan Thordson (who made the score for Split) was great. There are also callbacks to themes from Unbreakable and Split and they are very effective.

Glass isn’t going to work for everyone, as evidence from the very polarising reaction from both critics and audiences. If you’re not invested in the Unbreakable/Split stories in the slightest, there’s probably not going to be much point watching Glass. However I personally loved what M. Night Shyamalan did with this film. His direction of the movie is his best work yet, the performances are great (particularly James McAvoy) and as unexpected as it was, I found it to be a satisfying conclusion to what Shyamalan started with Unbreakable. I think I will need to rewatch it at some point as there was a lot to take in, and my opinion on it could change. However the more I think about it, the more I loved it.

Unbreakable (2000) Review

Time: 106 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains medium level violence.
Cast:
Bruce Willis as David Dunn
Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price/Mr. Glass
Robin Wright as Audrey Dunn
Spencer Treat Clark as Joseph Dunn
Charlayne Woodard as Mrs. Price
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

A security guard (Bruce Willis), having been the sole survivor of a high-fatality train crash, finds himself at the centre of a mysterious theory that explains his consistent physical good fortune. When news of his survival is made public, a man whose own body is excessively weak (Samuel L. Jackson) tracks him down in an attempt to explain his unique unbreakable nature.

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I only watched Unbreakable once but with director M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film Glass coming out soon, a movie tying together this movie and his other movie Split in the same universe, I decided to check out Unbreakable again. At the time of its release, Unbreakable was considered to be a disappointment compared to director Shyamalan’s previous film, The Sixth Sense (which got him noticed as a director). Nowadays its considered one of his all time best movies and maybe even his best, and for very good reason.

Unbreakable was really ahead of its time, especially when you consider the state of superhero movies in the lead up to its release. While the Christopher Reeve Superman movies and the Michael Keaton Batman movies existed, the rest of the comic book movies leading up to 2000 were films like Batman and Robin and Spawn. This is a more realistic take about comic book superheroes. Had this been released around 2005-2008, this would’ve been acclaimed as a masterpiece and a different take on superheroes. However, it was released at a time when comic book movies were still finding its way, so people really didn’t understand or catch onto this movie as fast. M. Night Shyamalan plays with comic books, it’s clear even from this that he has a deep knowledge about comic books and applies some of the tropes and aspects into the lore in this movie. Despite some of the larger than life concepts, it understands that it’s a smaller movie, based in reality. It’s essentially a story about Superman realising that he’s a superhero but they make it as grounded as possible. There is also a twist at the end, as typical of Shyamalan, and it really works (won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen Unbreakable yet). In terms of problems with the movie, I guess there are moments that are a little drawn out and lost my interest a little bit, mainly some conversations, but there’s only a few of those moments.

Bruce Willis’s performance here as the lead character of David Dunn is one of his best, if not his best. It’s a very subdued performance, it’s not showy at all but you can clearly see his emotions come across and he’s very convincing in his arc. Samuel L. Jackson also gives one of his best performances as Elijah Price, someone who is determined to prove that David is a superhero of sorts. Jackson is very subdued here compared to his other characters and he’s actually quite convincing in the role. Despite some of the outlandish things that his character claims, the way Jackson delivers them actually seems believable. The supporting actors were also good, with Robin Wright and Spencer Treat Clark as David Dunn’s mother and son serving the story quite well.

M. Night Shyamalan knows what he’s doing behind the camera here. The cinematography was great, on a rewatch I really noticed that he used a lot of long takes with small movements or zooms, especially during conversations. I’m not sure why he did that but it just felt right. Shyamalan once again seems very familiar with comic books and it’s very apparent in his direction. Whether that be the clear use of colour like green for David Dunn and purple with Elijah Price, the way some things are framed to seem like something straight out of a comic book, or other things along that line. James Newton Howard’s iconic score here is absolutely incredible and added so much to the movie. As fantastic as Unbreakable is, I’m not even sure that it would’ve reached this level of greatness without it, that’s how much it elevated the movie.

Unbreakable for me is without a doubt Shyamalan’s best movie yet, his writing and direction on top of the great performances (especially form Willis and Jackson) were outstanding and really works. With the boom of comic book movies nowadays ever since really 2008, Unbreakable has aged incredibly well. Early buzz surrounding Glass has been divisive but I’m on board with whatever Shyamalan has in mind for the conclusion of this story.

Split (2017) Review

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Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence, horror and content that may disturb
Cast:
James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb
Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke
Betty Buckley as Dr. Karen Fletcher
Haley Lu Richardson as Claire Benoit
Jessica Sula as Marcia
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

While the mental divisions of those with dissociative identity disorder have long fascinated and eluded science, it is believed that some can also manifest unique physical attributes for each personality, a cognitive and physiological prism within a single being. Though Kevin (James McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Ana Taylor Joy), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him – as well as everyone around him – as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

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Split was one of my most anticipated films of 2017. M. Night Shyamalan has been starting to make a comeback with The Visit and from the trailers, Split looked like it has a lot of potential. James McAvoy particularly looks like he was going to give a tremendous performance. Having seen Split, I can say that M. Night Shyamalan is officially back. This film was so great, with great acting, excellent direction and a mostly riveting story. Although it’s not quite the level of greatness of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, Split comes very close. It has some issues but the pros absolutely outweigh the cons.

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I will say that the first act of this movie is a little weak. It just didn’t really have me riveted all the time, the dialogue felt a little awkward at times and it was just okay overall, though McAvoy kept me interested enough. By the second act however, I was incredibly invested in what is going on. Shyamalan keeps everything riveting. Shyamalan in his films often makes the mistake of just having character spurt exposition, telling the audience information. Save for one scene with Betty Buckley in a Skype conversation, Shyamalan handles the information distribution a lot better, giving little tidbits of info, trusting the audience to follow along. This movie has a surprising amount of comedy, most of the time it works. A lot of it is about how odd and strange the situations are, which I like, Shyamalan knows that a lot of the film can be a little weird and he has fun with it. One other thing to note is that Anya Taylor Joy’s character does have some flashbacks to her past. While I understand the importance of them, I felt like they could’ve been done a little better. They felt mostly out of place and the choice of flashbacks could’ve been better. Now this film mostly is realistic but at a point it goes in a ‘different direction’. You really have to just go along with this direction, even if it feels jarring. The ending for me made this direction make sense. This ending of the movie is going to divide some people. I personally think it’s amazing. Let’s just say that if you’re a fan of Shyamalan’s earlier work, your mind will be blown. However it’s understandable that many people don’t understand the meaning of the ending. If you watch Split and don’t get understand it, just look it up.

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This is the best performance I’ve ever seen James McAvoy give. He had to portray 9 (of the 23) personalities, all with unique quirks, mannerisms and aspects to them. Not only that but he had to make it all feel real, not just cartoony and crazy. Sometimes during one shot he’d change from one to the other and you can really tell when this happens, all the personalities are very distinct. This couldn’t have been easy to pull off. There’s particularly one scene in the third act which really shows how fantastic of an actor he is. Definitely one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time. Anya Taylor Joy was also incredible as the main girl Casey. As previously stated, her character has a backstory, a pretty unfortunate backstory to say the least. Without revealing anything, Anya was very convincing as her and it was easy to follow her character. Betty Buckley plays Kevin’s psychiatrist and she was also great, especially in her scenes with McAvoy. If there’s any weak parts in terms of acting, it’s the other kidnapped girls. They weren’t horrendous but they are like typical horror movie girls, there wasn’t anything really to them.

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The cinematography is fantastic but that’s not surprising, since Shyamalan brought on the Cinematographer of It Follows. So naturally it looks great. The music by West Dylan Thordson was also really effective. Shyamalan really knows how to make situations creepy and unsettling, despite some issues in the story, I can’t really say at any point in the movie the direction faltered because it doesn’t really. This film has many legitimately scary moments, and went further than I thought it would.

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Now as I said this movie does have some problems with regards to its story really in the first act. However, all the positives of the film are so great that I almost forget about these issues. Everything from the acting, direction and most of the story made this such a surprising and great movie. And let’s just say that after the ending, I’m hyped for M. Night Shyamalan’s next project. However this movie is not really for everyone, just a heads up.

After Earth (2013) Review

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After Earth

Time: 100 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Jaden Smith as Kitai Raige
Will Smith as Cypher Raige
Sophie Okonedo as Faia Raige
Zoë Kravitz as Senshi Raige
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

One thousand years after disastrous events forced humanity to leave Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind’s new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige (Will Smith) returns from a tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his son, Kitai (Jaden Smith). When an asteroids damage Cypher and Kitai’s craft, they crash-land on a now dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon and save their lives.

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M. Night Shyamalan hasn’t made many good movies in recent years, with films like The Happening and The Last Airbender. There was a chance that After Earth could’ve brought him back to at least some greatness. It isn’t in my opinion on the same level as The Last Airbender but this is still not the movie to bring back M. Night Shyamalan back to form. It still has boring dialogue, bored performances, and makes for an overall boring movie.

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The story is very uninteresting and boring throughout, I didn’t care about what was going on. We are supposed to care about this father and son bond between these characters, however the writing is just not strong enough, not helping this is the dialogue which was very clichéd. The Happening’s story was not good but it at least had some enjoyable bad ideas, After Earth has nothing entertaining going on and was very predictable. We never learn anything about the aliens, we don’t even get to learn what they are called. There are also some conveniences, and plot holes, the weapon mainly used in the movie is a staff which is used up close, even though in the beginning there are guns being used. The movie is never interesting or intreging, it’s just following the same lines as many other better sci-fi movies.

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Shyamalan often has his actors saying normal lines in a serious way and very dramatic way; the actors also usually seem very emotionless and this is the case particularly with the two main leads. Will Smith is completely emotionless throughout the entire movie. Usually he can at least have an entertaining performance, not here. Every line he delivers is monotone, and just sounded like a GPS, even when his son is in major danger in some parts. I understand the type of character he is but it would’ve been better if another person was cast because he wasn’t the best person for the role, not that anyone would’ve made a significant difference. Jaden Smith isn’t that good in this movie either. He was good in Pursuit of Happyness and The Karate Kid but he hasn’t got anything good to work with here. None of his delivery of his lines were convincing in the slightest.

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The special effects in the movie are okay. They aren’t horrible or amazing, they are just simply acceptable. There were at times some questionable cinematography choices, such as having characters awkwardly talking directly to the camera (a typical Shyamalan trope) or having some bit of plastic brush back and forth in front of a camera after the crash scene. James Newton Howard’s score was decent but I don’t really remember any of it after watching this movie.

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The worst part about the movie is that I barely remember it. Even with The Happening I could remember some scenes, I don’t remember much here. The story is very boring, clichéd and every sci-fi movie you’ve seen, accompanied by the fact that the actors don’t do a good job. The movie at times looked great but they weren’t enough to hide massive flaws. Even if you are a diehard Shyamalan fan don’t see this movie, there isn’t much to see here.

The Happening (2008) Review

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The Happening

Time: 90 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Horror scenes and violence
Cast:
Mark Wahlberg as Elliot Moore
Zooey Deschanel as Alma Moore
John Leguizamo as Julian
Betty Buckley as Mrs Jones
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

A strange, horrible and unprecedented crisis begins in Central Park. A high school science teacher (Mark Wahlberg), his wife (Zooey Deschenal) and a young girl do what they can to survive it.

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M. Night Shyamalon is a filmmaker that has taken a strange turn, he started off by making a few great movies but after that, his films have started decreasing in good reviews. The Happening promises to be his comeback, unfortunately if he does have a comeback, it’s not here. The writing is bad, the acting is wasted and sometimes hilarious and the story is not interesting, despite an initially interesting premise.

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In contradictory to the title of the film, I didn’t feel like much happened here. This film tries to be scary but fails; all the deaths are meant to be shocking and disturbing but because of how bluntly they are done, they come off as being hilarious; there is even a scene where someone turns on a lawnmower and lets it pass over him. The dialogue is also quite bad at times, so bad in fact that it is quite quotable, especially from Mark Wahlberg (“Come on guys, take an interest in science”). There are also some moments don’t add up to anything, such as when a guy is talking about hot dogs, and this is in a part of a movie where everybody is trying to survive and find out why all these events are happening. The characters aren’t very likable, the characters aren’t developed enough and any emotion they show is quite shallow; any sub plots with the characters go absolutely nowhere.

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This movie has some good actors but because of the script, they don’t have a lot to work with. Mark Wahlberg is completely miscast as a science teacher, he’s much better at tough guy roles and after watching his performance here you’ll understand why. He doesn’t seem to express much emotion here and to be honest, at times it looks like he’s a bit confused with the script; however that can lead to some unintentionally classic moments; check out the scene where he talks to a plant. Zooey Deschenal is a good actress but was unfortunately painful to watch here, she seemed to always have one blank expression on her face the whole time. There were no performances that lifted the film in being legitimately good; in fact the best performance is of a construction worker near the beginning that you see for less than 1 minute. I don’t blame the actors for the bad performances, I blame the script and the poor direction they were given.

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The cinematography is at times okay but there are some questionable moments; there is one painfully, painfully long close-up of Mark Wahlberg pleading with his group for time to think when trouble starts happening. Sometimes the camera is quite close to people’s faces that parts of their faces sometimes get cut off. There are also moments where the film literally tries to scare the audience with the wind, there are dramatic shots of people running and the grass around them is being blown by the wind. One thing I can say is legitimately good about this movie is the score.

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The Happening is not Shyamalon’s comeback and looking at his next two movies, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be happening for a while. Along with this movie at times being laughably bad, it just wasn’t that scary or very interesting. This movie is not very interesting and it’s a little boring at times. The Happening is called a movie that’s so bad it’s good; this movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but it’s quite bad. If you are going to watch this movie, don’t expect to be particularly scared or interested. However whatever you expect, don’t expect a great Shyamalon movie here.