Regard! The impenetrable wall that separates celebrity from reality:
The obtuseness of Shyamalan in his response illustrates the problem many popular artists face. Shyamalan's debut was the stuff of legend. A sharp film brilliantly conceived and realized. And to this point not a film has been able to compare to it since. Sure the three immediate successors had sparks.
"Unbreakable" in many ways is a superior film to "The Sixth Sense" because it did not rely on the twist for an emotionally satisfying conclusion. But it's dialogue at various points is leaden. The performances lacked spark, save for Samuel L. Jackson. And Jackson's bristling, brooding, vengeful bit of villainy illuminated the screen at every turn.
But neither "Signs" nor "The Village" had a performance that could match Jackson's in "Unbreakable." I'll hold off commenting on "Lady in the Water" because I elected not to see it. I endured "The Happening" which brilliantly illustrates the failure of storytelling. That turgid steaming pile of excretory excess was the final straw to me.
The phrase I chose to note the deficiencies in the film was that Shyamalan hasn't had to sing for his soup since "The Sixth Sense." Rather than conceive a story that allows a realistic and frightening depiction of a naturally occurring plague, Shyamalan sent Mark Wahlberg and friends traipsing about Pennsylvania running from the wind. While man vs. nature is an intense dramatic consideration, most audiences identify with protagonists that use their ingenuity to overcome the ceaseless onslaught of nature's fury.
The failure of "The Happening" stems from the helplessness of our protagonists in a situation described best as ludicrous. Early in the film, Shyamalan carelessly hinted at a big payoff by including a looming nuclear power plant. What a thrilling conclusion if the Wahlberg character was forced to prevent the meltdown of a nuclear plant by a suicidal worker who felt that was the ideal way to end his life. Instead the shotgun stays on the wall and the crisis passes without explanation of resolution. It just happened.
That thematic betrayal is indefensible. A storyteller can tell the story any way he or she chooses. But certain rules about respecting audiences allow for continued employment as a storyteller. Shyamalan would do well to review those rules.
Returning to the clip. The question poses boils down to how do you recapture an audience that has lost its confidence with your ability. In effect, they don't trust you anymore to follow the rules of good storytelling. Shyamalan attempts to refute the assertion by saying he does not perceive his audience that way. He's long bristled at criticism - taking an inelegant shot at critics in "Lady in the Water". By denying the validity of criticism he continues in his insular paradise where all his films are brilliant, all his work is appreciated and all his stories work.
Caveat emptor, film goers.no comments
Horse Racing once stood atop the pinnacle of American sporting pursuits. The sport of kings, a competition relying not on human strength and skill, but instead the brute power of a beast, controlled by the skill of a man who steered the critter to victory and in some cases immortality. The names of prized Thoroughbreds were once household names: Man O'War, Secretariat, Affirmed. The sport translates poorly to television, where the thrill of a radio announcer calling out the leaders at various points along the course is replaced by the vision of a pack of horses almost entirely indistinguishable from each other stampeding around an oval track.
For the Kentucky Derby, the slow down has resulted in a greater focus on it, the signature jewel in the Triple Crown. To win at Churchill Downs is still prestigious. And the Belmont Stakes will draw the eye of casual observers if and only if some horse has triumphed in the first two races. That leaves the Preakness. The middle kid. Sleighted by its siblings, underloved, under appreciated and challenged for relevancy. Two of my blogospheric buds have taken notice of Saturday's race. The irrepressible slanch noted the new marketing campaign aimed at the youths who couldn't be bothered to visit Pimlico last year. Note to race organizers, kids like drinking, so more booze, more kids.
Aaron Torres recounts his own experiences in Maryland, where believe it or not, he was unable to verify the existence of the actual races.
Either way, three years removed from my first Preakness, I'm glad to say I went. Glad to say that I got to experience it in its truest form, before rules and regulations limited one of the best events on the calendar.What makes Pimlico intriguing is that the nature of popular culture places particular pressures on bridge events. And frequently those middles are worthy of the challenge. The signature sequel that exceeded the movie it followed was The second chapter of the Godfather. The youngest child suffered in comparisons to its elder siblings of much renown. A similar fate befell Return of the Jedi, which never could match the brilliance of either the good Star Wars nor the exceptional Empire Strikes Back. Recently the middle story has spelled the doom of latter sequels as the weight of continuing past greatness while setting up future brilliance has proven too great a burden to bear. Whether it's sports film franchises like Major League, or the Mighty Ducks or fantastical tales of adventures past (Pirates of the Caribbean) or future (The Matrix) being second was worse than being Malcolm in the Middle.
The 2007 and 2008 Preakness Stakes will go down as two of the funnest sporting events I've ever attended in person.
Who cares if I barely saw a horse.
There is hope, though. Two summers past, Chris Nolan gave us the Dark Knight, a sequel so stunningly superior to its predecessor that its partisans heralded it as the finest film of the year. (It was close, I preferred Wall-E myself) So Preankness planners take heart. Your well-deserved entry into the A-list is close. You need merely to re-animate Heath Ledger dress him as the Joker and set him loose on the unsuspecting infield
Why so serious?no comments
The latest Twilight Movie has a trailer announcing its premiere on June 30th. The trailer provided the Orlando Sentinel's Roger Moore an opportunity to opine on what will become of Robert Pattinson.
...having seen a couple of Pattinson films outside of his Twilight role, that the kid may not have it. He's getting the opportunities, but like Julia Roberts, early in her career, his success in a part seems inordinately tied to the height of his hair and whether the part allows him to brood and flex his jaw in deep, dark reflection.
He plays the lighter scenes in Remember Me with all the comic acumen of Bela Lugosi. How to Be was even more of a tone-deaf turn.
It may be that his range is limited, that the abrupt changes of tone and in his character may be a product of the script or the editing. But it may be that the fangs are what make the man.
I've endured his performances in both Twilight movies, How To Be and the fourth Harry Potter film. His role was so limited in the Goblet of Fire as to make it difficult to assess his skills as an actor. And as a kid among giants (literally in the case of that film) of British cinema, nerves are to be expected. The trio at the heart of the Harry Potter films are just shaking off those nerves six films in.
But Twilight is his franchise. And his contribution is effectively non-existent.
Sure he's dealing with a post-modern vegan take on the vampire genre, where the brood to blood ratio is maximized. With little range required, his performances fit the preferred theme. Safe. There are points throughout the films where one wishes someone, anyone would treat Edward Cullen like the Godfather did with Johnny Fontaine. Smack him some and tell him he can be a man. But Stephenie Meyer did not create a manly vampire at the center of Bella's obsession. And so the limits we see with Pattinson may be specific to the film.
That doesn't however explain How To Be. And no matter how hard I have tried to purge the recollection of those wasted minutes from my mind I can't. The film borders on unintelligible. Pattinson brings nothing to the role. He broods. He mopes. He's ineffective at communication. He wants to be different, but really, he can't be. There's no moment of clarity where an epiphany shows him a new path. But by the films end he appears different. And the viewer could care less. Whatever warm feelings we could have felt towards the character vanished before the first act ended.
Playing social misfits can have a powerful effect on a young actors career, by demonstrating their range, to go from manic to mopey, sad to glad to mad in a single scene. Pattinson didn't show any such range. He lived down to the Shakespearean description of a poor player, as he strutted and fretted his hour upon the stage. The next line of the Sonnet describes what may lay ahead for Pattinson.no comments