Tag Archives: m night shyamalan

Movie Review – Split (2017)

Oh my God, 3.5 readers.

After sucking for so many years, M. Night Shyamalan has returned to making good movies again.

It’s a Shyamalan renaissance!  A Shyamalan-aissance!

BQB here with a review of the horror thriller Split.

The year was 1999.  The Sixth Sense starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment premiered.  For most of the film’s run time, it seemed like a pretty decent film.  Not below average.  Not above average.  Just decent enough until…OMG!!!  Super mega did not see that coming at all surprise ending that fits with the whole movie, whoa!

And thus, director M. Night Shama…shamalama….whatever.  His career was born.

Alas, rather than try new and different things, M. Night just put himself on a quest to recreate that amazing Sixth Sense twist:

mknight

But it never happened.  While Signs was a good film, all his other post Sixth Sense films sucked the big one.  The twists were ridiculous, absurd, and just crowbarred in as if to say, “Hey look!  I’m M. Night and I’m the twist guy!  Don’t you love my twists?”

The evidence speaks for itself:

2004 – The Village – Super dumbass twist.

2006 – Lady in the Water – Incredibly shitty twist.

2008 – The Happening – The plants were the villains all along?  OK.  Go home, M. Night.  You’re drunk!

I’d long written M. Night off as a one (maybe two) hit wonder but low and behold, he’s back in a big way with Split and it’s about damn time, M. Night Shabadu.  About damn time indeed.

The setup – Three high school girls are kidnapped and locked in a basement room by a psychopath with multiple personalities played by James McAvoy.  At various intervals, McAvoy enters the room, each time pretending to be a whole other person.  Some of these personalities are friendly, others more dangerous.

Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) is usually made fun of by Claire and Marcia, but now that they are all captives, Casey, who knows about pain and suffering all too well, is in her element.  If anyone has a chance to save the day, it’s her, but will she be able to?

Meanwhile, Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley), the madman’s psychiatrist, suspects her patient might be up to something, but can’t quite put her finger on it.  Will she be able to piece the mystery together before it’s all too late?

Plus, there’s an overall message to the movie – are people who have suffered pain stronger than those who haven’t?

An amazing performance by James McAvoy.  He shows great Oscar potential here with his ability to convincingly turn into other people.  It’s funny because he still looks the same, yet he is so good at taking on the various personalities that you almost begin to believe they’re real.

The suspense!  The thrills!  The chills!  M. Night’s first non-shitty movie since the Clinton administration!

Are there twists in this film?  Yes.  Many.  Will I tell you what they are?  No.  But the best part is they aren’t crowbarred and slammed in haphazardly in so many other films where M. Night tried to recreated his Sixth Sense glory.

The man has finally learned to let the twists flow naturally.  In fact, the biggest twist of this film is that it is directed by M. Night Shamalamadingdong and it does not suck.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Rent it today!  Oh, M. Night!  I’m so glad you don’t suck anymore!  I always knew you had it in you to stop sucking.  It was unfortunate that this movie was released in January, because January movies tend to come and go without much interest from the public.  I do believe this film will likely grow a following via word of mouth as people start to rent it.  Crack a beer, M. Night.  It’s the first one you’ve deserved since 1999.

 

 

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“Throwing Out George RR Martin” Isn’t a Good Thing

Sonia Saraiya of Salon.com argues that the television version Game of Thrones’ upcoming deviation from George RR Martin’s books is a good thing.

I have to disagree.

I agree that sometimes everything in a book won’t transfer well to television.

On the other hand, while GRRM didn’t invent the fantasy genre, he is a pioneer of a sub-genre, namely – “Fantasy for Adults.”  His career is one of the many reasons why we have books set in fantasy worlds where the hero doesn’t always save the day, unicorns don’t talk, and all sorts of chicanery ensues, thus keeping the attention of the adult reader.

So while it’s understood the show creators might feel necessary to deviate from the source material, let’s not cast GRRM aside as if he’s some kind of bumbling old-timer.

“Plans” and “life” are two concepts that do not get along.  In life, you might get up everyday and work toward a plan.  You and your friends cheer yourself along.  Then one day – boom – an accident, a catastrophic illness, or some other unforeseen event happens and that’s it.  Goodbye plan.  Adios progress that was being celebrated and cheered on.

We cheered on Robb Stark as the inexperienced underdog won victory after victory against the veteran and fully bankrolled Tywin Lannister.  We hoped this progress would eventually lead to a final battle in which Robb emerges victorious and the North becomes a separate state.

That was the plan…and then…bam!  Throat cut at a wedding…just moments after the host went out of his way to make the Starks feel welcomed and assured them that there were no hard feelings about his daughters being dissed.

Like the gambler who hides an ace up his sleeve, that trick should only work once.  OK GRRM.  We’re onto you now.  You won’t lull us in to a false sense of security again.  We know you’re up to something and…oh hey look.  The Viper just beat the Mountain….good for him…OH MY GOD!!!

M. Night Shyamalan knocked our socks off with the twist at the end of The Sixth Sense.  I remember watching it, thinking it was an ok but average, mediocre movie until…OH MY GOD!  BRUCE WILLIS’ CHARACTER WAS DEAD THE WHOLE TIME!  (Shut up, you’ve had so long to watch that movie, spoilers, schmoilers).

Shyamalan then went on to attempt to recreate that twist in a series of movies that fizzled.

The Village – the monsters in the old timey village are just people who dress up to scare the people from wandering off and realizing that the village exists as an enclave in the modern world.  BOOO!  DUMB!

The Happening  – the plague killing off the world was created by plants, their revenge for the way they are treated by humans.  BOO!  STUPID TWIST!  STOP MAKING MOVIES!  BOO!

Shyamalan just could not recreate that first brilliant twist.  GRRM keeps doing it again and again.  That is why he’s brilliant.

I’m not saying the show will be terrible as it starts to move away from GRRM’s books….but the show runners do have some enormous shoes to fill.

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