Short Night

I tried to come up with some sports related reason to review The Happening, but there really isn’t one, so I’ll dispense with the pretense. For those who haven’t heard, the new M. Night Shyamalan movie pulled down a putrid 20% on the tomato-meter. The new Hitchcock has been accused of unleashing a ‘career-ender‘ on the movie going public. Early buzz has been bad, and some of the acting (I’m looking at you Marky “I can’t be believable as being from Boston in the Departed despite actually being from Boston” Mark) was rumored to be awful.

In the interest of full disclosure, I love Shyamalan movies. Signs is one of my all time favorites. I thought Unbreakable was genius. I thought Lady in the Water was beautiful. I really liked the Village and 6th Sense. I know the critics killed some of those movies, but they were all right in my wheelhouse (especially Signs which might be the most personally emotionally resonant movie I’ve ever seen). M. Night is one of my favorite film makers, and as a huge Hitchcock fan, I freely admit that I like this genre more than most people.

With all that out of the way, let me start by saying that The Happening is a good movie. It isn’t a flawless movie. It’s certainly the least impressive of his slate to date; but it is a good movie. The concept was original, the film making was excellent as usual. The lead actors were good (notably an under-used John Leguizamo), and even Zooey Deschanel (who single-handledly killed the Sci-Fi mini-series Tin Man) was more than competent. The movie was suspenseful throughout, with moments of humor and the typical Shyamalan brand of horror (the idea of what was happening was scarier than the execution). Quite frankly, if this movie had been made by anyone else or if it had been an under the radar release like 6th Sense, it would not have gotten the negative press. Shyamalan savaged the critics in Lady in the Water, and they have not been kind in return. If you are a fan of his movies, you may not count The Happening as your favorite flick, but you won’t hate it either. If you’ve been disappointed by previous M. Night trailers that promised horror and gore, but gave suspense and introspection, then you’ll be similarly upset with this entry in his canon.

I have my criticisms, mostly that there was the opportunity to have a truly creepy ‘point’ set up by a class room speech in the first 10 minutes. Shyamalan abandoned the more mature, vague point for an overly preachy one which drained the last 10 minutes of the film of some of the really scary consequences of the sort which made The Village a truly disturbing movie if you thought about the implications. There were minor things that could have elevated this film to the same level as his others, but in all it was much closer to a brilliant film than to a bomb. Despite not being my favorite work of his, the writer/director/best boy grip/makeup artist/animal handler Shyamalan gave us a movie with some surprisingly haunting images that are unique and lasting and a movie that leaves you waiting for the bomb under the table to go off. If you like the kind of movie where the waiting is more the point than the explosion, then you’ll enjoy this film. If you just want the carnage, then forget it.

And sports…um, Mark Whalberg is a huge Celtics fan…um, Game 6. Uh, yeah, I still got nothing. Sorry.

LINKS:
Colvin is set to sign with Texas. This is why I didn’t get all that excited about this months ago. It always seemed like a long shot for him to come to Indy. I don’t think the brass feels they need him. The link originally came from Profootballtalk, who I won’t hyperlink to because I’m still protesting Floria’s moronic handling of the Harrison situation.

The DA wants more evidence collected in the Harrison case. Oh ok. Seven weeks later go back and get more evidence? This case is stalled out and this is the first sign it’s going away. Essentially this means that as of now they don’t have enough for any kind of charges to be brought. Somehow I doubt that’s going to change at this late date.

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