Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Full Length Lady in the Water

I was alerted yesterday by a cohort of mine, that the full length trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s next film, Lady in the Water has hit the internet.

I’ve been dubious of this project since I first blogged about it, over a year ago. The teaser for this thing was a geniune head scratcher, but after catching more glimpses of the film, my uncertainty has been replaced by genuine curiosity.

I will say this, the new longer trailer makes the film look far more promising that the initial teaser did. Shyamalan has always had a way with the camera, and there are a couple of shots in here that are stunning. The overhead shot of the swimming pool at night is terrifying, and I also love the later overhead shot with the tenants standing around it. (If you pause your quicktime and use your arrows to scroll through the frames in slo mo, there is something white in the water….mayhaps the lady!) I was intrigued when Paul Giamatti’s character was shown finding the circular portal while under water. I’m fond of the idea of a doorway to another world resting at the bottom of a swimming pool in a dreary apartment complex. Also Bryce Dallas Howard, who I thought was quite good in The Village, seems like a near perfect casting choice for the sea nymph role here. She has this eerie haunting beauty that makes her look other worldly. As for Giamatti, this isn’t exactly his typical sort of movie he always puts in a good performance. It’ll be interesting to see him in a genre piece.

What I’m not so sure about are those creatures that threaten the sea nymph and her people. Are they actual wolves or fairy tale monsters? Or maybe it’s just some of the neighborhood kids running around in furry costumes and scaring people in an attempt to keep their community intact. (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself)

Beyond whether or not the conflict of the story in LITW will work, the more important issue lie in how it will affect Shyamalan’s reputation as a film maker. I have a tremendous amount of respect for this man and his work. Besides Sixth Sense, which was universally lauded and loved, I was a big fan of both Unbreakable and Signs. But Shyamalan’s popularity seems to have faded as his films have gone on and took a sharp plummet after The Village. (Many hated The Village, I wasn’t one of those people, I thought it was misguided but OK) It seems that LITW will seal his fate. I’m almost as curious as to what the general audience reaction will be as I am to see the movie itself.

The real looming question here is, will there be a twist ending? It is Shyamalan’s wacky twist endings that have become his signature trademark over the years. All of his recent works, with arguably the exception of Signs, have had a big reveal at the end. But what was once considered genius (in Sixth Sense) became perceived as a gimmick (The Village). I think the biggest surprise Shyamalan could give his fans here is to forgo his traditional ending, and rely solely on his masterful storytelling.


Blogger DoorFrame said...

Whenever this movie is dicussed, I have to bring back Nacho's quote which still makes me laugh:

"After seeing the trailer I remember saying to a friend next to me, 'what's the surprise? she's actually a merMAN?'"

I would be the happiest person alive if that were the true ending.

10:57 AM  
Blogger The Coen Bros. said...

The problem with his films is that M. Night makes the same films over and over and over and over again. They have the same feel, the same look, the "twist", plus he always acts in his films, which leads me to belive he has a huge ego. Christ, he put himself into that trailer. There is little to no variety.

Look, a lot of directors have a look and a feel. I can turn on a film and know it is Scorsese or whoever. But for some reason M. Night doesn't seem to grow from film to film. They all just feel the same.

As this trailer, I say it again. I can't wait to see it so I can laugh at how terrible it will be.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous crazymonk said...

You say that Signs "arguably" had a twist. I'd say it did. It went something like: "God exists" and "Aliens are stupid." I've never seen a movie go so fast from good to bad than Signs. If you want to see a good thriller involving religion with a twist, watch "Frailty."

The Village was the first movie of his where the twist was obvious in the first ten minutes (at least for me). At least with The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, I enjoyed the ride.

12:15 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

I do not think that all his films have the same exact feel and tone at all. Each of his films has mirrored elements of the genres they fell in. Sixth Sense a ghost story, Unbreakable a comic book story, Signs, a science fiction story, and The Village a period piece. They each had their own feel if you ask me.

As for Signs, the twist I suppose was that Mel Gibson's wife wasn't spouting nonsense, but an important message, but it still didn't FEEL like the twists in his other movies. I think you're too harsh on it crazy monk. But I do like Frailty. A lot.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

frailty fucked me up.

the only other thing i wanted to contribute is this: so what if he includes himself in his movies? so what if he includes himself in the trailer? would you criticize woody allen, kevin smith or spike lee for that?

1:25 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

I don't mind that he has cameos. The only role I found a bit much for him was the role he cast himself in, in Signs.

1:38 PM  
Blogger The Coen Bros. said...

Woody Allen is great in movies. He writes the movies around himself and they don't detract from the film. Kevin Smith does it for comedic effect and has a fan base for it (and yes, he detracts from the film). Spike Lee was great in Do the Right Thing, but his ego is pretty large as well, which is why I believe he puts himself in movies. But M. Night in his films is a HUGE distraction. In the Village, everyone in my theater laughed when they saw it was him. This in a suspense movie and in the middle of a "big" twist moment. It's like Spielberg being one of the aliens at the end of Close Encounters. Or Hitchcock being the doctor at the end of Physco. If you want to have a cute little walk by cameo, fine. But stop playing major roles in your serious suspense films. Which, by the way, all feel the same.

And new yorker, you ask if there will be a twist in this next film. Are you joking? That is all M. Night has going for him. THe only way he can make a film without a twist is under a fake name. He's painted himself into a corner. If he doesn't do it, people will get pissed because they will watch the film waiting for it and it will never come. If he does, then people complain that he always has a twist. The problem is, again, all his films are the same. Will he have a twist? Is Mel Gibson bat shit crazy?

1:48 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Once again, I'll revert back to Signs as an example of a film he made, where he sort of skirted the twist issue. Plus he's a rich man with clout in hollywood, and I'm sure has a fair amount of control on his movies. Maybe he has in fact realized he's put himself in a corner and wants to break out.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous crazymonk said...

Maybe a better word to apply to Signs is "epiphany" rather than "twist." Nevertheless, it was presented the same way: close-ups of the character in question thinking intensely while images from earlier in the film are overlayed.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous The Rodenator said...

I was a huge M. Knight fan, not so much due to The Sixth Sense, which I have only seen once years ago, but due to Unbreakable (which I think is his masterpiece) and Signs.

However, The Village really pissed me off. (Village Spoiler warning.) During the first shot of the film (or actually the aeirial one looking down on the mourners at the grave) which I saw with New Yorker and The Coen Bros., I was taking a breath to tun to TCB and say "The twist is it is current day." Then I saw the date on the tombstone and thought, "Oh I guess not." Silly me, I guess those villagers wanted to fool me too.

I couldn't make heads or tails of this trailer. What the heck is going on? I might just have to watch it again, as it confused me so. New Yorker, I too thought that the weird wolf dog creatures might be people dressed up. I didn't notice M. Knight in the trailer, I guess I'll have to rewatch it for that. Maybe it is just their complexions, but M. Knight's acting really reminds me of David Blaine. His silly shakes as he talks about hitting the wife in Signs made me think he had been kept in a ball of water for a week.

Onto Kevin Smith another director whose ealier films I loved whom I now hate: Silent Bob was cool when he was a mnor character who spoke only when necessary, rather than a main character who goes to all possible lengths to avoid speaking. The character itself is annoying and Kevin Smith has nowhere near the acting chops to pull such a character off.

I imagine there will be some sort of twist or at least a surprise ending to this latest M. Knight film. However I do not think Mel Gibson is bat shit crazy. Now the dude who shot his character in Lethal Weapon 2, then snidely held up his credentials at Danny Glover's character and sneered "Diplomatic Immunity." That guy was bat shit crazy.

3:27 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Shyamalan was one of the perplexed looking tenants of the apartment building looking up into the sky/camera with his family and a look of wonder/fear/awe on his face.

I too suspected the twist in The Village early on. However, I continue to preach on the fact that if the film had been marketed completely differently, and no one had known it was directed by M Night, it would have been considered mind blowing. M Night has become his own worst enemy. His own name is a tip off to the fact that something is amiss. He should start ghost directing projects to continue to get the effect he wants.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous The Rodenator said...

If I didn't think M. Knight had directed The Village, would I have thought that he was blowing the casting director:?

4:27 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Don't be crass.

4:31 PM  
Blogger DoorFrame said...

Yeah, I'm the crass one.


9:32 PM  

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