Thursday, July 20, 2006

Night Falls

Since "Lady in the Water" comes out this week, I thought a little reflection on director and reported egomaniac M. Night Shyamalan was in order.

First of all, early word on "Lady" is very bad. I think the early consensus is "Dead in the Water." Since Night broke with Disney on this film, if it opens weak, the Disney chiefs will be seen as freakin' genius svengalis between their success in shooting Superman out of the sky last week and their smarts in dropping this bomb.

If the $75 million "Lady" doesn't bring in audiences, the folks at Warner Brothers will feel about the same as the folks in Beirut on Monday; Warners' expensive "Poseidon" sank in May, and "Seoperman" couldn't get off the ground. "Lady" is the last summer tentpole they have.

But, as everybody writes the epitaph for Night, I am going to recommend that you go out this weekend and rent or buy the charming and vastly underrated "Unbreakable," a wonderful interpretation of the superhero origin story as a mythological thumbnail sketch and a study in humanity. And Philly has never looked more hauntingly beautiful.

As bad as Night is when his ego gets away with him (and "The Village" was offensively bad), when he's good, the man is possessed of a brilliance. He may be in a rough patch on his way to becoming his generation's Spielberg, but whether he ever recovers, the guy was good once.

And speaking of being good again, Kevin Smith returns to the Quick Stop with a sequel to Clerks. I remember the first time I saw this movie. It was before Chasing Amy came out, but after Mall Rats, and one of my friends rented it and made a bunch of us watch it.

I was maybe 14 at the time. After the pervert clown View Askew title card, and the realization that the film was going to be in black and white, I was ready to go upside my friend's head, but by the time Caitlin Bree had sex with the corpse in the third act, I was totally with the movie.

I was disappointed with the early demise of the short-lived television show a few years back, and I enjoyed the cameos in the otherwise weak "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." So I'm looking forward to this and the early word sounds good. Apparently, a woman has sex with a donkey.

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