Friday, January 23, 2009

For your consideration...

That's right folks, it would appear that we are at least shin-deep into the annual marathon-death-march known as "award show season", and although "M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening" appears to have been snubbed by the Golden Globes and the Oscars, I was very pleased to learn that the film did not go totally unnoticed. That's right, yesterday it was announced that "The Happening" has been nominated for a very impressive total of 4 Golden Raspberry awards in the categories of Worst Picture, Actor, Director and Screenplay . In an increasingly heavily promoted event, the 29th annual "Razzie" awards will take place Feb. 21st, the night before the Oscars, where only the smelliest of Hollywood's 2008 output of excrement will be honored. I think our favorite little vege-terror flick is a strong contender, but there is some stiff competition including a Paris Hilton vehicle with a lot of buzz behind it. Anyway, you yourself can vote by becoming a member so come on, let's make sure that disaster gets the lack of respect it deserves!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Spielberg/Shyamalan smack-down!

Hey, I thought it would be fun to compare paralell scenes from two of last year's popcorn films as a way of contrasting the directorial styles of their creators. Sounds like a hoot, right?

Our hero is seeking refuge from evil commies, and in the most unlikely of places, he stumbles across a perfectly inviting suburban house. Upon entering the domicile he finds that there's something eerily off-putting about that perfection. In fact, upon closer inspection he notices that everything about this blissful abode is synthetic, right down to the grins on the mannequins that inhabit the place. But what... exactly, does this mean...? Suddenly sirens blare and the significance dawns on our hero. He has but seconds to react, and with only his cunning and lightening-quick reflexes, and only by the skin of his teeth, is he able to evade AN ATOMIC EXPLOSION OF EPIC PROPORTIONS!!!

Our heroes are seeking refuge from tree-gas, and in the most unlikely of places, they stumble across a perfectly inviting suburban house. Upon entering the domicile thy find that there's something eerily off-putting about that perfection. In fact, upon closer inspection they notice that everything about this blissful abode is synthetic, right down to the hollow television set and plasticized glasses of orange juice. But what... exactly, does this mean...? Only then does it occur to them that what they're standing in is actually a model home, the kind developers use to sell real estate, and all of this... apparently, doesn't really mean much to them. And so, after a few seconds of aimlessly informing us about Australian bacteria, they feel content that they've frittered away a satisfactory amount of screen-time without really advancing the drama or plot, and decide to mosey on out.
Okay, now let's try to distinguish the nuances of these cinematic approches. It seems to me that many of director Steven Spielberg's film-making choices are in the service of cheap thrills like suspense, action, character development, and storytelling, whereas M Night Shyamalan's decisions are here motivated by wanting to get his actors out from under the hot sun for a couple hours. Someone that thoughtful and courteous will always be a superior director in my book!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Martians! Attacking right here in the United States using their death saucers, wreaking havoc with their heat lasers, creating mass panic in the streets! How far will their insidious plan go?


A giant asteroid! Hurtling through space, knocking meteors from its path and sending them smashing through major New York skyscrapers in an orgy of fiery destruction. What will be the extent of the damage caused by this most unthinkable natural disaster?


Zombies! Consumed by a virus of pure rage, rampaging London, murdering indiscriminately, infecting all who survive. Maybe there's a way of keeping it all under control.


Not Paris! Beautiful Paris! The city of Lights, home to art, culture and mimes, OH GOD NO, WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE PARIS? Can you believe Paris? With its easily identifiable landmarks and citizens of the same easily relatable generally caucasian make-up as us in the States and yet who speak in an obviously foreign language so as to remind you how far spread is the umbrella of catastrophe, that Paris? It could have been Kyoto, or Hamburg, or New Delhi, or Khartoum, or Melbourne, or Reykjavik, but no, IT HAPPENED IN PARIS!

I was considering revealing the end to "M Night Shyamalan's the Happening", but I think I'll keep his secret safe for now.

Monday, November 10, 2008

When Plants Attack!

In M. Night Shyalaman's "The Happening", Plants finally get even with us veggie-neglecting humans by releasing a pine-fresh neuro-toxin into the air. When this goes down, here's what you should look for.

1. First you say something terribly banal TWICE. This is the "bore spore" kicking in, and it is quite effective.
2. Then YOU FREEZE IN PLACE!- unless, of course, you don't.
3. Then you SUDDENLY KILL YOURSELF! And by suddenly I mean that you patiently and politely wait your turn to kill yourself, 'cause if everyone just started killing themselves all at once it would just be ridiculous, wouldn't it.
Also you when the appropriate moment finally gets around to you, you'll probably want to consider committing suicide in a way that is specific/ironic to your chosen profession. This is to say, if you are a cop you'll shoot yourself with your city-issued handgun, if you are a gardener you'll hang yourself with a length of garden-hose, and if you are a "morning Zoo- Crew" D.J., you'll impale yourself on a slide-whistle.
4. Remember, you don't have to freeze or kill yourself if: you are the friend of someone freezing/killing themselves, you are the employer of someone freezing/killing themselves, or if you are videotaping someone freezing/killing themselves.
5. Also, we know for a fact that the plants only unleash their evil on those in large groups, so if you're alone you're basically safe. Well except for that one girl in her room who was on the phone with her mom, and also that old lady at the end, but I think that was because the plant gas had gotten super strong... which, um, doesn't explain why it didn't affect- Y'know, just ignore the group rule, it never made much sense anyway.
6. The only thing that will allow you to survive a plant attack is love, TRUE LOVE- or at least strong feelings of affection. Or possibly just a sense of companionship and/or routine. I think. Actually, the two leads seemed like they'd be much better off without eachother. But their love stopped it. Right? Maybe the plants felt sorry for them, or maybe they were just punishing the rest of us by keeping those two alive, I dunno, I was a little sketchy on this point also.
7. So... ah, in conclusion- huh, where was I?...
Beware and take care!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Kiddie Flick?

I have a theory regarding suspense thriller films. It states that the level of their quality is directly proportional to how easily the exact same film could not have been conceived, staged, and executed by nine-year-olds with a borrowed camcorder. "North by Northwest" for instance, features adult themes of lust and paranoia, an artful chase scene involving an airplane, and a finale precariously staged on Mt. Rushmore. I can think of only a few third-graders capable of pulling that off. Lets see how "M Night Shaymalan's the Happening" stacks up based on these standards: the film is set against the dramatic backdrop of... a grassy field in Nowhere, Pennsylvania, its action consists nearly entirely of... characters desperately trying to evade the wind, and it builds tension throughout with many, many ominous shots of... trees gently swaying in the breeze. Result: NOT SO GOOD. It's actually not too much of a stretch to imagine the film, stripped of its musical score and classy filmstock, as being concocted by a group of precocious tikes, budding auteurs inspired by a recent earth-day class to create a grand youtube opus. Even the film's most R-rated scene, involving some rube in a lion cage, could have been just as easily enacted with a lethargic great dane and a little ketchup. Shaymalan's defense of "Lady in the Water" was that it was based on a bedtime story he told his children ("C'mon, I was really tired that night!"), Is it possible he went one step further with "happening" and actually stole one his kids' movie ideas? If so, even they can never be forgiven.

Friday, July 18, 2008

How bad is the acting in M Night Shaymalan's the Happening?

The acting is so bad, that the least irritating, most dignified performance in whole film is given by John Leguizamo. Yes, this John Leguizamo: