Hey folks, Harry here... I'm off to New York to see if I can get into that Screening Of STAR WARS on Thursday at the Tribeca thingamagig... If you have an extra seat, drop me a line at Harry@AintItCool.Com!!! Yeah, I've seen it once... You didn't think that was enough did ya? Well, it ain't like I'm gonna be seeing this one soon! Here's Mysterio and a whole bunch of other folks all raving about SIGNS... sissafrassafrissafrasss....
Hey Harry, "Mysterio" here. Opting out of terrorizing the ‘Spider-man’ premiere in Westwood this past Monday night, I opted to instead set my sights on crashing another party – the first public screening of the latest M. Night Shymalan film, ‘SIGNS’. I wanted to see this film before too much word got out on it and spoiled the film, and with any test screening, it doesn’t take too long for that to happen as seen from previous reports that have been flooding the ‘net just hours after the screening. But fear not, this review won’t spoil it for you if you’ve already seen the trailers, which do a good job of doing what a trailer should do – and that’s to tease you, NOT tell you. So let’s get on with it shall we?
M. Night Shyamalan knows what scares us, especially those things that go bump in the night. These are the primal fears that have plagued our psyche since childhood - the shadows we see leering around corners, the strange noises coming from upstairs, and that monster that we’re convinced that hides either in the closet or underneath our beds.
These very same childhood fears that we once had as children are again brought to the surface in the latest offering from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan in the sci-fi, dramatic thriller, ‘SIGNS’.
Mel Gibson stars as Graham Hess, a recently widowed father of two, living on a small, rural farm in Bucks, County, just forty-five miles outside Philadelphia. When we first meet Graham, we quickly learn of his grief and pain in not fully being able to accept the death of his beloved wife who just six months prior was killed in a reckless auto accident. It’s also this same pain that torments his very soul and causes him to question his beliefs so much that he resigns his holy title as Father from his local church, and is adamant that no one address his as such.
His brother, Merrill (played by Joaquin Phoenix) soon moves into the family’s farmhouse to fill the void and help Graham cope with his loss while helping raise his two young children – son Morgan, and daughter Bo.
Its Graham’s two very children who, one morning, discover a mysterious crop circle just mere yards outside their doorstep. Confused and bewildered, Graham believes it to be some bizarre prank, possibly crafted and executed by the neighbor’s son and his friends, while Merrill suspects it was done by "nerds who don’t have girlfriends, and want to be famous."
But those theories are soon abolished as abnormal and unexplainable things begin to occur around them. Their two dogs suddenly become aggressive and hostile towards them, Bo complains that the tap water is contaminated and son Morgan begins to pick up a strange frequency from a baby monitor.
Graham too, soon begins to see and hear the sounds of shadowy, obscured figures moving around in the dark and rustling amongst the corn stalks in his field. Shoeless Joe Jackson it ain’t and this is no field of dreams for Graham.
As the mystery of the crop circles are revealed, the threat soon increases, leaving Graham and his family trapped within their home all the while forcing them to protect and defend themselves from the mysterious, looming threat that surrounds their home outside.
If this review feels like I’m leaving quite a bit out, it’s because I am. There’s something about going into this movie cold - meaning the less you know about it, the better off your viewing experience will be. Not to say that the film has any big twist ending like ‘The Sixth Sense’ or ‘Unbreakable’, because thankfully it doesn’t. Shymalan instead does away with the gimmick, smartly saving himself from quickly becoming a one-trick-pony, and focuses more on the story and characters as in helping bring his script to the screen.
The cast is excellent all round. Gibson turns in another great performance as the emotionally pained Graham, and is wonderfully supported by Phoenix who helps add humor and believably to the family unit in peril. The two children, both Morgan and Bo (played by Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin) shine in their roles and are a precious find. Culkin infuses both innocence and intelligence in Morgan and shows great promise as a child actor in the same way that Haley Joel Osment did in ‘The Sixth Sense’. And Breslin as "Bo" is about as adorable as they come playing the youngest Hess family member. Not unlike Spielberg before him, Shymalan shows real strength as a director in getting the best possible performances out of his child actors.
Shymalan also knows how direct suspense and after his past two previous efforts, comes full circle in completing his "Philadelphia trilogy". He plays on your fears, and opts to show you less, which ultimately gives you more. But that doesn’t mean he cops out by not showing you anything. This is by far scarier and creepier than ‘The Sixth Sense’ and makes for a perfect date movie. Cinematographer, Tak Fujimoto makes great use of shadow and light, adding to the suspense, as does the sound design, which plays an integral part in the film as well. Not since Robert Wise’s ‘The Haunting’ has such use of sound and shadows been so effective in scaring it’s audience out of their seat, including this reviewer who’s not so easily manipulated by today’s conventional Hollywood horror/suspense-thrillers.
‘Signs’ is a well-crafted thriller that Hollywood hasn’t seen in years, delivering on all the thrills and chills it promises and more. This is one of the year’s best films, one not to be missed. Look for ‘Signs’ everywhere near you this August 2nd.
Next is the ejaculatory SOULPATCH...
I just saw M.Night's film SIGNS on Monday in Marina Del Ray. WOW, what a movie. Better than sixth sense, better than unbreakable. This guy keeps getting better and better. He is a master storyteller. His talent for creating characters, his ability to bring up small facts in the movie and turn them into very important moments is unsurpassed. M.Night has this uncanny ability to create characters that you root for until the bitter end. You feel for Graham Hess(Mel Gibson), you want to see Merrill Hess kick ass, you can't help but just smile when you see that adorable little girl. You can't take one bit of information for granted, it all means something. The trailer or the teasers can't do this movie justice. Is this movie about aliens? Is this movie about crop circles? You are just going to have to wait to see what it is really about. I can say the movie was very funny. I was so surprised how much the audience laughed. The movie was scary, there were many moments when people jumped out of their seats.The introduction of the final scene kicked ass. People just freaked out. The movie was suspenseful, thought provoking.I wouldn't have expect anything less from my man M.Night. After the viewing, my friends and I talked about the film for awhile, so many layers, so many hidden meanings. This viewing was such a treat.
As if the movie wasn't good enough, afterwards we also got to see Michael Eisner and M.Night. They were both outside the theater milling about. They were both smiling from ear to ear, obviously the overwhelming positive feedback from the audience pleased them greatly.. When you can move a group of people to cry,laugh and scream you have a winner and that is what Disney has, a real winner.
Oh by the way, there was nothing wrong with M.Night appearing in the film. Granted, this is the biggest part he has given himself in one of his movies but I think he did a good job. His departing line got a good laugh and then a "holy shit" whisper from the audience. It was a first for me to hear cheers go up when a director appeared on screen. It made me smile. It took nothing away from the film. It is a well crafted movie with likeable characters and a gripping story.
what a major ass kicking summer this is going to be. oh the glory of it all
call me SOULPATCH
Next up is Rollo Tomasi's which has some minor spoilers...
I saw the screening of Signs last night in Marina Del Ray. I am a big fan of M. Night's previous two films, especially Unbreakable, which I think is absolutely incredible. I have to say that among his three blockbusters, Signs is probably the weakest. That's not to say that it isn't an excellent thriller, but it just doesn't compare to The Sixth Sense or Unbreakable in the end. My initial reaction was that the movie was great, but the more I have thought about it, the more problems I have with the ending.
The movie opens great, just as all of Night's films do, with Mel Gibson discovering crop circles on his farm. The movie slowly reveals who put them there and why. The story focuses on Gibson and his family dealing with an invasion. It is War of the Worlds played out in one home, and it plays great. This whole story plays out beautifully- I love the way Night paces his films. I know some people will think this movie moves too slow, just like they said about Unbreakable. But I feel that the pacing in his films is absolutely perfect- he is slowly building suspense.
The movie is absolutely terrifying. I was literally on the edge of my seat throughout the last hour or so of the movie. There are a few scares throughout the film that made me, and the rest of the packed audience jump out of our seats, screaming and laughing. The movie is also very, very funny, and the comedy feels very organic to the situation. The acting is superb by all involved, especially by Jouaqui Phoenix, who was absolutely hilarious.
The problem with the film is that Mel Gibson plays a pastor who has lost his faith in god- this is maybe Mel's finest performance, but this crisis in faith leads to an ending that many people will have problems with. The ending of Signs is not a twist like Night's first two films, which is a welcome change. The problem is that the ending is kind of weak, and pretty contrived. It all becomes about Mel regaining his faith- and that is where it becomes weak. The ending is not terrible, but it also will make a lot of people dislike the movie.
Overall, this is a movie that I highly recommend. The last ten minutes were the only point where I had problems with the film, but other than that Signs is quite a ride. It's something to look forward to at the end of the summer. It is more proof that Night is an incredible young filmmaker, quickly developing into one of the great storytellers. I think in a lot of ways he is the next Spielberg.
I talked to Night after the screening, and I asked him if he would ever do an Unbreakable 2- he just shook his head and said, "I don't think so." I was disappointed- I think Unbreakable was made to have a sequel. But I guess he just wants to make original material throughout his career- I guess that is why he dropped out of writing Indy 4.
Call me Rollo Tomassi.
Next we have an excellent spoiler free review from The Guy Who Cannot Get Out Of Going To Detroit For A Wedding!!!
Ok, I've never sent a report in before, but I thought for once I really have something to add to the discussion. It might be wordy, so feel free to cut out the extraneous stuff. I saw the screening last night of Signs at the Marina Del Rey Loews (a truly ugly theatre). I, of course, had high expectations from this film and must say that the film exceeded them. I once heard that if a film can truly elicit an emotion from an audience, it will be a hit. Well this film delivers on three levels.
1. It's funny. Very funny. Funnier than Austin Powers 3, Scary Movie 3, and Men in Black 2 could possibly be. With the exception of a couple really jokey parts, the humor is based on the severity of the situation and really helps the audience relate to what's going on. Ok, that sounds too dry. But so many things work so great. The daughter's inability to finish a glass of water, Joaquin Phoenix's tv-in-the-closet hideaway, Mel Gibson's inability to comfortably curse, and of course when the bookstore owner shouts, "13" at the top of his lungs when a cola commercial comes on. These are just scratching the surface of the great humor this movie contains.
2. It's scary. Very scary. Not loud noises and endless false suprises startling, but truly unsettling. Your skin crawls more from what is implied than what is shown. The creepiest, going-to-make-me-an-adult-spend-hours-wide-awake moment doesn't even involve the characters in the film. It's a video clip shown on the news in the film that is truly disturbing. There is little gore in the film and less true violence. But it's scary nonetheless, and will make many a child and adult look out their window on a dark night with trepedation and has sworn me off baby monitors forever.
3. It's touching. Ultimately, this is a film about a family that stays together despite all of their problems and the fact that the end of the world may or may not be nigh. It's about a minor league pitcher who's dreams were crushed and has no clue what to do with his life now. It's about a Reverend who has disappointed a town and his own family when his wife's death shatters his faith - not only in God but himself. It's about a family learning to trust each other again when after the person they rely on the most - the mother - has disappeared. That's what this movie is about, the rest is just a backdrop.
A few caveats.
1. Don't expect a twist. There may or may not be one. Frankly it doesn't matter. This is not a movie about changing the audience's point of view like in Sixth Sense or Frailty. Go in with no expectations other than a great, touching, funny, scary film and you will be fine.
2. M. Night didn't just give himself a cameo in this film. He gave himself a meaty, important role with a monologue that most SAG-carrying thespians would kill for (onscreen time with Gibson only sweetens the appeal). I appreciate that he gives himself the most unglamorous role again, but really, a character actor would have knocked it out of the park - M. Night just is ok. It is the largest role a non-actor director has given himself outside of a Kevin Smith movie, and I can't figure out why. But avoid laughing or razzing when you see him. His line are VERY important.
3. Cherry Jones - I've never seen her before that I can recall, but she really makes her role something special. M. Night could have cast a well known actress in this role of the friendly cop who is investigating the crop circles. But in Cherry Jones he picked the perfect person. Warm, yet very funny. Her scene where she is trying to interrogate Mel and Joaquin despite the fact that they have no idea what they saw is hilarious. The best female cop since a couple of guys named Coen wrote and directed one of their wives to an Oscar.
4. M. Night is one of the best directors of child talent ever. Rory Culkin - do they grow Culkins on a farm somewhere? Time will tell if he is as good as Keiran, but he is very strong as a young boy hungry for information about aliens, slowed by asthma and convinced that tinfoil will prevent the aliens from reading his mind. And the girl, the only performance that comes to mind for a young girl this good is Drew Barrymore in ET. You've heard her great line in the trailer - They are all this great. Most adult actors cannot deadpan lines this well.
5. I was stunned to find out Mark Ruffalo dropped out of this movie. He was the only actor I could think of who could play Joaquin's role better than Joaquin could. The character calls for a screw-up who make's good. It would have been type casting after "You Can Count on Me," but Ruffalo would have knocked this out of the park (serious pun intended once you've seen the movie). Joaquin is very funny in this film and the moment where he confronts Mel Gibson near the end about his lack of faith is one of the movie's best. But he's simply too young to play the brother of Mel Gibson. For the first third of the movie, most people will think that he is Mel's son. It's jarring and pulls you out of the movie.
6. Mel Gibson has never looked so short in a movie to me. And I think it's great. He plays a man beaten down by life and this little visual addition really completes the picture.
Well thats more than enough to say about the movie without giving it away. It aches that I have to wait 2 months before this film comes out to see it again. I'm just glad that I brough enough friends with me so I can talk about this film with them. Avoid the trailers, avoid the reviews, avoid the snippets of film on the Byron Allen show, even if it's the only thing on. Watch this film with an open mind, and you are sure to have one of the best film experiences this year.
I can't think of a fake name so just call me...
"The Guy Who Cannot Get out of Going to Detroit for A Wedding"