Saturday, October 23, 2010

M. Clint Shyamalan

I am getting a bit of a Shyamalany vibe from Hereafter.

Let's consider:

Central figure who can speak to the dead? Check.

Blue-toned, ethereal poster that suggests the possible involvement of aliens or mermaids? Check.

Bryce Dallas Howard? Check.

Five people trapped in an elevator where weird things start to happen? Well, okay, maybe not.

But I do think there's something a bit "from the man who brought you Lady in the Water" about this movie. Let's hope I'm wrong.

Actually, Hereafter vibes a couple other movies as well. It's multi-story, potentially planet-spanning narrative structure is reminiscent of Babel, while its images of flood (tidal wave, I think) remind me a bit of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Well, those were both best picture nominees, so I guess it could be worse.

Oh, and from an effects standpoint, I kind of want to see that tidal wave.

I do wonder at what point Clint Eastwood's furious pace of 1+ movies per year will finally render a true dud. His recent output has not been universally acclaimed, but people seem to generally appreciate films like Changeling, Gran Torino and Invictus. Well, if IMDB's timelines are accurate, at least he'll take 2011 off before coming back with Hoover, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, in 2012.

Even though Hereafter is only opening nationwide today, we came close to seeing it last weekend on limited release in Los Angeles. On the day my dad and his wife arrived in town last Saturday, we tried to go see The Town, but the rain had driven every single Angeleno to this one particular theater, meaning The Town was actually sold out. (Because the movie has been out for a month, that surprised us. But as we discovered the next day when we bought our tickets in advance, it was playing in one of the 30-seat couch theaters, explaining its surprise sold-out status.)

Playing in a larger theater, Hereafter was not sold out, but because it started an extra 25 minutes later and we didn't want to be gone from the baby for too long, we had to be worried about length. Seeing the massive line for the parking garage, I'd let my wife out on the curb to buy tickets. She called me with the bad news about The Town a couple minutes later. "Yeah, get tickets for Hereafter, as long as it's not like 2 hours and 20 minutes," I said.

Two minutes after that, she called back. I still hadn't entered the garage.

"It's 2 hours and 20 minutes," she said.


simoncolumb said...

it'd be great if it turned out that clint and shyamalan were working at turning shyamalans name into something again and, in fact, shyamalan had directed the film and then - after all the positive press - he can be "see, you do hate me"


Vancetastic said...

Simon, that would be hilarious.

I must admit, every time I see Bryce Dallas Howard, I feel Shyamalan lurking somewhere in the background. It's funny, because I don't consider her untalented, but her presence in movies seems to be a sure sign of poor quality. I hated Terminator Salvation and had to wonder if perhaps McG didn't consult M. Night during filming.

Mike Lippert said...

Interesting point and yet, despite some people who are scratching their head over Eastwood choosing this material, I think it falls perfectly within his thematic zone. Just about every major film he has made since Unforgiven (and maybe even some minors ones too) has been about making a choice between life and death, about the Christian concept of sacrifice and redemption. A Perfect World, Gran Torino, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, The Iwo Jima movies...that's what they are all about. Pale Rider could even be considered a ghost story depending on how you read it. I'm very excited for this one.

Vancetastic said...

As with many of my posts, Mike, it's less of an "interesting point" I was trying to make than a "clever observation," with the word "clever" being quite a subjective term. I don't really want to damn these movies before I see them, but I do like to comment on new releases on Fridays so that there is always an element of the blog that is up-to-the-minute. So, I've vowed to make the Friday posts as whimsical as I can, without actually saying too much that could be interpreted as negative. Hence, the pointing out of surface similarities to an M. Night Shyamalan movie, with only minor hints that this is a negative thing. :-)

Though I do think your point about Eastwood's career goals is an interesting one that I hadn't considered before. I'm not looking forward to Hereafter quite as much because I am now viewing theatrical releases through the eyes of a new dad who doesn't get to go to very many of them. However, may wife's interest in seeing this may mean that we'll both see it, and I'm certainly fine with that.