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M. Night Shyamalan - One Trick Pony?

MNightShyamalan.jpgWe were talking about the new trailer for Lady in the Water when the discussion turned to M. Night Shyamalan and his writing and directing capabilities. Out of that came a number of quite interesting comments.

"Another pointless cameo" and the one I've seen repeated elsewhere, "One trick pony".

The question is does he deserve the criticism? Is he holding onto the big twist that is so associated with his name, and is that association a justified one? In this studio world of light films and constant remakes are we unfairly bashing someone who is trying to give us films which are a bit more thought provoking?

Let me first say that this discussion may well provoke possible spoilers. There's no doubt that the Shyamalan movies have surprises in them, so these may pop out in the comments. There, that's the warning over.

The main criticism seems to be that his films are all about a big twist, and in his recent movies the twist hasn't lived up to the big surprise that Sixth Sense provided. So is that because Shyamalan can't reproduce it or are we, the audience, the ones to blame for expecting nothing but the big twist? After all isn't there more to his films that the twist?

Definitely for me Unbreakable and Signs had much more to them than a well written build up to a single twist. Even Sixth Sense, which really concentrated us onto the surprise ending, provided much more than that. We had great performances, visually rich cinematography, wonderfully strong atmospheric feeling and an extremely strong script, and all this without talking about the twist.

The twist is, of course though, part of the film, but is it everything? There's no question that the importance of the twist in his films has dropped with each movie. In recent films it's been there, but it's just not been as important, for example Unbreakable was a much stronger story but relied less on the big ending. It was a big ending, of that there is no doubt, but that's not all there was to the movie and the whole story was strong from beginning to end.

Village though did seem to return a large twist to the film, but there were a couple of surprises near the end, and for me the main twist didn't stand above the others as being any more important. Saying that though you can see where the potential was for a huge surprise with Village, and it just didn't hide the ending well enough and divert attention away from it to give that big shock moment.

The audiences were surprised by Sixth Sense, and then that's what we were told to expect with Shyamalan's next films. From here on Shyamalan was linked with the surprise ending and this may have indeed proven a curse. The marketing tore into this concept and highlighted this and throughout all the trailers and promotions kept repeating the big twist idea. This may actually reflect studio pressure to provide that same style again, and perhaps we're seeing Shyamalan try to pull himself away with that, building stronger stories and weaker twists.

So is he all about the twists in his films? Not at all, he's really making the rest of the films stronger and stronger, and in his latest film we saw multiple surprises with the main twist seeming slightly secondary to the rest of the tale. Perhaps we'll see this diversification even further in his next films?

Yet with all the remakes, eighties TV series, and sequels being churned out one after the other from Hollywood, can we really have the gall to stand up and criticise Shyamalan's films? In a sea of mediocrity he's bringing us some well written, beautifully visualised and deeply crafted tales.

Another comment that arose was his appearance in his own movies, and indeed now in the trailer for his new film. Well let's look at the trailer first. Trailers, and I have no idea what has happened in this case, are usually made by a company different to that creating the movie. If not that you'll often see it created by a second unit team. I would suspect that Shyamalan would want and have control over the trailers for his films, but there's always that point to consider.

Cameos from the Directors of films, no matter if they're in the trailers or not, are not uncommon. Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Spike Lee, Terry Gilliam, Peter Jackson, Quentin Tarantino, Danny De Vito, Sam Raimi, Kevin Smith, Clint Eastwood even the Zuckers(?!). That's quite a list of names there, and quite a breadth of quality and ability. So picking out Shyamalan for appearing in his films isn't that fair, but there's a larger question. Should Directors appear in their own films? Is the Director cameo a bad thing?

I would think that the answer is quite clearly no if the appearance matches a few criteria, mainly that it doesn't stick out from the rest of the film and is relevant to the movie. You don't want a character appearing waving his arms screaming "look, I'm the Director", that just takes you straight out of the film and back into reality. Also, you clearly don't want to see a bad actor up there when the rest of the cast is at least decent.

So is it fair to say that Shyamalan shouldn't be in his own films? I'm not so sure. There are plenty of Directors doing it, and his appearances are hardly distracting from the point of the movie, in fact sometimes they are integral to the plot. Can we say he's bad actor? Well he's certainly no Sir Ian McKellen, but he's not stinking up a scene with cheese. How about a comparison to Tarantino's performances and appearances?

For me, while Hollywood turns out more of the same, the movies of Shyamalan are a welcome viewing and the criticism he receives is quite unfair. His short cameos are hardly intrusive and his roles always serve some purpose. As for the appearance in the trailer, well that might not have even been down to being his choice. However, a one trick pony is definitely not the way to describe this writer\director who gave us one of the biggest twists we've seen; an adult look at how Superheros and Supervillains could exist; a totally different look at an alien invasion through personal faith, and a considered look at fear and control.

What are your thoughts on Shyamalan and his movies? Are you pulled into looking for the big twist all the time? Have you found more from his films than just that, and where do you stand on the Directors cameos?





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Comments


This is the kind of director I personally call a "one movie" director. He made Umbreakable, and that´s it.

How many Hitchcocks around, but only one was the real. I am very deceived by the career of this guy. And the Lady in the Water seems to bet even worse than the Village, which seems quite difficult.

Shyamalanan is the case of a filmmaker trapped in his own tricks. It´s good to have a personal style, but first of all, make sure you have something to tell.

I disagree, Peter. I think all of his movies have had something to tell, and he's done it exceptionally well.

the problem is, in this age of instant messages, cell phones and movie blogs, everyone knows next to everything about every movie at the click of a button.

If he were switched in time with Hitchcock or Wells, we would be having the same discussion about them while remembering Shaymalon (sp) as a pioneer.

I for one think the "one trick pony" accusations are in and of themselves "one trick ponies". I have not seen a single criticism of this director that I could get behind myself.

I also want to point out that in this day and age, people who have nice things to say about movies don't really take the time to post messages on blogs. it's mostly negativity tat makes it on to these sites anyway.

It's almost like it's socially "cool" or "in" to be a naysayer.
people that find fault in genious are assumed to be on par with something.

Just look at the negativity surrounding Superman. X men 3. Lady in the Water and other films. Next to Snakes on a Plane, have ANY movies of the past year been accepted and praised by blogs as much as these 3 movies have been torn to shreds? And most importantly, before ANYONE has seen them...

I like his films, perhaps its because i don't read reviews(that have known spoilers, i.e. i only read filmstalker reveiews) so i don't know the endings.

or maybe its because my brain works so slowly that i don't see the twists coming.

either way, i enjoy his stuff and hope he keeps making em.

Twists aren't twists if you know a twist is coming. Twists only work if you truly have no idea what is around the corner. Nowadays, I'm always looking for the big twist at the end of almost every thriller I see. So when it happens, I'm not surprised anymore. In fact, many times, I have it figured out. I wish I didn't; but it happens a lot.

~ Drewbacca

The first film I saw that Shyamalan made was "Signs", this was just right after he made "The Sixth Sense" which I failed to watch at that time.

I came into the cinema with an expectation of seeing aliens, with the explanation as to why the crop circles were there. I came out of the cinema upset, cheated and hating this pretentious director. Until I was advised to watch it again, with no expectations and see how I feel. I was converted. It wasnt a movie to explain the crop circles nor the existence of aliens, it was a movie about redemption. I guess its that expectation that ruins the experience for us, and same applies to any film I guess, just enjoy the ride so to speak.

His films are indeed more character driven, like Richard here I think "Unbreakable" was his best film, closely followed by "Sugns" and as for "The Village", how would we know the brilliance of actress Bryce Dallas Howard if not for that movie? And what about that porch scene between Howard and Phoenix, I thought that was very well-acted.

I couldnt wait for Lady in the Trailer, Giamatti should be wonderful!

So bring it on Manoj!

Oppsss, I meant Lady in the Water. LOL

"Lady In The Trailer" is a whoooooooole other movie.

Sounds like something you'd find in the "back room" of a shady video store if ya know what I mean!

Funny slip!

Well it sounds like it though! I recovered quickly didnt I? ;-)


Well... accuse me of anything, but those who know me can say something: I am the opposite of a naysayer, and I don´t pretend to be cool. I give my opinions as any guy paying his cinema ticket.

Really... I am not into Shyamalan at all. And the premise of this new movie (a siren) is so ridiculous it´s impossible to give a decent film about it.

Shyamalan made a decent (not so brillian but decent) job at the Sixth Sense, he was outstanding at Umbreakable, but this movie was a huge box office failure, and he betrayed himself.

His last two films before the "sirenita" (LOL), are very poor. By the time you get the final revelation, you are so bored you don´t matter. Signs is quite bad, and the Village... just the rythm, and the actors who seem half asleep, it´s really really boring. By the time you get to the end, you just don´t care.

But I am not a naysayer. I am full of expectation with X-Men 3, and no less with Superman Returns (the trailer rocks in my opinion). I deffended Sith was the best of the SW saga far before released... and I still do. But Shyamalan, to me, does the same effect as, let´s say, Tim Burton, Ridley Scott, John McNaughton, Curtis Hanson, Jonathan Demme, Peter Jackson, Richard Kelly or John Carpenter. They are men-of-one-movie.

Besides, I believe little in the politique des auteurs. I think a film is a complex thing, and we value the directors too much instead of seeing a movie as what it is: a teamwork. Hey, there are also screenwriters, musicians, fotographers, actors and producers. A great movie is some kind of a miracle coming from the tallents of many, many people.

I see no particular reason why directors shouldn't cameo in their films. If they can do a good enough job of acting, good luck to them.

As for Shyamalan, I find it interesting that his two films before The Sixth Sense, i.e. the ones no one remembers, were actually non-horror/fantasy stories. I wonder if that's what he needs to get back to doing, cos I think he's got hung up himself on the idea that he is a director of horror/fantasy films, and frankly I think he needs a change of direction.

Okay, I've sat back and heard enough!

I really have to hand it to Mogulus for making a well worded observation which few are breave enough to face, for fear of accusation of same....

There certainly is a culture of "naysayers" in movie fandom nowadays. As long as something is high concept and easy to form a generic opinion on, many will jump on the "Look at what I know about movies" bandwagon and start throwing their uneducated girth around in an effort for self-promotion. It is an easy way to appear like you know what you're talking about, but forsakes the very reason most people pursue debate in the first place; education and the furthering of one's own understanding of the topic in question. It is just arguing for arguing's sake and usually is futhered by not that person's opinion but merely the stance which is most easily and most dramatically argued and the two are rarely bedfellows.

It is easy to be full of expectation and regard for films such as X3 and Superman Returns as they have already achieved cult status before their release and have an already established fanbase of appreciation. It could be argued that someone who was so inclined was not really stating their own opinion but merely subscribing to the pre-stablished and mutually accepted opinion of others. There's no leap of faith, no learning curve and certainly no benefit to cinema in such an attitude.

I believe that MNS has been an unfair target of this type of critique and has yet to be judged as objectively as he deserves, bearing in mind I still haven't yet given my own opinion!

Another point mentioned is this sudden rejection of "Auteurism" and that movies are a team project (a given of course, and not something anyone here is about to arue). Let us not forget that the many directors who have been named here have yet to be seen wearing their DGA;Auteur scouts badge.

The term "Auteur" is one which was brought about by French critics, and not bandied about by directors themselves. It is a description of what we/critics see and understand from the movies made by the aforementioned directors and other like them. It is not a mission statement or manifesto of what they wish to seen as and labelled. For these reasons, it is of course entirely fair to say one doesn't subsribe to "the politique des auteurs", however it is also entirely unfair to then punish and/or draw judgement on directors such as MNS on this basis, to which they have no formal affilliation.

I would entirely empathise with any view which see's MNS as a one-trick pony, as he has obviously been high concept in the past and it is easy for people to miss the main point of his films if they are not fully paying critical attention, but to then compare and attribute that same repetetive monotony to "...let´s say, Tim Burton, Ridley Scott, John McNaughton, Curtis Hanson, Jonathan Demme, Peter Jackson, Richard Kelly or John Carpenter. They are men-of-one-movie." is obviously not the be-all and end-all of that argument, and in my humble opinion, plain wrong! I would not make that argument if I was not fully aware of and familiar with, their entire portfolio and even still; my opinion would be based on what I though myself of those movies, and not what the general consensus seemed to be.

****Deep Breath****

Now! As for MNS himself.

Two ways we can look at this, as Richard nicely pointed out.....

1) Is MNS making the best movie HE can make?

2) What are his movies like in comparison to the competition/alternative.

The latter seeming redundant to me less the prior.

I honestly believe that MNS is a very good, intelligent and well styled filmaker and would argue that against anyone. Taken on their own merits, as again Rich pointed out, they have much, much more to them than merely the twist and display great filmaking technique and talent.

In terms of the competition, he is still making movies which are of an incredibly higher calibre than those from many other film makers and I can honestly say that there have been countless weeks when I have gone to the cinema to pick something to watch and I would have chewed my own left nut off to have had an MNS movie to add to the list. There is alot of crap out there and we should be thankful for directors like him.

His cameos are as important to you as you want them to be. It's as simple as that, and 90pc of people don't even know what he look like anyway so what's the big deal. All this "failed actor" crap holds no water whatsoever.

Man these posts are getting longer, I need to cut down!

A feature I have little to add to - Rynndar and Simone have covered it very well already.

The twist is merely part of the story telling, not the story itself.

Simone sums up there well with different expectations changing the opinion of the film. Each film so far has had an angle on how a person looks at him/herself differently. Now if we did that at his films, in the same way Simone did with Signs, maybe more would enjoy the story and accept the twist only as part of the story-telling.

I can't fault any of the stories behind the films. Saying that, Signs tugged at the heart-strings the most.

And does anyone else think he looks scary in that pic above?

I'd love to think up a caption for that pic!

Give it time!

Let me see..........


Don´t you ever forget, Rynndar, that you are posting your opinion. No more than anyone else´s. And you are falling in the very fault you try to dennounce, because you pretend to state an absolute true, which is impossible. Ultimately, it all goes to personal choices and tastes. So there´s nothing fair or unfair about it.

I mentioned X3 and Superman because they were mentioned before. But I might add that a "cult" status is impossible to achieve before the release of a film. You commit the same mistake as mogulus and many others: catalog the one who doesn´t agree with you. I have my personal opinion, and rarely say what a thousand have said before.

I mentioned the politique des auteurs and some names because it seems to me that a great movie (like Umbreakable) isn´t a genius master idea from one only mind. It´s the result of a collaboration between many gifted and tallented people.

"it is easy for people to miss the main point of his films if they are not fully paying critical attention" What can I say reading things like that? I don´t need a thousand words to state the obvious: that you, Shyamalan fanatics (as Burton ones), should be a little more tollerant and a little less condescending to diverse opinions.

And please READ before POSTING: "But Shyamalan, to ME, does the same effect as, let´s say..." So, it was my personal opinion.

*sigh*

I have given up on converting you Peter, but I respect your views on Shyamalan, it is indeed your opinion, and since I know your passion for Sith, I will let you off this time!

I just love fellow geeks! LOL

"Don´t you ever forget, Rynndar, that you are posting your opinion." - Gee, thanks for the reminder.

Hello Pedro!

How nice of you to put me back in my place. If you believe that I have indeed stated an "absolute truth" then please quote me and I'll be sure to explain whatever it is you don't understand. Anything for the little people ;)

For starters, I'm upset that you have to draw me off topic to merely settle an argument, we are here to discuss film and the industry surrounding it and I can assure you that at no point in any of my posts do I ever "pretend to state an absolute true". Although assuming you mean "truth", I believe you could be seen as "falling in the very fault you try to dennounce".

"a "cult" status is impossible to achieve before the release of a film" - If that isn't a finite truth being stated without noted authority then what is. "The Man Who Shot Don Quixote" is one of the most infamous cases, as is your very own "Superman Lives"/"Superman Returns". Would you like to recant your claim that this is still impossible? Or is it just because you haven't heard of them that they aren't awarded cult status?

You - "it seems to me that a great movie (like Umbreakable) isn´t a genius master idea from one only mind. It´s the result of a collaboration between many gifted and tallented people."

Me - "and that movies are a team project (a given of course, and not something anyone here is about to argue)

........Why are you arguing a moot point which has been agreed on by all?

My point about auteurism is that; yes, a movie is usually a collaborative medium and of course other people have a part to play and control their own departments. But in a movie as high concept, and which has a clearly pre-defined vision engineered by one person alone, such as one of MNS's, these people are well aware ofthe fact that they are taking on a job under a director who commands his own visual style, writing style, and dramatic style. They surrender, to a certain degree, a controlling share of their artistic control/input to this "auteur" director.

"it is easy for people to miss the main point of his films if they are not fully paying critical attention" What can I say reading things like that? I don´t need a thousand words to state the obvious: that you, Shyamalan fanatics (as Burton ones), should be a little more tollerant and a little less condescending to diverse opinions.

....What the? What do you even mean by that? If it's that "obvious", then you have still got it wrong. That's not what I'm stating, but you have ironically made my point for me. If you don't apy attention to what's going on in a movie (or a discussion!) you can miss what's being really said.

And could you also kindly READ before POSTING; What I said was also my personal opinion; Your comment on one movie directors was "in my humble opinion, plain wrong!" remember?

This is the last time I'll respond to such petty bitching. Not once did I attack you or what you believe. If you have something as interesting to say about the headline as I do, the please contribute. If not, move on and allow those who are interested to enjoy the conversation.

Sorry Richard.

This is exactly what I like about this site. Let's keep at it!


Relax, Rynndar. It´s all about fun and movies. We have that in common. It seems we are going to be wandering to the same countries. So let´s retire our lightsabers.

If Shyamalan can take out so much passion out of a guy, he deserves some recognition ;)

Enjoy your conversations with intelligent people. Thers´s lots here, excluding myself.

Salutations.

....... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand were back.

One other thing is that although he shouldn't really have to, I reckon' he is, in his head, moving toward that more diverse style. After all, could he make a career from making interesting twists all the time? I for one can't wait to see what he could do with a straight story and and an interesting script.

Maybe an adaptation would help outline his movie making style a little better whilst diverting attention away from his trademark twists. I'd like to see what he could do to already established story.

Maybe something a little more far afield from what he's done? I'm not talking a Days Of Thunder remake, just something people can identify with before they start saying "Awwww what's the twist?".


"If you have something as interesting to say about the headline as I do, the please contribute. If not, move on and allow those who are interested to enjoy the conversation."

Rynndar, you mean "if you agree with me, contribute, and if not, move on"?

This isn´t how it works, child.


Come on, let's get back to the films and try and have some debate around the topic in hand and films in general.

Apologies again Rich.

We've talked about this type of thing before.

Oh my god, he wrote "Stuart Little"?!

I remember quite liking that movie. Michael J. Fox was quite good in it.

Maybe this guy does have more range than we think. I wonder what it would have been like if he directed it!

I know MNS tried bringing his work to India but with no success, as this is not something that they are ready to embrace.

Rejected by Bollywood, adopted by Hollywood!

Of his films I have only seen "Signs" and "The Village". (Alas I do know what the big twist is with "The Sixth Sense".)

"Signs" was pretty good up till the end which I thought just did not live up to the promise the film had been building up to.

As for "The Village", well I was quite bored at times. Again there was some potential but when the inevitable twist came, I could not swallow it at all and the movie was ruined for me.

I definitley agree about signs.

It did, to a certain extent, lack closure on certain topics which it claimed to entertain. It was presented as a global crisis but resolved as a personal defiance of one's own fear. Admittedly dramatic but a little underwhelming in the scheme of things.

Maybe to have kept it a little more subtle and just have the family being terrorized alone, and not the entire world, that may have made it a little more sensible and acceptable.

Still, I have no doubt he'll improve with time.

I have to agree also on Signs. I was very disappointed in the conclusion of the film.

There is such buildup throughout it, with the news reports we hear, the whole world preparing, the military getting ready, and the film makes it seem like this whole war of the worlds type global invasion thats about to happen, and then, (spoiler removed although you should all know it by now - Richard). Thats it? You've got to be kidding me. What a letdown of an ending.

Of course this being my personal opinion on the film which anyone can agree with or not.


My excuses, Richard. Let´s talk about movies.

One of the topics brought in the topic is the role of cameos in movies. Being one prominent feature in Hitchcock´s movies (and all directors after him merely repeated the idea), I remember to have been thinking about it.

I was used to think (now I´m much less sure), that Hitchcock wanted to say something to us with that. The stories around his films were usually scary, tense, or moving, I mean, they demmanded a lot of emotional involvement from the audience.

I think his appearance as a fictional extra is trying to tell us: "don´t take it too seriously. It´s just a movie". I mean, at the same time, he is distancing from that involvement, but, using his peculiar sense of humour, he reinforces it. The result is entertainment at his best.

My theory is abandoned, anyway. But I return to it from time to time. And there is a good proof supporting it. In "The Wrong Man", which was based in real events, Hitch appeared at the very beginning of the movie, saying something like that:

"This is the first movie which is entirely based on real events. And you will find that what happens here surpasses, by far, the wildest thing my imagination could bring"

In that terrible movie, Hitchcock is not distancing us from the events. His cameo serves a very specific purpose.

If anyone´s interested, an excellent article on Hitchcock´s trailers:

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/05/35/hitchcocks_trailers.html

And I think Shyamalan follows the rules of the master. The influence of Hitchcock is quite evident, at least in his first films.

Hey thanks for that info there Peter, I shall check this one out! *winks*

Richard forgot to mention George Lucas, he also did a cameo in Sith. Sorry, I just cant help it!

Shyamalan making an appearance in the film really doesn't bother me, and I don't really have much of an opinion one way or the other. I probly wouldn't even realize its him unless someone told me, and then I'd go 'oh yeaaa'.

Lots of, ok well maybe not lots but, of directors appear in their films. Actors like Mel Gibson and Clint Eastwood aren't really good examples because films like 'Braveheart' and 'Million Dollar Baby' were like, always intended for them in the roles anyway. Altho Mel Gibson did make a very short true cameo style appearance in 'Paparazzi', guy on couch with tons of notebooks in shrinks waiting room, which I found hilarious.

But Quentin Tarantino comes immediately to mind, playing big parts in 'Pulp Fiction', 'Reservoir Dogs', and 'From Dusk Till Dawn' (which he didn't direct but wrote the screenplay for), but, he was really good in the roles too. Quentin Tarantino, I would say, wanted himself in these movies tho and I think definitely wrote one of those parts with himself in mind.

Sydney Pollack is another I can think of off the top of my head. He directed last year's 'The Interpreter', and played a very small role, as the boss or something of the secret service office. I saw him do an interview about the film just before its release, and when asked about it he just said it was a small role with just a couple lines that he just didn't really like anyone that auditioned for it so he saved a couple bucks and did it himself.

Point being, I guess it comes down to the reason that a director places himself in his film, and there can be many. George Lucas in Sith was what, guy in background crowd for 6 seconds or something, think the reason there was just a gag really to see if anyone even noticed. Quentin Tarantino's reasons were I believe he thought he was the right choice for the character. And Sydney Pollack's reason was its a small role ah what the heck I'll do it myself.

Anyway, rambling on, I can't really form an opinion on Shyamalan's role in 'Lady in the Water' until I've seen it, and can judge for myself what I think his reasons were.

Everyone, superb discussion, I'm really enjoying reading it for one.

I would say that the cameo Directors I pulled out in the article were ones who would cameo repeatedly. I don't think the individual cameos were that important.

Peter, interesting point on Hitchcock, and probably a cameo performer that does stick out from the rest. I do agree, I think he did have something else in mind with his performances other than stamping them with the Hitchcock mark.

He really did view himself as a narrator of the tale, a sculptor and wanted to be part of it and help guide it. I think he saw his role as much more than a cameo, but an integral part of the whole directing and creating role.

I think Shyamalan is doing a similar thing with his cameos. The other directors seem to view them quite separately and either just want to be seen in the movie for sake of history, or just because an extra didn't turn up - this appears to be quite a common occurence.

I can definitley see how this could be somewhat of an outlet for certain directors to make an indirect statement regarding a films subject matter.

For example MNS's cameo in The Village shows him attempting to uphold the seggrogation of the village and the compound itself. This could be read in a number of different ways;

His character may aware of what's going on and is a participant in the conspiracy. He could be stating that for all our curiousity and eagerness to understand, there are some things were are best not knowing.

On the other hand he may not know. In which case his character may represent the ingorance in us and our capability to ignore those who may be in need, irrespective of what we have been told is right or wrong by those in our ruling establishment.

Of course this is but one example, and only my interpretation. But maybe some directors are just looking for that line of communication between them and their audience and, for some, this is it. Maybe if we read between the lines a bit more in terms of their contribution we'd see a more detailed and important message than "Hi mom!".

I'd be interested in looking back on past cameos and having another look at what their message might be.


A little off topic:

The cameo of Lucas in Sith is interesting, Simone. In the audiocommentary, Rick McCallum said "at last, we had it!" and they comment that as it was the last film in the saga, it was worth to make an appearance. He is talking, as Papanoida, to his daughter, who didn´t want to appear unless his daddy appeared as well. It seems it was a little hard to convince George to show up. The sequence in which he appears, by the way, is the tremendous opera one. As Hitchcock, Lucas is there to prepare us for the worst.

End of Star Wars geekism LOL

Hmm, maybe Lucas is trying to convey, via subtext, to the audience that he can act better than Jar-Jar.

Hmmmm, close call if you ask me!

Didn't he look ridiculous?! Nick Gillard's character was slick though.

Peter says, "The sequence in which he appears, by the way, is the tremendous opera one. As Hitchcock, Lucas is there to prepare us for the worst." Yeah, now that you mentioned the way Hitchcock cameos in his own films, it's just possible that that's what it means. Star Wars geeks indeed! ;-)

But you know going back to Shyamalan, I have seen this new trailer like 3 times but I havent seen him!!! CRUMBS.

Peter - I totally agree with you what you say about Hitchcock appearing in his own films to remind you that it is a film and distance you from the story ever so slightly. I have always believed this to be the case, and would go on to say that I think he encouraged his actors to act in a very stylised way in the films to achieve exactly the same effect.

I know that there is a lot written about Hitchcock and his 'muse' Tippi Hedren, but I do believe that he wanted her to almost overact in some of the films he cast here in. For those that would argue that she was just a bad actress, I would refer them to the same style of acting from James Stewart in Vertigo and Cary Grant in North by NorthWest.

MNS - I believe he is trying to achieve the same thing in his movies but that it is perhaps not so obvious as his films are not so stylised. In 'Unbreakable' he was trying put across a 'comic book' style, which would achieve that same distancing effect, but I'm not so sure that he was very successful at it.


Tippi Hedren a bad actress? Not for an instant! Her performances in both the Birds and Marnie were absolutely charming and very complex. Hitchcock was cruel with blondes. Funnily enough, Hedren got an interview in a Spanish Cinema Festival, and she was very kind to his memory, saying he was great. Kind woman, considering the suffering both if them passed.

Great debate! - personally I'm always excited to hear of a new MNS release knowing that if nothing else, I'm in for an intelligent movie dealing with interesting subjects and although I do go into it expecting a 'twist' of some sort, I usually get so sucked into the story and performances that I tend to forget about it and end up being genuinely surprised by the film's end. I just want to sit and enjoy the movie, not constantly try to predict the 'big twist' - isn't this the sort of thing that leads to dissapointment? Another question that's come up when discussing MNS's movies with people, or any 'big twist' movies is that of repeated viewings - many argue that once you've seen the film and the 'twist' has been revealed that the film has nothing more to offer. I disagree - particularly with 'The Village' the most recent MNS film I've seen and one I've watched at least 3 times - the performances are so good, particularly those by Dallas Howard & Phoenix (eg. the porch scene referenced by Simone earlier) that I continue to be impressed by the film as a whole.I guess I just see the 'twist' as an added bonus.

As for the 'cameos by directors' issue - I genuinely don't have a problem with it, half the time I don't even notice. Unless it's done out of extreme egoism and really distracts from the movie it would annoy me, but I've not found this to be the case with Shyamalan.

Peter, I just now found this post while Egotistically googling my own screen name and seeing what's out there. I had no Idea this discussion had gone on like this.

I wasn't singling you out at all, man. I'm just stating what my opinion is.

Your opinion is defendable. Mine goes beyond opinion and into Editorial. I'm making an observation on societal change. But i'm not condemning you.

BUT BUT BUT: interestingly enough, the critics are now completely smashing MKS into the ground over "Lady"...so in this case, the naysaying may have been warranted.

I haven't seen it yet. I am still going to.

I wonder. Will I like it?
I also wonder. Would the critic's opinions have shaped up differently if they hadnt' heard so much about this movie beforehand?

To verify my point, imagine seeing Star Wars episode one if you had NO idea how the effects were done, who was going to be in it, what went on behind the screens and had heard little to no negative buzz from it.

it wouldn't be a masterpiece...far from it. But the original Star Wars had it's problems too.

Sixth Sense enjoyed a bit of anonymity as well. No one saw it coming. Or Unbreakable, really. But by the time Signs ( a great film in my opinion ) was out, and then The Village, everyone was all OVER MKS to find out the ending, the twist, etc.

Food for thought.
And yes, Richard, I agree...this was one interesting comment thread.


Oh, it´s all forgotten now! In fact, a way to know people more and myself altogether. Sometimes I can be nasty deffending an argument.

With Lady in the Water coming soon, we will be able to discuss it friendly :D

Why did I get that feeling that this topic will be hot again? ;D


I am reading reviews here and there and... oh man!!!! I really will need convincing reasons to go to the cinema. It seems even worse than the Village.

I told ya, I told ya about the Mermaid!

In Spain, they release it in September. M. Night, time to land... with a crash.

Richard, waiting for your review of 'Lady in the Water'. I just saw it! ;D

Hola faretaste
mekodinosad

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