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Tuesday, July 04, 2006


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Most of us around here are quite looking forward to M. Night Shama-glock's fantasy drama LADY IN THE WATER so it was disconcerting to read this mostly negative review that the folks over at "Ain't It Cool News" recently posted. Granted, it's from a very early screening with the reviewer himself mentioning that the film ran way longer than it likely will for its theatrical release July 21st and had a lot of temporary music in place. As such, edits will be made, scenes will be rearranged, and appropriately emotionally engaging music will be added. However, it seems as if there are inherent flaws in the characters and story that may not necessarily be fixed with edits or scene rearrangement. In any case, it's a good read if you'd like to know more about the film. It's laced VERY heavily with SPOILERS so don't read past this first paragraph if you'd rather not be spoiled. If, on the other hand, you're a spoiler junkie looking for an M. Night Shams fix then strap that spoiler needle directly into your bloodstream over HERE.

"Lady in the Water" is prefaced by a caption that reads: "To my daughters, I will tell you this story one last time, then go to sleep." In the months since the first trailer for the film was attached to "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," fans of Shyamalan's work have wondered what, exactly, he intends to mean by his tagline of "A Bedtime Story." Well, tonight in New York I viewed what was alleged to be "the first ever screening" of the film, and I can tell you this: He's not being cheeky. I wasn't counting, but the term "bedtime story" must be uttered at least one hundred times by one character or another over the course of the film. However, the film in its current state gives one the impression that as he sits by his daughters' bedside, they have fallen asleep after about fifteen minutes, while Shyamalan continues to ramble onward in an overcaffeinated stupor. For those fans of Shyamalan who were highly disappointed with "The Village," there is no respite to be found here, no return to form as an engineer of lean, mean thrillers with heart. One can only assume that "Lady in the Water's" runtime will be reduced drastically, but about a quarter of the way through the film's current two and a half hours, you'll hope Shyamalan's daughters wake up and kick their father out of the room.

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Following news that writer/director M. Night Shyamalan laid the smackdown on Disney in a whopping 278-page book entitled The Man Who Heard Voices: Or, How M. Night Shyamalan Risked His Career, I'm a bit turned off from the dude. Look, we all know that working with a studio could, at times, be compared to smashing ones head against a brick wall over and over and over again, but why bitch about it this way? I understand slipping in a jab or two while promoting Lady in the Water, however, a 278-page book is taking things a bit too far. Perhaps we should change its name to read: The Man Who Heard Voices: Or, How M. Night Shyamalan Developed The Biggest Ego Known to Man.

That being said, an early review of Shyamalan's Lady in the Water has just popped up over on JoBlo. (And, from what I understand, this isn't another practical joke ... I hope.) Without giving too much away, let's just say they feel the film is one of Shyamalan's finest to date, going as far to say it's "the best film of its kind since The Princess Bride." Being a huge fan of The Princess Bride, that's a very bold statement and I sincerely hope Lady lives up to such praise. Seriously, I do. Even though I'm a bit peeved over this whole 278-page book thing, I do enjoy Shyamalan's work. He's a passionate filmmaker who delivers solid stories and wonderful performances. Could his departure from Disney turn out to be the best move Shyamalan ever makes? Well, that question will certainly be answered when Lady in the Water hits theaters on July 21.


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