Glass


Viewed – 11 June 2019 DVD

I was on the fence about this. I liked but didn’t love Split, and having watched Unbreakable a while back and feeling mixed about it … I wasn’t exactly jumping to watch M Night Shyamalan’s somewhat forced-feeling shared world third entry.

This picks up not long after the end of Split and introduces us to a psychiatrist who brings the three main characters together in an institute to try and convince them that they’re not special or super human. The concept is certainly interesting and brings a realism to it that works well to explore the idea of superheroes in the real world. Unlike last time, James McAvoy’s multi-personality character is far more explored and I grew very impressed by the performance and when ‘the beast’ personality was in full-throttle I was getting Wolverine vibes from the guy who currently plays Doctor X! Bruce Willis is good but is a little overshadowed by McAvoy and of course Samuel L. Jackson who surprisingly steals the show for a character who doesn’t speak a word for a good portion of the movie.

There’s times when the world-building gets a bit convoluted and a final twist whilst welcome also threw up its own questions. Yet for me, this is certainly the best of the trilogy and creates plenty of potential for further movies if Shyamalan cares to pursue the idea. So I went from initially dismissive of this to actually surprised and impressed. Recommended.

Verdict: 4 /5

Unbreakable


Viewed – 04 May 2016  Blu-ray

I’m on a bit of a M Night Shyamalan binge of late and so we come to his acclaimed thriller blending comic book myths with mystery.  Starring Bruce Willis as the soul survivor of a train crash who comes under the watchful eye of comic book aficionado Samuel L Jackson who believes Willis may have super powers.  This one’s a strange beast and has a pretty weird vibe through out, with performances not unlike a David Lynch film.  Everyone here apart from the principle leads talks to each other like they are under some hypnotic spell or in a dream.

unbreakable willis

Slow burning and certainly intriguing, with some imaginative camera work … yet this was more ‘er…what is going on?’ than ‘ooh…what’s going to happen?’, and what seems like a low budget lets this down when actually getting to see said train crash would have given this viewer something to latch on to.  One scene especially felt off, with Willis’ son pointing a gun at his father in the belief he’s indestructible; it’s both over-acted and comes out of nowhere and makes the kid look a complete nutter.  Add to this sleepy support from Robin Wright as Willis’ estranged wife and it’s left up to Jackson’s complex ‘Mister Glass’ to save the day.  Here at least Jackson makes for a foreboding and fascinating presence with a tragic back-story, but comes off as a bit of a wack-job from the off with a series of crazy theories.  Willis does manage to carry the film well and is emotional and for the most part convincing, but at times goes along with things a bit too easily.

M Night Shyamalan’s movie can’t escape the shadow of The Sixth Sense with a similar but less understandable weird atmosphere, and a twist towards the end that whilst a shock, also comes off as ‘why?’.  With a bit more ambition this could have been a real gem as the idea has plenty of potential but fails to make the most of it, concluding with a solid final act that’s all too little too late.

The Blu-ray suffers from some smudgy black levels and a loss of detail to distant shots.  Close up detail fairs better however and the blue-tinged colour palette still looks very effective.   James Newton Howard’s eerie score is brought to life in Dolby Digital 5.1 as well as uncompressed PCM 5.1 and dialogue is sharp and there’s decent ambient effects to the soundtrack, if a little subdued.  Extras however make up for any shortcomings on the movie with two in-depth docs ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘comic books and superheroes’ as well as some shorter featurettes and a gimmicky multi-angle section.  Again, like Sixth Sense no commentary from Shyamalan which would have been welcome.  Overall, not a bad all-round package for a fun if rather overrated experience.

Verdict:

(the movie)  3 /5

(the Blu-ray)  3 /5

The Sixth Sense


Viewed –  April 2016  Blu-ray

Director M Night Shyamalan has certainly fallen from grace since the acclaim he garnered for this much loved supernatural drama.  Sitting down to watch it, I felt nostalgic for just how much buzz the director’s name created for a short while there.  Bruce Willis plays a child psychologist whose latest case involves a nine year old boy, Cole (Haley Joel Osment) whose bullied, an outcast in his community and a constant concern for his single mother, played by Toni Collette.  However Cole hides a secret; the fact he can actually see the dead walking around and often communicating with him, and this is something Bruce Willis tries to help him with.

The Sixth Sense

A slow burning but gripping with a stunning performance from Osment, truly one of the most gifted child actors of his generation.  He carries the movie brilliantly, proving both vulnerable, likeable and heart-breaking.  His plight of living with an ability that he can’t tell anyone about, least of all his mother is really incredible to bestow on the shoulders of such a young character … but Osment makes it utterly real.  Willis is also very good and conflicted, in a marriage that has obviously seen better days and fighting against his own demons.  Collette also gets time to shine and is especially good in the scenes with her and Osment (that scene in the car towards the end almost had me in tears).

bruce-willis-and-haley-joel-osmentThis is a very sad movie.  It’s bleak and moody and ominous, and also manages to be genuinely creepy, with Cole’s various encounter’s with different restless spirits.  M Night Shyamalan’s direction is faultless, full of little details and secrets – and that much talked about twist, which I won’t spoil is possibly one of the best.  I can totally understand why this movie is so regarded as it get’s everything right, standing out as a classic example of acting, writing and film-making coming together perfectly.  One of those movies everyone should see at least once … but to get the most out of it, see it again to view the movie in a different light.

The image quality is a little soft but suits the tone of the movie and colours, which are deliberately muted, especially help the use of red stand out.  Close-ups and street scenes are detailed though and overall it’s a good presentation.  Sound is also pleasing with clear dialogue, but apart from some decent ambient surround effects, is not about to be a 5.1 showcase.  Extras are plentiful however with a lengthy documentary ‘Reflections From The Set’ and a further doc on the supernatural called ‘Between Two Worlds’.  There’s also some shorter featurettes and a couple of trailers.  The lack of a commentary for this one is disappointing, but overall pretty good treatment for a genuine classic.

Verdict:

(the movie)  5 /5

(The Blu-ray)  3.5 /5

Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For


Viewed – 01 July 2015  Netflix

Brace yourselves, this might get kind of rant-like.  I was a fan of the original Robert Rodriguez / Frank Miller directed Sin City, a comic book adaptation that broke the mould and helped pioneer a new way of making movies.  Yet converting a gritty, noir-ish graphic novel to the screen was never going to be easy, especially due to Frank Miller’s distinctive monochrome art-style, and although the overly bleak tone prevented the movie for me being a stone cold classic, the end result was still an incredible achievement.

sincity2

This long awaited sequel however struggles almost from the start to reclaim that movie’s refreshing style or energy despite bolting together a series of plodding stories with characters that, apart from a few returning faces, fail to linger in the memory.  I was shocked to find Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green and Josh Brolin being cast, faces that I had immediately imagined as perfect for this dark, violent world; delivering performances that felt either clichéd or half-assed.  I mean Green has to get naked for the majority of her storyline to make much of an impact, and her femme-fatale character just seemed tiresome.  The same could also be said for Brolin, who looks the part and indeed plays the part, but is pretty much what Mickey Rourke’s character was all about in S C #1, and when you consider we still have Mickey Rourke’s Marv here (how…I mean, really – how?) his whole existence seems pointless.  Don’t get me started on the re-casting of Miho.

So the movie finally puts all it’s money on the slow burning revenge plot of young stripper Nancy (a still hot, feisty Jessica Alba) whose plot at least has some real drive, but by then it’s a strong case of too little, too late.

Rodriguez who has been off his game for a while now, does fill the movie with plenty of (white) blood, gore and some cool, if short lived action and the whole comic-book visual style still works a treat.  With better writing and more fire in it’s belly, this could have equalled … no, surpassed what came before.  But as it stands A Dame To Kill For was just poorly thought out and mostly forgettable.  A genuine shame.

Verdict:  2 /5

Merry Christmas!!!


Well the day is finally here.  Here’s what I got this year… 

Christmas2014

Consisting of this year’s prezzies was:  USB powered computer speakers (JBL Pebbles), the complete Breaking Bad on Blu-ray, A Nightmare On Elm Street seven film collection, again on Blu-ray and a surprise, the complete Die Hard also on Blu-ray.  Add to this a very nice pen that’s been engraved with my name on it, and the official Scarlett Johansson 2015 calendar … growl!  Not pictured was various smellies, clothing, sweets etc. etc.  All in all very very pleased.

So wishing everyone a really great Christmas and to those that I got presents for, hope you like what I got you!

Ho ho ho.

Craig.