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Old 07-28-04, 04:26 PM
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More reviews of The Village

8 out of 10 here: http://www.tiscali.co.uk/entertainme...e_village.html

Entertainment Weekly B- review:

"What an irony -- and a shame -- it would be if ''The Sixth Sense'' turns out to be the movie that first made and then ruined the career of M. Night Shyamalan. A filmmaker of superb technical facility and emotional control, Shyamalan floored audiences with the ending of his 1999 thriller, the rare film twist that was genuinely unexpected without being in the least dishonest. It's not his fault that the public has approached each of his subsequent movies as narrative piņatas that will spill forth their secrets if only they can be cracked.

But audience expectations alone can't be blamed for the fact that Shyamalan's movies seem increasingly to be mapped from their endings backward. Watching The Village, which follows ''Unbreakable'' and ''Signs'' in what may come to be known as the ''Gotcha!'' quartet, you may find yourself poking and prodding the narrative for its first half hour, mentally combing each scene in search of what's not being expressed. That's not a great way to approach a film, but in fairness, the surface of ''The Village'' does not, initially, offer many rewards. Set in a 19th-century Northeastern rural community, it's written in a style somewhere between faux Crucible and an elementary-school tour of Amish country. Benign town elders led by Edward Walker (William Hurt) preside over the village's business while the young ones frolic and go a-courtin', and a romantic quadrangle begins to emerge: Walker's impetuous daughter Kitty (Judy Greer) is in love with stoic, awkward Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix), who in turn is smitten with Kitty's blind sister Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard), who's adored by mentally handicapped Noah (Adrien Brody, in his first role of any heft since winning the Oscar for ''The Pianist''). The tone is so chokingly wholesome, and the world Shyamalan creates is so quaintly ''simple'' in a way that urbanites often ascribe to the rural, that one longs for the other shoe to drop, if one exists. Since this is an M. Night Shyamalan film, prayers are answered in the form of an unseen presence -- terrifying creatures who are said to live in the surrounding woods, in an uneasy truce with the villagers that depends on neither species breaching the other's borders.

If by now you're thinking that surely something else must be going on here, well, who could blame you, since the writer-director himself has conditioned you to tweeze every line and frame forensically? What really lurks within those woods is (fear not: no spoilers here) a very mixed bag. It gives nothing of the plot away to say that there's a fine line between an ''Aha!'' and an ''Oh, brother!'' Whether you feel ''The Village'' crosses that line may hinge on whether you think Shyamalan's screenwriting ability is beginning to lag behind his skill as a director. ''The Village'' offers genuine surprises and a few haunting images, thanks primarily to his exquisitely precise sense of pace, mood, and framing (the brilliant cinematographer Roger Deakins proves invaluable here) and his evident fondness for actors. As a director, Shyamalan gets fine work from Phoenix, whose ability to convey emotion with limited language serves the film effectively, from newcomer Howard, who brings steely resolve and dynamism to what turns out to be a pivotal role, and from stage veterans like Cherry Jones and Jayne Atkinson in small parts. Less successfully used is Hurt, whose abiding taste for inserting...random...pauses...into his lines feeds Shyamalan's biggest weakness as a director, namely, a tendency to treat his own dialogue as holy writ. With each moment directed and played to maximize a sense of portent, ''The Village'' feels airless (and sometimes eye-rollingly solemn) in ways that can't be pinned entirely on its isolated-and-surrounded plot; it has the hermetic quality of a talented filmmaker bouncing ideas off the inside of his own skull. When those ideas are great, the result is ''The Sixth Sense.'' When those ideas are ''Hey, maybe the alien invader could be allergic to water!'' the result is ''Signs.'' In the case of ''The Village,'' it's not fair to talk about the plot yet, but it is reasonable to suggest that, with the road into these woods threatening to turn into a creative dead end, Shyamalan may want to think about making his next movie with a twist beginning -- a new writer."
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Old 07-28-04, 04:27 PM
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http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/...region=double1

If all you're looking for in the new nail-biter from suspense guru M. Night Shyamalan is an ending to out-twist The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs, The Village is no place to visit. The only way the climax of this blend of horror, romance and political allegory can come as a shock is to close your eyes and ears to everything that comes before it. That would be as butt-stupid as writing off Shyamalan as a trickster to be judged solely on how many rabbits he can pull out of his hat.
That hasn't stopped Internet fan boys, who snagged a script, from laughing off the film's evocation of an isolated community, with nineteenth-century dress and manners, being menaced by creatures on its borders. Then there's the recent Sci Fi Channel documentary that the director reportedly tried to shut down. It turns out Shyamalan was in on the scam -- a guerrilla marketing campaign gone awry.

Know what? Let the film speak for itself. The Village, even when its step falters, is on to something more provocative than seeing dead people. Its power, unrelated to digital monsters, comes from the tension building inside the characters. Shyamalan benefits from a stellar cast, including William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver as emotionally bruised village elders, and Joaquin Phoenix and Oscar winner Adrien Brody -- doing a bizarro take on the village idiot -- as younger members of the tribe. And roll out a welcome for new star Bryce Dallas Howard, the daughter of director Ron Howard. She gives a breakout performance as a blind girl whose radiant innocence can't hide her independent spirit and scrappy wit.

Shyamalan and magician cinematographer Roger Deakins work wonders at suggesting a lurking menace in the sylvan beauty of the Pennsylvania countryside. To venture out, a villager needs permission that the elders, led by Edward Walker (Hurt) -- a teacher with a vast knowledge of the region's history -- refuse to grant. Lucius (Phoenix), the son of elder Alice Hunt (Weaver), is rebuffed. Only Ivy (Howard), Edward's blind, love-struck daughter, is given a pass because . . . well, no fair squealing. The elders fear the creatures on their borders, referred to as "those we do not speak of," who stage periodic raids. The rules are strict: "Never enter the woods -- that is where they wait." And, "Let the bad color not be seen -- it attracts them." The bad color is red, evoking blood and violence. There is one scene -- a stabbing superbly staged by Shyamalan -- that hits like a thunderbolt. There is also a love story, played with shimmering delicacy by Phoenix and Howard, that cuts to the heart. Brody makes up the third side of that triangle.

In crafting a film about the ways fear can manipulate -- are there really creatures of mass destruction in the woods? -- Shyamalan gives the film a metaphorical weight that goes deeper than goose bumps. He may find himself linked with Michael Moore as a political provocateur. "Do your best not to scream your loudest," Edward tells Ivy when he opens a woodshed and uncovers long-buried secrets. It's a wicked invitation for the audience to scream its head off. Go for it. But do your best not to miss the dark implications that empower The Village to haunt your dreams.

PETER TRAVERS
(Posted Jul 28, 2004)
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Old 07-28-04, 11:08 PM
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http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/village/?critic=all
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Old 07-28-04, 11:27 PM
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Mods, can we please merge these Village review threads?
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Old 07-29-04, 04:13 AM
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6 fresh, only 1 rotten so far.
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Old 07-29-04, 05:28 AM
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Originally posted by Abranut
Mods, can we please merge these Village review threads?

I agree completely. it's getting out of hand that we need a new thread for each review source.
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Old 07-29-04, 09:28 AM
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This thread was closed, however it is not re-opened until Friday when the Roger Ebert review will be moved back into the forum. Please do not post the Ebert review in any thread on DVDTalk. Please remember that this thread will be closed again on Friday.
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Old 07-29-04, 03:37 PM
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Down...down...down
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Old 07-29-04, 03:56 PM
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Hee, so I suppose the Ebert review was true
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Old 07-29-04, 04:23 PM
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I'm still going to see it friday and have avoided all spoilers but the reviews aren't looking so hot.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/village/

8 fresh 9 rotten.

"Every village needs an idiot -- and M. Night Shyamalan is hoping it's you."
-- Staci Layne Wilson, HORROR.COM
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Old 07-29-04, 04:39 PM
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The reviews so far are very mixed. Some are saying its his best film to date, while others are saying its his worst.
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Old 07-29-04, 05:00 PM
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just curious but why did you decide to make 'very' bold?
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Old 07-29-04, 05:05 PM
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Cause, it brings attention 2 that word
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Old 07-29-04, 05:31 PM
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Originally posted by Jackskeleton
Cause, it brings attention 2 that word
That and I wanted to prove my coolness by using vB code...
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Old 07-29-04, 05:38 PM
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"Shyamalan's films have become life support systems for his twists."
-- Walter Chaw, FILM FREAK CENTRAL
So true, so true.
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Old 07-29-04, 05:48 PM
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Originally posted by Coral
So true, so true.
So you don't like his style of directing in his movies along with the: great acting, amazing atmosphere, involving storylines (without the endings), and his ability to give us something nice and refreshing instead of the same ol' hollywood formula?

If none of his movies contained a twist ending (and for the 14th time, Signs has absolutely no twist ending) they would still hold up very well - I think a lot of people need to watch his movies again and try to get more involved in what's going on.
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Old 07-29-04, 07:20 PM
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So you don't like his style of directing in his movies along with the: great acting, amazing atmosphere, involving storylines (without the endings), and his ability to give us something nice and refreshing instead of the same ol' hollywood formula?
I could resort to saying that you are defending M. Night like I defend fox films in general, but I'm not going to do that. I'm going to say this. I want to like his films. But for the most part they do stretch to far for what they are.

And to generalize it. It feels like M. Night tosses in a cop out for the most part to compensate for something else. Signs could have been a film totally about a man losing his faith and finding it. It's lack of focus on the alien invasion just showed that the situation was tossed in to create a sci fi element. The cop out was the simple fact that water was the solution to defeating him. I'm an avid fan of comic books. People recommended Unbreakable to me like nothing else. I disliked it. I watched it again thinking I missed something.. disliked it again. Same goes for six sense. I felt the film could have been told in about 30 minutes.

Forget twist endings, M. Night seems to just enjoy the classic cop out for his films.
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Old 07-29-04, 08:02 PM
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So you don't like his style of directing in his movies along with the: great acting, amazing atmosphere, involving storylines (without the endings), and his ability to give us something nice and refreshing instead of the same ol' hollywood formula?
He's an average director who does provide nice atmosphere and decent pacing (maybe a little slow), but his storylines are only average
I liked the acting in Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, but found little redeeming in Signs.

I hate Hollywood formulas, which is why I'm finding M. Nights films irratating - since he's created a formula and seems to be dependent on it.

I'm not sure if he'll be able to string the audience along much longer with his formula - but since the average movie-going public seems to support crappy films, they may not mind the formula.
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Old 07-29-04, 08:07 PM
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I hate Hollywood formulas, which is why I'm finding M. Nights films irratating - since he's created a formula and seems to be dependent on it
AMEN! He works off one formula that made him and now he's beating it to the ground.

Think of it this way, Kevin smith did the same thing working off clerks, mallrats and chasing amy. He works off that long winded script formula and when he tries something that isn't poop and fart jokes it doesn't work in jeresy girl.

I would like to see M.Night try something that isn't sci fi-ish or doesn't depend on a cop out/twist ending. Do a straight drama, action, etc. Signs wouldn't have been half bad if it just picked something and stuck to it. Have it be an alien invasion or a freak'n finding faith film. Pick a side!
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Old 07-29-04, 08:07 PM
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but why would you care if other people or the public like M. Night movies?

Frankly I'd be more upset with things like garfield and catwoman then the village, but whatever.
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Old 07-29-04, 10:06 PM
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