“Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.”
I remember when Unbreakable came out in 2000, a year after The Sixth Sense. I was excited to see what M. Night Shyamalan‘s second installment was going to deliver. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed by the revelation that this mysterious drama was merely about uninteresting comic book-like super humans. A lot of people I know loved this movie, and I even watched it again to see if it was just me…and nah. I still felt the same way almost 13 years later.
Fast forward 16 years and I go to see Split, another M. Night movie. Other than James McAvoy’s spectacular performance playing multiple personalities, I found it to be a very average film. It failed to make me care for the victims who were bland and unbelievable, and just like Unbreakable, it seemed like everyone else loved it. I don’t know why. The twist in this film was that it was connected to Unbreakable and all of a sudden, a franchise we weren’t expecting (or asked for) was about to unfold.
Now it’s 2019 and the 3rd installment of a trilogy we didn’t even know existed until the end of its 2nd second installment has hit theaters and well…expectations are not high. Honestly, I didn’t hate the first two movies, but I didn’t care for them enough to look forward to this one.
Once again, James McAvoy delivered a great performance carrying the weight of multiple personas in the mind of the character, Kevin Wendell Crumb. That’s about it. Bruce Willis feels like he’s given up on acting in his last few films, and Samuel L. Jackson spent most the movie just staring at the camera.
The story didn’t gain much momentum specifically because you know what to expect from these characters and nothing new was brought to the table. It’s evident that M. Night really believe’s that people would care about this world he developed like we care about the MCU, but the problem is that NO ONE ASKED FOR THIS.
The finale of the film was particularly embarrassing because he was trying to make it EPIC with horns blaring like the end of The Dark Knight, but it just ends with uncaring disappointment.
The movie couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a respectable character study drama or a superhero movie and M. Night decided to just mash them together into an unbalance mess of tones. It left me feeling like this was an egomaniacs attempt to say he can create a shared universe and shove it down our throats whether we liked it or not.
Overall Grade: C-
Listen, I don’t hate the movie. I’m not even disappointed in it. My expectations were low and it met those expectations. I think we just need to stop expecting great things from M. Night because when we do, it usually turns out crappy.
Bonus Material: I think we’ve come too far along in Hollywood for the prosthetics on Mr. Glass’s mom’s face to look so damn fake!
Daniel Ortiz Rants On: Us
A family’s serenity turns to chaos when a group of doppelgängers begins to terrorize them.
Rarely do I prepare myself to see a film, but Jordan Peele’s Us is one of those rare movies I didn’t need to see more than one trailer for, nor did I need the hype of other critics. I also wanted to judge this film off its own merit rather than comparing it to his freshman standout, Get Out (which made my #1 film of 2017). Comparisons will be made, but I’ll try to keep them as minimal as possible.
The stand out feature is that this film is beautifully shot. The cinematography of this movie adapts to its environment seamlessly whether it’s a vibrant beach scene or a dark setting where just enough of the characters faces needs to be made out.
Also, I thought Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide’s doppelganger, Red was a terrifying character. Everything from her awkward pantomimes to her unhinged voice was the thing of nightmares.
Now, there were a few (lots of) issues I did have with the film. I left the theater with more frustrating questions than fulfilling answers. It felt like too many ideas where in the plot and too much symbolism was forcefully wedged in to satisfy the expectations of the Get Out fans, but it came out as a jumbled mess of psychology that I didn’t want to spend my viewing time deciphering.
A lot of the horror that was built up for this film was also very deflating as the Wilson family was spared instant death and provided a background story by their doppleganger’s while others were swiftly killed before they knew what hit them. Halfway through the film, you pretty much knew they were safe from any death or violence which takes away all tension as a viewer.
The connection between the characters and their dopplegangers wasn’t fleshed out enough. Some things came off as inconsistent and driven for plot convenience, rather than a solution. I didn’t get many of the motivations and the decisions that drove the actions of our protagonists. I didn’t understand why the dopplegangers wore red jumpsuits and just one fingerless driving glove. The one symbolism I understood was the scissors, which if you look at the handle on the poster, looks like mirrored heads. This was the weapon used to cut the connection between themselves and their other half. Otherwise, I may need to see some other folks interpretations of the film.
Also, the editing was not good. There were scenes that were waaaay too long and could’ve used a few chops. The opening credit scene reminded me of an old horror movie from the 70’s (think the Amityville Horror ’79) where the title card has nothing going on, and as a viewer I felt stuck looking at a bunch of rabbits for what I assume was 3 minutes just waiting for the movie to get started.
Overall Grade: C-
There’s just too many questions, and too many inconsistencies to feel comfortable giving it anything higher. Maybe in the upcoming weeks certain plot revelations might come to fruition, but I’m not looking for Kubrick levels of hidden meaning, and this is not Kubrick-esque. I’ll chalk this up to a sophomore slump by Peele and the pressures of following up to such an acclaimed film. I just got hints of M. Night Shyamalan in this movie, meaning a Director/Writer who is owning a genre and gets type-casted to that medium. Let’s hope Jordan Peele doesn’t head down that same road.
5 Geek Chic Trailers for Your 4K TV
These luscious 4K trailers are in zippy 60fps for you VFX aficionados.
Alita: Battle Angel
Robert Rodriguez directs James Cameron‘s script melding state of the art effects with live action. We’ve come a long way since Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Last stand-alone Godzilla movie before he kicks King Kong‘s ass in 2020. Epic visual effects create a scale worthy of your 4K TV.
This reboot has big red shoes to fill.
Men in Black 4
I admit the best thing about this trailer is seeing Tessa Thompson in high resolution. Am I allowed to say that? #toolate
They don’t give a lot away in the new Avengers trailer, but it sure looks purty.
White Right: Meeting the Enemy
Deeyah Khan puts herself in real jeopardy in White Right: Meeting the Enemy, confronting the whitest rightest supremacists and Neo-Nazis with the oldest trick in the book; she becomes their first friend of color. No shit. You’ll be amazed as Deeyah proves racism is born from miseducation and a total lack of experience. Sure, not everyone becomes a believer in the end, but you sure will.
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