Sunday, September 26th, 2004

The Village Green Preservation Society

First off, I like M Night Shyamalan. Or his films, anyway. I thought The Sixth Sense was terrific (I’m not one of those people who dismiss it and say, “oh I saw right through it in the first 10 minutes” – I don’t like those people), and I believe Unbreakable was one of the cleverest, most original superhero movies maybe ever (granted, it’s a shallow pool of contenders). Signs was kinda weak overall but it was still a very good suspense film, at least technically speaking. So that brings us to film #4, The Village. I won’t bother getting into the plot, most everyone at least knows what the setup this time around was. I’ll just go straight into the post-morten, conventiently broken down into three categories.

The good: Bryce Dallas Howard was remarkable as blind heroine Ivy Walker, especially considering this was her feature debut. Opie’s little girl done good. I though Shyamalan was very effective in keeping the audience guessing about Those Shall Not Be Spoken Of or whatever they were called. The cinematography and technical direction are excellent – the film looks great. And there were no wise little children. BIG plus.

The bad: The dialogue was overly ponderous and unnatural, even for a period piece. Folks from the 1800s would probably watch this and say, “why does everyone talk like they have sticks up their butts?”. Joaquin Phoenix was even more wooden and inexpressive than usual, and that’s saying something. I don’t care if that’s how his character was supposed to be, watching him onscreen was like watching paint watch paint dry. Yes, that’s what I meant to say. And Adrien Brody just annoyed the hell out of me.

The neither good nor bad: The film overall. I should confess that the ‘twist’ at the end was ruined for me many months ago by some jerkwad on the internet who didn’t have the sense to write “SPOILER ALERT” on some message board before blowing it. I had hoped that he was wrong, but nope – I knew what was coming. However, if I HADN’T known the secret of The Village, I probably would have definitely liked it, even though in retrospect much of the explanation is hard to accept. Would I have seen it coming? Who knows. But either way, I think it was still pretty damn clever. Say what you will about his films, whether they’re pretentious, stupid or just dull (and I’ll only partly agree with the first point), he’s certainly one of the more original minds working in Hollywood these days. Ironically, by becoming such a distinctive filmmaker, he’s also getting a bit repetitive. It may be for the best that his next project is an adaptation of Life Of Pi – let him work with someone else’s words for a while. So yeah, The Village. I liked it okay, I guess.

Chart welcomes Jesse Sykes of the Sweet Hereafter to Canada on her first trip north of the border. She plays a free show at the Rivoli tonight.

Rolling Stone talks to a slew of artists who’re taking part in tours to mobilize voters for the upcoming US elections about why they feel so motivated.

The New York Times spends a night on the town with Rilo Kiley. They’ll be painting Toronto chartreuse a week from tonight. Link from LHB.

I was watching Law & Order last night, and in a rare occurrance it wasn’t simulcast on a Canadian station so I got to watch it from the Buffalo NBC affiliate. One observation about American television – gawDAMN you people have a lot of commercials for drugs! I mean, geez – do folks see something on TV and think, “hey, I could use some of that” and go see their doctors like some sort of greengrocer? That’s messed. Seriously.

np – Elvis Costello & The Imposters / The Delivery Man

By : Frank Yang at 9:50 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Michael says:

    re: drug commercials, you’ve hit the nail on the head. That’s *exactly* what the drug companies want, and that’s *exactly* what happens. Drugs are treated just like cars or toothpaste in the ad world. Funny, eh?

  2. Maria says:

    You mean they’re bringing Life of Pi to the big screen? I would love to see it, even though I know Pi’s secret (I read the book), it is a beautiful, lovely story.

  3. JOhn says:


    Whatch WTBS out of Atlanta, all they ever sell is drugs or Atlanta Braves baseball. OT, Will you be getting the 3CD reissue of the Kinks The Village Green Preservation Society? As well how long in advance did you recieve your Wilco tickets for the last show?


  4. satellite says:

    Just in case.. another who didn’t see the Village, don’t read my comment. I like M. Night’s other 3 files, but the Village just annoyed the hell out of me. I didn’t know the twist and I thought that was pretentious, like there was some message about society that I didn’t want to hear in a popcorn movie. And does William Hurt always play assholes?

  5. Frank says:

    maria – haven’t read the book yet, but I hear that Shyamalan is doing the film.

    John – I got my Wilco tickets on Thursday, about two and a half weeks before the show. It’s usually a fortnight before that MusicToday sends out the tickets. And I doubt I’ll be getting the fancy-pants version of Village Green, I’ve got a remastered one with a bunch of bonus tracks, I think I’m good with the record. Which I should listen to again, come to think of it.

    Satellite – great site, btw. I didn’t particularly see any social commentary implied in The Village, if anything, the message might have been that their attempt at a utopian society wasn’t working after all as the violence they were running from found them after all. Any sort of pretention I get from Shyamalan is more of the cinematic sort than moralistic. and I don’t know what’s up with William Hurt… was he an asshole in Lost In Space?