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Thursday, June 19, 2008
THE HAPPENING? More like....
... the Pish~ening!

If only, but I think we all know who would win...

Sorry, but I couldn't resist the rather obvious Scottish put~down of THE HAPPENING, the new flick from M. "Night" SHYAMALAN. To situate my relation with the writer/director/cameo appearance supremo, I'll refer to some of his past work. THE SIXTH SENSE? More like THE PISH SENSE! I jest, of course, but I wasn't overly keen on that one. Everyone at the time raved about it and I was like, "He's dead. So what? We've all got problems." But no~one listened. I thoroughly enjoyed UNBREAKABLE and it made sense as a 'real' origin story of a superhero. Likewise, SIGNS entertained (especially the alieny bits) though the huge plot-hole (why would extra~terrestials, who are afraid of water, come to Earth? There's quite a lot here) does make it rather redundant.

Lookin' good Zooey. Mwah!

THE VILLAGE was most enjoyable despite being incredibly predictable; very impressed with the use of colour in the film. And what was next? Oh yeah, LADY IN THE WATER. And so to his latest which is thankfully free of a shoe~horned cameo by the writer (unless you count his voice on the phone). There are so many ghastly things about this movie that it made my brain hurt. But there were a few good, no, great things too. That's what annoyed me the most. I'll start with the bad.

Her middle name is "Corr!" for obvious reasons.

The actors in almost everyone situation are woefully cast. MARK "How Come He Still Gets Jobs?" WAHLBERG is so devoid of personality and any ability that I did wonder if M. Night was pulling a Sixth Sense and he was actually dead. If only. Not only are all the actors poor (including some that appear briefly, notably the TV anchors and interviewers) but the characters that crop up are disarmingly (and needlessly) odd that story is rendered laughable (as some did in the screening I attended). Poor ZOOEY "Corr!" DESCHANEL - so odd, so beautiful yet so stuck in this garbage.

Do you like Cumming?

It didn't help anyone that the script was so achingly bad especially when it came to the 'personal' moments (of which there were far too many). Why would a father leave his daughter, to find his wife, with a couple that he doesn't think are going to stay together? He doesn't like the woman (poor Zooey) and yet lets his offspring go with her. He does add, cryptically, "Don't hold her hand unless you mean it". Groan! Surely, for the sake iof his daughter, he should just have cut his losses and let her grow up with at least one parent. Idiot! And, there was a microphone in shot! Twice! So notable that I could see people in the cinema pointing at it. Idiots!

Red is obviously not 'in' this season...

Now, despite these terrible flaws (and they are, believe me), THE HAPPENING does have some excellent ideas and tight scenes. The premise is solid, the message is good (if slightly heavy~handed at the denoument) and the scenes of the 'happening' when it 'happens' are really good - tense and filled with a genuine horror. M Night can create excruciatingly tense moments and sustain them brilliantly. It's just a pity these scenes were so badly acted and juxtaposed with garbage that wouldn't be broadcast in RIVER CITY. It could have been a masterpiece and that's even more annoying than Marky Mark.

Robot! (a lurvey one at that)

In one of my recent posts I mentioned there were lots of new releases on the ole music front and then proceeded to review only two. This amends that fox paw. AIMEE MANN is back and I'm a big fan of hers though her past couple of releases have been a bit of a nothing. Her new album, @#%&SMILERS (no, that's not a typo), is better than those; a few really good tunes surrounded by some average ones. Still, it's always beautiful to hear her voice. Likewise WEEZER are back and I'll just mention the two standout tracks: Troublemaker and Dreamin' - both top tunes. Everything else washed over me. Not as much as VELOCIFERO from LADYTRON though. Every song on that sounded the same. Pity, 'cos they showed early promise.

Honk!

Similarly, HERE WE STAND from THE FRATELLIS suffers from the same fate and doesn't compare well to their debut. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING from THE ZUTONS, however, does have a number of highly melodic tracks as well as some nice arrangements. As well as a song about working on an oil~rig. Yup, I thought that was odd too. There's more 'nice arrangements' on the debut from FLEET FOXES. In fact, that's doing them a disservice. The arrangements are exquisite; blindingly interesting and constructed with such panache that it's difficult to pin point when the hell the thing was recorded (let alone how).

Smug bastid!

If I were to categorise (which I don't normally do 'cos I think it's a reductive tool) these guys, I think I would call them acoustic~choral~folk~rock. And even that belittles the scope of their imaginations. Brilliant album and extremely accomplished. Definitely for those who appreciate their music off the beaten note. Their SUN GIANT EP is also well worth checking out and it includes the radio~friendly track Mykonos which seems to be doing the rounds. I will 'watch' their career with interest

Ha ha, old!

I got my RADIO 2 head on and listened to Little Dreamer by BETH ROWLEY and was pleasantly surprised at it's variety. Sure, you get the 'hits' So Sublime and Oh My Life which are lurvely, but you also get some more sombre moments like You Never Called Me Tonight and there's a surprise vocal (well it was for me) from DUKE SPECIAL. Nice. She's got a voice, that's for sure but parts of the album are a bit session~musiciany but her songs are undeniably tuneworthy. And I lurve tunes. Well worth a listen, and dare I say, purchasing. Lastly, it seems that YOUTH NOVELS by LYKKE LI has just been released in the UK. I reviewed it some time ago - go HERE for the review back in April - but I'll mention it again. Great! Go buy!

Ha ha, gross!

'Til the next time,
C.

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posted by Cameron McEwan at 5:15 pm -
2 Comments:
  • At 11:50 am, Blogger Misssy M said…

    Oh Cammy- I went to see the Happening last night. And just like you I gave it a brief review instantly..but mine was The Happening...More like The Shattening"

    I am reviewing it on the wireless on Saturday and worried that I can't swear, but only expletives will do to describe how awful it was.

    I agree with you- good story idea- terrible acting, terrible dialogue, terrible general execution. It's almost like MNS was trying to make the film bad, like some kind of B movie homage. And didn't he just nick the end out of 28 weeks later- poor, poor very poor. To nick an ending is bad, to nick an ending out of a poor sequel...even worse!

    Wahlberg was BAAAAD, but John Leguziamo (sp?) even worsererererer. I love Zooey in general too but she was DREADFUL in this. Can you widen your eyes any further to depict confusion and horror, Zooey??? (And do you realise your name is spelled wrongly?)

    Glad I didn't pay to see it, that's all I can say.

     
  • At 12:01 pm, Blogger Cameron McEwan said…

    Ha ha, The Shattening!

    Great minds an' all that.


    Likewise, I didn't have to pay which is a small mercy and thankfully it was only 90 minutes so didn't waste too much of my time.

    Plus I got to oggle Zooey.

    Yeah, I forgot to mention Leguizamo, simply atrocious. At one point I'm sure he did his voice from Ice Age. Did he forget he was doing a live~action film?
    Easy mistake to make actually with all those lifeless numbnuts around.

    It could have been so much better.

     
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