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Sorting Out the “Glass” Menagerie

Glass!

Nick Fury, Professor X, and John McClane walk into a hospital…, or, if you prefer, John Shaft, Mr. Tumnus, and David Addison…

Sometimes I’m too persuadable for my own good.

I saw M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable in theaters way back in 2000, thought it had intriguing concepts and believable use of a comics-fandom backdrop, but I lost patience with its plodding, lugubrious tone (years before The Walking Dead and Marvel’s Netflix shows made snail-speed pretentiousness an acceptable norm) as well as the Dragnet-esque text-only ending that cheated the viewer out of any earned closure. Cutting a story short after the final twist worked well for Rod Serling, but not so much for other writers.

I saw Shyamalan’s Split in 2017 when word-of-mouth suggested we could call it a comeback, but it lost me with its To Be Continued ending that recast the otherwise taut thriller as the second chapter in Shyamalan’s very own superhero universe.

That brings us to the final act of the trilogy, Glass. I’ve skipped several Shyamalan films, but curiosity got the best of me. Was there a remote chance it would tie together the threads of the first two films with some sense of thematic satisfaction and retroactively redeem them, or at least provide a better sense of closure? Dare I hope?

Yep, I dared.

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“Split”: The Most Hidden Personality is Always the Worst

Split!

“You guys seem real nice. You wanna come watch X-Men: Apocalypse with me? It’s like the bestest super-hero film ever!”

Movie reviews may not be meaningful to every reader, whether as standalone essays or as en masse aesthetic bellwether, but there’s a reason the last M. Night Shyamalan film I saw was 2002’s Signs. Light word on the street about his last two projects — the Fox summer series Wayward Pines and the tiny Blumhouse scary film The Visit — hinted that perhaps a comeback was in the offing. The flashy trailer for his latest project Split appealed to me less on his name and more for the opportunity afforded James McAvoy to do his own riff on Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove, Alec Guinness in Kind Hearts and Coronets, or possibly Orphan Black. Sometimes it’s fun when talented actors from other countries play half the characters in a given production with a variety of accents. Sometimes, but not always.

On a related note: I’ve tried not to turn this into a full-on recap of the film, but the things that aggravated me most are largely spoilers, buried further down in the “Nitpicking” section in sum but not in exacting detail. If you’re hoping to catch Split someday with the mandatory Shyamalan “twist” intact, a few sentences here — as well as the film’s official entries on both Wikipedia and IMDb — may give you one hint too many of Shyamalan’s game plan. (This section throws shade and spoilers around for two other films, both more than eight years old. Stop me when that’s a problem.)

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