- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 23, 2006

Film survivor

“It’s shaping up to be the worst summer of M. Night Shyamalan’s charmed career. Nearly a decade has passed since ‘The Sixth Sense’ catapulted him onto the Hollywood A-list, and the critics have been souring on his twist endings, earnest mysticism and crowd-pleasing thrills.

“His last film, 2004’s ‘The Village,’ received generally derisive reviews, and [his new film] ‘Lady in the Water’ has been dogged by lousy buzz ever since the script-shopping stage, when Shyamalan bolted to Warner Brothers after executives at Disney, his longtime home, didn’t show sufficient respect for his brilliance. Worse, he’s using the movie as a laboratory for his ambitions as a thespian: After laboring through cameo roles in his previous films, M. Night has handed himself a major part in this one, as … a struggling writer out to change the world. …

“[W]hile Shyamalan may be a narcissist with delusions of grandeur, he’s also a filmmaker of rare talent and creativity (these are hardly mutually exclusive categories, after all), and however lousy ‘Lady in the Water’ proves to be, he deserves to survive this summer of embarrassment and live to film again. … Shyamalan’s missteps have been interesting, his mistakes worth a second look and his obsession with the integrity of his own artistic visions, however irritating, has distinguished him from nearly all his young-Hollywood competitors.”

—Ross Douthat, writing on “I See Good Movies,” Thursday in Slate at www.slate.com

Disunited kingdom

“When Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup, its political leader, First Minister Jack McConnell, said he would support any team playing against England. So, according to a poll, would two-thirds of the population of Scotland. …

“England-Scotland football matches have been banned because of vicious fighting. …

“What is happening between England and Scotland is really nothing to do with sporting rivalry. It is to do with a surging nationalistic and political hatred that has flourished since the Blair government granted Scotland its own National Assembly. …

“From the day it gained office in Britain, New Labour … has either initiated or connived at loosening, weakening, unscrewing and generally damaging the structures of virtually every British institution and tradition. Its crowning achievement may be the actual destruction of the United Kingdom.”

—Hal G.P. Colebatch, writing on “Losing Scotland,” Friday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

‘Why we fight’

[Oliver Stone’s] new movie, ‘World Trade Center’ … is about us. It’s exclusively about the good guys. … It’s about a Marine who will drop everything to return to service. It’s about a team of rescue workers who will leave no man to die. It’s about our deep, abiding faith in God. … It’s about why we fight.

“It’s just a movie, of course, but movies matter. How culture responds to war matters. Oliver Stone, in re-creating what happened that day in the lives of two resilient men, has done more than any politician’s speech could ever do as we approach the fifth anniversary of the attacks. …

“And yes, really: that Oliver Stone. JFK Oliver Stone. I’ve been talking to people about it for a week now and I still get the double-take reaction. When [National Review’s blog] the Corner posted a link to a Cal Thomas column praising the Stone movie, more than a few dozen people thought Cal had missed his April Fools’ Day deadline.”

—Kathryn Jean Lopez, writing on “Get Stoned,” Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide