M- Night Shyamalan

Trailer: The Night Chronicles: Devil

I've never been comfortable riding in elevators they just freak me out.  This trailer did not help.  Watch it above.

This movie is titled Devil but it is also known as The Night Chronicles: Devil.  It is a story by and produced by M. Night Shyamalan.

Plot / Story

Set in an office building, five people find themselves stuck in an elevator, and they realize one of them is the Devil.

Set to hit the theaters on September  17, 2010

Exploring: The Last Airbender

Review

I really enjoyed The Last Airbender, 9 out of 10.  It is a good distillation of 22 hours of show down to just under 2 hours of movie.

Great movie for fans of the show and those who like fun, adventure, action movies.  Those who hate it will do so because either they forgot how to have fun, they don't get the choices made based on the Eastern philosophy that permeates this project or because the avatar does not give into violence.

Concerning Racebending:  After watching The Last Airbender I can let the Racebending issue slide because there is so many other good socially redeeming aspects and lessons in it.

I like some of the changes made especially the ending.  The ending in the show bothered me because the Avatar gives into rage and anger killing many as he looses control.  This does bother him in the second season and was originally done as a subplot of the avatar learning how to fight back but with non violent resistance.  In the movie he does not lash out in rage but instead brilliantly faces his justified emotions and lets them pass through him sublimating them into something constructive and also demonstrating a full mastery and understanding of Waterbending.

There are several scenes depicted in the trailers that did not appear in the movie.  Some of those scenes are the Kyoshi Island warriors, the pirates, and Bumi.  At first this confused me then Eric pointed out that we may get a longer version for the directors cut with those scenes in it.

  • Appa and Momo are great
  • They changed the ending for the better
  • Did a goog job condensing 22 hours into 2
  • Katara was well acted Nicola Peltz did a good job of capturing her sadness with out making her Emo or Mopey
  • I love the foreshadowing of General Iroh The Dragon of the West

First Impressions

Theater:  I love the series that this movie is based on.  The movie trailers looks great.  Other then the race bending possible issues I’m really looking forward to watching this movie.

Trailers

more trailers

The Plot / Story:

Based on the first season of the show The Book of Water Avatar The Last Airbender.  Air, Water, Earth, Fire. Four nations tied by destiny when the Fire Nation launches a brutal war against the others. A century has passed with no hope in sight to change the path of destruction. Caught between combat and courage, Aang discovers he is the lone Avatar with the power to manipulate all four elements. Aang teams with Katara a waterbender, and her brother, Sokka, to restore balance to their war-torn world.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

  • Release Date:  JULY 1
  • Listed as:  action-adventure, fantasy, film
  • Studio:  Paramount Pictures
  • Director:  M. Night Shyamalan
  • Produced by:  M. Night Shyamalan, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Sam Mercer, scott Aversano
  • Written by:  M. Night Shyamalan,
  • Stars:  Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Dev Patel, Jackson Rathbone, Shaun Toub, Aasif Mandvi, Cliff Curtis

Other Posts

Racebending

Photos

[gallery]

  • New High Resolution Photos: The Last Airbender (via /Film)

Theater or Renter: July 2010

Theater or Renter: July includes seven SF movies The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, The Last Airbender, Despicable Me, Predators, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Inception, and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.  Will we watch? Will we rent? or do we even care? Rules of the Game: Watch the trailers. Rate the Trailer. Then share with us your comments: does the movie, it’s trailer and buzz make you want to watch it in the theater, rent it, or not interested at all, and why?

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Release Date: June 30

Listed as:  romantic-vampire

Studio:  Summit Entertainment

Director: David Slade

Produced by:  Wyck Godfrey, Karen Rosenfelt

Written by:  Melissa Rosenberg

Stars:  Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Bryce Dallas Howard, Billy Burke, Xavier Samuel, Dakota Fanning

The Plot / Story: As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob — knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Not Interested:  The books bored me as did the first movie.  Why Twilight is Popular Video

The Last Airbender:

Release Date:  JULY 1

Listed as:  action-adventure, fantasy, film

Studio:  Paramount Pictures

Director:  M. Night Shyamalan

Produced by:  M. Night Shyamalan, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Sam Mercer, scott Aversano

Written by:  M. Night Shyamalan,

Stars:  Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Dev Patel, Jackson Rathbone, Shaun Toub, Aasif Mandvi, Cliff Curtis

The Plot / Story: Based on the first season of the show The Book of Water Avatar The Last Airbender.  Air, Water, Earth, Fire. Four nations tied by destiny when the Fire Nation launches a brutal war against the others. A century has passed with no hope in sight to change the path of destruction. Caught between combat and courage, Aang discovers he is the lone Avatar with the power to manipulate all four elements. Aang teams with Katara a waterbender, and her brother, Sokka, to restore balance to their war-torn world.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Theater:  I love the series that this movie is based on.  The movie trailers looks great.  Other then the race bending possible issues I'm really looking forward to watching this movie.

Despicable Me:

Release Date:  JULY 9

Listed as:  Animated, fantasy

Studio:  Universal Studios

Director:  Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud  Co-Director: Sergio Pablos

Produced by:  John Cohen, Janet Healy, Chris Meledandri

Written by:  Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul

Stars:  Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, Danny McBride, Miranda Cosgrove, Jack McBrayer, Mindy Kaling, Ken Jeong, Jemaine Clement, Julie Andrews, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher, Dave Foley, Philip Bolden

The Plot / Story: In a happy suburban neighborhood surrounded by white picket fences with flowering rose bushes sits a black house with a dead lawn. Unbeknownst to the neighbors, hidden beneath this home is a vast secret hideout. The protagonist, Gru, is the #2 villain who wants to accomplish an unthinkable task with the help of his large army of minions and various gadgets. He attempts this while trying to outsmart his arch-rival, #1 super villain, Vector. He thinks he's found the perfect scheme when he decides to do the impossible: steal the moon itself. However, he meets three super small orphan girls who want him to become their dad. The world's greatest villain has just met his greatest challenge.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Renter:  At first I was excited about this Despicable Me but the trailers got old fast.  There are also several yellow flags with this project that make me cautious about watching this film.  Steve Carell is funny I really like him in the office but I have not cared for his other projects, universal studios animation project which tend to be ok and the incessant need to use 3d as a gimmick to force me into watching it in the theater and I can wait.

Predators:

Release Date:  JULY 9

Listed as:  science fiction, action, horror

Studio:  20th Century Fox

Director:  Nimród Antal

Produced by:  Robert Rodriguez, John Davis, Elizabeth Avellan

Written by:  Michael Finch, Alex Litvak

Stars:  Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali,

The Plot / Story: Royce, a mercenary who reluctantly leads a group of elite warriors who come to realize they’ve been brought together on an alien planet… as prey. With the exception of a disgraced physician, they are all cold-blooded killers mercenaries, Yakuza, convicts, death squad members human “predators” that are now being systemically hunted and eliminated by a new breed of alien Predators.  (Wikipedia) (official site)

Theater:  I'm an old school fan of the Predator movies Exploring: Predators Trailer not so much of a fan of all the recent attempts at reboots.  That said this one looks descent they kept the jungle feel.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice:

Release Date:  July 16

Listed as:  Sorcery, Fantasy, Adventure , Comedy film

Studio:  Walt Disney Pictures

Director:  Jon Turteltaub

Produced by:  Jerry Bruckheimer

Written by:  Screenplay: Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard, Matt Lopez  Screen story: Matt Lopez, Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal  Poem: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Stars:  Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina

The Plot / Story: A live-action re-imagining of the Mickey Mouse Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment in Disney’s Fantasia.  An average college student is reluctantly recruited to work for a sorcerer, who gives him a crash course in magic to prepare him for a battle against the forces of darkness in modern Manhattan.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Not Interested:  This project spits on the memory of Walt Disney.  He loved Fantasia, cherished it as his greatest achievement of merging music and visuals.  To turn part of it into a simple movie with cheep tricks and borrowed plot line from other contemporary movies is a horrible thing and I want no part of it.

Inception:

Release Date:  JULY 16th

Listed as:  sci-fi, action, thriller

Studio:  Warner Bros. Pictures

Director:  Christopher Nolan

Produced by:  Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas

Written by:  Christopher Nolan

Stars:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Dileep Rao, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine

The Plot / Story: Dom Cobb  is a skilled thief in the art of "extraction," stealing secrets from deep within the unconscious mind during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb's rare ability has made him valuable in corporate espionage. In one last job, he must cause an "inception" – instead of stealing an idea, he must plant one. Christopher Nolan, the director of the movie, was quoted as saying "We don't do magic. Everything in Inception has a basis in reality, except for the technology".  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Not Interested:  Premise is weak, the trailer boring and worst yet Christopher Nolan is all over this project.  He is a big red flag in any project.

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore:

Release Date:  JULY 30

Listed as: Family, Fantasy

Studio:  Warner Bros. Pictures

Director:  Brad Peyton

Produced by:  Polly Cohen, Andrew Lazar, Greg Michael, Brent O'Connor

Written by:   Ron J. Friedman, Steve Bencich, John Requa, Glenn Ficarra

Stars:  Chris O’Donnell, Jack McBrayer, Fred Armisen, Paul Rodriguez, Christina Applegate, Michael Clarke Duncan, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, James Marsden, Bette Midler, Nick Nolte, Joe Pantoliano, Katt Williams

The Plot / Story: Kitty Galore, a hairless Sphynx cat, grows tired of dogs and her own cat friends. So, she decides to take over the world. Diggs, a police dog, and his mentor, Butch, are selected by the Dogs HQ spy force to stop her. The cats join forces with with the dogs and get additional support from the birds to block Galore's scheme. Galore, meanwhile, has the help of the mice and hires the devious cat and antagonist from the first film, Mr. Tinkles.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Theater / Renter:  this is probably a renter for me but as previously confessed in My Dirty Secret Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore I'm a sucker for this movie.  The first in the series was really entertaining and funny.  Based on the trailers and promotional materials it looks like the second one has not lost that flavor.


[reus name="Fandango"]

[reus name="Netflix"]

Race Bending Missing The Point

A lot of discussion has stirred over M. Night Shyamalan's casting for the up coming movie The Last Airbender.  SCI FI Wire came out recently with posts for both the YES position and the No position.  I applaud them for putting forth conversation on both sides and would love to spend several posts refuting points of issue in those posts but we must keep perspective.

The Conversation to this point has boiled down to this:

  • Shyamalan cast white-skinned heroes and brown-skinned villains for the movie based on a show which has distinct ethnicity in its characters except for the Avatar.
  • He claims that his casting was color blind and those actors & actresses were the best that showed up for the role.

The main arguments have hit a point of impasse until we watch the movie and see how the acting pans out.  If the acting is brilliant then maybe it was just an unfortunate set of events that caused the casting to be the way it is.  That helps with most of the arguments except it still does not deal with a particular problem that fandom is very much against.

The Real Beef

Speculative Fiction for all of its progressive thinking tends to fall short when it comes to cultural sensitivity especially on the topics of race, gender, and homosexuality.  This sensitivity is best described by Gene Roddenberry.

Humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day they begin not just to tolorate but to take a special delight in difference in ideas and differences in life forms.

We tried to say that the worst possible thing that could happen to all of us is for the future to somehow presses us into a common mold where we begin to act talk think and look alike.

If we can not learn to actually enjoy those small differences, take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind on this planet then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that's almost certainly out there.

Avatar The Last Airbender is an incredibly culturally progressive SF show.  Instead of going for characters with no particular cultural background they featured many specific cultures.  It celebrated the cultures even of the Fire Nation demonstrating an amazing level of cultural sensitivity.  The movie's casting erases that entire level of the show.

Blind casting in this case is an attempt to press all of us into a common mold, wiping away those cultural diversities that should be celebrated.

Inaction is still a choice just as harmful as action.  A lack of cultural diversity is still distilling a society down to one common race.  We need to embrace the cultural diversity and celebrate it.  Avatar the Last Airbender is a brilliant example of how you can have villians of a particular race and still celebrate their cultural diversity.

As for me I will watch the film and hopefully find the performances brilliant to distract me from the show's lost opportunity.  Maybe by the second movie M. Night Shyamalan will be able to put back in the celebration of different cultures.

For more read:

M Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender Ang and Zuko

Airbender-Ang-Live

Some early pictures are out for M Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender live action movie based on the amazing animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Ang played by Noah Ringer is shown above while Prince Zuko played by Dev Patel is shown below.

Airbender-Zuko-Live

I wish the arrow on Angs head was more visiable.  The look of the arrow is something that could be easily adjusted in editing and in post production.

I also wonder why Zuko does not have his scar.  It's possible that this photo is set in the time line before he receives the burn scar.  It is also possible that the scar effect will be added digitally in editing though that theroy seems unlikely because of the costs and challange level it would add to the movie over doing it in makeup.

Early pictures are nice to have but they are not always representational of the final product.  My mind goes to Dragonball Z movie where the earliy pictures looked bad but in the movie they looked great...  and so I have hope.

Knowing that Dev Patel has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do gives me hope for watching live action Prince Zuko who's animated counterpart relied on his martial arts abilities in combat as much as his firebending.

Get your Avatar: The Last Airbender fix here from Amazon

(via /Film)

Racism in The Last Airbender Casting and Margaret Cho

avatar: the last airbenderActivist/Comedian Margaret Cho posted a set of emails from her fans about the casting of M. Night Shyamalan's film version of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She frames the problem very well:

I am never surprised when Hollywood takes a story with Asian characters and casts white people instead of Asians. This is so typical and happens with such frequency! I always thought that in order to make our presence known in entertainment, we should be writing, bringing our dreams and realities to the cinema, but now even telling our own stories isn’t even enough.

Why is it better to have white actors play the roles of Asians? I don’t understand. Because it sells more tickets? I am not white and I have had no trouble selling tickets. Maybe the powers that be should ask me what to do. I would tell them. “The Last Airbender” is the last straw to a lot of people (Margaret Cho Blog):

We were initially excited about the movie, and the idea of a trilogy, but were given pause when we saw the cast.

Avatar: The Last Airbender casting characterss avatar: the last airbender casting actors

It is hard to understand what M. Night Shyamalan was thinking when he cast this movie.

I have said for a long time that Speculative Fiction is one of the most racist film genres.  It is not uncommon for white actors to be cast in the role of other ethnicity.  It is hard to get an SF movie cast if the main character is non-white (take Green Lantern for example).

My Experience

All of my books have non-white leads, and my latest book, Shine Like Thunder has a Gay Persian as the main character.

I have received a frightening amount of hate mail and personal confrontations about the ethnicity of the characters from white readers.

You would think SF readers would be more open minded.

Why would M. Night Shyamalan do this?

To me, that is the big question.

I think the casting was intentional.  They believe the film will attract a larger audience with a white cast of heros and a brown cast of villains than it would if they followed the example of the series.

This is all about money.  Hollywood consistently underestimates the intelligence of the American people, and almost always aims for the lowest common denominator.  This is less a sign of racism on the part of Hollywood as it is an sign of Hollywood's belief about how racist the American people are.

I would love to hear your opinions about this.

If you are interested in getting involved with the movement to effect the casting, check out:

Exploring: The Happening

Review of:  The Happening Overall Rating: 1 F---

Unfortunately betrayal and hurt was the only thing that happened from The Happening.  This movie was a terrible waste of time and money.  Please spare your self, this film is not even worth renting or wasting time on when it eventually gets put on TV.  It lacked an internal consistency, characters that we cared about, and a surprise twist.  The only good thing this film provides is as an example of how a great premise can be made terrible through poor choices, poor writing and poor editing.

The Happening is about when a Philadelphia high school science teacher Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) and other people begin encountering breakdowns in human behavior in major American cities that lead to chilling deaths that seem to be willing suicides committed by the victims. Appearing to be a disease of some sort, the victims undergo a series of steps: loss of speech, followed by disorientation, and the third step is “fatal.” Moore flees from the crisis into Pennsylvania farmlands with his estranged wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel), math teacher friend Julian (John Leguizamo), and his daughter Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez) (via Wikipedai).

Likes

  • Zooey Deschanel did a good job acting in the film.
  • The Idea / Premise behind the film was fascinating.
  • M. Night Shyamalan did have some moments of supernatural horror in the film. I will give him credit for the brilliant terrifying scene where we just get to see the feet hear the sounds and then see the feet again.
  • Although most of the surprises in the film were overly predictable and taken from the book of bad movie devices they at lease refrained from one *****Spoiler Alert***** they didn't kill the child *****End Spoiler Alert *****

Dislikes / Concerns

  • Movie was overly predictable.  We got to the point where we made the predictability of the movie into a game where we would call a countdown to a camera pan or a change from one person to another.
  • The movie felt like it was written by committee.  Far too many ideas seemed neutered.  There were so many devices and people put in for no purpose at all and they even contradicted events that happened merely minutes earlier.
  • There was far too much time spent on characters I just didn't care about.
  • I didn't think nor have the expectation that the happening was a monster film so why was the wind treated as if it was a monster.  Even the filming techniques were handled as if I we were watching a monster film turning the happening into a monster film that lacked a monster.
  • The movie was far too long and slow moving.  If we were to cut out all of the inconsistent, unnecessary and repetitive parts there would be about 30 minutes of true terror left.  It would have made a nice short film... maybe.
  • The not so dramatic cheating subplot:  it was terrible, unsatisfactory, over dramatized and much better done on the Simpsons where at least Marge not only had brunch with another man but she also went bowling.
  • That entire part would have made the movie better if it had been cut and we were just left with knowing they had a fight in the past without the reason why.
  • This part of the movie made me not like the two main characters even more after learning why they were fighting this is very bad because the tension is lost when the viewer could care less if the lead characters die.
  • Where's the Twist?  M. Night Shyamalan is well known for having a wonderful twist to his movies but that did not happen in the happening.
  • Most of the characters actions felt scripted and lacked an internal consistency.  The most prominent example of this being John Leguizamo's character.  He is a math teacher who has a passion for probability.  He knows the probability of his wife's survival is very low and yet leaves his daughter... Why???
  • ***** Spoiler Alert ***** The wind chase scene was terrible.   First, I liked the scene in Planet of the Apes, I like some other movies that put in an homage to that scene, but this was not one of them.  It's hard to make the wind into a monster, why didn't they make it a cloud of pollen or some kind of yellow  cloud.  Then we would have had something visual that could have risen, fallen, lurk and chase people.  It would have made the whole movie far more dramatic and given a more terrifying visual monster. *****End Spoiler Alert*****

  • Don't wait. Guarantee your seat before you go and avoid a sold out show. Skip the box office lines and buy movie tickets at Fandango.com.


    Theater or Renter: The Happening

    The Plot / Story: Philadelphia high school science teacher Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) and other people begin encountering breakdowns in human behavior in major American cities that lead to chilling deaths that seem to be willing suicides committed by the victims. Appearing to be a disease of some sort, the victims undergo a series of steps: loss of speech, followed by disorientation, and the third step is “fatal.” Moore flees from the crisis into Pennsylvania farmlands with his estranged wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel), math teacher friend Julian (John Leguizamo), and his daughter Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez) (via Wikipedai).

    I gave the trailer a 5 out of 5. It succeeds in showing us what the story of "The Happening" is about. We get a good feeling of suspense and fear of the unknown. The trailer really sets up the confusion over the tradgedy that is striking the characters in this tale and leaves me guessing over what it exactly is.

    I think this will be a Theater. First the names involved in this movie really builds faith in this being a really good film. I really enjoy M. Night Shyamalan's style and for some unknown reason Zooey Deschanel is very compelling to me that and I have enjoyed all of the films that I have seen her in. Also John Leguizamo is in the film and I really enjoy his acting and his ability to play a diverse role of characters. At first I was concerned that this was just another Outbreak film but after looking into it more I get a feeling that it is much more. I actually have 3 theories over what has happened to everyone in the film so I will have to see this weekend wether or not my guess is right.

    For more information about The Happening see Theater or Renter: June 2008

    -----------------------------------------------

    Netflix lets you rent, watch and return DVDs from home - Try free for 2 weeks

    M. Night Shyamalan Unveils "The Last Airbender"

    Avatar book 1 M. Night Shyamalan unveiled some information pertaining his newest project a film version of the Nickelodeon show Avatar The Last Airbender. I'm very excited about this movie. The show is amazing: well written, well drawn, containing compelling content & messages. Shyamalan is planning the first movie release for July 2, 2010 with two more to follow. A Trilogy! I'm guessing movie 1 Water, movie 2 Earth, movie 3 Fire.

    Most of the $250 million budget is slated to be spent on CGI special effects. This is cool and gives me hope that they will take time to make the bending abilities look really nice. The series of hand-drawn landscapes that were presented have a more traditional appearance rather then the TV series anime style.

    A Match Made In Heaven Shyamalan + Airbender

    OMG, I can not wait to see this! I love Avatar The Last Airbender.

    It is a must see show, and if you are thinking 'but this is a kids show' than you my dear sir or mam are missing out on a lot of quality content in life. Yes this show is designed for a young audience but the story is more developed than many adult shows, the themes and topics it covers are adult. No, not pornographic.. but themes like family, war, and what it means to be a chosen one. If you have not seen this show it is a must!

    link to buy your copy of Avatar The Last Airbender - The Complete Book 1 link to buy your copy of Avatar The Last Airbender - The Complete Book 2 Collection get your copy of Avatar the Last Airbender - Book 3

    Amazon Unbox or Avatar: The Last Airbender

    Now, to find out a live action is being done by the brilliant and talented M. Night Shyamalan makes me even more excited. I love his way of putting together a project.

    This should be an absolutely amazing movie with this amazing and compelling story coupling it with M. Night Shyamalan's vision and style.

    Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies will release M. Night Shyamalan's live-action big-screen adaptation of the popular animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender on July 2, 2010, Variety reported. The studio has dropped Avatar from the title of the action-adventure movie so as to avoid confusion with James Cameron's 3-D epic Avatar, which 20th Century Fox opens Dec. 18, 2009.

    via Scifi Wire