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Lady in the Water


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#1 Matt Pacini

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 01:06 PM

I like the fact that Shyamalan does films that are different, but really, I think he's highly overrated.
This film was silly, dreadfully slow... basically ridiculous.
And yet the theater was jammed with people.

Did anyone here like this film?
Plus, if there's any director that shouldn't act in his films, it's him. He's an OK actor, but among the great actors he puts in his films, he looks pretty stiff.
I think his acting would benefit from another director's direction, which he's never had. It's hard to be objective about your own acting (unfortunately, I know from experience:(

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#2 Jason Debus

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 01:18 PM

It did seem like a somewhat restrained style for Doyle, but then again that may have been the direction he was given. The best stuff in my mind was probably the underwater stuff which was DP'd by Pete Romano.

The movie itself seemed like it didn't know if it was for kids or adults, but I liked what M. Night was trying to do with it.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 05:02 PM

My mouth was open in a few scenes in reaction to just how much of a leap of faith Shamayalan was expecting us to take on this one. You really do have to shut off most of your critical facilities when it started getting really far-fetched. Can't say that I was bored though, despite the slow pace (maybe slow pacing is a relief in this day and age....)

I liked the soft, dim pastel look of the movie and how he lit the night exterior scenes. Otherwise, it was a fairly natural approach that fit the story's realistic locale (and probably the director and Doyle felt that the more grounded the movie was visually in sort of a mundane reality, the more you could buy the story. I'm just not sure any shooting style would have made you buy the story!) Just hard to swallow all the terms being thrown about and accepted by the characters, like "narf" and "scrunt" and "tartuffe"(?)

It was well-cast I thought. The score was nice.

I've always had a soft-spot for movies where the director has taken large amounts of a corporation's money to make a personal art film -- "2001" and "Heaven's Gate" are examples -- even though half those films aren't successful either commercially or artistically. But I like the idea of big money being spent now and then on something risky and unconventional, rather than those sorts of movies only ever having small budgets to work with. On the other hand, this same script probably could have been shot by an indie director for under 10 mil. and probably not have suffered.

But in this particular case, it seems most of Nina Jacobson's concerns about the script were well-founded.
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#4 Max Jacoby

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 05:41 PM

And yet the theater was jammed with people.

It's not doing well at all at the box office actually.
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#5 Dan Goulder

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 05:57 PM

Plus, if there's any director that shouldn't act in his films, it's him.

I'd put Kevin Smith on that list.
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#6 Matt Pacini

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 06:40 PM

Good points David.
I did like the look, mostly. That low contrast, kinda green look.
What stock did they shoot this on?
Yeah, a lot of sillyness. Narf. Please.
They should have handed out Narf Bags in the lobby, eh?

And unless I missed some snippet of dialog, there was one of the biggest continuity errors I've ever seen;
She has wavy red hair for the entire movie, then all of a sudden, in the 3rd act, it's straight and blondish.
Did they lose the wig, or what?

I don't think it's a gigantic hit necessarily, but $20 million in 3 days ain't too shabby, right?
http://www.boxoffice...yinthewater.htm
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#7 Michael Collier

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 08:11 PM

Having not seen the movie yet.....Narf? didnt pinky used to say narf all the time on pinky and the brain? Eh, maybe for most people here animaniacs was a little after your time.

as for shamilan, I think the general public is getting bored with his movies. To much work spent setting up the twist. And now after robot chicken, I can't get that line out of my head. Now even when they aren't spoofing a shamilan film he might pop up on screen and go "wow, what a twist!"
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 08:47 PM

It was shot on Fuji F-400T.

I think the change in her hair color was to suggest that she had been there too long, ala E.T. getting sick and pasty-looking.
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#9 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 08:54 PM

Movie was okay, all the above is pretty true. Interestingly I saw the trailer for Dot (or The Quiet I think) before the film started. Looked real good David, and the movie seems interesting. The image held up quite well on the large screen the theater I saw it in had.

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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 09:16 PM

Movie was okay, all the above is pretty true. Interestingly I saw the trailer for Dot (or The Quiet I think) before the film started.


That's odd -- you'd think they'd only stick that trailer in the Laemmle theaters and other indie-oriented places, not in front of a major Warner Bros. summer release.

Funny thing was yesterday I was watching that documentary on IFC about the History of Queer Cinema, and near the end, to discuss new trends, I saw Angela Robinson interviewed with clips from "D.E.B.S." shown. The producer of "D.E.B.S.", Andrea Sperling, also produced "The Quiet".
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#11 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 10:57 PM

I was a little surprised as well; it was shown in the AMC in Woodland Hills, major theater, one of their bigger screens, so perhaps the movie is getting a wider release than expected?
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#12 Chris Keth

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 01:22 AM

It was shot on Fuji F-400T.

I think the change in her hair color was to suggest that she had been there too long, ala E.T. getting sick and pasty-looking.



Didn't her hair get blond as she returned to consciousness (or while she was unconscious) around the final act?
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 01:27 AM

Didn't her hair get blond as she returned to consciousness (or while she was unconscious) around the final act?


I just remember some wide shot before that of her in profile, sitting in the shower or on a bed and looking at the ends of her hair and noticing that they were lighter and frizzier, like from sun-bleaching.
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#14 Matt Pacini

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 06:58 PM

WARNING; PLOT SPOILER BELOW!!!!


Right.
I remember that too, but the setup seemed to indicate that it was because she needed to be in the water, because she immediately got into the shower, and it was back to normal.
I don't know, it just seemed kinda sloppy to me.

For instance, supposedly her mission is to save the world or something, but then the whole point suddenly becomes to "save her from the grass wolf-things", you know?
Her entire reason for showing up didn't happen. What was the point?

Imagine you're watching Saving Private Ryan, and instead of saving Private Ryan, they get sidetracked in some little town and spend the rest of the film shagging hookers, or in a beer tasting contest or something.

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#15 Michael Nash

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 07:03 PM

I saw it to beat the heat on Saturday. I consider myself a Shyamalan fan, and I was disappointed. :(

I'm an even bigger Chris Doyle fan, and I was only mildly impressed. I wonder if Doyle's generally softer, more painterly approach was really the right choice for this film. I did like the color palette (including the greenish moonlight) and low contrast, even if there was some grain. The thing that bothered me the most was the mis-framed projection I saw; the mic was plainly and distractingly visible on at least a half-dozen shots.

What impressed me the most was some of the wider shots during the pool party, where Shyamalan and Doyle composed and blocked the shots carefully so that your eye picked out the right detail or character at exactly the right moment.
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#16 Paul Wizikowski

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 10:18 AM

WARNING; PLOT SPOILER BELOW!!!!

For instance, supposedly her mission is to save the world or something, but then the whole point suddenly becomes to "save her from the grass wolf-things", you know?
Her entire reason for showing up didn't happen. What was the point?

Imagine you're watching Saving Private Ryan, and instead of saving Private Ryan, they get sidetracked in some little town and spend the rest of the film shagging hookers, or in a beer tasting contest or something.

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POTENTIAL SPOILER!!

I'm a big Shamalyn fan and I too was disappointed. I felt like it delivered what it billed itself as, in the end I just didn't care. As for some of my qualms; her point of being there, correct if i'm wrong, was to SEE the writer and to have the writer SEE her. Thats it. After seeing her the writer would be freed mentaly to complete his writing that in turn would change the world, or at least inspire some future leader to bring peace to the world. And so she completes her mission right off the bat. Shamalyn's character (bit egotistical to cast yourself as the person who's writing changes the world) sees her fairly quickly into the movie. Its funny because I related it to Saving Private Ryan as well, only its as if right off the bat they actually save Ryan, get him shipped home and then spen an hour and a half getting back to their own plattoon.

Another thing was that, as usual, this film is a fantastical story set in reality. All of Shamalyn's films are that and I love it, however more than in any other it felt like the characters weren't acting realistically. All these strangers seemed all to eager to jump on board this wild story. One could argue that it happened off screen to save screen time, and thats fine but this story occurs over the time of two days, these people have to be convinced rather quickly regardless, and that just felt unreal.

Thirdly I felt like they failed to really explain why she was so important. There was the whole Queen Narf or whatever it was. And I don't mean that to sound like I'm belittleing the human element where its always important to save a life, but in these fantastical stories I find myself expecting to know shes some "chosen one" who will save the world. I know they tried to make her that but we don't know about this blue world, and I don't care about it. I don't care about something just because I'm told it exists.

My final point is this. The entire film was explained in the opening animated story that sets up the film. I felt like they told me what to expect and then I simply watched that exact thing happen. Where was all the mystery and discovery and above all...where's my twist! (I'm only half serious about the twist. I knew there wasn't going to be one going into the movie as Shamalyn had mentioned it in an interview prior to the films release)

And is it just me or was there a lot of "woe as me" coming from Shamalyn prior to the films release?
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#17 Matt Pacini

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 12:29 PM

I agree, that animated intro just blew it, I think.
I really felt like I was being talked down to with that, as if the story was sooooo hard to understand, that you had to toss that in right up front.

Plus, here's this unbelievable situation and story, and all the characters in the film just accept it right away.
"oh, there's a Narf in your apartment, and we have to save her so the giant eagle can come get her. Sure, count me in".
Nobody thinks the guy is out of his mind? Or that the girl is out of her mind?
Yeah.... right.
Plus, we didn't even get to see Bryce Howard naked, what a rip-off!!!! (yuk yuk)

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#18 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 01:03 PM

I'd put Kevin Smith on that list.


There are people actually acting in K.Smith movies?

Not that there's anything wrong with not acting in some movies.

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#19 J. Lamar King

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 01:53 PM

I actually liked the film. I wasn't sure what to think about it at first. It was kinda like watching a Kubrick film where you are still analyzing it two days later. After debating it with several friends I really do feel like the film is trying to say something deeper about assumptions or mistakes or something. A lot of the characters made assumptions and they were wrong. The narrative seems to have mistakes, the directing, even the cinematography you could argue has mistakes in it. Like not pulling focus, letting people completely drift out of frame etc. Maybe I'm reading too much into it.

I think the animated sequence at the beginning should have been left out. It would have been even wierder that way. The characters in the film seem to be trapped in a fairy tale like the characters in "Unbreakable" are trapped in a comic book come to life. Interesting.
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#20 Sean Azze

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 03:22 PM

After debating it with several friends I really do feel like the film is trying to say something deeper about assumptions or mistakes or something.


I agree with you in the sense that yes, it does seem to be trying to say something deeper. But I think its a story more in the vain of a postmodern work that is very aware of itself and its creator's track record.

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

For one, the film is about storytelling. About the different characters found in stories and how they are used as devices to allow a story to progress and unravel (the purpose served by the one who interprets symbols, the group, etc etc). The film critic identifies certain cliches often found in films, and then makes the film weird in that he just about addresses the audience directly when being eaten by the wolf (which I felt totally didn't fit with the rest of the film since it was a direct nudge to the audience which wasnt found anywhere else).

Then by casting himself in the role of this underappreciated but potentially influential writer, Shymalan addresses the critics that have declared in the past that his films are expendable and inconsequential (and of course digs in directly by killing off a film critic) He does paint himself as a victim and praises himself in a way which I found couldn't be any less dignified (Night, what were you thinking, dude?)

All in all, a missed opportunity to redeem himself after "The Village" (which I personally thought was an underappreciated film) I'm glad he finally let go of the twist and he did try to stretch his proverbial wings, but this thing was sloppy, with the redemption of Cleveland Heep's character at the end coming in fleetingly and half assed, and the same complaint about how unrealistic it was.

Incidentally, heres a link to the American Cinematographer article that came out about the flick this month - http://www.ascmag.co...t2006/index.php

Enjoy!
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