It would be a mighty sweet thing to see M. Night Shyamalan as the great redemptive storyteller he clearly thinks he is or as he portrays himself in those American Express commercials. Genuine yarn-spinning, even as a doomed ambition, is virtually extinct in American movies; what had been the system's priority in the studio years became, gradually, a neglected excuse for raw effect and ADD imagemaking. In a way, Shyamalan yearns to be modern movies' Somerset Maugham or even Stephen King a compulsive story-lover dismissive of both postmodernism and technology, and what he promises is gobbled up, in all likelihood, because there is such a drought of narrative thinking in the 'plexes. Shyamalan's movies, however you might come at them, are at least... More >>>
Making waves: Bryce Dallas Howard (top) and Paul Giamatti try to make sense of loony mythology in Lady in the Water.