Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Leave a comment

My Review of GLASS

Glass, rated PG-13
** ½

Glass is a psychological thriller and the finale of a trilogy from two-time Oscar nominee director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense), who also wrote the screenplay for the film. The film brings together super hero characters introduced in his 2000 film Unbreakable and his 2016 film Split, the latter a surprise success after a few very disappointing films.
In Unbreakable, we met comic book expert Elijah Price/Mr. Glass played by Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction). Elijah was born with a birth defect which left his bones very brittle and susceptible to breaks. As a result, as a child, he was mockingly called Mr. Glass by his peers. David Dunn, played by Golden Globe winner Bruce Willis (Moonlighting), is a security guard at a football stadium in Philadelphia with a troubled marriage and young son. He is the sole survivor of a terrible train crash. In fact, he didn’t even have a scratch on him. Elijah tells Dunn that he has been searching for him, someone who is special, indestructible. The film ends with Price, known as Mr. Glass, admitting to being behind several tragedies, including the train crash. He is put into an institution while Dunn begins to serve the public as a hooded vigilante.
In Split, we met mentally ill Kevin Wendell Crumb, played by Golden Globe nominee James McAvoy (Atonement), a man with 24 different personalities and sole survivor Casey, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, who was forced to discover her strengths while being held captive. The film ends with a surprise connection to Unbreakable, setting up the new film. Continue reading

Leave a comment

My Review of Split

splitSplit, rated PG-13

Split features an outstanding performance from James McAvoy, and a triumphant return to form for director M. Night Shyamalan.
This low budget ($9 million) film has been the number one film in the country for the past three weeks and has already grossed over $102 million in the U.S. alone. It is directed by two-time Oscar nominee M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) in his follow-up to 2015’s The Visit, and stars James McAvoy as well….several different personalities. You see, he has 24 personalities, from 9 year-old Hedwig to a fashion designer named Barry. For the sake of this review, we’ll refer to him as Kevin. Betty Buckley stars as Dr. Karen Fletcher who works with Kevin on his dissociative identity disorder.
We see Kevin kidnap three teenage girls – Claire (Haley Lu Richardson, The Edge of Seventeen, Marcia (Jessica Sula) and Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy – as they are leaving a birthday party with one of the girl’s father. Kevin takes them to an undisclosed location. We see the girls interacting with several of Kevin’s personalities as they try to figure out how to escape, and over time we see them have some of their clothing removed.
Claire and Marcia are good friends, while Casey is the outsider, invited to the party only because everyone else in their class had been invited.  The film shows many flashbacks of Casey hunting with her father and creepy Uncle John (Brad William Henke).
This horror film is dark, and could have easily been rated “R” for violence. Other content issues include a small amount of adult language and the above mentioned removal of some of the girl’s clothes.
McAvoy was outstanding in his performance of the multiple personality Kevin, oftentimes switching from one personality to another in front of the camera at close range.
Filmgoers will be talking about something that happens at the end of the film that connects this film to one of Shyamalan’s earlier films and sets up his next one.

Leave a comment

Movie Review ~ The Visit

The VisitThe Visit, rated PG-13
** ½

This film is written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, who I first heard of as the writer and director of 1999’s The Sixth Sense, which received six Oscar nominations. It was the film everyone was talking about at the time because of “the twist”, which Shyamalan has become known for in his films. He went on to make Unbreakable, Signs, The Village and Lady in the Water which I enjoyed. But 2008’s The Happening wasn’t very good and it was the last of his films that I had seen before The Visit. He made a strong creative comeback this summer with the 10-episode television series Wayward Pines. Based on that series I decided to see this film. Overall, this film was good, with most of it very good, bringing in suspense, fear and a good deal of humor. Unfortunately, the ending (last 30 minutes or so) wasn’t up to the quality of the rest of the film, bringing the rating down a half star.

Kathryn Hahn stars as the mother of fifteen year-old Becca (Olivia DeJone) and thirteen year-old Tyler (Ed Oxenbould).  Mom left home at 19 when her parents disapproved of her older boyfriend (who would become the father of Becca and Tyler only to ultimately abandon the family for someone else.) Mom has not seen her parents since that time, but recently they asked to meet the grandchildren they’ve never met. As a result, Mom sends them off for a week’s visit while she goes off on a cruise with her new boyfriend.

Becca decides to make a documentary of the visit with her grandparents with the hope that reconciliation will come between her Mom and her parents. The constant filming is a good addition to the film.  Tyler adds comic relief to what we all know is a ”scary movie” with his rapping and substituting female pop singer’s names for curse words. He is also a germophobe, while we find out that Becca will not look at herself in the mirror.

Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) seem uncomfortable around the children from the beginning. Pop Pop is frequently out in the barn by himself and Nana asks Becca to get into the oven – all the way into the oven – to clean it. But it is at night when things begin to get really strange around the house. Pop Pop says that they go to bed at 9:30 pm, and we find that it’s best for Becca and Tyler not to leave their room after that time if they know what’s best for them. And everything is recorded on Becca’s video camera.

The film contains some adult language, though a relatively small amount for a PG-13 film these days, and two brief scenes containing nudity (not in a sexual sense). None of the characters display any faith in their lives. Again, we enjoyed the film, but were disappointed in how Shyamalan ended the film. We were also disappointed to see parents bring their very small children to see this scary movie. Andy they wonder why they have bad dreams and don’t want to go to Grandma’s house?