Horror You Might Have Expected or
The Blonde and The Maven
The Village, residents of a rural Pennsylvania community
live a happy and pure existence. The children grow up
isolated and away from the complicated outside world.
The people of the village believe that the surrounding
woods are filled with strange, monster-like creatures. A
truce has been struck, allowing the community to
peacefully co-exist with the dangerous beasts, as long
as no one strays beyond the village borders. To obtain
permission to cross these borders, a villager needs the
approval of the elders.
Edward Walker, who is
played by William Hurt (Changing Lanes, Dark City), is
the leader of the elders. Walker is a teacher with a
vast knowledge of the region’s history. Lucius Hunt,
played by Joaquin Phoenix (Signs, Buffalo Soldiers),
makes such a request to go to “The Towns,” which are
across these borders, through the woods. His request is
denied, as the elders do not feel his reasons warrant
risking his life. However, later in the movie, Ivy
Walker, played by Brice Dallas Howard (her
breakthrough role and also director/actor Ron Howard’s
daughter) is granted access through the dangerous woods
because…well, no fair squealing.
The elders fear
these creatures beyond their borders. They refer to them
as “Those we do not speak of,” whom of course everyone
speaks of! Occasionally, these “unspeakables”
periodically raid the village, leaving red markings on
the doors of many houses. Red is known as “the bad
color.” Red cannot be worn, grown, or displayed in any
form, as it attracts the monsters.
Amidst all the
fear and suspense, The Village is basically a love
story. This shimmering delicacy of passion is played out
through the timid Phoenix and the strong-spirited
Howard. Oscar-winning Adrien Brody (The Pianist) adds a
touch of spice as the third person in this triangle.
Director M. Night Shyamalan (writer/director/producer of
The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable) creates a world where
fear manipulates the characters’ every motive. The film
is given a metaphorical weight that goes deeper than
goose-bumps. He rivals Michael Moore with his
provocative political innuendoes.
Blonde: The Village was like Witness meets, meets…okay!
I am stumped! This eagerly awaited thriller had a truly
brilliant marketing campaign. However, because of the
enormous hype and lack of any information advertised in
any trailer, I felt a bit disappointed about the story
itself. I am torn as to how I feel about this film. On
one hand, it was creative and original. Yet on the other
hand, it fell short of the scary suspenseful, “I see
dead people” type of movie that you look for in
Shyamalan’s stories. If you’re hoping to see a creepy
film that keeps you in fear and on the edge of your
seat, you won’t find it here.
Maven: This film is a mix of horror, romance, and
political allegory. The power of the village comes from
the tension building inside the characters, not from
digital monsters. Shyamalan assembled a great cast to
accomplish this. The key word here is secrets. Everyone
has them in this movie.
Blonde: Big deal, everyone has secrets. I’m still trying
to figure out what the heck is Victoria’s
Secret, any one of my ex’s, or even our government.
Not to mention, OJ, Michael Jackson, or even Martha
Stewart, for that matter. I don’t need this stress.
Horror? Horror? Maven, I never felt horror
except for the few minutes when I thought my white shirt
was ruined when the lid fell of my diet soda. Romance?
Romance? Not once did Lucius take Ivy out for dinner,
buy her jewelry, send her flowers or take her on a
romantic vacation. You call this romance? Now Richard
Gear in Pretty Woman, now that was romance!
Maven: But these secrets shape a village and condition
young and old to fear everything outside their borders.
What does that sound like to you?
Blonde: A commercial for a weight loss chain? A life
insurance endorsement? Alright, I see your point.
This movie parallels our own government. The fact that
our officials keep us in the dark and tell us only what
they want us to know is exactly what gives us a false
sense of reality. That again proves my point exactly.
I went to see a scary movie, which is what this
writer/director is known for, and got something I did
not expect, and not in a good way. I feel he should have
told us more about this movie in his coming attractions
so people would not have been let down.
Maven: No! You chose to believe the hype. Give M. Night
a break. This movie deserves to stand on its own, not to
be compared to his other films.
Blonde: Tell that to Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen
Maven: And, as to revealing more in the coming
attractions, how many times have we seen the best scenes
in the movie previews and complained about
Blonde: Twelve? Do I win? I will give him a break
though. After watching his nationwide director’s
interview, he proves to be such a natural, humble,
unaffected, creatively gifted and talented person. It
appears that his actors feel the same way.
The Maven: You’re trying to pigeon-hole
this director when he’s clearly diverging from his usual
M.O. Shouldn’t filmmakers show originality? Where would
we be if Spielberg only made movies about E.T.s? No
Blonde: Hey, watch it. Spielberg can do anything he
wants. And, what do pigeons have to do with this? And,
who the hell is MO? Original yes, but he led us to
believe that this was something it wasn’t. Kind of like
my engagement ring that wound up being a cubic-zirconia.
Okay, Maven. He is a wonderful storyteller,
creating every mood and tone realistically. He brings
the best out of his actors as well. By the way, the
musical score was brilliant. I heard that M. Night
changed his mind three times as to what type of music he
wanted. He asked James Newton Howard (also the composer
of Signs and Unbreakable) to write the entire score over
three times. He should have done the same to the
Maven: Well, I enjoyed this movie and I like being
Blonde: Then go see David Copperfield!
Maven: I applaud the chance M. Night took in making this
film. I would have appreciated a kiss or two! I don’t
know. I just would have liked a little more romance.
The Blonde: Yeah, who
Maven: I rate this movie a B as it was a little flat. To
give it a higher rating, I would have needed to see more
expression of the passion I know Ivy and Lucius were
Blonde: I was disappointed in The Village. I don't like
being tricked unless there’s more of a treat. I rate
this film a C. Movie-goers, just make sure that
you don’t expect another Sixth Sense or Signs. No scary
BOO here! Maybe you can throw some popcorn at the people
in front of you and scare them!
Miami Design Preservation
League Presents an Exclusive,
Free Screening of Film
Noir Classic The Big
Wednesday, August 18 at 7pm, the Miami Design
Preservation League (MDPL) will host a free screening of
The Big Clock, based on the novel by Kenneth Fearing and
directed by John Farrow in 1948. The screening is part
of MDPL’s Classic Film Series, an ongoing film and
discussion series to celebrate the work of Hollywood art
directors from the Art Deco Era.
The Big Clock
was released in 1948 and stars Oscar-winning Ray Milland
and Charles Laughton. The film is a suspense classic
about a hotshot crime magazine editor, George Stroud
(Milland), who inadvertently becomes the subject of a
murder investigation after spending an evening with his
boss‚ (Laughton) mistress. She ends up dead, and he is
being framed by the actual killer.
O’Sullivan and George Macready co-star in the film.
Director John Farrow and star Maureen O'Sullivan were
the husband and wife team that gave filmdom their
daughter, actress Mia Farrow.
Described by film
critics as a richly told, often humorous story, The Big
Clock is also famous for its intriguing film noir
cinematography and beautiful costumes by Edith
The Miami Design Preservation League is a
non-profit preservation and arts organization founded in
1979. It is devoted to preserving, protecting and
promoting the architectural, cultural, social, economic,
and environmental integrity of the Miami Beach
Architectural Historic District (Art Deco District) as
well as other areas of the city and South Florida,
wherever historic preservation is a concern. MDPL is the
oldest Art Deco society in the world. MDPL is
headquartered at the MDPL Center, 1001 Ocean Drive on
“The Big Clock” is 95 minutes
and admission is free. The screening is open to the
public and takes place at the MDPL Center at 1001 Ocean
Drive on South Beach. RSVPs are recommended by calling
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