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 Lady in the Water 

What grade would you give this film?
A 31%  31%  [ 15 ]
B 27%  27%  [ 13 ]
C 15%  15%  [ 7 ]
D 6%  6%  [ 3 ]
F 13%  13%  [ 6 ]
I don't plan on seeing this film 8%  8%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 48

 Lady in the Water 
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College Boy Z

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Post Lady in the Water
Lady in the Water

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Lady in the Water is a 2006 fantasy film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film is about a Philadelphia maintenance man (Paul Giamatti) who discovers a young woman (Bryce Dallas Howard) in the swimming pool of his apartment complex. Gradually, he and his neighbors learn that she is a water nymph whose life is in danger from a vicious, wolf-like, mystical creature that tries to keep her from returning to her watery "blue world." The film received generally unfavorable reviews from film critics.


Last edited by zingy on Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:56 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:24 pm
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Something tells me this is going to be a long, long thread...;)


Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:29 pm
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I was intrigued at the beginning of the movie and then it just tails off, really bad. Surprisingly, M Night doesn't have any huge twists or turns like his previous works. The only redeeming quality that this movie has is Paul Giamatti. He has a way about himself that is perfect for certain situations. His situation in this movie is similar to his Sideways character but isn't the focus of the movie. Im not a huge fan of M Night. The only movie I really like would be Signs. If it wasn't for Paul, I would give the movie an F, but I give it a C-/D+.


Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:54 am
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Cleric wrote:
I was intrigued at the beginning of the movie and then it just tails off, really bad. Surprisingly, M Night doesn't have any huge twists or turns like his previous works. The only redeeming quality that this movie has is Paul Giamatti. He has a way about himself that is perfect for certain situations. His situation in this movie is similar to his Sideways character but isn't the focus of the movie. Im not a huge fan of M Night. The only movie I really like would be Signs. If it wasn't for Paul, I would give the movie an F, but I give it a C-/D+.


That might be the only reason i see this film. I love Giamatti.

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Fri Jul 21, 2006 9:00 am
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baumer72 wrote:
Cleric wrote:
I was intrigued at the beginning of the movie and then it just tails off, really bad. Surprisingly, M Night doesn't have any huge twists or turns like his previous works. The only redeeming quality that this movie has is Paul Giamatti. He has a way about himself that is perfect for certain situations. His situation in this movie is similar to his Sideways character but isn't the focus of the movie. Im not a huge fan of M Night. The only movie I really like would be Signs. If it wasn't for Paul, I would give the movie an F, but I give it a C-/D+.


That might be the only reason i see this film. I love Giamatti.

He is great in the movie, like always, but the story didn't grab me at all. It is very different from his other movies.


Fri Jul 21, 2006 1:49 pm
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M. Night Shyamalan has often been heralded as the Alfred Hitchcock for a new generation. After the runaway success of 1999's instant classic The Sixth Sense, he quickly became one of the most bankable directors in the business. Audiences loved his unique and unpredictable storylines and winning sense of style - creating thrillers that allowed you to identify with the characters before putting them in harm's way. His success continued with 2002's alien adventure Signs, which was one of the summer's most profitable films. But 2004 was not a good year for Shyamalan. The Village, a tale of a secret society hidden within the woods, was not well-recieved in the slightest. Critical notices were generally average and audiences hated the twist ending that was on display. The film was still profitable, but it caused an undeniable rut in Shyamalan's success streak - one that led to him leaving Disney after they turned down his next project. His latest, a project called Lady In The Water, began as a bedtime story that Shyamalan created for his young children. Now expanded into a feature-length film, there is one thing that the movie does have in common with these nighttime fantasies. It is sure to make you go to sleep. While Lady In The Water has some fine talent on display as well as having its heart in the right place, it is a complete mess that is surely one of Shyamalan's worst films yet.

The story involves a man named Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti), a superintendant who works in the apartment community known as The Cove. The complex has many unique personalities, including a egotistical film critic (Bob Balaban), a kind elderly woman (Mary Beth Hurt), a Korean college student (Cindy Cheung) and her hard-to-please mother, and many other strange individuals that give the place a lot of character. Cleveland is undeniably lonely and obviously has a secret hidden beneath his skin. But his life changes forever after one fateful night, when he encounters a woman in the pool nearby. This "lady in the water," a creature named Story (Bryce Dallas Howard) is a narf - a mythical underwater creature who has only been referenced in bedtime stories. She has come on a mission - she is searching for a writer within the complex who will change the way people view the world with his work. This individual, Vick Ran (played by none other than Shyamalan himself) has been working for months on a book he can't seem to finish. It is Story's job to tell him the impact that it will have. After accomplishing her mission, Story wants nothing more than to return to her homeworld. But there are creatures hidden within the grass - ones that do not want Story to see her happy ending. Along with the other residents, Cleveland must gather his strength to protect this mysterious stranger from the danger that lurks outside.

Lady In The Water is an incredibly ambitious project that is different from Shyamalan's other works. Although advertised as a thriller of sorts, much like his other films, this is a complete fantasy - one that attempts to lure you into this world that has been created. It begins with a certain intrigue to it, but as the story expands, the magic is quickly lost - and viewers are left with a completely ridiculous and confusing story that will definitely leave them scratching their heads. The major flaw is hard to pinpoint, but the obvious target is the terrible screenplay. It is sad to see this former master of storytelling go so far downhill, but everything about the script is a mess. The story makes absolutely no sense and the mythology is neither interesting nor plausible. The vicious creatures that have been created here are laughable and never ellict the fear they are supposed to. For some reason, none of the characters seem to doubt Cleveland's claims regarding the nymph, and immediately buy into the mysterious tale he tells. The dialogue is filled with cliches and mediocre words - with the line "I need to believe that fairy tales are actually real" actually appearing ine one scene.

Most of all, this movie fails to engage and entertain the audience. Things move at such an incredibly slow pace and plot devices that could have taken minutes instead take over an hour to accomplish. For example, when Cleveland looks for information regarding the narf mythology, he continuously visits the elderly Korean woman - who tells the story in bits and pieces that never seem to connect well together. Why it couldn't have been told in just one sitting is one of the film's many mysteries. The film, with the studio advertising it as the summer's must-see thriller, is sure to have negative word of mouth because nothing in the storyline is scary in the slightest. Audiences will have to endure nearly two hours of meandering dialogue with very little payoff in the finale.

Shyamalan does better with direction here, with many beautiful shots present throughout the film. He takes advantage of his locations and creates some truly stirring images. Most of the movie's better sequences are those without dialogue - such as a scene in which Cleveland discovers Story's secret underwater lair. He believes in long shots and uses many unique angles throughout. However, he has not edited the film appropriately, for about twenty to thirty minutes of this could have easily been excised.

The cast does the best they can with the material that they are given. Paul Giamatti is best as Cleveland, using his trademark blend of emotion and humor to make the character memorable. He brings out the numerous eccentricities that Cleveland has, and does an excellent job in the more dramatic and heartfelt moments. A scene at the end of the movie is a highlight, in which his character finally comes to terms with the death of his wife and children. Bryce Dallas Howard, who was spectacular in The Village, is solid - but she essentially does the same thing throughout the entire duration. She is required to speak in a whispery tone, shiver and look frightened, and she does that with ease. The side characters are mostly forgettable, but there are a few standouts. Bob Balaban is fun to watch as the venomous film critic, who tries to predict everything that will happen to him through movie cliches. Freddy Rodriguez and Cindy Cheung also give the movie a bit of humor as well. Shyamalan has given himself a prominent role here, but unfortunately it seems as if he should have stayed behind the camera. The role is grating and the character is far from interesting as well. Sarita Choudhury does a much better job as Vick's sister.

Overall, this is one of the summer's biggest disappointments - a real shame given the potential that the movie had. Despite a strong cast and a talented director, the wretched screenplay fails to evoke the mystery and wonder that Shyamalan reaches for. This bedtime story is better left unopened.

5/10 ( C )


Fri Jul 21, 2006 7:09 pm
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I'm a big fan of all of M. Night's movies, but this is the worst movie of the summer and the year for me. Utteryl boring and not suspenseful or scary at all. No big twists or anything. Just 2 hrs of my life I want back. :sad:

D-

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Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:51 pm
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I'm less excited about this now. :sad:


Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:53 pm
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u need to go in looking for ET and not SIXTH SENSE andyoull end up LOVING it.

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Fri Jul 21, 2006 9:01 pm
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Horrible movie, the worst of the year so far. I was bored and could barely finish it. Nothing suspensful or scary about it...F

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Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:24 pm
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I've given every major Shyamalan film (Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs and the Village) a perfect grade and firmly believe they are all perfect films. So you could say that I'm the biggest M. Night fanboy on this board (I know MikeQ is close ;) ). Lady in the Water is not a perfect film, but it is not this director's colossal mis-step, it's not his 1941, it's not Ishtar, it is in fact a wonderful addition to his film library.

My feelings just an hour after seeing it are akin to those of that one AICN reviewer, Massayrm or something like that, but I'm a little more on the side of the calculated brilliance fence that he seemed to be straddling. Lady in the Water opens beautifully with the weaving of a mythical story, told using narration and neat little pictorials and then we are set down into this almost absurd realism of the Cove apartment complex and its colourful tenants.

One thought that comes to me is that, thematically, this movie is almost a continuation of the themes expressed in The Village, Shyamalan's previous film. Humanity losing its way, losing hope and identity, needless quarelling (all of a sudden the Tool song "Right in Two" comes to mind :happy: ). In The Village, the Elders took drastic measures to cut themselves off from the 'evil' outside world. In Lady in the Water a chosen few are offerred purpose at the most intimate level through Story. Maybe it's a stretch, but it seems as though Night is milking the same general concepts here, but taken from a different, more positive angle, with a hint more surrealism.

This movie survives from moment to moment, since there doesn't seem to be much depth to the overall narrative of helping this lady get back to her world. Is she there just to enlighten and tell fortunes? To bring a chosen few together and attempt to affect change in this way? Would Vick have published his book had she not told him of its importance? Just some things that I thought could have been addressed with a little more detail. So initially the movie comes off a little awkward, but once you get used to the mood and tone that Night sets, it's clear sailing and I bought into it. Some may say the method of revealing the details and "rules" of the fairytale through the chinese girl and her mother is a lazy storytelling device, but I found it charming and quite funny. Some may say that the self-aware dialogue delivered by the film critic character is lame and jarring, whereas I found it completely at home within the borders set by what has come before it and most importantly, it was damn funny. And some may say that Shyamalan casting himself as the writer was a hideous indulgence, but I felt he fit the part pefectly and was actually very decent in his short (yes short, reviews stating he takes a lead role in this movie are bullshit) amount of screen-time.

Night has still got the stuff when it comes to writing characters and their interactions with each other. Early on in the film we see Cleveland going from room to room asking everyone ''have you written anything lately?", the line almost became a mantra in my theatre with a couple of people behind me repeating it with a giggle, which led to me almost bursting out laughing. So silly, yet Giamatti was my way into this story and it's that everyman-struggling-for-answers-in-a-crazy-situation quality that he brought to the role that pulled me along with him. Then there's that little kid who gets messages through cereal boxes, I mean what in the hell? That's cool.

The differences in tone separating Lady in the Water from Night's previous films also extend to the directing style and cinematography. The look is vey......domestic. There is definitely much less flash and flair to the camera movements, no super slow zoom-ins or outs etc.... He still likes to plant the camera often and let a scene play out and I noticed a lot of rack-focus, some neat pulls and a fantastic final underwater shot looking up as the Eatlon takes Story away. Lighting as well, very simple, again, nothing special but serves the film well and the final scenes in the rain/mist are quite nicely shot. As far as the music goes, James Newton-Howard delivers another gorgeous film score that contributes wonderfully to the emotion of certain scenes. Lots of lovely piano (his trademark) and lush orchestral swells. I look forward to picking that up for sure.

While not completely successfull in what it sets out to do, this was a bold and original idea by Shyamalan and it retains that charm that permeates his other work. It may not have the emotional weight of his other four, or be as stylistically adventurous, but I still very much like how it fits into his ouevre. A worthy addition, no doubt. I still believe this guy has the juice and hope he continues to mine that imagination of his and give us these original projects.

B+


....wow, what a clusterfuck review :wacko: .


Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:38 pm
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If Shyamalan's biggest fan gives it a B+, then I'm really worried :fear:

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Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:56 pm
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Eh, it wasn't that bad.

Shyamalan is an ambitious and talented filmmaker (no one's denying that), but Lady in the Water is underwhelming and just plain perplexing and bizarre in too many places. It's an intriguing fable, and Shyamalan is poised to deliver a masterpiece, however, this just isn't it.

B-


Sat Jul 22, 2006 1:38 am
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It's not terrible. And yeah, no matter what, Shyamalan has some skill behind that camera. But when the film ended, I'm like, "um, okaaaaay." Not because I'm confused by a twist (there are no twists), but it's just kind of a waste of time.

It's hard to review it. But I wasn't impressed. Just bored and left with nothing much other than Giamatti's performance.

C

So, I'd rank his films like this:

Signs - A-
Unbreakable - B+
The Sixth Sense - B+
The Village - C+
Lady in the Water - C


Sat Jul 22, 2006 3:41 am
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The Sixth Sense B+
Unbreakable A-
Signs A-
The Village B+
Lady in the Water D


Sat Jul 22, 2006 3:47 am
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Sixth Sense - A-
Unbreakable - B
Signs - C-
The Village - D+
Lady in the Water - ?


Sat Jul 22, 2006 3:56 am
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I still haven't seen The Village, I feel so ashamed. I'll be renting it before Lady gets to my town, I think.


Sat Jul 22, 2006 4:02 am
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i give all his movies a's cept for village gets b- due to insane movie till that realllllly shitty ending.

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Sat Jul 22, 2006 4:12 am
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Simply put, I was blown away.

It accomplished everything it set out to acheive, and it did it wonderously. Simply astounding. This is the best movie of 2006.

9.8/10 A+

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Sat Jul 22, 2006 4:16 am
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Are you being serious Chipmunky? So if it got 9.8, is it in your top 10 or 20?

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Sat Jul 22, 2006 4:43 am
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Amer wrote:
Are you being serious Chipmunky? So if it got 9.8, is it in your top 10 or 20?


Top 20

I thought it was a brilliant piece of work. It had a compelling story. GREAT acting. It was extremely tense and frightening at times.

It hit all my buttons.

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Sat Jul 22, 2006 4:50 am
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Dr. Lecter wrote:
If Shyamalan's biggest fan gives it a B+, then I'm really worried :fear:


When does Germany get this movie, and will you be seeing it?

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Sat Jul 22, 2006 5:19 am
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insomniacdude wrote:
Dr. Lecter wrote:
If Shyamalan's biggest fan gives it a B+, then I'm really worried :fear:


When does Germany get this movie, and will you be seeing it?


August 31st and yes.

But I promise, really, if I like this even less than The Village...I am not seeing Shyamalan's next at a theatre, unless it has some Oscar buzz or something!

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Sat Jul 22, 2006 6:07 am
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1. The Sixth Sense - A
2. Signs - A
3. Unbreakable - B-
4. The Village - C

Lady in the Water - ?

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Sat Jul 22, 2006 6:10 am
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DP07 wrote:
Sixth Sense - A-
Unbreakable - B
Signs - C-
The Village - D+
Lady in the Water - ?


F is the only logical answer?


Sat Jul 22, 2006 6:15 am
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