Starring: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, and
by: M. Night Shyamalan
Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix make a nice on screen team. They had
a gentle spark between them. This is, however the most unoriginal
work I have seen from M. Night Shyamalan, That is his stories,
if nothing else, are unique and thought provoking. I loved The
Sixth Sense, and oddly enough couldn't stand Unbreakable.
Still I appreciated his talent. Signs has me somewhere between
the tastes for the other two; I am torn. Shyamalan slowly
tells the tale, and in fact almost loses us to the sleepy-time
fairies, but comes back swinging away...
starts so hokey and riddled with telegraphed acting I found my
self looking for signs
.signs of life... signs of intelligence
pretty bright red EXIT signs. But I was slowly lured in by Joaquin
and the children, Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin, as their characters
grew to realize what was going on around them, I too started to
understand the story, and even forgive the lethargic beginning
from dramatic drama script 101 class.
Graham Hess (Mel Gibson), a former reverend,
has risen this corn fed farm day to the horrific sounds of his
child's maniacal screams. Uncle Merrill (Joaquin
Phoenix) hears the cries too and ricochets to the fields to
find out what's wrong out there. We immediately feel the closeness
of this small, motherless, family.
two fearful father figures find Bo (Abigail Breslin) and Morgan
(Rory - family of what fifteen kids here folks
- Culkin) unharmed shaken and stirred standing inside a perfectly
schmooshed circle of flattened corn stalks within the sea of their
cornfields. You know, like those weird "crop signs"
we've all heard of.
events continue, not just on the Hess corn farm but all over our
world, until finally we are faced with the stark truth that -
this time - we really are not alone. And these aliens never
saw E.T. or ALF. They prefer the alien stories
like Mars Attacks or The Twilight Zone that involve words like
"harvesting" and "violent humongus invasions"
with a quick cut, not to the Spielbergesque gushing loving
ending, but to one filled with mangled exploding Earthlings facing
these aliens gather above our cities of Earth the Hess family
tries to figure out how to survive. They take a vote and decide
to stay in their home, board up the windows, and wait it out while
the world battles the visitors. What else can they do? Graham
Hess, the former Godman, is also trying to figure out what the
H-E double hockey sticks is up with the lord; to have faith or
not to have faith, that is the question for him. Daddy Hess is
a tad bitter with the Almighty Big G, da King of Kings, his All-Powerful
I.S. (Infinite Spirit), right now for things like, "taking"
his wife or having stricken his boy with asthma, and this end
of the world invasion aint helping his feelings one tinsy
Gibson plays Graham "Father" Hess effortlessly.Come
on I mean he's a natural at this father role. What's he got like
seventeen kids in real life? A regular little 'Gaggle of Gibsons.'
This must have been a fun , family style set. Melvin is a fine
slice of grade A mansteak and is aging beautifully; like an expensive
Merlot from the Napa Valley. His role was not so challenging and
he waltzed through it without breaking a sweat.
Phoenix plays Merrill, Graham's brother and scene stealer
( per usual) . Joaquin is a big old Yummatini with a twist of
citrusy perfection; handsome in a quirky truly scrumptious way.
Like fresh set baklava he's layers of sweet nutty bits totaling
up to a tasty manfest extravaganza of intense portions
and as if that were not enough - he can act! Joaqi never picks
total duds trust him. A "Leaf"
by any other name... is still an adorable guy who'd make a girl
go rabid Rhesus monkey with a even a brief sexy glance her way
at a Dave Wilkins concert...excuse me. Ahem. See Quills.
Culkin, brother of Macaulay Culkin brother of Quinn Culkin brother
of Kieran Culkin brother of Christian Culkin brother of Shane
is blessed with the same calmness in front of a camera his kin
has. It must be a part of their DNA.
This adorable Abigail Breslin who plays young Bo Hess, looks like
a little cherub left behind by the angels
.geeze of you could
be guaranteed one of those one may actually think about breeding
Night Shylaman(lamamadingdongsalamander) cheated with this script
luring us with his past displays. Signs is below his obvious abilities.
Heck, M. even cast himself, who apparently is a recent graduate
of the Quintilian School Of Acting, Motto: " Act to death!
Act with broad exaggerated facial movements and bravado - no one
likes a subtle actor!" in a key role. Yech. Bad boy!
is really about the crop signs the world has experienced; yes
aliens and invasions, even a bit of War of the Worlds. But it's
also about a family in the face of terror. It's starts off bang-yer-purdy-little-head-against-
a-brick-wall'd-be-funner dull and ends up riveting. Ah, thank
gawd Joaquin was there to deliver some extremely clever lines
and make the bad stuff kind of go away. Give it a chance.
recommendation: French toast, waffles, chicken teriyaki, spaghetti,
and a bacon cheeseburger, double bacon.