And just like that, M. Night Shyamalan is once again the most divisive writer/director in the movie industry. Following his success, what some have claimed as a comeback with The Visit and Split, Shyamalan was given the keys to the Blumhouse car for his newest film Glass. It’s a sequel to Unbreakable and Split, but this is more of a Frankenstein’s monster of cinema. Shyamalan attempts to merge three films, using a revolving door of characters, and bring it all together as a psychological twist to comic-book movies. The result is a movie that never worked for me. Instead, Glass is just a shattered mess.
The Standoff at Sparrow Creek was not what I was expecting in any way shape or form. I am going to chalk this up as a learning experience. Don’t always expect a cliched action film. Writer/director Henry Dunham has found a way to round up a who’s who of character actors, put them in a warehouse, construct a sharp script, and let the audience see how it unfolds. This is a dialogue driven drama, with little to no action, and yet, it is tense from beginning to end. The Standoff at Sparrow Creek is a boiling pot, waiting to flow over, and easily one of the more unique scripts in cinema for some time.
Audiences might not realize, but The Upside is actually a remake of the French film The Intouchables. And although that 2011 film- starring Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet- found a strange amount of praise during its release, I can’t say the same amount of love will be earned for this American go around. Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston star as an unlikely pair, They are both bitter about their pasts, doubtful about their futures, and create a bond that blossoms into a delightful friendship. Director Neil Burger plays the narrative safe, with interesting casting choices along the way, making The Upside a mixed bag of mediocre. The Upside is not awful, but it’s also an unnecessary remake.