_**Is it really about aliens?**_ M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs" (2002) is about a disillusioned ex-minister (Mel Gibson) who lives in the country with his son & daughter and brother (Juaquin Phoenix). The reasons for his disillusionment become clear as the story unfolds. When a mysterious crop circle is discovered in their cornfield they wonder if it's a prank or an alien invasion! Although the plot deals with a possible alien invasion, the theme is faith. There are two general views of life: (1) That life and the universe are one big meaningless accident and you're just an insignificant bug that will soon be squashed out of existence and memory. And (2) that there's an intelligent design to the universe and, although it's somehow fallen (i.e. severely messed up), there IS meaning, love, hope and purpose, even if we are presently unable to fully comprehend it. The film addresses the clash of these two opposing views. We've all experienced the conflict of these two positions within our OWN hearts; it's the clash of flesh (id) and spirit (super-ego). On the one hand, we WANT to believe the latter position, but life dishes out so much crap that we are seriously tempted to give-in to the former. This is the struggle Gibson's character faces in the story. He's given up on God and is stumbling in the dark; he's just going through the motions to exist. His smile is mostly a facade. Many people diss the film for an obvious plot hole regarding the alien's weakness, but Shyamalan's too talented to not realize this. It's a sign to what the film is really about (sorry; I couldn't resist). **SPOILER ALERT** (Don't read further unless you've seen the film) It's possible that the aliens aren't really extraterrestrials but rather demons from the underworld (the dark dimension) invading the physical realm to take as many victims as they can. The idea that they are aliens is just a mass deception and, remember, the devil is the "father of lies". There are many clues: The spaceships are never seen, just lights in the sky (the devil's also called "the prince of the power of the air" in the bible). The "aliens" look decidedly demonic and have cloven hoofs. The “primitive method” of repelling the aliens is discovered in “three cities the Middle East” and is holy water, which is ordinarily used by Catholic & Episcopal exorcists against demonic manifestations (Shyamalan, by the way, attended Catholic & Episcopal schools). The daughter, Bo, was said to be a "gift from God" who is sensitive to impure (unholy) water. Her name in Old Norse means "to live" and she was able to discern the weapon of life needed to defeat the demonic menace. The dog and bird were clearly possessed. The crop circles are occultic symbols and possible portals to the underworld. The crop circle in the Hess cornfield resembles a pitchfork. When the disillusioned minister cries out to God that he hates him he actually displays his faith; after all, he has to believe in God in order to converse. At that precise moment his son recovers from the asthma attack and the news announcer declares that the "aliens" are retreating. You see, FAITH sends the enemy fleeing with their tails between their legs. Also, we see evidence that the demons are personal in nature. The "alien" locked in the vet's pantry was linked to the guilt and disillusionment that haunted the vet and the minister after the death of the latter's wife. Also, we see evidence that the demons are personal in nature. The "alien" locked in the vet's pantry was linked to the guilt and disillusionment that haunted the vet after the death of the minister's wife. Keep in mind that when the film debuted, Shyamalan was known as the king of the plot twist, yet the revelation that the aliens’ weakness is water wasn’t exactly a mind-blowing turn seeing as how the earth is 71% water and technologically advanced aliens who can travel the galaxy would know this. Moreover, the aliens curiously have no physical weapons and are easily trapped by a pantry door. It stands to reason that Shyamalan hid the twist in the movie. That twist is that the aliens are really demonic in nature. I'm not saying you can't view the movie as a literal extra-terrestrial invasion flick, but rather that the underlying demonic reading is a legitimate way of viewing the material because it all ties together and links to the story arc of the disillusioned ex-minister finding redemption. Also, I'm not suggesting that you have to believe in God to appreciate this movie, which is obviously not the case. BOTTOM LINE: This is a quality Shyamalan film and is about on par with "The Sixth Sense" and "The Village.” The film runs 106 minutes and was shot in Eastern Pennsylvania. GRADE: B+
Not my favorite M. Night Shyamalan film. Also not my least favorite...
It's barely over an hour and a half this film, but it seems much longer. Mel Gibson ("Graham") is a widowed former pastor who lives on a farm with his two kids "Morgan" (Rory Culkin) and "Bo" (Abigail Breslin) and his brother "Merrill" (Joaquin Phoenix). Their lives are all rolling along normally until one morning they discover some crop circles amongst the corn fields. Dismissing them as hoaxes, they are intrigued when television reports suggest a proliferation of these things all around the world. Now add to their now heightened suspicions some late night noises and mysterious happenings, and the family begin to suspect that they are being watched - and that their observer is not exactly benign. The last ten minutes or so redeem this story to a degree, but for the most part it is a terribly slow burn of a film. There isn't really much by way of action; Gibson and Phoenix don't really exude much of a compelling sibling relationship and the kids - usually a crucial conduit for M. Night Shyamalan stories have much less to work with here. This has more of the melodrama to it - the backstory of tragedy and grief all gets in the way of the gradually increasing sense of menace and I found the whole momentum of the story quite staccato. This is an adequate film, but it is definitely nobody's best work.
By the year 2050 AD, a mysterious organization called Galactor has occupied half of the Earth and threatens to exterminate the human race. Around the same time, the International Science Organization had uncovered mysterious stones that bear unusual powers. It is said that one person out of approximately eight million is able to harness the power of the stones; they are known as a "Receptor". Dr. Kozaburo Nambu gathers a team of these five lucky Receptors together. Known as the "Gatchaman" team, it is their mission to defeat Galactor.
Movie Star Rating : 5.6 Read More
Twenty-year-old Joseph and his sixteen-year-old sister Suzanne live in the merciless conditions of an intemperate foreign land with their widowed mother. Their mother attempts to exert a hold on her children by involving them in the family's run-down rice plantation. However the siblings seek liberation, and look for this in their romantic lives. Suzanne becomes involved with Michael and Joseph finds a love interest in Claude.
Movie Star Rating : 5.9 Read More
After being estranged from his Druze village and family for 17 years, Yoseph returns with his two Israeli, teenage children. His marriage to a Jewish Israeli woman has just ended and he plans to settle down there. His arrival causes friction inside the closed, conservative Druze community and also with his mother Afifa, who accepts him and his children as part of her family again.
Movie Star Rating : 5 Read More
In a Copenhagen suburb the 19-year-old Per is found unconscious after having been badly beaten up. He is taken to hospital in a coma. The police have no clues, but the air is thick with suspicion. His mother struggles to maintain her faith in his survival. His younger sister, Mie, begins to pick up rumors. Her boyfriend, Shadi, suspects that his elder brother is behind the assault but he cannot tell anyone. Many well-meaning people find themselves at sea in a fable about emotions leading us astray.
Movie Star Rating : 8 Read More
Pit violinist Claudin hopelessly loves rising operatic soprano Christine Dubois (as do baritone Anatole and police inspector Raoul) and secretly aids her career. But Claudin loses both his touch and his job, murders a rascally music publisher in a fit of madness, and has his face etched with acid. Soon, mysterious crimes plague the Paris Opera House, blamed on a legendary "phantom".
Movie Star Rating : 6.2 Read More
When Eve, an interior designer, is deserted by her husband of many years, Arthur, the emotionally glacial relationships of the three grown-up daughters are laid bare. Twisted by jealousy, insecurity and resentment, Renata, a successful writer; Joey, a woman crippled by indecision; and Flyn, a budding actress; struggle to communicate for the sake of their shattered mother. But when their father unexpectedly falls for another woman, his decision to remarry sets in motion a terrible twist of fate…
Movie Star Rating : 6.8 Read More
An offbeat romantic comedy about a decent guy, Ray Tuckby, with a dead-end life in the dead-end town of Trona, CA. After encouragement from a stranger whom he happens upon, Ray begins to dream again. He sheds the parasites in his life, musters the nerve to pursue his childhood love, and finally takes back his community by toppling the local teenage Meth-baron.
Movie Star Rating : 5.1 Read More
Two years after the death of his beloved wife, Pat O'Brien summons his children back to their homestead in the west of Ireland. Fionn travels from New York, Gareth from London, and daughter Una returns from Dublin, fearing the worst. Pat is not the only family member bearing the burden of a secret. The O’Briens is a modern comedy about a dysfunctional Irish family and the town they grew up in.
Movie Star Rating : 7.5 Read More
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