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Alex Carnevale
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Kara VanderBijl
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Mia Nguyen
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Durga Chew-Bose
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Brittany Julious
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This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Classic Recordings
Robert Altman Week

Thursday
Aug202009

In Which There Is A Lady in the Water

Night Is Here

by Alex Carnevale

The Happening

dir. M. Night Shyamalan

99 minutes

The promise of the auteur is that each effort must attempt to top the next. In the cases of Martin Scorcese, Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock, we embarked on a viewing of their next project with tremulous anticipation. I can still feel the first monologued moments of Taxi Driver, the sinking feeling of a taxicab ride to Hell in Eyes Wide Shut, following a hottie in Vertigo, and the time that kid put his penis into the apple pie.

Shyamalan burst onto the scene with 1993's Wide Awake. I still remember the buzz on him, and when I saw The Sixth Sense it was easy to see we were in the hands of a genre-freak. Our contemporary masters of suspense are so lacking that M. Night stood out. He truly knew dread of the unknown, and he was imaginative as well. He also wrote his own material, which made him even more unique.

whatever they're laughing about, it probably wasn't that funny

His second Bruce Willis vehicle, Unbreakable, was comic book fun, yet still unrelentingly dark and weird. Despite a strange turn, Unbreakable is accessible, Groundhog Day fare, and it allowed him to show off his talent for humor. Instead of going on to direct subsequent superhero movies as did sell-out peers like Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi, Night started believing his shit actually didn't stink.

Like David Mamet's mock-survival spectacle, The Edge, 2002's Signs was actually a fun Spielberg parody complete with flummoxed Daddy Mel Gibson. Its ending is so magnificently disappointing that I can't imagine any audience being satisfied by it.

"i really hope this doesn't ruin our careers"

Night's cockiness was evident in his 2006 Princess Bride-style fairy tale Lady in the Water. Entirely set in an apartment building in Philadelphia, Lady in the Water held the promise of Night's imagination even with David O. Russell trappings. LITW is a hysterical script, with a verbal inventiveness and talent for comedy none of his peers can approach. That it was destined to be a colossal bomb is besides the point. It's Night's most underrated project, and judged without expectations, it's an unmitigated triumph.

Unfortunately, the fun ends here.

you guys an oak tree over there just called me a stupid asshole

Forced to admit its premise at the beginning and divulge little more, The Happening is the reverse journey of the tantalizing scary The Village. M. Night's small masterpiece of a small Pennsylvania town is an ideal Twilight Zone episode.

The Happening documents a airborne virus, possibly originating from the planet itself, that causes people to kill themselves. As a married couple of a verge of a colossal Spitzer, Wahlberg and Zooey have a fun kind of chemistry. The plot heads towards central New Jersey, but it really has nowhere to go.

"i'm sorry i waited this long to tell you this night, but, I really don't "get" The Village"

You're resorted to basically turning the heavy-handed metaphor over in your mind. Would plants attack us? They don't have the facility to. We'll have to die some other way, like from mediocre scripts or adaptations of anime TV shows.

M. Night's next project, The Last Airbender, which he didn't write

The list of people who write and shoot their own material is small - Tarantino when he's not trying to bang underage women, PTA when he's not directed his wife in ill-timed stage plays, Woody when he's not busy dying -  so Night stands out. That he's demanded creative freedom in his quirky ventures is a thing in favor of him. Maybe he just needs a little on-set excitement to get back on track? I hear Rose McGowan is available.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

cheat on your wife night just do it

HEALTH LIFE AND FIRE

"Bucky Done Gun (DJ Marlboro's Funk Carioca remix)" – M.I.A. (mp3)

"Bucky Done Gun (¥£$ Productions's remix)" – M.I.A. (mp3)

"Bucky Done Gun (DaVinChe remix)" - M.I.A. (mp3)

"Bucky Done Gun (instrumental)" – M.I.A. (mp3)

"Bucky Done Gun (a capella)" – M.I.A. (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Rachael played where are they now with the cast of Freaks and Geeks. Danish luvs glipsters Hot Chip.

Alex girled out with Michelle Obama, the musical Once, and the weird world that is fashion.

Ready and steady yourself for the return of inimitable priestess Molly Young.