In M. Night Shyamalan’s faux gothic film The Village, a late-19th-century community lives in enforced isolation; the deformed, bloodthirsty creatures who inhabit the woods outside the village prevent access to the world beyond. What makes the film an imitation gothic is the double plot twist.
Seventeen-year-old Maria is a pretty Colombian girl frustrated with life in her small town. She has a monotonous job at a rose plantation; family responsibilities that eat up her paycheck; and a boyfriend who is content drinking with the guys and working as a mechanic.
Adapted from one of Robert Ludlum’s bestsellers, The Bourne Identity was one of the exciting entertainments of 2002. Matt Damon played the hero, a man hauled out of the drink who digs two bullets out of his back and finds a Swiss bank account number implanted in his hip. He has no recollection of who he is, but he’s exceptionally strong and resourceful.
The news that director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) was making a new version of the 1962 cold-war thriller The Manchurian Candidate provoked howls of protest from purists who didn’t see the need for an updated version of that memorable film (especially since it was out of circulation for 25 years—a political fallout of the Kennedy assassination).
The best tales of the supernatural, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, use fantasy to dramatize emotions that are too dark and overpowering to be treated conventionally. Sam Raimi’s marvelous Spider-Man 2 takes audiences into some pretty deep waters too.
I never learned to tell one from another— swamp, field, song, vesper—they’re all scraps of drab: rust, dun, buff, tan. Some streaky-breasted, some not. We hear the flutter of their wings, look up, then yawn, ho hum, a sparrow. No rush for the binoculars. Like the poor, they are always with us. Look at them flick and flit in this dry meadow of foxtail, switchgrass, goldenrod; every leaf, stem, and seed head burnished in the dying light. Maybe they are the only angels we get in this life. But the very hairs on our head are numbered, and the father knows them all by name. Each sparrow, too, has a song—no flashy cardinal selling cheer, no sky-blue jay’s ironic squawk, no eponymous chicka-dee-dee-dee. Just us, the unnoticed, gleaning what others have left behind, and singing for all we’re worth, teetering on a bit of bracken at the edge of a wild field.