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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: “The Incredible Hulk,” “The Happening”

UPDATE 06.10: Turns out that The Happening will indeed screen for critics, but that I’ll have to miss the screening because of a prior commitment. But would you believe that I’ll make up for that with a screening of Get Smart [opens wide June 20] that I just learned of?

I know that I’m just about the only person who loved Ang Lee’s Hulk from a few years back, but I’m still looking forward like crazy to The Incredible Hulk [opens wide June 13]. I’m guessing the Lee’s arthouse comic-book movie will share more than a little in tone and attitude with this one, if only because we’ve got a serious Artiste Actor in Edward Norton taking over the lead role. Norton cowrote the script, too — how amazing is that? When I talk about superhero stuff being taken seriously these days, this is the kind of thing I’m talking about.

I’m still waiting to hear if M. Night Shyamalan’s new flick, The Happening, will screen for critics, and frankly we’re running out of time: the movie opens this Friday, June 13. I keep giving Shyamalan a chance because I respect that he’s an original voice — I just wish he’d use it more. Anyway, even if the film doesn’t screen, I’ll catch it on Friday — if nothing else, I love the cast: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, and John Leguizamo — and report ASAP after that.

I missed the screening of Kit Kittredge: An American Girl [opens limited June 20; opens wide July 2] I was supposed to see last week, so I’ll catch it this week.

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  • I have seen “The Incredible Hulk” and it is way more action packed than Ang Lee’s poetic version. Better? Maybe not. Less challenging? Sure. Overall impression? It’s okay, whatever.

    “The Happening” – I would not see this if Zooey and Marky Mark weren’t in it. M. Night Shamaladingdon does nothing for me anymore.

    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

  • PaulW

    M. Night as a visual stylist is without few equals. As a writer, the guy needs an editor…

  • Ryan

    The comments I have heard about ‘The Happening’ are not promising. I also have been spoiled as to the ‘villain’ of the movie…and it sounds utterly ridiculous.

    I think M. Night needs somebody to really seriously pop his ego balloon, so he can get back in the mind frame that let him create The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.

    I also heard Marky Mark and Zooey (say it aint so!) struggled mightily with the script.

  • Didn’t Edward Norton already play a similiar role in Fight Club? ;-)

    And I’d respect Shyamalan’s voice a lot more if he actually used it to tell a decent story now and then.

  • I’m hoping M. Night can make up for The Lady in the Water…I am a HUGE fan, but that film was utter nonsense…

  • The Happening is going to be Teh Suck, and if it doesn’t screen for critics it’ll be because the story is so lame that the reviewers will kill any chance of it having a big opening weekend. I read the script a while back and it is, for lack of a better word, dumb. Alan Ruck saying “There seems to be an event occurring” is truly the low point of his career. Really, Alan? An event is occurring?

    M. Night Shyamalamadingdong has, like so many other one-hit wonder directors before him, had his shining moment.

  • I get the sense that Shyamalan has gotten big enough so that he doesn’t have to take “no” for an answer, and that his ego is large enough to convince him that his every idea is pure gold. These are just impressions, of course, but it certainly explains how his work could have slipped so badly of late. Someone with the clout to ask for rewrites or deliver a few stern lectures of the “you’re better than this” variety might have salvaged a decent movie from Lady in the Water.

  • ariadne

    You’re not the only one, MaryAnn: I’m right there with you on the Ang Lee Hulk love. And I, too, can’t wait for the new one–I love Edward Norton. I’m really looking forward to reading your reaction to it.

  • JT

    I keep wondering where “Postal” is on your 2008 ranked films list. Is it off the charts bad or something?

  • Django

    The Incredible Hulk is poised to be the biggest surprise of the summer.

    Shalamadingdong has nothing up his sleeve worth paying for. Sorry. It AIN’T Happening.

    Hulk is an Epic blockbuster that’ll MORE than make up for “Won’t like me when I’m Ang-Lee”.

    Norton’s gonna ROCK it. And Fight Club is like “Prep Club” for this role, bro.

    All tracking, reports from those who’ve seen it, and early reviews indicate the Hulk’ll be a Smash – and well worth your popcorn money to boot!

  • Shadowen

    You should be doubly interested in Incredible Hulk, Maryann, since RDJ has a speaking cameo as Tony Stark in the movie.

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