M. Night Shyamalan has had a spotty career with the films he has been involved with over the years. The Indian director made a big splash and had the town buzzing with Sixth Sense (“I see dead people”) in 1999 and followed up a year later with Unbreakable. Then a string of other films came which were ranging from modestly successful (like Signs with Mel Gibson) to outright horrible with The Village or Lady in the Lake or The Visit. He also likes to insert himself into these films as an actor but it doesn’t work as well like it did for Alfred Hitchcock, where it was more a Finding Waldo like joke to Woody Allen, who was an actor in his own right. Honestly he has to do something with that 80s haircut, which I suspect covers ears that resemble Dumbo, but it’s just a guess. Last year, M Night came out with Split which stars James McAvoy as a young man who has multiple personality disorder. McAvoy was brilliant in the role, and he continues with that extraordinary performance in the new film Glass. Glass is on Crave and is more compelling and watchable than I thought it was going to be. The story involves the coming together of three separate films, with Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Split. The stars for each carry on previous roles with Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson and James McAvoy. They are all different in their own way, and brought together by a doctor looking to “cure” them. The doctor works with people who have a superhero complex and she is looking to bring them all back to reality. Jackson is mostly silent throughout the film and Willis is looking to use his perceived powers for good as a vigilante. Willis wants to help find some teenage cheerleaders who were kidnapped by McAvoy’s character. Then other things happen which I won’t go into here. Related characters to the main ones are introduced, and they are looking to help their troubled friends and loved ones. In the end, I liked this and it was worth my time seeing.
Recently with all the 50 years acknowledgements of the moon landings, there have been more and more showings of space and space race related movies. Yet again a little while ago The Right Stuff was played. I own this film on DVD. I re-watch it periodically. When Apollo 13 (also re-shown last week) and then last year First Man came out, I watch them all. I noted in Apollo 13 when the spacecraft was in trouble and Jim Lovell’s Mom was watching the TV, they have Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins sitting with her from Apollo 11. She asks “are you two in the space program?” But anyway, The Right Stuff focuses on the Gemini program and getting Americans into space as the Russians were seemingly ahead and the US Administration didn’t want to “sleep under a red sky”. So they rushed to create a spacecraft, and find people to man them. Test pilots were the ultimate choice, and those who were well known, like Chuck Yeager and others were skeptical of being “spam in a can” and doing the job that a chimpanzee could do. Yeager was the fastest man alive for a time with planes he was flying. The astronauts selected came from all branches of the military and had good acting with Scott Glenn, Ed Harris and Dennis Quaid in the roles. Wives are not excluded from the drama either as we see how their lives are impacted by the chosen profession of their husbands. Barbara Hershey, Pamela Reed are memorable as well as Veronica Cartwright who after her husband Gus Grissom has a mishap with a hatch, doesn’t get to meet Jackie Kennedy and she is crushed by that defeat of no visit to the White House. There are tremendous technical scenes and visuals with the rockets, the planes and re-living these times. I enjoy the humour and good fun that the guys can try to have some laughs even while being put through testing that no human had ever endured before. It is a job where from one day to the next you don’t know whether you are going to come home or not. Scary. Brave. If you have interest in history and space history, this is well worth your time to understand the times. I would like to think that we all worked better together, even though the Vietnam war and the race riots were all part of a very tumultuous time in the world. Maybe it was just one thing that we could seem to agree on when all others failed. And even then getting funding for Apollo was not an easy thing to get, nor keep.