Matthew McConaughey recorded one of the worst debuts of his career, Oscar nominees saw only modest bumps and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” easily remained No. 1 on a quiet weekend in movie theaters.
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Through the ups and downs of his career, the name M. Night Shyamalan has always been synonymous with one thing: twist. While watching his films, it’s easy to spend more time wondering if he will, won’t, and how he’ll twist, and it can take away the power of what’s actually on screen. Which is a shame when the filmmaking and performances are particularly exceptional. In the multiple-personality psycho-thriller “Split,” Anya Taylor-Joy and James McAvoy shine as predator and prey who understand each other far more than they know.
Remember what the world was like when anyone last cared about an M. Night Shyamalan movie? George W. Bush was in the White House, Vanessa Carlton was on the radio, and you couldn’t even tweet about how cool you thought “Signs” was because Twitter wasn’t even around yet. The early 2000s seem like several lifetimes ago, especially for the director who soared early in his career with “The Sixth Sense,” “Unbreakable,” and, yes, “Signs,” and then spiraled into creative freefall through the likes of “The Last Airbender” and “After Earth.” But, with the clever, cheeky and only slightly scary horror film “The Visit,” Shyamalan is partying like it’s 2000 all over again.
There’s no question that John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle’s new film “Devil” is an anomaly in today’s Hollywood. A $21 million supernatural thriller about five strangers trapped in an elevator and the evil lurking among them, it’s not based on a graphic novel, nor is it a remake or a reboot of a television series from the 1970s or ’80s. The ensemble cast includes no instantly recognizable faces.