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Starring: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin, M. Night Shyamalan
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Touchstone Pictures
Kiddie Movie: It's pretty intense at times and PG-13 for a reason.  Don't bring the youngins.
Date Movie: She might make fun of you for jumping out of your seat, but she'll do so while clutching your arm.
Gratuitous Sex: Nadda.
Gratuitous Violence: Some fingers get cut off.
Action: There's some running involved.
Laughs: There are quite a few laughs.
Memorable Scene: The entire movie.
Memorable Quote: Merrill trying to describe a trespasser to the police lady: "It was very dark" and the pharmacist-girl asking Graham "Is douche-bag a curse word.?
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan
Produced By: Frank Marshall, Sam Mercer, M. Night Shyamalan

A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - R

It's 1:45 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
As I was leaving the theater after seeing the movie "Signs," all I could keep thinking to myself was "That movie was fantastic" and "Why do people have to open their mouths during a movie?" More on that later, letís get to the "fantastic" part.

Quickly establishing himself as one hell of a writer, one hell of a director, one hell of a producer, and even a not-so-bad actor, M. Night Shyamalan mixes fear of the unknown with questioning oneís faith, and makes a movie that creates suspense even though you have a good idea of whatís coming.

The movie is "Signs," and Iím going to do my best to tell you as little as possible because, as what is becoming the case with M. Knightís films, the less you know going in the better the movie will be. Keeping it simple, Mel Gibson is Graham Hess. He used to be a preacher but isnít any longer. Joaquin Phoenix is Merrill, Grahamís brother. Youíve got two little ones, Bo (Abigail Breslin) and Morgan (Rory Culkin). One day the dogs, along with Morgan and Bo, discover crop circles in the familyís cornfield. Perplexed, Graham calls in the police lady, Caroline (Cherry Jones). They think it might be the work of hoodlums, but maybe itís the work of aliens. It is with that thought that one develops the deeper themes of the movie, and those include if there are aliens, how can there be a God watching over us? Are you lucky are just a victim of coincidence? Does everything that happens in life, even the bad things, happen for a reason? And thatís all Iím telling you about the story.

You might wonder how this movie keeps being touted as full of suspense with a story like that, but M. Night does the best job Iíve seen in a long time of using subtle sounds, music, and silence to keep you on the edge of your seat. Sure there are times the characters seem stupid, but itís easy to get past that when the story is so good.

Since I donít want to tell you much about the story, letís just wrap things up. "Signs" is a movie that will have you scared, make you laugh, and maybe even make you question your own faith or belief in God. Gibson is great as the Dad struggling with his belief system, Phoenix is great as the brother trying to hold the family together, and Culkin and Breslin are great at developing characters facing the unknown with innocence and wonder.

In the end "Signs" is one of the best suspense movies I can recall. How does M. Night do this? He simply creates a scene where you are pretty sure what is going to happen and actually gives it to you, the problem is that you expect it to happen right in your face so you think youíre ready for it. You find that youíre not. I can only explain this better by slightly giving away one scene with Graham running through the corn. Sorry. Anyway, I sat there sure one of two things was going to happen: Either Graham would run face to face with whomever was messing with his corn, or he would end up back in the house thinking he was going nuts. I was ready for it at any moment as Graham hears noises, he drops his flashlight, and I was secure in knowing that "Boo" shot was going to hit, and it doesnít happen. Graham steps back for a minute, now I let my guard down thinking it was going to be "back to the house because heís nuts," especially because that is the expression on Grahamís face, then suddenly there is a leg in the corn and in my head Iím running faster than Graham back to the house. M. Night does this just about perfectly every time.

Iím giving "Signs" 5 stars out of 5. Sure there are some dopey elements to the movie, but then again, the basic premise is crop circles and who makes them. But itís that simple premise that makes the movie a masterpiece.

Lastly, as a public service, I would just like to remind all of you that we donít want to hear what you are thinking WHILE THE MOVIE IS PLAYING. Thereís a scene where you will wonder why Graham just doesnít call the police. Iím thinking it, everyone in the theater is probably thinking it, but I donít want you to tell me by telling your date "Why doesnít he just call the police?"  You are one of the reasons it's so much nicer to watch a movie at home.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


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