It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
My problem may be that I know Fellini's "8½" (1963) too well. Your problem may be that you don't know it well enough. Both of us may be asking, who exactly was "Nine" made for? This is a big-scale version of the 1982 Broadway production, which won the Tony Award as best musical. It's likely that most who saw it had either seen the Fellini film, or made that their business.
I didn't see it, but I'm sure it greatly benefitted from being live and right there onstage, where the energy in performance compensated for its lack of a single great song. All the songs sound exactly like standard boilerplate Broadway show tunes, except for composer Maury Yestin's "Finale," which evokes the original Nino Rota soundtrack for Fellini, which is the problem.
Fellini's great films are essentially musicals. Like most Italian directors of his generation, he didn't record live dialogue and sound. He depended on dubbing. On a set, he usually had an orchestra playing, and asked his actors to move, not in time with the music, but "in sympathy." Everyone in a Fellini film evokes an inner body rhythm. Then there's Rota's music itself, my favorite soundtracks. I could watch a Fellini film on the radio.
The story, recycled by Rob Marshall for "Nine," involves aspects of Fellini's own life: his vagueness about screenplays and deadlines, his indifference to budgets, his womanizing, the guilt about sex instilled by his Catholic upbringing, his guilt about cheating on his wife and about bankrupting his producers. It was said that "8½" wasn't so much a confessional as an acting-out of the very problems he was having while making the film, including how to use a gigantic outdoor set he'd constructed for no clear purpose.