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Entries in After Earth (6)

Tuesday
Jun042013

Further thoughts on M. Night Shyamalan's apocalypse

Picking up where we left off: having tracked the steady descent in quality through the filmography of M. Night Shyamalan, it felt like it would be a good idea to revisit the man now that the weekend is over, and we've all had a chance to see his latest, After Earth. Though, based on its shockingly anemic box-office take, I'm guessing that most of you did not take that chance.

Good for you, because I did see the film, and wow, was it ever the wrong decision. Happily it does, as reported, reverse the plunging downward trend of his career: it's better across the board than The Last Airbender. But it still very clearly isn't a good movie and in one particularly respect it sharpens what might be the most disappointing element of Shyamalan's fall.

Looking all the way back to 1999's The Sixth Sense, one of the things that still impresses the most is the excellent central performance the director pulled out of 10-year-old Haley Joel Osment. Three years later, Signs had solid, if not quite as great work from Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin. But After Earth is now the second film in a row where Shyamalan is working with a child actor in the lead role, and it's the second time in a row where that child's performance is abysmal: Jaden Smith's turn as the sci-fi hero of this new film is stilted and painfully one-note, with a one-size-fits-all expression of dull surprise, sometimes paired with a watery grin to connote "excitement".

Topped off with the unimpressive visuals and the film's slack narrative development - the way that the ending comes feels less like a conclusion and more like the camera got bored and decided to wander away from the story - and it's hard to see what Shyamalan brings to the table that anybody who knew how to yell "action" couldn't have supplied. Is it time to declare Shyamalan's career over?

Tuesday
Jun042013

After Link: Blue Jasmine, Red Wedding, Emerald City

Stranger Than Most encourages you to see these 20 underseen masterpieces. Lot of great films mentioned though I shall limit my "seconded!" shouting to Summer Hours, Three Women and [safe] today
Guardian Joss Whedon "I kept telling my mom that reading comic books would pay off"
Gawker volcanic imagery aside, After Earth is not scientology propaganda, just a crap movie
Hollywood & Swine after After Earth's rough opening weekend, Sony cancels "take your kid to work day" LOL
The Atlantic when did men -- other than George Clooney of course -- lose their charm?
Cinema Blend pages from Heath Ledger's Joker diary. CB claims this is from a German tv series but the narration is in French so I'm not sure what's going on

WSJ Speakeasy Interesting... turns out Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine is a riff on the Bernie Madoff scandal and Speakeasy claims that Alec Baldwin's performance will be talked about. (Perhaps I should change that supporting actor chart?)
Salon The internet is losing its collective mind over Game of Thrones. As I said on twitter, I am more and more convinced that fans are victims and George R R Martin and the HBO series are their abusive lover. FWIW I quit reading the books after the Red Wedding. It's just not for me. Don't need the gore and the abuse!
Playbill sings the praises of Broadway breakthrough Annaleigh Ashford from Kinky Boots. Is she the next Goldie Hawn? 
Cinema Blend The Wizard of Oz (1939) is converting to 3D and IMAX for its 75th anniversary next week.
/Film ruh roh. The screenwriter of Green Lantern is signing on to the Blade Runner sequel. It was already a bad enough idea, lightning rarely striking twice.

Watch & Listens
YouTube Patrick Stewart speaks out on domestic violence and mental health awareness - lovely
KCRW - The Business interviews (literally) naked Mitchell Hurwitz on the challenges of continuing the Bluth story for a 4th season of Arrested Development

And did you see this fun video tribute above to Cyndi Lauper whose show Kinky Boots (just discussed) has a ton of Tony nominations? Various morning shows and current Broadway casts contributed for the 30th Anniversary of her classic hit "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"

Sunday
Jun022013

Box Office: Little Willie Style

Absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder. Will Smith quit headlining movies very abruptly 5 years ago. He stuck a toe back in box office waters last year for another Men in Black but the one-time king of summer movie blockbusters couldn't even beat a Jesse Eisenberg ensemble picture or a 6th edition of a long-in-the-tooth franchise with no bankable stars outside of that franchise? That's some sort of wake-up call but to whom and for what? Will? The Smith Family Players? M Night?

For his next trick, he'll make Will Smith giant-sized bankability disappear

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN
01 FAST & FURIOUS 6 $34.5 (cum. $170.3)
02 NOW YOU SEE ME  $28.5 *NEW* 
03 AFTER EARTH  $27 *NEW* M Night Shyamalan's Fall
04 STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS  $16.4 (cum. $181.1) The Dumbing Down of Star Trek
05 EPIC $16.4 (cum. $65.1)
06 THE HANGOVER PART III $15.9 (cum. $88)
07 IRON MAN THREE $8 (cum. $384.7) Reviewed & Podcasted
08 THE GREAT GATSBY $6.2 (cum. $128.2) Reviewed & Dreamt About
09 MUD  $1.2 (cum. $16.8)
10 THE CROODS $.6 (cum. $180.5)

In limited release Frances Ha nearly cracked the top ten in its third week and will pass Margot at the Wedding's gross quickly. The real test will be if it can break through to Squid and the Whale levels without the aid of awards buzz since we're not in the season.  Meanwhile, Before Midnight, which in a perfect world would be a $100 million blockbuster, wasn't very aggressive in expansion in its second week. I wonder what the future will hold for it?

What did you see this weekend?
I binged (hence the lack of posting) with two oldies having big anniversaries Adventures in Robin Hood and Cleopatra - good christ but that movie is a slog to watch in one sitting! - and three 2013 offerings (The East, Mud, and What Maisie Knew) so I should write something about something soon, shouldn't I?

Thursday
May302013

The Decline and Fall of M. Night Shyamalan

Hi, Tim here. This weekend sees the release of After Earth, the latest of 2013’s surprisingly well-stocked slate of post-apocalyptic sci-fi thrillers, starring Will and Jaden Smith. These are all things that are proudly trumpeted by the ad campaign. What is conspicuously not trumpeted, proudly or otherwise, is the identity of the film’s director M. Night Shyamalan, who for the first time since his gigantic 1999 breakthrough The Sixth Sense is not mentioned by name in the ad campaign for his latest feature.

This is, undoubtedly, because Shyamalan been steadily pissing away audience goodwill almost since the moment he started earning it, with each new film he’s made being widely regarded as worse than the one preceding it (a steady downward trend on Metacritic, down with just a single blip up on Rotten Tomatoes). With After Earth appearing to flatten or slightly reverse this trend, it’s as good a time as any to explore the exact shape of Shyamalan’s fall in such a relatively short time, trying to figure out exactly how the man anointed as “The Next Spielberg” at a tender age ended up becoming one of modern cinephilia’s greatest punchlines.

THE SIXTH SENSE (1999): Wunderkind

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr242013

You're Gonna Link Me When I'm Gone

Erik Lundegaard "find the future movie star". This was really fun and hard... I briefly thought I saw James Cagney but that wasn't it... (here's the answer if you can't figure it out)
Los Angeles Times
 Lincoln Center honored the one and only Barbra Streisand this week. I was not invited though I sought an invitation which I have to admit depressed me. In related news: HAPPY BIRTHDAY BARBRA!
i09 the new After Earth trailer proves M Night Shyamalan doesn't know how evolution works
Salon YouTube's eighth birthday brings classic time-wasters 
Gawker Ben Affleck to spend only $1.50 a day for five days in honor of movie blogge... oh I'm sorry, as part of the "Live Below the Line" challenge meant to draw attention to Global Poverty. 

Speaking of Affleck...

i09 Marvel got the rights to Daredevil back from Fox. Will they use them. And how soon? I really wish they'd consider a TV series for at least one of their characters. Lawyers belong on TV. Surely they got the industry mandate on that?
Slash ...and speaking of Marvel Studios. Lee Pace, whom we love here at TFE, is in final talks to play the villain in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. I don't know that series but this is terrible news since his perfect perfect mug will undoubtedly be buried in some weird unrecognizably villainous makeup. Stop making beautiful people ugly, Hollywood! Ugly actors need jobs too.

and more non-Marvel links
In Contention Dallas Buyers Club goes to Focus. Will it be their prime Oscar contender for 2013? 
Towleroad Downton Abbey: The Musical 
Welcome to Twin Peaks amazingly creepy mashup of Twin Peaks and The Shining
Empire Chloe Moretz, uncontent to haunt me in every Hollywood picture is considering working with one of my favorite European auteurs Olivier Assayas for a film called Sils Maria. I have to admit the plot sounds super interesting (especially since the Irma Vep auteur is behind it) with Moretz possibly playing an actress currently playing one of another actresses (Binoche) defining roles.  
Cinema Blend Entertainment giant and sort of retired director Mike Nichols returning with One Last Thing Before I Go. Ugh. why didn't he just say yes to August: Osage County then?!? 

and look!

Anna Kendrick made a music video. The song will be familiar if you saw Pitch Perfect. There's a funny reaction to this on Videogum.

and Tweet of the Day goes to Dwayne Johnson "the Rock" who sent his fans this pic from his hospital bed after hernia surgery.

Ha! (The Superman t-shirt is perfect since he's already practically a cartoon superhero)

Wednesday
Dec192012

Yes, No, Maybe So: "After Earth"

Michael C here. The staggering failure of M. Night Shyamalan’s post-Signs career does not need another chronicling here. Suffice it to say that to approach a new film of his with high expectations would require insane, borderline Little Orphan Annie levels of optimism.

Not that you would know from the trailer that After Earth is the latest M. Night Shyamalan opus since his name appears in the preview exactly zero times. Clearly the studio got word of the peals of laughter the Devil trailer received with its “From the Mind of M. Night Shyamalan” title card.

No this trailer is all about top world box office star Will Smith and his transparent mission to anoint son Jaden heir to his box office throne. Also there seems to be some stuff about crash landing on a strange and dangerous planet in the distant future that turns out to be…wait for it…Earth! Twist!

Breakdown and trailer after the jump...

Click to read more ...