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Entries in Jaden Smith (3)

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?

Saturday
Jun012013

Will Smith Doesn't Know His Oscar History

Have you read this incredibly obnoxious interview with Big Willie & Son on working together and the family business "patterns, boom!" There are a lot of ridiculous pull quotes but this one, on the Oscars is naturally my favorite. To mock.

Do you think there is a single theory to everything?
Jaden:
 There’s definitely a theory to everything.
Will:
 When you find things that are tried and true for millennia, you can bet that it’s going to happen tomorrow.
Jaden:
 The sun coming up?
Will:
 The sun coming up, but even a little more. Like for Best Actor Oscars. Almost 90 percent of the time, it’s mental illness and historical figures, right? So, you can be pretty certain of that if you want to win—as a man; it’s very different for women. The patterns are all over the place, but for whatever reason, it’s really difficult to find the patterns in Best Actress.

It's not 90 percent unless you include physical disabilities in there!!! Will Smith is neither Oscar buff nor actressexual apparently, since he's obviously dreamt of winning Best Actor (but not hard enough to push himself out of his comfort zone - turning down Quentin Tarantino is a sign that you're getting in your own way in this regard) and never given much thought to its distaff counterpart. Which is, if you think of it, totally a no brainer given his filmography. Women in his movies are merely decorative and usually extraneous and apparently, from what I've heard of After Earth, that isn't changing any time soon.

So we should help him with the Best Actress patterns in the comments. I'll start...

• Haven't you ever heard of "de-glamming", Will? That's been a popular winning strategy since Grace Kelly beat Judy Garland in 1954.

• And speaking of...
Doesn't the Fresh Prince know anything about The Princess Factor? Hepburn over Kerr, Kelly over Garland, Matlin over Turner, Foster over Close, Paltrow over Everyone, Roberts over Burstyn, Cotillard over Christie, Portman over Bening, Lawrence over Riva -- the popular 20something to early30s fresh star beauties are always beating their legendary older rivals.

• Historical figures (nowadays this has morphed into "biopic mimicry") aren't just a winning strategy in Best Actor! 

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 ...