Weekend Preview – May 31, 2013

After Earth Poster

The Summer movie season continues with a couple of potential blockbusters this weekend, along with a film that probably flew under your radar.

After Earth Poster

After Earth

Will Smith and real life son Jaden Smith are a futuristic father and son in this sci-fi epic.  When a mission into space leaves the two of them stranded on Earth – now an inhospitable planet left by humans many years ago, it’s up to the younger hero to save the day and his father’s life.

I did not get the chance to screen this film, but from what I’m hearing, I dodged a bullet.  Critics are tearing it apart and pretty much everyone I know who has seen it disliked it.  I can’t say that I was all that hopeful from the get-go.  Sure the concept sounds interesting, but I get the feeling that this was more of the elder Smith taking his kid to work.  I know they’re both capable of great acting, but it’s not evident in the trailer.  The plot looks predictable, the graphics look iffy, and director M. Night Shymalan has a spotty track record to put it mildly.  Not to mention Cypher and Kitai Raige sound like characters from a bad sci-fi paperback from the 70’s or 80’s.

You’ll be tempted to see this one, but all signs point to avoiding it unless you must see everything Will Smith ever does.

Trailer

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Now You See Me Poster

Now You See Me

Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco are four magicians with a bigger trick up their sleeves than anyone can imagine.  When their first performance in Vegas involves robbing a French bank and giving the very real money to the audience, the attentions of the FBI and Interpol are both immediately caught. Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Alma Vargas (Mélanie Laurent) are soon pursuing the magically mysterious team.

Now You See Me is a heist movie at the core, but with some fun twists that keep you guessing throughout.  In the end, this is an action packed, visually intense, mentally fun movie with a great cast and interesting plot.  It’s a winning combination any way you look at it, even if it’s not perfect.  If you liked either The Prestige or Oceans 11, check it out.

Read my full review here.

Trailer

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The Kings of Summer Poster

The Kings of Summer

Premiering to rave reviews at Sundance, The Kings of Summer is an indie coming of age dramedy with a unique flavor and memorable characters.

Frustrated with living with his dad (Nick Offerman), Joe Toy (Nick Robinson) corrals his best friend Patrick (Gabrel Basso) into running off to build a house for themselves in the middle of the woods.  Exceedingly strange kid, Biaggio (Moises Arias who you may have seen on The Middle), joins them, though they are not quite sure why.  They’re now free to live off the land, answering to no one but themselves.

This is a smart, well written movie with a clever sense of humor and sharp characters.  It’s a joy to watch and proves that being shiny is not a requisite for being a good film.  It is perhaps the best of the year I’ve seen so far.  It’s a shame it is coming to so few theaters – hopefully it generates good word of mouth and expands significantly as the summer goes on.  See it if you can.

Read my full review here.

Trailer