Like the character he plays in Focus – the latest film from writer-director duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa , of Crazy, Stupid, Love fame – Will Smith is in need of a big score. Disappointing films such as After Earth and A New York Winter’s Tale failed to make the best use of his talents and yielded poor critical and box office results in the process. Thankfully, though it only half succeeds in the tricky balancing act between the con and the romance, Focus at least clears the low bar of being better than Smith’s recent fare.
Akiva Goldsman’s screenwriting résumé makes for curious reading. On the one hand, here we have someone who penned the Oscar-winning screenplay for A Beautiful Mind; on the flipside, he also helped write 1997’s Batman & Robin, widely regarded (with good reason) as one of the worst superhero films ever made. For his latest project – an adaptation of Mark Helprin’s beloved novel A New York Winter’s Tale – Goldsman takes on directorial duties for the first time in addition to writing and producing, and there’s little doubt as to which column this film resides.
After a string of underwhelming films, much-maligned American director M. Night Shyamalan – who was remarkably being touted as ‘the next Spielberg’ only a decade ago – is now associated with flops. For his latest endeavour, the auteur has called upon the talents of father-son duo Will and Jaden Smith for apocalyptic sci-fi After Earth (2013). Whilst it’s still not the return to form that avid Shyamalan fans were hoping for, it’s far from the disaster that some have been dreading. The narrative (which was conceived by Smith Sr) is set over a thousand years in the future, where cataclysmic events have forced humans to abandon Earth.
A full seven years after the release of the well-received family drama The Pursuit of Happiness (2006), Will and Jaden Smith have teamed up once again for next June’s apocalyptic sci-fi After Earth (2013). Director M. Night Shyalaman’s most recent efforts – which include the disastrous trio of Lady in the Water (2006), The Happening (2008) and The Last Airbender (2010) – have been disappointing blights on an otherwise solid resume, to say the very least. After Earth will mark the the Indian-American’s return to blockbuster filmmaking, and the inaugural teaser trailer which has crash landed online today is certainly cause for cautious optimism amongst the director’s more avid fans.
Watch the trailer for After Earth at CineVue here.
While Jaden and Willow Smith’s careers have prospered on our TV and Cinema screens respectively in the last couple of years, Will Smith has enjoyed a noticeable absence off it; indeed, the last time we saw him was in 2007’s Hancock. In 2013, he’s teaming up with M. Night Shyamalan and his son Jaden for the futuristic After Earth. Before that though, he’s back saving the world – for what seems like the umpteenth time – as he dons the shades, suit and tie for the third film in the Men in Black franchise. Check out the new trailer and synopsis after the jump.
Rewind 7 years (and 4 days): On February 11 2005, Hitch was released
‘Game’ is defined by the urban dictionary as ‘the art of using persuasive discourse, either with women or in any situation, to get what one wants’. It is something which all men need – at least to some extent – and must strive for. Because as Will Smith’s character says himself; ‘No guile, no game…No girl’. This blend of realistic notions with a Hollywood film’ obvious need for artificial events is one of the reasons why 2005’s Hitch is so alluring, and still makes for an enjoyable watch years later. You could do far worse for a Valentine ’s Day movie.
Read the rest of this article on Yin & Yang here.