Neither Will Nor Jaden Smith Can Save M. Night Shyalaman From His Latest Pile of Crap.

After Earth.
Director:
M. Night Shyamalan.
Writers: Gary Whitta, M. Night Shyamalan.
Cast: Jaden Smith, Will Smith.
Where's it playing? Various Metroplex megaplexes.

Rewind the clocks even just five years, and a new M. Night Shyamalan film would have been marketed as just that.

Ads for the film would include a bit something along the lines of “the latest from the visionary director of The Sixth Sense” or “the new film from that guy whose name you can't pronounce, and with an ending you can never see coming.”

Now, here we are in 2013, and many movie goers will likely be surprised to find out that the big sci-fi flick starring Will and Jaden Smith and crash landing into theaters this weekend is, in fact, co-written and directed by Shyamalan.

You can credit to Columbia Pictures for burying that fact. And it is, of course, by design: The director has faced a mind-boggling fall from grace since his 1999 Oscar-nominated thriller had us all seeing dead people.

Perhaps all the Shyamalan hate is unfair. Truth is, most directors face ebbs and flows as their careers go on.

But, then again, most directors don't have such pop culture-impacting success right out of the gate. And most directors don't so consistently fall backwards and devolve as Shyamalan has, with seemingly every film attached to his name somehow being worse than the last.

In Shyamalan's defense, After Earth is no The Happening. But considering that there's not much that actually happens at all in After Earth it's not necessarily an improvement from watching Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel run from wind for 91 minutes, either.

Instead, it's watching Jaden Smith run from point A to point B for 100 minutes, all while Big Willie Style essentially sits in a chair, moaning and groaning. To be fair, the Smith boys do their best to carry the film, and if anyone can carry a film on his shoulders, most of us know by now that the elder Smith is that man.

And yet even despite his best efforts, his director once again proves that great actors become bad under his watch, and that bad scripts only become worse.

There are so many things wrong here. For starters, spaceships are apparently made of paper and wood in this future. Also, people have weird accents, apparently because of some empirical future that doesn't make much sense. Also, for whatever reason, Shyamalan loves to place the camera ridiculously uncomfortably close to his actors, resulting in them staring down the audience, right in the face, for the majority of the film. The list goes on, really.

This, however, is all you need to know about this film: Within the story, there's a repeated scene in which the film's “creature” impales someone and chucks them against the wall.

It's a brutal action — but one akin to the experience of having to sit through After Earth.

Score: 1 out of 10 Fresh Princes.

Also in theaters this week…

Now You See Me.
Director:
Louis Leterrier.
Writers: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin.
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson.
Where's it playing? Various Metroplex megaplexes.

Ocean's Eleven meets magic in this heist flick about a group of ragtag magicians, illusionists and mentalists, who band together and use their powers of the mind to rob from the rich and give to the poor. Having seen the film, I can say this: It's fun at times, but don't be surprised if, for its grand finale, it disappears from the theater in just a few weekends.

Jaws.
Director: Steven Spielberg.
Writers: Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb.
Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss.
Where's it playing? Friday and Saturday at midnight at the Inwood Theatre.

You won't need a bigger boat for this one; you can just enjoy Steven Spielberg's 1975 classic — the one that made people afraid to go in the water, as you've no doubt heard countless times before — from the comfort of a large and comfy beanbag at the Inwood during these midnight showings.

Animal House in 35MM.
Director:
John Landis.
Writers: Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney, Chris Miller.
Cast: Tom Hulce, Stephen Furst, John Belushi.
Where's it playing? Friday and Saturday at The Texas Theatre.

Toga! Toga! Toga! The Texas Theatre is showing John Landis' 1978 classic that forever changed both college comedies and college dorm room wall posters alike. And, to really take you back to your college days, the theater's throwing a toga party on Friday night after the film's done showing. If you find yourself waking up in the toilet of the Texas Theatre, you'llknow you had a good time.

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