After Ali, Will Smith takes on the role of another iconic sports figure, but will it be a case of of aces all around - or an unforced error?
I thought this movie was gonna be a little bit corny, with dire attempts to induce tears, I also thought that the personality of Will Smith would be too strong and push through his depiction of Richard Williams, but I was wrong on all accounts. The story is told in a concise, matter-of-fact way and thankfully, there is no over-emphasis on concentrating on the barriers and 'isms' that the sisters and family faced. Yes it's part of the story but it's not the whole story and the filmmakers respect the audience enough to know that we understand the world in which they (we) live in.
The cast is totally on point and I mean everyone, but I have to give a special big-up to Aunjanue Ellis who knows how to dial a performance up or down to a T. Oh, and because their story is so vast, they film only focuses on the era where the kids are being introduced and trained by other coaches (with Richard still monitoring) and then entering their first competitions. This however still has the film clocking in at 2hrs 18mins, but you won't be bored.
In having to leave bigger gaps between each of his movies because of his family affair, The Fresh Prince is now set to bombard us with a smorgasbord of films for 2015 and beyond.
When most of your family is in showbiz, including your children, you can't just think about the forging of your own career path. And so we have largely seen an absence of Willard Carroll Smith Jr. over the last 4 years, as he has taken up the responsibility of managing (and protecting) his kids. But now is the time for Mr Smith's own sun to rise again, and with a number of interesting projects on the horizon, let's take a look at what is forthcoming.
First up is a heist movie called Focus. Here Will plays Nicky, a veteran grifter who takes a young woman, Jess under his wing and teaches her in the art of all things scam. But in getting romantically involved with her and consequently getting too close for comfort, Nicky breaks off the affair, sending each of them to go their own way. 3 years later Nicky and Jess meet by chance and we see that Jess is no longer a disciple in grifting, but a master...thing is she just so happens to have shown up during Nicky's riskiest scam - so have they really met by chance?
IMDB: "A look at how American football players suffer from major head injuries and life-long debilitating problems as a result of repeated concussions and efforts by the National Football League to deny it." Concussion stars Gugu-Mbatha-Raw (Belle, Dr Who) and Alec Baldwin (30 Rock, The Edge) Steven Moyer (True Blood), Luke Wilson (Idiocracy) and Adewele Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, Thor: The Dark World).
Selling Time (Pre-Production)
IMDB: "A man is given the unique opportunity to relive the worst day of his life, in exchange for seven years off his own life expectancy."
The American Can
Directed by Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai), The American Can (I hope this is a working title) is based on a true story, that details a marines effort to save the lives of 244 of his fellow New Orleans natives, who are trapped in a building during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
A film worth more than the sum of its parts - if you have the eyes to see.
Some might have rushed to the cinema to see After Earth, imagining it to be, a big sci-fi, actioner that would get the pulse racing and blow our minds. But AE is not that kinda film, nor did it try to be. Yes it contains action and is definitely sci-fi, but it is something much more refined - more Oblivion than Total Recall more Zen than Boom Bang! AE is also an environmental commentary without the annoyance of being preachy, you could call it, for the most part, Will Smith's ode to eastern philosophy and as I sat watching the film and in knowing Mister Smith is a big fan of Confucius and co, I remember thinking that he must have had a lot of input with the script and then came the credits, and it turns out that Will wrote the story.
Ultimately, AE is about addressing our fears and awakening our functionality within an environment hostile or 'alien' to us. It's about delving deep within ourselves to pull out all our training, intention and desire to fulfil a purpose - in this case to survive.
"Even before the film was released for the silver screen I guessed correctly that Will would be taking a back seat to Jaden, but the film still has him involved enough to feel his presence and I appreciated where he took his acting in this picture."
AE is also about a father's effort to teach and guide his son in how to do these things, frustratingly watching as Junior constantly crashes into his mistakes, due to his lack of experience or his all consuming fear and immaturity. I found myself slightly surprised, as some of the actions Jaden Smith is made to do, like 'take a knee' are things I've been doing for years, sometimes physically, but most of the time mentally. Then it occurred to me which audience would really understand the precepts behind this film; military personnel, martial artists, doormen, sportsman and people who use a certain type of physical/mental strategy as part of their everyday life.
Even before the film was released for the silver screen I guessed correctly that Will would be taking a back seat to Jaden, but the film still has him involved enough to feel his presence and I appreciated where he took his acting in this picture. Jaden gives a fine performance too, but the biggest accolade should go to director M. Night Shyamalan a.k.a Shamaloolooo :-) as it seems he has found his redemptive road.
After Earth is not a perfect film by any stretch, but here, we see why The Sixth Sense worked so well, as with AE , because its in the smaller, intricate, human stories, that we are delivered an idea that emotional binds, not bolts.
TDD, RC & IK talk: