Friday, May 31, 2013

Stock sci-fi FX or or a little scripted Magic? It's a low key weekend for new releases.

Two wide screen releases. Two successful but spotty directors. Two casts that don't have the advantage of an embedded fan base. And two options for opening weekend movies that don't offer much more than their trailers to entice an audience.

Though they may be after decidedly different target demographics, After Earth and Now You See Me may benefit most from having very different appeal. Still, if you're simply a movie fan, is this a weekend of new releases that you can get excited about?

For me, though the effects appear to be competent yet too familiar, and the production values high, as they should be expected to be, After Earth feels derivative and stale before its even past its 2½ minutes of trailer time. Can the story sustain itself for a feature length presentation in the face of a "been there, done that" pall that most certainly will divert attention if the movie doesn't keep you riveted to the screen from start to finish?

In the least little lapse of story, will you keep thinking about the fact that that young man on the screen is Will Smith's son (a risky movie on his Dad's part that could break a young actor's career in either direction), or will the story keep you focused on a the battle of survival that challenges a young man's long held fears?

After Earth may have found its answer in its own tag line: "Danger is real, Fear is a choice." I noted that line when I saw After Earth's first trailer and it's gratifying that the producers put it in bold text over their last poster. Over director, stars and production values, it may well be the movie's greatest asset. So this is the weekend to decide - will you pay to see After Earth? (Check out Moviedozer's first take on After Earth here, along with it's most recent trailer here.)

If you're heading toward a cineplex, likely playing in the theater next door to After Earth is a film I picked as offering one of the more original story lines of this summer's blockbuster contenders, Now You See Me.

Though advance reviews aren't exactly magical, the promising premise is coupled with an appealing cast. That combination may be just enough to elevate it to the more successful of this weekend's wide releases.

Where After Earth's marketing has included two trailers and a few assorted clips, Now You See Me hasn't shied away from promotion, offering a slew of trailers, clips and promos, plus one this season's best poster designs. A sign, I think, that Summit Entertainment is a bit more sure than Sony (After Earth's distributer), that they have a product worth promoting.

Since you'll be clicking back into past articles to watch After Earth trailers, I thought I'd include a couple of TV Spots, followed by a clip of the film's first four minutes of Now You See Me below, while the most recent feature trailer can be seen hereNow You See Me is Moviedozer's pick for new weekend releases.

Have a great weekend at the movies.

Thanks to Sony/Columbia and Summit Entertainment.

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