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New in Theaters May 31: After Earth, Now You See Me

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By Chris Kavan - 05/30/13 at 03:58 PM CT

Memorial weekend was a big win for Hollywood with Fast Six, Epic and even the disappointing Hangover III opening to big numbers. The momentum is there and this week two films will try to make their mark at the box office: a sci-fi actioner and crime thriller with a magic angle. The only issue is the box office is getting quite crowded - so with so many different choices, it's going to be tougher for middle-of-the-road films to make an impact. What chances do the two films have this week?

AFTER EARTH When I saw the director of this film, I admit I took a double-take. The last three films from M. Night Shyamalan have been a disastrous adaptation (The Last Airbender), a horrendously scripted and acted nature "horror" story (The Happening) and a pretentious mess (The Lady in the Water). While I still have misgivings about After Earth, this could be the one that brings the director back into my good graces. He has not just Will Smith, but his son Jaden as a father returning to his family after an extended military tour and a son who just wants to be a hero like his father. Guess what? He gets that chance when their ship crash lands on Earth - an Earth that has been abandoned by man for 1000 years and is quite changed as a result. I like the visuals I have seen from previews - good creatures design, plenty of lush scenery (CGI and otherwise) and a compelling relationship between father and son. While Smith often chooses "safe" projects, he rarely disappoints. While I doubt this is going to have the impact of Iron Man 3 or even Star Trek Into Darkness - it still looks worth checking out.


NOW YOU SEE ME This is the kind of smart crime thriller that won't probably do extremely well at the box office but should still come out on top with foreign grosses and home video thrown in. Don't get me wrong, I think this movie should succeed. If nothing else, it has a killer cast: Morgan Freeman, Isla Fisher, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Mélanie Laurent and Michale Caine - young and old unite. The teasers have me intrigued as a group of magicians pull off a seemingly impossible bank robbery half a world away from their venue. I'm thinking a mix of incredible technology and the real trick (or should I say.... ILLUSION) of every magician - misdirection. I don't know if the film is going to be half as smart as the trailers let on, but even if things get muddled, I can't imagine you'll be bored with the caliber of actors involved. I might not get to see it in theaters, but it's one I am keen to watch.


With a few weeks already in the bank, summer really is going into full swing. Blockbusters come and go, but it's the movies with staying power that truly make their mark. We'll see what films are still on top this Sunday and how these new entries compete.

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