After Earth isn’t great, but it’s not that bad, honestly.

The performances in M. Night Shyamalan’s films have often had a stilted, solemn quality, and Will Smith’s performance in After Earth is no exception. There are a couple reasons for the woodenness this time, though.

First, the story is set in the distant future, a thousand years after humanity has fled the Earth — more on that in a moment — and it stands to reason that speech patterns might have changed in the interim. Indeed, according to co-writer Gary Whitta, the filmmakers “worked with a dialect coach to come up with an original accent, because the idea of the characters speaking with an American accent or a British accent one thousand years in the future, after you’ve left Earth, would seem kind of preposterous.”

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Flashback: A look at a few of Tarantino’s older films.

Less than two weeks into its theatrical run, Django Unchained is already well on its way to becoming Quentin Tarantino’s biggest hit ever, at least in North America; it has already outgrossed all but two of his films, and could very well pass Inglourious Basterds, the current champ, by next weekend — especially if it gets a box-office boost when the Oscar nominations are announced this Thursday.

I have not had a chance to review the film myself yet, but I figured this was as good a time as any to re-post the few articles on Tarantino films that I have written over the years. Two — the reviews of Four Rooms (1995) and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), the latter of which was not directed by Tarantino but was written by him and co-starred him — date back to my student-newspaper days. I also devoted a few paragraphs to Kill Bill (2003-2004) in a Books & Culture article on revenge movies, plus I reviewed Inglourious Basterds (2009) for the now-defunct BC Christian News.


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