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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More people getting sucked out of holes in airplanes etc.!

Three weeks ago, I noted that the trailers for at least three of this summer’s would-be blockbusters happen to include images of people being blown out of holes in airplanes or starships. But it wasn’t until today that I was reminded of a fourth such movie — namely After Earth, the post-apocalyptic M. Night Shyamalan flick starring Will Smith and his son Jaden. There were very brief images to this effect in the first trailer released in December, and then again in the second trailer released in March, but I somehow didn’t pick up on this until I saw the new TV spot released a few days ago. So here it is!

Is Will Smith’s vampire-themed Cain and Abel movie a go?

Last month, it was reported that Will Smith was thinking of directing The Redemption of Cain, a vampire-themed version of the story of Cain and Abel that Smith had been developing for a couple years as a starring vehicle for himself. Now, The Wrap reports that Sony Pictures is “moving forward” with the project and hopes to start filming it in July of next year, in places like London, Jordan and Morocco. If the film were finished by, say, 2014, it would mark at least the second time that year that Cain and Abel had appeared on the big screen; the biblical siblings are also set to appear in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, which recently finished location shooting in Iceland.

Will Smith getting biblical with it… maybe.

There has been so much buzz lately about Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and various other biblical projects in the works, that I almost forgot that Will Smith was attached to star in a movie about Cain a couple years ago. Yesterday, however, Deadline Hollywood brought it back to mind by reporting that Smith might not only star in the film, but direct it as well. (If he does, it would mark his feature directorial debut; his only previous turn in the director’s chair, as far as the IMDb is concerned, was for a 2006 episode of All of Us.)

There’s a twist, though. Two years ago, the movie was called The Legend of Cain and it was said that the film would be an “epic re-telling of the Biblical sibling tale, this time with a vampiric twist.” Whether that meant Cain himself was going to be the vampire, or simply someone who battles a lot of vampires (a la Smith’s similarly-named film I Am Legend), was never clarified, as far as I can tell.

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Review: I, Robot (dir. Alex Proyas, 2004)

The movies have not been kind to Isaac Asimov. He may have been one of the most celebrated science fiction writers of the past half-century, but very few of his stories have attained that particular form of popular validation that comes from being adapted for the big screen — and this despite the fact that movie after movie has been based on the works of his contemporaries, including Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke and especially Philip K. Dick. On the rare occasion that a major studio has given one of Asimov’s stories the green light, the story in question has usually been massaged into something rather formulaic and at odds with his sensibilities. Five years ago, Bicentennial Man was turned into a regular Robin Williams schmaltzfest, albeit one with loads of visual effects. And now, I, Robot has been turned into a regular Will Smith action movie, also loaded with effects.

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