In theaters May 31

In theaters May 31, Will Smith explores ‘After Earth’ and Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson star as master illusionists turned criminals in ‘Now You See Me’.

‘After Earth’-M. Night Shyamalan, Director

‘After Earth’ stars the father and son team of Will and Jaden Smith as Cypher Raige and his son Kitai. When the spaceship they’re traveling aboard suddenly crashes, the young Kitai must find an emergency beacon to rescue himself and his wounded father. Cypher and Kitai have crash landed on Earth, after 1000 years have passed since a global catastrophe rendered the planet inhospitable to human life.

The coming-of-age and action adventure hybrid comes from director M. Night Shyamalan. ‘The Sixth Sense’ and ‘Signs’ were both very successful endeavors for Shyamalan, pleasing audiences and critics alike. Unfortunately, the director’s subsequent films ‘The Lady in the Water,’ ‘The Happening,’ and children’s film ‘The Last Airbender’ have made me skeptical about ‘After Earth’.

Some early screenings for critics have generated mixed reviews. Some of the more colorful quips came from critic Alonso Duralde of The Wrap and from The New York Post’s Lou Lumenick.

According to Duralde, ‘After Earth’ plays out “like one of the world’s most expensive bar mitzvahs” as the film is clearly a vehicle to turn young Jaden Smith into a movie star like his father Will.

NY Post critic  Lumenic was less kind. “Eleven years and several progressively more dreadful movies after ‘Signs,’ director M. Night Shyamalan would be lucky to get a gig directing traffic.” (NY Post, Movies-May 30 2013)

‘Now You See Me’-Louis Leterrier, Director

‘Now You See Me’ follows a team of illusionists pulling off bank heists during their performances and showering their audience with the loot, “Robin Hood” style.

An FBI agent partnered with a detective from Interpol attempt to bring the dream team of world class illusionists known as “The Four Horsemen” to justice.

The film stars include Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers), Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Common, and Woody Harrelson.

Director Louis Leterrier first made a name for himself with ‘The Transporter’ starring Jason Statham and had a global hit with ‘Clash of the Titans’ in 2010.

While ‘After Earth’ boasts the bigger budget and international marketing campaign, I would have to choose ‘Now You See Me’ as the new release to catch this weekend. With the poor early reviews for the Jaden Smith vehicle coupled with Shyamalan’s recent misfires as a director, I believe that audiences will be disappointed in ‘After Earth.’

For June 7, there are eighteen new films being released, including Joss Whedon’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ contemporary update on the William Shakespeare romantic comedy.

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