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Tag: Will Smith (1-10 of 38)

PopWatch Confessional: 'Summertime' is still my summertime jam

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DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s “Summertime” is a ridiculously obvious choice for a summertime jam, but that’s not really an issue as far as I’m concerned. Summer jams are about sharing moments with the people around you and basking in pure, unexamined pop pleasure. Overthinking things runs counter to the whole concept, as do the kind of status anxieties that often lie behind the desire to show off one’s knowledge of obscure music or ability to think outside the box.

“Summertime” is an obvious choice in the same way that margaritas are an obvious choice for a summertime beverage: because they’re so perfectly designed for it that arguing about it is pointless. You could strip “Summertime” of its title and “summer-summer-summertime” hook and it would still be incredibly well-suited to playing at a backyard barbecue, or poolside, or in a borrowed convertible. The song’s tempo (just a couple BPM slower than it seems like it should be), the lackadaisically ascending synth line lifted from Kool & the Gang’s “Summer Madness,” and Will Smith’s low-key flow all suggest warm weather that’s just too nice for you to want to waste it on trivial matters like staying on top of the beat. He could have been rapping about the economy or the situation in the Middle East and the song would still read as intensely summery. READ FULL STORY

We love you, now change: What other actors are due for a McConaissance?

Matthew McConaughey’s journey from rom-com stud muffin to Oscar-winning actor is officially complete. Six years ago, he starred in Fool’s Gold and Surfer, Dude. At Sunday night’s Oscars, he took home the Best Actor prize for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club, the culmination of a string of career-rehabilitating roles that included Magic Mike and Mud. McConaughey was always a popular star, and his frivolous, formulaic romantic comedies likely served as golden handcuffs for several years of his career that left him in a creative rut. Give him credit for recognizing that and then actually doing something about it. “I did consciously say, ‘You know what, I’m going to not work here for awhile and think about what I want to do,'” McConaughey said at Sundance in 2013. “I just said I feel like I’ve done a version of [rom-com and action roles] before. Or I feel like I can do that tomorrow morning. And I think I’ve done enough of that for now, and I want something that I don’t think I can do tomorrow morning. I want something that scares me.”

For almost two years, just as he and his wife were starting their family, McConaughey let the phone keep ringing, and when he’d finally figured things out, he answered it to find an eclectic collection of filmmakers — William Friedkin, Richard Linklater, Lee Daniels, Jeff Nichols — at the other end of the line. “Isn’t that wonderful the way the world works!” McConaughey said. “This is what I’m talking about. [These roles] scare me! Oooo!”

With McConaughey’s transformation as the template, what other Hollywood stars need to step out of their comfort zone? Who needs to take a step back, let the phone ring, and re-energize their creative juices? Click below to see our choices for their own personal McConaissance: READ FULL STORY

Late night highlight: Jimmy Fallon twerks with Will Smith -- VIDEO

This isn’t your parents’ Tonight Show.

Jimmy Fallon’s first night on the Tonight Show was sure to be memorable, but twerking by Will Smith while the duo went through the “Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing”? Jay Leno would never.

Fallon is no stranger to “Evolution of  [Blank] Dancing” vids, with both Justin Timberlake and First Lady Michelle Obama previously dropping by on Late Night to help him teach American how to move; apparently the tradition will continue on The Tonight Show.

Did Will Smith twerk with Fallon, or did the superstar just stick to “The Carlton”? Watch below. READ FULL STORY

Will Smith remembers 'Fresh Prince' co-star James Avery: 'Every young man needs an Uncle Phil'

Sniff.

About a week after James Avery’s untimely passing, Will Smith — who first achieved onscreen stardom opposite Avery on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – has posted a brief, touching tribute to his fallen friend on Facebook.

“Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery,” Smith wrote in a post late Sunday night. “Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace.”

He accompanied his words with a recent photo picturing a reunited Banks family, including Smith, Avery, Tatyana Ali (who played Uncle Phil’s youngest daughter Ashley), Karyn Parsons (who played spoiled oldest daughter Hilary), and Alfonso Ribeiro (who played dorky middle son Carlton). Missing from the picture are Janet Hubert-Whitten and/or Daphne Maxwell Reid, who each played Phil’s wife Vivian for three seasons, respectively.
READ FULL STORY

James Avery: Best of Uncle Phil on 'Fresh Prince' -- VIDEO

With the passing of veteran actor James Avery, we are taking a look back at his place in TV sitcom history. We’ll fondly remember Avery’s portrayal of Phillip Banks a.k.a. Uncle Phil on the ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Here are some of his best moments as the lovable yet tough-as-nails father figure to Will Smith on the show:
READ FULL STORY

Is Brad Pitt taking promotional lessons from Justin Timberlake?

Make a note: Summer 2013 was the time the biggest actors of the ’90s took a cue from the younger kiddos and started really promoting their summer films in a new way.

Call it part of the Timberlake effect. Justin Timberlake pulled out all the stops promoting his album The 20/20 Experience in March, memorably hosting Saturday Night Live, co-hosting a week of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, heck, he even had a Target-sponsored release party that aired on The CW. Some people rolled their eyes, but the 24/7 attack paid off: The album opened at No. 1, moving 968,000 copies its first week.

Will Smith certainly seemed to be following Timberlake’s lead with his 100 percent all-in approach to getting people into theaters to see After Earth. This alone isn’t new: Smith has always been a good sport about promoting his movies, but this time around, he seemed to be really trying: He hit the talk show circuit hard by reuniting and performing the iconic Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song (with Alfonso Ribeiro!) and kissing his son during a televised chat that seemed designed as viral Internet bait. He might as well have gotten in the ring and shouted, “Are you not entertained?”
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Will Smith talks 'After Earth' disappointment on 'Jimmy Kimmel'

Will Smith obviously wasn’t thrilled with After Earth‘s box office take last weekend (it opened in third place with $27.5 million). But you don’t become one of the most charismatic actors of your generation by not knowing how to get an audience on your side — which is exactly what Smith did when he swung by Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night last night. After some pleasant chat about basketball (Smith is a partial owner of the Philadelphia 76ers), talk naturally turned to After Earth‘s disappointing weekend.

“Here’s how I think of it, Jimmy,” Smith said with a laugh. “Three is the new one.You know how many ones it takes to make a three?”

Smith went on to explain that obviously the news he was getting from his people on Sunday weren’t his favorite phone calls. “You get the [box office] information moment by moment,” he explained. “Someone is calling you every hour and I was like, ‘Uh oh.’ I felt like a fighter. It’s been over two decades since I’ve had a movie that wasn’t at number one. …That’s over now, buddy! Thanks!”

Watch Smith’s charm defensive below: READ FULL STORY

Will Smith and 'After Earth': Minor speedbump or major misstep?

You recognize the warning from the fine-print at the bottom of every financial investment mailing you’ve ever received: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

It applies to Hollywood, too. Tom Hanks made The Terminal, Harrison Ford did K-19: The Widowmaker, and Julia Roberts starred in The Mexican (a romantic comedy with Brad Pitt!) — three disappointments that featured huge stars in vehicles tailor-made for their proven brand of character. No one is immune to an inevitable hiccup, and last weekend, it was Will Smith’s turn.

After Earth, Smith’s futuristic science-fiction adventure, was pronounced a flop after earning $27.5 million in its opening weekend, trailing Fast & Furious 6 and movie about magic starring Jesse Eisenberg. What must cause consternation for Smith is that After Earth was designed as the precise type of entertainment that had made him the undisputed king of summer blockbusters, beginning with Independence Day in 1996 and built upon the successes of Men in Black, I, Robot, and Hancock. Smith himself is an obsessive student of industry “patterns” and figuring out what succeeds and what doesn’t in Hollywood. After Earth wasn’t some high-minded departure (like his 2008 wannabe Oscar-bait, Seven Pounds). This was sold as Will “I Make This Look Good” Smith battling special-effects aliens. Yet the critics were merciless and, of greater concern, audiences yawned. READ FULL STORY

Critics have a field day with 'After Earth'

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The day a new M. Night Shyamalan movie hits theaters might as well be labeled Critics’ Christmas. Ever since 2004’s The Village — and, even worse, 2006’s Lady in the Water — each successive film from the Academy Award-nominated writer/director has given writers a golden opportunity to one-up each other with jabs at Shyamalan’s oeuvre.

And even though it’s more of a Smith-Smith joint than a Shyamalan picture — notice the absence of the director’s name from all of the movie’s promotional material – After Earth has been no exception. So far, the film has earned a paltry score of 32 on Metacritic and a horrendous 12 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes (EW’s Owen Gleiberman gave it a C+), which makes it just slightly more popular than recent misfires like The Host and The Big Wedding. Below, we’ve compiled the 10 best insults critics have lobbed at After Earth since its release:

10. “Summer 2013 has its first bomb, and sadly, it’s landed right on Will Smith.” — Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

9. “It’s impossible to take this movie seriously, certainly not as seriously as it takes itself.” — Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

8. “Even with his charismatic dad in his earpiece calling the shots, Jaden can’t turn himself into a movie star by sheer force of Will.” — Dana Stevens, Slate

7.  “As for the plot, I guess recycling remains in vogue centuries from now.” — Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

6. “Not since John Travolta kicked the tires on Battlefield Earth and pronounced it good to go has there been a big-name sci-fi flameout quite as disastrous as Will Smith’s After Earth.” — Kurt Loder, Reason.com

5. “The director of The Sixth Sense used to be known for his surprise endings, but the only twist that could explain this mind-numbing nonsense is if we awakened to discover we’d been imprisoned in pods and subjected to a sequel called After Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Shyamalan.” — Joe Williams, St. Louis Post Dispatch

4. “Actually, in Critics Academy we are taught never to end a review with a sarcastic quote from the film under consideration; the tactic is just too easy and cheesy. Yet here the temptation proves irresistible. So here’s one more. After some mini-castastrophe, Kitai mutters, ‘That sucked.’ Radios his dad: ‘Correct, Cadet.'” — Richard Corliss, Time

3. “After Earth has a hint of the skin-crawling fright of Shyamalan films past [... but] not enough to explain why the director’s films keep getting worse. It must be body snatchers, ones from a planet that has no clue how to make a movie.” — Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

2. “Eleven years and several progressively more dreadful movies after Signs, director M. Night Shyamalan would be lucky to get a gig directing traffic.” Lou Lumenick, New York Post

1. “I fear Jaden might face online wrath for his performance here, especially thanks to the numb-tongued Kiwi accent he’s forced to adopt. He’s not bad, especially, but he is a kid asked to do the extraordinary: compel us as he pretends to do ridiculous bullsh–. As Will Smith coldly instructs him to feel, to root in this moment now, to master his own creation, I felt the purest horror I ever have at a Shyamalan film: What if this is what Jaden Smith’s life is actually like?” — Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice

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Read more:
18 Stylish Movie Spacesuits
Box office preview: ‘After Earth’ ready to race ‘Fast & Furious 6′ for the top spot
Movie review: ‘After Earth’

Will and Jaden Smith step into Sirius XM for a Town Hall with EW -- EXCLUSIVE

Filming his new post-apocalyptic film After Earth in Costa Rica last year found Jaden Smith battling both CGI beasties and scaly creatures that were all too real, including crocodiles, snakes, and piranhas. “There were a few moments where questionable parenting tactics were used [during filming],” Jaden’s father (and costar) Will jokingly told EW’s Jess Cagle during a SiriusXM Town Hall filmed in New York City yesterday. “The crocodile — that was the day I was glad your mom wasn’t there.”

Check out a clip from the interview below — and catch the whole thing on EW’s brand-new SiriusXM station, channel 105, today at 3 and 7 p.m. ET.

READ FULL STORY

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