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Last updated: October 10. 2013 6:28PM - 602 Views
RICK BENTLEY The Fresno Bee



Will and Jaden Smith star in M. Night Shyamalan's sci-fi tale 'After Earth.'
Will and Jaden Smith star in M. Night Shyamalan's sci-fi tale 'After Earth.'
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A modern take on a William Shakespeare tale tops this week’s new DVD releases.


“MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING,” GRADE B: William Shakespeare. The mere mention of the Bard’s name has been known to send shivers up some spines. It conjures up images of exotic landscapes, outlandish costuming and dialogue that bounces off our ears like a drop of morning dew doth slip from a fading leaf.


That’s why you need to brace yourself. Joss Whedon, the man who made blond high school girls cool as vampire slayers and gave “The Avengers” its might, has opted to adapt Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” to the big screen. Whedon dids not chang the dialogue, something you just don’t do when dealing with Shakespeare. The downside is that the devotion to the original text doesn’t allow Whedon to show any of his own word skills.


“AFTER EARTH,” GRADE D-PLUS: Will Smith stars. M. Night Shyamalan’s sci-fi tale of a teen, Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith), and his military-minded father, Cypher (Will Smith), who get stranded on Earth 1,000 years after all humans have left for higher intergalactic ground.


Looks spectacular, but the direction feels like another Ice Age has arrived. And Shyamalan, who wrote the screenplay, has created a story that’s rife with cliches, full of contradictions in its literary allusions and loaded with performances that are a half heartbeat stronger than a coma.


“THE HANGOVER PART III,” GRADE F: There is a certain amount of raunchiness, absurdity and juvenile humor expected from the “Hangover” films. The name itself makes it clear this isn’t a Mensa tea party. The name might suggest low-level hijinks, but “The Hangover Part III” never delivers.


If there was ever a movie made just to bleed a few dollars more out of loyal fans of the series, it’s this badly written, painfully paced flotsam and jetsam of the film world.


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