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Wednesday 7.02 

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A multiplex near you—Back in my teenage years, the first concert I ever attended without my parents (because, take it from me, parents just don't understand) was when DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince came to the Camp Lejeune Field House in Jacksonville, N.C. After nearly going bankrupt in the early 1990s, Will Smith was rescued from the obscurity that besets many rap stars—the opening act at the concert I attended was MC Rob Base—by a starring role in the TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Today, Smith is a world-famous, Oscar-nominated, Scientology-spouting, box-office behemoth, and the Fourth of July holiday has morphed into "Big Willie Weekend."

In Smith's summer movie tentpole this year, he plays a boozy, reluctant super-anti-hero named Hancock. (The film represents a revival of a project that had languished in Hollywood development hell for more than a decade.) Although co-starring Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman, perhaps the most intriguing aspect about Hancock is director Peter Berg. With his last two films, The Kingdom and the stupendous Friday Night Lights, Berg has carved out a distinctive directorial style. Berg recently signed to direct a new version of Dune, but in the meantime, it will be interesting to see how audiences respond to his nifty, surprising, character-driven F/X spectacle. See Godfrey Cheshire's review on page 55. —Neil Morris

click to enlarge Polynya
  • Polynya

Chapel Hill
Polynya; Balthrop, Alabama; Kapow! Music
Nightlight—As solitary as Kapow! Music's John Ribó can sound on record, his songs and his warm, velvety croon call for response. And so his live shows move from subdued, solo affairs to vibrant, participatory ones, making him a good match for Brooklyn's Balthrop, Alabama. The folk-pop ensemble deals in musical largesse, arriving in vaudevillian legion as it plays the parts of residents in its imaginary namesake town. The oddball here comes in the form of local headliner Polynya, whose coy vocal harmonies turn a dramatic musical backing into resplendent pop. Pay $5 at 9:30 p.m. —Bryan Reed

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