Now You See Me (2013)
Now You See Me is a film about a group of 4 magicians brought together by an unknown person. They are convinced to become a team and eventually they land their own show in Las Vegas. When one of their tricks involves stealing a large amount of money, they become part of a cat and mouse chase with the FBI.
The film was directed by Louis Leterrier. The cast includes Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Franco, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Michael Kelly, Common, and David Warshofsky.
Now You See Me hypnotized me with its excitement. It was certain to amaze. The cast of characters were all clever and quite entertaining. For a while I was caught up in the illusion of the promise of something great. Eventually I was let down. The ride was a thrill. The destination however, was a disappointment.
I enjoyed seeing Eisenberg and Harrelson teamed up together again for the first time since Zombieland (2009).
This is the 4th time that Freeman and Caine have been in the same film. The previous 3 films were The Dark Knight Trilogy.
Now You See Me could be Dave Franco’s best performance to date.
It was nice to see Laurent in another American made movie. This is the first film that I have seen her in anything since Inglourious Basterds (2009).
The story was unfinished and sort of lacked a point. The movie became dependent on sleight of hand in order to entertain. You can only one-up a magic trick so many times before it starts to get a little worn out.
The ending of the film acted like it was a big grand conclusion when in reality it just fizzled. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was fun and amusing. It was worth seeing, just not in the theatre. The film is like any magic trick, once you know the secret behind it, it is no longer exciting.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
Man of Steel (2013)
With the countless number of sequels, remakes, and superhero movies that are being spewed out these days, I have become very skeptical and picky when it comes to deciding which of these movies I will see and which I will avoid like the plague.
Honestly, Man of Steel was a difficult choice at first. My initial reaction was derision. I rolled my eyes and scoffed. How many Superman movies does this world really need?
Superman and Batman are probably my favorite superheroes. What I always enjoyed about those characters was the fact that they both had alter egos and they both were always trying to do good by helping people.
The thing is I like Batman better than Superman. Batman is more real. He puts on a costume and goes out, mostly at night, to right wrongs in his city. Batman is fed up with the scum in his city and he tries to clean up the streets. Superman on the other hand, is an alien from another planet who ends up on earth. Superman looks human, but has a number of superpowers that make him almost godlike. He disguises himself as a human, but puts on a costume when its time to fight the bad guys. He is faster than a speeding bullet, can fly, has x-ray vision, and is virtually invincible except around kryptonite, etc. etc. Superman is a godlike alien from another planet. Batman is a human vigilante. Which is more believable to you?
Following my initial reaction about the new Superman, I learned who all was cast in the movie. I raised one eyebrow as I contemplated the film’s potential. The cast includes Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon, Laurence Fishburne, Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff, Christopher Meloni, Antje Traue, and Ayelet Zurer. Great cast right? Except Henry Cavill is a dud and he was cast as Superman.
In my opinion, they needed a far superior actor to play the lead role. Sort of like Christian Bale played Batman. Instead they surrounded an almost nobody with an awesome cast. The part will boost Henry Cavill’s career, but that doesn’t make him a better actor. They needed someone like Mark Wahlberg, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jake Gyllenhaal, or even Matt Damon.
Still, the strong cast was enough to make me want to see Man of Steel. It also helped that Christopher Nolan produced the film and both he and David S. Goyer wrote the screenplay and story. Of course, Nolan and Goyer also both wrote The Dark Knight Trilogy, which Nolan also directed. However, Nolan did not direct Man of Steel, Zach Snyder did instead. Snyder is a capable director, but Nolan is far superior.
Man of Steel is about a boy who finds out that his parents on earth are not his real parents. It is believed that he was sent to earth from a different planet. These details are revealed to him by his earth parents after he figures out that he has super powers. Now he must learn what he was sent to earth to do and what type of man he will become.
The film was bursting at the seams with special effects. The aspects of Superman that I do not enjoy were highly prevalent in the movie. I don’t like the overuse of super powers and Michael Bay-esque explosions, along with multiple superhuman aliens in an endless battle of invulnerability. Everything in their path becomes obliterated and it all seems so unrealistic. With that being said, I expected the film to be that way. But, I also hoped that the film would concentrate more on the humans on earth than the aliens on Superman’s home planet. That hope was shattered. It became more about Superman stopping an alien invasion on earth than Superman just stopping bad guys on earth.
Although there were a few things about the movie that I did not like, I will admit that those things were done tastefully. The special effects were amazing. They were too much at times, but they were also insanely awesome at times. The cast was great, but Henry Cavill could have been replaced with someone better. Everybody else’s performance made up for his. It’s not that he was bad, but he just could have been much better. The supporting cast should not be better than the main character. That is not a solid foundation for a film.
Crowe, Costner, Shannon, Adams, and Lane all made the movie worth watching. They used their acting super powers to totally make the film.
Man of Steel is a worthy update to previous Superman movies. Even a superhero skeptic like myself, enjoyed the movie. With the obscene amount of action in the film, it will certainly be better on the big screen.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Now You See Me (2013) (click on the title for my full review)
The movie is about a group of famous magicians turned bank robbers. It appears that the sleight of hand in the film will mess with your mind and keep you entertained just like real magicians are supposed to do.
The casting is a reunion of sorts. Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson are together again for the first time since they were teamed up in Zombieland (2009). Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are reunited for the first times since the Dark Knight Trilogy. The film also has Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Michael Kelly, Elias Koteas, rapper/actor: Common, and James Franco’s little brother Dave Franco (proved himself in 21 Jump Street (2012).
It looks like a cross between Ocean’s Eleven (2001) and The Prestige (2006). Looks like it could be missing something, but maybe we will be pleasantly surprised.