Thursday, June 9, 2016

Movie Review: "Now You See Me" (2013)

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Movie: "Now You See Me"
Director: Louis Leterrier
Year: 2013
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

Four magicians named Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) are brought together by a mysterious benefactor who has created plans for some big heists. The magicians start to pull of these seemingly impossible robberies, giving the stolen money to the people much like Robin Hood. FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol agent Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent) look to catch these magicians with the help of magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman). However, they always seem to be one step behind the Four Horsemen.

Seeing is believing...or is it???

"Now You See Me" intrigued us upon viewing the trailer. A movie about magic in 2013? COOL! As a kid, BigJ and I wanted to learn how to do magic tricks. We grew up watching "Magic's Biggest Secrets Revealed" with host Mitch Pileggi (SWOON) just to watch how they pulled off their tricks. We realized from watching that show that magic is fake and brushed it aside as nothing important, becoming cynical hermits in the process.

A crime-thriller about magicians robbing banks sounds pretty interesting, right? Well, not so much in its execution. The beauty of magic is in the trickery, the achieving the seemingly impossible. However, when CGI is used to achieve the impossible, it hurts the believability of the movie as a whole. Too many flashing lights and ill attempts at illusions, combined with CGI? Come on, you have to do better than that! The scenarios become that much less plausible, even when Morgan Freeman does his "Magic Biggest Secrets Revealed" routine in the third act. We could get over this and suspend our disbelief, however, that's not the movie's only problem. Director Louis Leterrier really poorly paces the entire thing, too. There is also a lack of connection and depth into any of the characters other than the fact that they are or were magicians at one point or another. Furthermore, the camera never stops moving and moving and circling and circling in awful, vomitous ways. Spinning camera work and us = NO NO. It's also not a very well written story, either. It feels like the ending is a cop out that makes very little sense. It's not the fault of the actors, it's the fault of the writers and director. The story is what suffers the most.

We went into "Now You See Me" with expectations that just were not met. Movies about magic are few and far between, and unlike others like "The Prestige" and "The Illusionist," this one favors unimaginable tricks that use CGI to pull them off and a mediocre story to boot. We enjoy almost all of the actors involved in their other work, but when meshed together here, we just didn't really care for it, or them, or the situations they go must through. The most compelling character is played by Morgan Freeman, but then again, he could read the phone book and we'd still watch it in awe.

**NOTE: This review has been carried over from my other blog, Lolo Loves Scents, and edited to reflect our thoughts upon second viewing.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 49%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were watching: "Ida"

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