Skip to main content

Movie Review: Tully

Now You See Me Review. It's Magic That's Full Of Holes

Now You See Me Review
By: MattInRC

Now You See Me is big on showmanship but its tricks are too easy to spot.


Is there a modern film one can think of that doesn't use some sort of CGI? It's almost become as necessary as light tents and a camera to make your film. Gone seem to be the days of Cecil B. DeMille's gargantuan sets, where actors stood in front of thousands giving these scenes a life of their own. CGI was supposed to be the cheaper fix, magically transporting audiences to ancient planets, alien invasions, and enchanted forests, and limited only by the imagination (and budget) of the director and their creative team. But CGI's impenetrable armor has always been filled with cracks, with audiences beleaguered as far back as The Phantom Menace - since then, stiff performances by actors pretending to be frightened or battling a digitized enemy have become more common than it should. For every visual eye feast like Lord of the Rings and Prometheus, there's Jack the Giant Slayer. Unfortunately, the magic-heist film Now You See Me wants CGI to also tell its tale, but the result doesn't match the expectation.


Four small-time magicians - Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher, Wedding Crashers), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco, Warm Bodies), Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network), and Merritt Osbourne (Woody Harrelson, Seven Psychopaths) - are brought together by a mysterious organization known as The Eye to pull off a series of bank heists under the name "The Four Horsemen." Within one year, they are selling out shows in Las Vegas, and their popularity has inspired the generous support of insurance magnate Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine, Dark Knight series). When their first heist leads to the disappearance of millions of French Euros thousands of miles away, the FBI gets involved. Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo, The Avengers) is summoned to conduct the investigation, but his team is merely a pawn in The Horsemen's big game. The French bank sends Interpol Agent Alma Vargas (Mélanie Laurent, Inglorious Bastards) to assist Rhodes, who thinks this upstart has no place being at his side. Meanwhile, the television magician-debunker personality Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman, Oblivion) appears, hoping to expose The Four Horsemen for ratings sake. As the team of magicians steal from Tressler himself, Vargas and Rhodes learn that The Eye is really a secret society of magicians who are looking to grant the powers of true magic to The Horsemen. As the film leads to the final magic act, the FBI frantically pursue The Four Horsemen, even though they know any chance of catching the renegades is slim.


Director Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk) has a balancing act of his own to pull off, and for the most part he fails, barely giving his actors time to recite the cheesy dialogue from Writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek: Into Darkness). As you may know, the team responsible for bringing Transformers to the big screen has a penchant for the story twist. In this case, it's a fifth member of The Eye who's working behind the scenes to disrupt the FBI. When that person is finally revealed, the effect is a dud; rather than showing how that person evaded authorities, Leterrier and team present a few cut scenes of that person trailing the Four Horsemen before officially recruiting them. That's not enough, especially when the pursuit begins and the situation can become more fluid. Whether Orci and Kurtzman realize it or not, such cues are necessary to help the audience wrap up the story and enjoy the process of learning about the twist. Our actors, while capable, never have time to investigate their roles, with the exception of Ruffalo and Laurent. This movie seems as much about their relationship - which didn't work for me from the start - as the heists themselves. There's little chemistry between this ensemble cast, which is strange considering the combined 15 Oscar nominations they share. Harrelson is the only standout here, trading a few well-placed comedic quips while trying to convince audiences that he can hypnotize a person with simply a Jedi Mind Trick. Eisenberg and Fisher, whose one-time love affair suddenly grows to a loving climax by the time the leader behind the Eye is exposed - feels totally out of place, making them merely pawns in the organization's big game, and never seem more than good-looking window dressing.


You've heard that See Me is supposedly the next Ocean's Eleven, but it also tries desperately to borrow from Christopher McQuarrie's terrific The Usual Suspects. It never comes close, with the reveal never well-explained (think Keyser Söze), and the 'ah!' moment disappearing into the mist like a well-oiled illusion. Magic-act films in the digital era suffer mightily because any chance of showing real slight-of-hand can get horribly blurred with CGI, which See Me has in copious amounts. From over-stylized building-sized light shows, to a dull sequence in a New Orleans theater, See Me doesn't sell its sizzle very well, relying on CGI to carry that burden instead of its actors and script, both of which seem ill-suited to the task. If Hollywood is in the business of creating believable illusions, then it's more important than ever that films about magic feel organic by balancing those slights-of-hand with stronger character stories.

Now You See Me looks good and sounds great, but like typical Summer films fails to conjure up a great story. With CGI making everything and anything possible these days, the tricks of this film feel strangely uninspired. Skip this one and instead try 2006's The Prestige. For now, Now You See Me is rated PG-13 and has a runtime of 116 minutes.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

Please Leave A Comment-

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Spoiler Free AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Review 'Blown Away"

Two years after the Avengers were torn apart during the events of Captain America: Civil War, Thanos arrives on Earth to collect the Infinity Stones for a gauntlet that will allow him to bend reality to his will. The Avengers must join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy to stop him before his onslaught of destruction puts an end to half the universe

Zach reviews: AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR



Website: http://www.sandwichjohnfilms.com
Youtube Channel for sandwichjohnfilms: https://tinyurl.com/y9f6kf2k

Make sure to follow Zach on
Twitter-https://twitter.com/popetheking?lang=en
Youtube- https://tinyurl.com/y8vjd6k6


Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR hits U.S. theaters on April 27.

Discuss this with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms

Please Leave A Comment-

Enter For A Chance To Win Tickets To See OVERBOARD In Houston

Enter For A Chance To Win Pass To See OVERBOARD on May 2nd at 7:30 PM in Houston.

Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures (MGM) and Pantelion Films presents OVERBOARD, a fresh take on the iconic romantic comedy. In a splashy new twist, OVERBOARD focuses on "Leonardo" (EUGENIO DERBEZ), a selfish, spoiled, rich playboy from Mexico's richest family and "Kate" (ANNA FARIS), a working class single mom of three hired to clean Leonardo's luxury yacht. After unjustly firing Kate and refusing to pay her, Leonardo falls overboard when partying too hard and wakes up on the Oregon coast with amnesia. Kate shows up at the hospital and, to get payback, convinces Leonardo he is her husband and puts him to work - for the first time in his life. At first miserable and inept, Leonardo slowly settles in. Eventually he earns the respect of his new "family" and co-workers. But, with Leonardo's billionaire family hot on their trail and the possibility of his memory returning…

Avengers: Infinity War Premiere Today Here At 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT

The world premiere of Marvel Studios’ highly anticipated “Avengers: Infinity War,” featuring the ultimate collection of Super Heroes in one film.

From the Film: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Hiddleston, Tom Holland, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Don Cheadle, Josh Brolin, Paul Bettany, Dave Bautista, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Mackie, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Letitia Wright, Sean Gunn, Winston Duke, Pom Klementieff, Michael Shaw; Kevin Feige (producer), Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (directors); Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Trinh Tran, Jon Favreau, Michael Grillo (executive producers); Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (writers)



Watch the premiere at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT marvel.com/infinitywarpremiere, facebook.com/avengers, twitter.com/avengers or youtube.com/marvel


Special Guests: Angela Bassett, David Dastmalchi…