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Now You See Me (film)

Now You See Me is a 2013 heist flick, but with magicians instead of bank robbers. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco star as The Four Horsemen, street magicians who were brought together by a mysterious benefactor. They have a hugely successful show in Las Vegas, but they really hit the big time when they seemingly rob a bank in Paris during one of their shows. This gets the attention the FBI and Interpol, and then it becomes a cat and mouse game as The Four Horsemen attempt a few more magical robberies while the authorities try to figure how to stop them.

There’s lots of plot twists and shocking character revelations, but it’s a pretty by the numbers caper film. It’s kind of like Ocean’s Eleven meets The Prestige. There are multiple heists, people on both sides trying to outwit each other, and there’s an over the top action sequence that seems totally out of place. It’s an entertaining flick, but it’s pretty hollow. They use to many computer-generated special effects. They should have stuck to practical effects like how real stage magicians perform their tricks. At one point Isla Fisher floats around the stage in a CG bubble. That’s not a trick and that’s not impressive.

And there are way too many characters to keep track of or care about. Mark Ruffalo and Mélanie Laurent play the cops tracking down The Four Horsemen. Morgan Freeman plays a rival magician who exposes tricks and who helps the authorities. Michael Caine plays an Insurance magnate and the sponsor of The Four Horsemen with a shady past. Common has a supporting role as an FBI supervisor.

Now You See Me is just another Hollywood blockbuster that pretends to be smarter than it is. And it’s getting a sequel. It’s a franchise now. Bank robbing magician flicks are suddenly a genre. What is the world coming to?

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds is Quentin Tarantino’s seventh film and an abomination of spelling. It’s your basic World War II fairy tale, taking place in an alternate timeline. The basic plot involves a Jewish-French chick and a ragtag group of soldiers trying to kill Hitler. And everyone has snazzy dialog because it’s a Tarantino movie.

Brad Pitt plays Lieutenant Aldo Raine, the leader of the Jewish-American “Basterds.” The Basterds enjoy spending their time killing and scalping Nazis. One of their main targets is Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), a.k.a. the “Jew Hunter.” Landa is a formidable foe. His job is to track down Jews and he does his job well and without mercy. He’s a master of languages and is cunning and diabolical. His only mistake was letting the young Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) escape from his clutches.

Shosanna goes on to change her name to Emmanuelle Mimieux and takes over a small cinema. One day she gets the opportunity to host a Nazi movie premiere that will be attended by the Nazi elite, including Hitler. She decides to use the opportunity to kill him. The Basterds also have a plan to kill Hitler. The result is rather explosive when two Hitler assassination plots merge in a Tarantino movie.

The best thing about the movie was casting Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa. He steals every scene; it doesn’t matter whether or not he is speaking English, German, French or Italian. You hate the guy and you like hating the guy. It makes it really satisfying when Aldo carves a swastika in his head. The worst thing about this movie is all the foreign languages resulting in a whole lot of subtitles. I don’t mind subtitles most of the time, but sometimes I just want to watch a movie without reading.

Inglourious Basterds is a good film. But it’s not one of Tarantino’s best. Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and the Kill Bill saga are better. Inglourious Basterds is too ambitious with too many plot holes. For instance, Aldo’s plan never would have worked if Landa didn’t have a secret agenda. All in all, this is a solid film and is required viewing if you’re a Tarantino fan.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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