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Now You See Me - 4/7/2013 9:18:36 AM   
Empire Admin

 

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Now You See Me - 4/7/2013 5:32:24 PM   
R W

 

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Joined: 23/6/2006
From the Luc Besson productions such as The Transporter to the Hollywood dull-busters such as Clash of the Titans (which he has now disowned), French director Louis Leterrier could be considered nowadays as a hack, but does his best to entertain his audience, having shown a level of hulk-smashing. After his recent monster-mashing, Leterrier changes his direction towards magicians.

A year ago, there were four street magicians (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco) on their own, now they are the Four Horseman who perform highly-produced magic shows which are complicated bank heists. With FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) partnered with an Interpol Agent Alma Dray (Mťlanie Laurent), they try to uncover what is really behind the criminal entertainersí tricks.

Louis Leterrierís latest is often described as ďOceanís Eleven meets The PrestigeĒ as Now You See Me attempts to combine the sharp-comic twists of the former and the true mystery behind magicians of the latter. How this film doesnít succeed on the superior level of the aforementioned two, as the script suffers from twists and turns that arenít fully explained, there is enough enjoyment to be had with the Four Horsemenís elaborate magic tricks and their deconstructions, as well as the FBIís bumbling attempts to crack the case which leads to comedic results.

From its very first frame, the film is at full gear and never takes time to breathe, as a way to avoid heavy discussion towards some of the unresolved plot details. The most enjoyable aspect of the film is its ridiculousness as the action set-pieces will reveal an element of magic, the most notable being as a huge chase sequence in the middle, in which Dave Francoís Jack Wilder fights Ruffaloís Rhodes by throwing cards that then leads to a car chase later revealed as one big magic trick.

With an all-star cast is compiled into two groups in the story, it suffers from deciding which side to follow as there are Four Horsemen who are the cool-hip anti-heroes robbing banks for their unseen employers, while the FBI are struggling to find out whatís really behind the curtain. Though their characters arenít so memorable, the actors are clearly having fun, with Jesse Eisenberg playing against type, while Mark Ruffalo who is somewhat the central protagonist is very much a dick. However, when it comes to the thespian actors that are Morgan Freeman and Sir Michael Caine, just expect a lot of their shtick which weíd all parodied.

Starts great as a witty mystery of bank-robbing magicians and then ends with unresolved and contrived twists, but Louis Leterrierís best film is a fun actioner that works due to its ridiculousness.

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Post #: 2
RE: Now You See Me - 4/7/2013 6:52:12 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3945
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Four magicians are brought together by a mysterious benefactor and, one year later, perform in Las Vegas as ĎThe Four Horsemení, sponsored by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler. For the finale of their performance, the Four Horsemen invite a member of the audience to help them in their next trick: robbing a bank. The man is teleported to a bank in Paris, where he activates an air duct which vacuums up the money and showers it onto the crowd in Las Vegas. FBI agent Dylan Rhodes and Interpol agent investigate the theft and interrogate the Four Horsemen, but release them when no explanation for the theft can be found other than magic. Rhodes hopes that Thaddeus Bradley, an ex-magician who makes money by revealing the secrets behind other magiciansí tricks, can help him, just as the Four Horsemen announce another performanceÖÖ


Magic continues to attract interest and even seems to be popular in this cynical age. Maybe it offers some escape from our troubled times, and a suggestion of a world that isnít rational and therefore more attractive than ours. While what could be called magic is constantly on view in films due to the fact that special effects can show us virtually everything, actual films about magicians are fairly thin on the ground, at least good ones, ones that actually try to explore the concept of magic and ask the age-old question: is there such a thing as real magic or is all of it an illusion. 2006ís The Illusionist and The Prestige are perhaps the last two really good movies that tried to do this. Now You See Me is not really in the category of those two efforts. For a start itís much more simplistic, despite giving the impression of complexity at times, and its story is full of holes. Nonetheless it is a decent piece of entertainment. Unlike Man Of Steel and World War Z, itís at least reasonably shot, edited and directed for the most part.

Our ĎFour Horsemení are introduced quickly in the early scenes. Thereís Daniel Atlas, a street performer doing card tricks, the seemingly typical tricks climaxing in a whole building somehow reflecting his card. Thereís Merritt McKinney, a street mentalist, able to hypnotize and supposedly read the minds of his customers, though not all the time,. He is seen using his skills to rob someone. Thereís Jack Wilder, who also works on the street and lures in customers by betting them money if they can figure out his tricks, then steals from them during the commotion. And last but not least is Henley Reeves, who narrowly escapes drowning. She works as a performer constantly risking her life for the audienceís thrill. All four of them run into a stranger in a hoodie, whose face is never seen by the camera, and eventually discover tarot card themed invitations with a stylised eye. They all find themselves in the same place, then the film skips forward a year, and here is one of its major problems. We never get to know these four characters any more, them barely registering as actual people except for Woody Harrelsonís character who has a couple of good moments, and potential playing around with audienceís sympathies for likeable thieves is soon ditched in favour of an emphasis on the police investigation.

The story proceeds fast, and sometimes too fast, with many scenes feeling like they have been cut to the bone, the filmmakers assuming that a teenage audience will get bored otherwise. Still, Mark Ruffalo, who can do a role like this in his sleep now and still make it good, and the lovely Melanie Lourent from Inglourious Basterds, are a fun partnership and some of their barbed exchanges work well. Around half way through the revelations begin to come thick and fast, as does the action. Director Louis Leterrier, whose last two American releases were the lousy Clash Of The Titans remake and the middling The Incredible Hulk, usually has a knack for action which is fast and frantic while just stopping short of the incoherent crap that plagues films like World War Z. Sadly he does resort to horrid shakycam a couple of times here but itís not for long, and amends are made with a cracking car chase. The tale doesnít really have a big action climax, which seems to have disappointed some, and instead relies on one of the craziest twists in ages. Does it work?

Well, I would say yes and no: itís startling, but after a while you may very well think that it makes nonsense of some of what has come before. It almost seems like they thought of the twist as a starting point and, working backwards, asked themselves what would be the best ways to misdirect the audience. I would say that the script is the filmís weakest feature, not so much the dialogue, but the plot. Some things donít really bare scrutiny at all, from the complete and utter stupidity of the FBI, to the use of what seems like alien technology near the end, a scene which jars with the way the rest of the film takes pains to explain the way things have been carried out. Some of the most exhilarating sections in the film, and there are some, are when the Four Horseman carry out things which seem impossible, and then when itís all explained a few scenes later. Leterrier handles these scenes so well that one can almost forgive the many implausibilities except for one involvingÖwell, I wonít say, but it involves two cars and is so ludicrous that itís just laughable.

There are also some good scenes involving Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, especially when they are together. Freeman is Freeman while Caine is scarier than normal. They hint at unseen depths to the proceedings, and donít just strengthen clumsy things that are never followed through like a bit where Freeman hints that in New Orleans that there might be real magic after all. Thatís the thing about this film, itís a bit awkward and thinks itís more sophisticated than it actually is. The breakneck pace keeps the excitement level high but also means that a film with such a large cast of major characters never spends enough time with any of them. The Four Horsemen really do suffer here. The parts are all well played, and I was looking forward to see Isla Fisher in a big Hollywod role, but the efforts of the performers are partially wasted. The film is fun throughout, but constantly hints at becoming something more without succeeding, and it almost feels like it has been cut down from a much longer version. I wouldnít be surprised if a Directorís Cut comes out for home viewing, and I would certainly buy it.

There is much to like here; the film has a fairly original premise Ė okay you could say itís The Prestige meets Oceanís Eleven, but how cool is that?, itís constantly interesting to the point it kept me guessing, is never dull, and the performances are good throughout. Itís also a bit more visually colourful than most of Leterrierís films, and has a good score by Brian Tyler which I actually thought was from Carter Burwell until I looked it up, so similar did it sound in places. I enjoyed Now You See Me, but think it could have been a lot more. We are told throughout to look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see. Well, I would say donít look too closely, otherwise you might find there is little to see. Instead, just sit back and turn your brain not totally off but at least into neutral, and you should have quite a good time.

Rating: 6.5/10

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Post #: 3
Freeze! - 4/7/2013 9:08:20 PM   
bretty

 

Posts: 197
Joined: 6/10/2005
Empire is pretty much spot on here - it could have been a great film but it is let down by a very weak ending. The message throughout the film is that you are missing the bigger picture but the film itself forgets its own message and leaves you with a damp squib.
But 80% of the film is very good, great cast, good dialogue, smart and clever until.....

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Post #: 4
Mutton dressed as lamb - 16/7/2013 2:02:22 AM   
dinkydog

 

Posts: 11
Joined: 22/11/2012
Very poor film. Mutton dressed up as lamb. Lots of glitter, bright lights and a sound track that try's to drum up suspense and excitement when all the while the story is weak just a general nonsense storyline. If Disney had made if for kids they would have thrown it in the bin. It was an utterly pointless movie and I struggled to stay and watch it till the end. It tries to dazzle and baffle with bullshit all at the same time. bad dialogue. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine starring in it seem to lend it credibility it doesn't deserve

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Post #: 5
Magic without a spell binding finish - 29/7/2013 1:23:20 PM   
Ross Webber

 

Posts: 1
Joined: 29/7/2013
Now You See Me sees four magicians with individual skill sets brought together by a mysterious superior who sets them up for three elaborate crimes which involve stealing mass amounts of money from various sources. The group are labelled as the Four Horsemen and consist of Jesse Eisenburg’s cocky illusionist and his former assistant stuntwoman Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson’s mind reader and Dave Franco’s slide of the hand trickster.

Whilst the magicians are busy tricking their way into bank vaults and accounts, tough guy cop Mark Ruffalo, alongside Melanie Laurent, struggle to bring them to justice despite additional help from a professional magic trick exploiter (Morgan Freeman).

For much of the feature, Now You See Me offers mass entertainment from the tricks being played out in front of your eyes to the thrilling cat and mouse chases. In addition, the highly impressive cast offer a strong comical and engaging dialogue. However, where the film disappoints is the lack of a strong finish, leaving you with a promising twist but also a complicated, flat finale. What’s more is the over elaborate special effects where the film tries too hard to impress on a visual scale. As a result, a promising story line with an impressive cast is somewhat ruined by a very weak ending. Now You See Me certainly has its moments of wonder and entertainment, but lacks a spell binding edge to make it anything more than a good watch.

#WebbersRating = 7/10
http://rosswebber.tumblr.com/

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Post #: 6
RE: Magic without a spell binding finish - 1/8/2013 4:34:46 PM   
Private Hudson


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Thought it looked guff from the trailer. So is the verdict that it is indeed guff?

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RE: Magic without a spell binding finish - 7/8/2013 8:11:03 AM   
klauslavida

 

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Whilst the magicians are busy tricking their way into bank vaults and accounts, tough guy cop Mark Ruffalo, alongside Melanie Laurent, struggle to bring them to justice despite additional help from a professional magic trick exploiter (Morgan Freeman).

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Abracadabbydoozy - 11/8/2013 11:21:48 PM   
Limeylove

 

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A film that combines this much energy and mystery always captures my interest. The trailer left me wanting to know exactly 'how did they do it?' Perhaps finding out left me empty and wanting a little more, I certainly didn't come away feeling as pumped as I went in.
A comparison made between this film and the Thomas Crown Affair is unfair. TCA is far slicker and intelligent while NYSM is more pop culture clever. While some tricks are a manipulation of CGI it is the cast and their quick, slick charm that appeal the most. You want them to get away with it and fool the system... And while the big reveal is a goodun.... Once I'd seen where the rabbit was hidden it just didn't seem as magical as it first was.

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HUH? - 16/11/2013 4:56:02 PM   
ROTGUT

 

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For the first half an hour or so this film chugs along quite nicely (Mark Ruffalo especially good) all flash, bang and wallop - and then - it all goes off track and the plot starts getting so painfully convoluted you’ll be scratching your head trying to work out who the goodies and the baddies are. And then that ending………….cripes…… It was as if the director had painted both himself and the film into a corner and then just given up. Seriously – was this the best they could come up with? Or did the money run out? Good job I didn’t see this at the cinema otherwise I would have demanded my money back…TWO STARS




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Post #: 10
Wish I didnt see you - 18/12/2013 1:33:26 PM   
Samurai7

 

Posts: 67
Joined: 9/11/2009
Not clever, not fun...with no magic...just rubbish. Id watch the prestige 1000 times before watching this again...shit I'd watch The illusionist 1000 times before watching this. Somebody make it dissapear please.

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Post #: 11
Wish I didnt see you - 18/12/2013 1:34:21 PM   
Samurai7

 

Posts: 67
Joined: 9/11/2009
Not clever, not fun...with no magic...just rubbish. Id watch the prestige 1000 times before watching this again...shit I'd watch The illusionist 1000 times before watching this. Somebody make it dissapear please.

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Post #: 12
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