July 25th, 2013

wood cat

Now You See Me

And now, I continue my pop-culture brain dump with a movie that hardly anyone I know saw (though it did unexpectedly well at the box office) and that isn't in theaters any more, because I believe in putting these things on the record: Now You See Me, the magic-show-as-heist flick with Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman.

It opens with four individuals being observed by a mysterious figure in a hoodie (not a mysterious hooded figure; that's Welcome to Night Vale, which is next in my queue, I think). One is Woody Harrelson, using hypnosis to be a blackmailing asshole. One is the guy from The Social Network (Jesse Eisenberg), doing large-scale card tricks and being kind of a dick. One is a woman (Isla Fisher) doing a straight-up escape trick and being fierce. And one is some young guy (Dave Franco) picking pockets. They're all brought together for some mysterious plan . . . and then a year later, are running a magic show in Las Vegas with Michael Caine as their backer. Mark Ruffalo is the FBI agent assigned to investigate the aftermath of the show; Morgan Freeman is a professional debunker of magic tricks.

The thing about caper movies is that they need two things. On the mechanics side, they need both a satisfyingly non-obvious trick and a satisfyingly fair reveal. And on the story side, they need a reasonably just, by the standards of the genre, conclusion.

Now You See Me does well with the first at the beginning, but gets pretty wobbly in this regard thereafter. (I should never think "that's stupid" during an explanation; ideally I should never think it, but at least have it wait until the next day or even just the drive home.) As for the second . . .

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Because this was back at the start of June, my partial notes on the trailers are all outdated except one, which is:

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones: there is no justice in the world.

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wood cat

Pacific Rim trailers

I forgot to post about the trailers with Pacific Rim! Not an inspiring batch, I have to say. Linking to IMDB because I can't be bothered to track down the trailers.

Seventh Son: looks like bog-standard extruded fantasy product. Allegedly based on some hit fantasy series, which had me & Chad whispering "What?!" at each other. (Wikipedia says it's based on a kid's series called The Wardstone Chronicles.)

Gravity: the bits in the trailer looked tense, but I don't feel like that's enough to judge.

The World's End: if you have Martin Freeman in your movie and he is not featured heavily in the trailer then I question your life choices.

Anchorman: The Legend Continues: ugh.

Captain Phillips: Tom Hanks fights off Somali pirates. I couldn't put up with his accent even if the movie didn't have an uphill battle to avoid being incredibly racist.

2 Guns: I doubt that Mark Wahlberg can hold his own against Denzel Washington in an odd-couple law-enforcement-on-the-run flick. Also it contains a woman in a fridge.

And something else I can't decipher my notes for. I was hoping for the new Catching Fire trailer to admire it on the big screen, but no. (I know the books get to be an unholy mess, but damn, the people making the movies know their business.)

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