To fully enjoy “Now You See Me,” a new magical heist film starring Jessie Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson, it’s best to leave your sense of disbelief at the door. Or at home. Better yet wrap it in cellophane, lock it in a box and hide it under the bed.
Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco play magicians collectively known as The Four Horsemen. Brought together by a mysterious benefactor, they make their debut in front of a sold out crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. In front of an enthusiastic crowd they perform a wild illusion that seemingly transports an audience member to a bank vault in Paris. Soon three million Euro are sucked out of the vault, only to reign down on the crowd in the Vegas theatre. This and other spectacular, but illegal illusions attract the attention of not only a magic debunker (Morgan Freeman) but the FBI (lead by Mark Ruffalo) and a French Interpol agent named Alma Vargas (Mélanie Laurent).
“Some things are best left unexplained,” says Alma. Yeah, like who plotted this mess.
“Now You See Me” is the silliest movie of the year. It’s fun and mostly entertaining, but with its talk of secret societies, “bringing magic back to the people” and leaps of logic, to call it far fetched is an understatement akin to saying Houdini is kinda tricky.
Filled with likable actors giving flamboyant performances it speeds by in a blur of swirling cameras and “tricks” that are like David Copperfield on steroids… and CGI. For a movie about bringing magic back to the people, it’s more about bring computer generated trickery to the big screen.
There is a wizard battle that would make Harry Potter envious but by the time our magical Robin Hoods–they don’t keep any of the stolen money for themselves– end their run with the sentiment “Even if we spend the next twenty years in jail it was worth it,” you’ll be wanting to make a disappearing act of your own.
In just 12 minutes The Great Train Robbery tells the tale of a group of bandits who hold up a train and rob the passengers.
Made by Edwin Porter in 1903 it’s been placed on the United States National Film Registry for its innovative use of composite editing, camera movement and on-location shooting.
It was one of the first narrative movies and it introduced moviegoers to the heist movie, a tradition that continues to this day.
This weekend Now You See Me presents an elaborate crime story of a team of magicians — led by Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Isla Fisher — who abracadabra their way into bank vaults.
They are Robin Hood-style crooks, stealing money and giving it back to their audiences.
The “steal from the rich to give to the poor” is a common theme in heist movies. Recently Tower Heist saw a rag tag group clean out a Bernie Madoff type in order to refund money to the people he swindled.
The Maiden Heist stars Christopher Walken as a museum security guard infatuated with the painting that gives the movie its name.
When it is announced that the artwork has been sold to a Danish gallery he’s distraught — “Do you know how far away Copenhagen is?”— and ropes Morgan Freeman and William H. Macy into stealing the painting and two others so they can enjoy them together. Not exactly Robin Hood — they’re stealing from the rich to give to themselves — but their motives are artistically pure.
Not so pure are the reasons behind the heist in The Good, the Bad, the Weird — an Asian take on the similarly named Sergio Leone spaghetti western.
It’s a chaotic two-hour chase for a treasure map — and then the treasure — in 1930s wartime Manchuria between a bounty hunter (the Good, played by Jung Woo-sung), a leader of evil bandits (the Bad, Lee Byung-hun) and a train robber (the Weird, Song Kang-ho).
Director Ji-woon Kim calls this a “kimchee western,” after the national dish of Korea because the plot and film, like the people of Korea, he says, are spicy and vibrant.
The Good, the Bad, the Weird has a few laughs but A Fish Called Wanda’s story of armed robbery is a full-on comedy crime caper.
It has a 96 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was named one of the greatest British films of all time by Total Film.