Now You See Me

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Now You See Me movie poster

Now You See Me movie poster

Warning: Contains spoilers

Now You See Me is a crime/thriller/magician movie released May 31. The film is directed by Louis Leterrier. It is rated PG-13 for language, some action, and some sexual content. The film has a 7.5 out of 10 on IMDb.com and a 48% on Rotten Tomatoes.

When I first saw the trailer for this film I definitely knew I was going to see it and it did not disappoint. I really liked this film. It has a great cast (Woody Harrelson is one of my favorite actors) and interesting story. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine also have parts in this film; Michael Caine also appeared in The Prestige, which is also a magic-themed film.

The story revolves around four magicians, J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco). The group are brought together (mysteriously) and end up becoming known as The Four Horseman. The group is sponsored by Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine). For the finale at their performance in Las Vegas, the Four Horseman invite a man from the audience to help with their last trick–rob a bank. The man is teleported to a bank in Paris and the money is then vacuumed up by an air duct that ends up “raining” down on the crowd at the show in Vegas.

The Four Horseman (from left to right): Henley Reeves, J. Daniel Atlas, Merritt McKinney, and Jack Wilder

The Four Horseman (from left to right): Henley Reeves, J. Daniel Atlas, Merritt McKinney, and Jack Wilder

FBI agent, Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) is partnered up with Interpol agent, Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent) to investigate the robbery. The Four Horseman are taken into custody and interrogated, but are eventually released. Dylan meets with ex-magician Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman). Thaddeus makes a living out of revealing magician’s secrets behind the tricks they perform. Thaddeus believes that the Four Horseman actually stole the money before the show and somehow tricked the audience into believing it all happened in real time.

The Four Horseman’s next show is in New Orleans; Dylan, Alma, and Thaddeus attend. The finale for this show involves stealing money out of Arthur’s bank account and giving it to members of the audience. Dylan attempts to arrest the Four Horseman, but they get away. Alma does some research on the Four Horseman and learns about a secret society of magicians called “The Eye”  and she suggests to Dylan that all this might somehow be connected to the magician Lionel Shrike that was exposed by Thaddeus and that Lionel was so embarrassed by being exposed that he attempted a underwater stunt and drowned.

The Four Horseman’s last performance is in New York City. Before the performance, Dylan and Alma find the Four Horseman’s secret hideout. Jack is there. He escapes and a car chase ensues. However, Jack’s car ends up flipping over and explodes. At this point, it begins to look like Alma might actually be involved with the Four Horseman; she definitely seems suspicious. The Four Horseman have targeted a particular safe which has been under surveillance by another FBI team that has taken over the case. The safe is intercepted, but is found empty. Dylan begins to suspect there must be a fifth member of the Four Horseman, thinking that Alma or Bradley are in on it.

The Four Horseman (which consist of only J. Daniel, Henley, and Merritt at this point) are almost arrested, but they jump from the rooftop of 5 Pointz and seem to turn into money (the money from the safe) that again “rains” down on the crowd. However, it is discovered that the money is actually fake; pictures of the Four Horseman appear on the money. Thaddeus, returning to his car, discovers that it is filled with the real, stolen money. He is then arrested and taken to prison. While there, Dylan visits him and it is revealed how each trick was performed. Here comes the big reveal: Dylan is the fifth member of the Four Horseman. Dylan is the mysterious person that brought together the Four Horseman in the beginning, he is the mastermind behind everything.

Dylan leaves the prison and meets up with the Four Horseman (Jack is there too; he faked his death earlier) and they are surprised to learn he is the one behind it all. He initiates them into The Eye. Later, Dylan visits France where he meets up with Alma. He reveals he is the son of Lionel Shrike. He came up with the Four Horseman idea to get revenge on those that were the cause for his father’s humiliation and death. Dylan admits to being in love with Alma and Alma decides not to turn Dylan in.

FBI AgeThe closer you look, the less you see...

The closer you look, the less you see…

 

I have to admit, the reveal that Dylan was behind it all did surprise me; I really didn’t see it coming. Of course, looking back on the film, I feel like I should have been able to figure it out. I can’t wait to be able to watch this movie again and it will be interesting to see if I can pick out certain moments that might hint at Dylan being behind everything since I now know that he is the mysterious benefactor. Another thing, when Jack gets into the accident I kind of had a feeling that he somehow wasn’t really dead. Especially considering just before the car flips, Jack smiles and says something along the lines of “A-ha!” And now looking back on that scene, he reacts that way because he knows he outsmarted the FBI and that the plan is working out. This film really kept me engrossed throughout. The acting is great, although Jesse Eisenberg still has that somewhat annoying persona that he tends to have in some of his other films. Sometimes when I see movies I check the time just to get an idea of how long the movie has been playing, but with this film I didn’t do that once; I didn’t care about how long the film had been playing because I didn’t want it to end. If you like magic/caper type films, I highly suggest you watch this film.

A quote that is said in the film, “The more you look, the less you see,” really fits well with the whole plot of the film. As the audience you are looking closely (in my case, really thinking that Alma and/or Thaddeus were involved somehow), but you end up seeing less (Dylan, the least likely to be involved, actually is responsible to everything).

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The Great Gatsby

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the-great-gatsby-poster1The Great Gatsby (2013 version) was directed by Baz Luhrmann, the same guy who directed Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge. The film is rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language.

Well, where to begin? I have a lot to say about this new take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic book, but I’ll try not to write too much. This film has had so much controversy and hate surrounding it ever since people found out it was going to have modern music in it. I think that’s just ridiculous. I mean, come on, Baz Luhrmann directed it. What did you expect?

When I saw this movie for the first time on opening weekend (in 3-d) I went into the theater with an open mind. I re-read the book before seeing the movie and re-watched the 1974 Great Gatsby so I would be able to see how closely this version of the film followed the book and how it compared to the 1974 version. The whole modern music thing did not outrage me as much it seemed to have other people. I wasn’t about to judge a movie I hadn’t seen yet. But, you know what? I think the soundtrack worked really well in the movie. It fit the scenes perfectly. From what I’ve read on IMDb message boards, a lot of people keep saying the modern music was a distraction. But, that’s their opinion. In my opinion, the modern music was in no way whatsoever a distraction and the film had a great blend of the songs that are found on the soundtrack and actual 1920’s music. As far as the rap/hip-hop songs in the film go, well…Hip-hop is about the closest thing to jazz we have nowadays. What hip-hop is for people nowadays is what jazz was for people back then. Plus, it’s not like the entire soundtrack is nothing but rap. The songs are sung by modern singers, but some of them almost have a 1920’s kind of sound to them. I still don’t understand the hate people are having with the music. I don’t remember anyone being in an outrage with all the modern music in Django Unchained. I’m pretty sure no one in the Old West was listening to Jim Croce or James Brown. Baz Luhrmann made some original, creative choices when making this film and to me, those choices were executed really well. To get the point across of what the 1920’s were like (sex, booze, partying, complete carelessness and carefree ways) some changes were to be made to make it more enjoyable to modern audiences. When watching the 1974 version, during the party scenes, classic 1920’s music is playing and that’s cool and all, but after seeing the 2013 version and watching the party scenes with loud, modern dance music with a slight 1920’s twist, I feel like I now fully understand what it was like to be living in the 1920’s. Anyways, my favorite songs on the soundtrack are: “Over the Love” by Florence + The Machine, “Young & Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey, “Love is Blindness” by Jack White, and “Together” by The xx.

This movie is loud, colorful, and crazy (but in a good way). Visually this movie is wonderful. Yes, there’s CGI, but a lot of movies nowadays have a lot of CGI. Acting is superb. I actually found myself feel for the characters, care about what happens to them. Coming from someone that has read the book more than once (it’s one of my favorite books), this movie followed the book soooo much better than the 1974 version. Not that the 1974 version didn’t have direct quotes from the book, but the new version had a lot more direct quotes from the book and just about every scene in the new film was taken straight out of the book. As in, there weren’t numerous scenes in the film that maybe had the same dialogue as the book, but was taking place in a totally different environment. This version also does a better job at explaining some things (like how Jay and Daisy met, etc.) than the 1974 version. The one thing that is definitely not in the book are the scenes of Nick at the sanitarium. It might not be in the book, but it makes sense with why this guy would be telling this story about a guy named Gatsby. Making it seem like Nick Carraway is the author of The Great Gatsby is not completely far-fetched as some people think that Nick is based off of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I can definitely see that. There is a line in the book (that is in the movie, too) where the narrator, Nick, makes a comment about “reading over what I have written so far.”

My favorite performance in the film was definitely, hands down, Leonardo DiCaprio’s. His portrayal of Jay Gatsby was spot-on with Gatsby from the book. Not that Robert Redford is a terrible actor or anything (I remember when I watched the 1974 version in high school after reading the book I thought Robert Redford did a good job in the movie), but after seeing Leo’s take on Gatsby, I won’t be able to watch the original the same way again. I also thought Carey Mulligan’s performance was much more preferable compared to Mia Farrow’s. Newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker gave a good performance. Lois Chiles as Jordan in the 1974 version I thought was alright, but with her, as well as Sam Waterston’s performance of Nick Carraway, I felt was not very developed. Jordan and Nick in the original film seemed to always have the same expression and monotone-like voice throughout the entire film. I liked Tobey Maguire’s take on Nick Carraway. I do like Bruce Dern as Tom in the original, but Joel Edgerton definitely did a good job as Tom, too. One of the things that irks me with the original version is the lack of chemistry between Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan definitely have better on-screen chemistry.

I saw the film in both 3-d and 2-d. The 3-d doesn’t really add much, but it does give the viewer the feeling of really being a part of the movie, which is the point of 3-d…obviously. I loved this movie. When reading the book, I had an image in my head and the 2013 version has fulfilled what I imagined while reading the book. What I will suggest when seeing this movie is keep an open mind. Do not go see it already hating what you’ve seen from the trailers and the modern music. Keep an open mind! If you don’t like this version or the 1974 version, well, there’s always the 1949 and 2000 version, neither of which I’ve seen.

Last tidbit…One of my favorite scenes in the new version is when Jay and Nick are waiting for Daisy to come to Nick’s place for tea and how nervous Jay is acting and even after Daisy and Jay are reunited, Jay still acts nervous. Leo did such a good job during that scene and that entire scene and dialogue is just like how it is in the book. I love it when movies follow the books their adapted from closely… 🙂

Remember, keep an open mind when seeing this film, old sport.