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 Purge

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The Purge movie poster

The Purge movie poster

Warning: Contains Spoilers

The Purge was released this past weekend (June 7th). The film was directed and written by James DeMonaco. It is rated R for strong disturbing violence and some language. The film currently has a 5.9 out of 10 on IMDb and a 41% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is also currently number 1 at the box office with $36.4 million.

The Purge takes place in 2022 and the U.S. is now a reborn nation ruled by the New Founding Fathers of America. Crime and unemployment rates are at a all time low. The cause of the low percentages in crime and unemployment are thanks to the government mandated annual “Purge.” The purge is a 12 hour period where all crime is legal, even murder. The purge is a way for the citizens to cleanse themselves of all negative emotions and in the film it is stated that humans have a natural, violent side and that the purge helps us to not bottle in all that violence and be able to rid ourselves of the negativity.

The film focuses on the Sandin family. James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) makes all his money from home security systems that are put to use during the annual purge. James is married to Mary (Lena Headey) and they have a teenage daughter, Zoey (Adelaide Kane), and a son, Charlie (Max Burkholder).

James (Ethan Hawke) & Mary (Lena Headey). I think I'll just go watch Mr. Hawke in Sinister instead...

James (Ethan Hawke) & Mary (Lena Headey).
I think I’ll just go watch Mr. Hawke in Sinister instead…

When I first saw the trailer for this film I was excited. I thought it looked good and was an interesting concept. Plus, Ethan Hawke is in it and I thought he did a great job in Sinister (released late last year). Well, I sure was wrong. Not that this film was the worst film I have ever seen, it just did not play out how I expected. The film had an interesting concept, it was just executed poorly.

It is a home invasion film and by watching the trailer, you get the idea that this creepy group of young people wearing creepy masks are going to be taunting and (possibly) killing each member of the Sandin family one-by-one.

Now where have I seen somewhat similar looking masks before?? Oh, right, now I remember....

Now where have I seen somewhat similar looking masks before?? Oh, right, now I remember….

Yes, the masks totally remind me of The Strangers. And with The Strangers, where the majority of the film the couple are being terrorized by the killers, I thought The Purge would be the same. Nope. Watching the trailer for The Purge you already know that the young son, Charlie, lets in some random guy (credited as Bloody Stranger; played by Edwin Hodge) off the street during the annual purge. Dumb, dumb, dumb! I’m not going to lie, I spent most of the movie completely annoyed with Charlie. I know he is just a young kid, but still. Everything that happens after Charlie lets in the bloody stranger I kept thinking: “Yeah, none of this wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for you. This is all your fault.” Anyways, in a movie that is only 1 hour and 25 minutes long, a lot more of the movie than necessary takes places with James and Mary trying to find the bloody stranger. Charlie actually helps the bloody stranger hide (idiot).

The reason they are looking for the bloody stranger is because the “leader” of the gang outside (credited as Polite Stranger; played by Rhys Wakefield) states that the bloody stranger is just some “homeless pig” and is their target for the purge. The polite stranger says that the Sandin’s must hand over the stranger to them within one hour or they will break into the house and kill everyone. When the gang finally breaks into the house, only about 15 minutes (maybe 20 minutes) of the film are of the gang terrorizing and stalking the Sandin family. It got pretty good when James encounters some members of the gang and some intense fighting occurs, but then he goes around a corner and dies. He gets stabbed by the polite stranger. I was disappointed by that. I didn’t want Ethan Hawke to die.

Another thing that I didn’t like, at the beginning of the film, was the character Henry (Tony Oller), Zoey’s older boyfriend. We learn that Zoey’s dad won’t let them be together because Henry is a few years older than Zoey. Later that night, Zoey goes up to her room after the purge has commenced only to find Henry in her room (he snuck in when the family was eating dinner before the purge began). Henry says he is going to talk to James, man-to-man, about being with Zoey and since it’s the purge, James can’t just throw Henry out. Right when the bloody stranger has come inside, James (who grabbed a gun after Charlie let in the bloody stranger) sees Henry and then *surprise* Henry didn’t want to “talk”, instead he pulls out a gun and tries to shoot Zoey’s dad, but instead gets himself shot. Needless to say, that role was a short one and I honestly think the film could have done without the character. It wasn’t important; it wasn’t something that we, as the audience, needed to remember for later on in the film or anything. The storyline with the boyfriend was just a waste and not really necessary.

I won’t say anymore about the ending. There is somewhat of a “twist.” I really didn’t expect it, but then the more I thought about a scene from earlier on in the film, it made sense and I probably should have seen it coming. I really wanted to like this movie, but it just was not what I thought it was going to be. I really was disappointed about the strangers outside only really being a part of the film for a short period of time. Yeah, they had quite a few scenes of them standing outside, but I went into the theater to see a home invasion movie and instead I saw a movie where a family spends a good chunk of time trying to find some stranger, while the creepy strangers outside were only inside the house for what seemed like a total of 15 minutes.

Even though I wasn’t a big fan of this movie, like with anything opinion based, there will be people that will like this movie and then there will be people like me that end up disappointed. But, with all that said, I’m glad there is no such thing as a annual “Purge.”