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June 7th, 2013

Movie Review - Now You See Me

Now You See Me

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Dave Franco, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Michael Caine, Michael Kelly, Common, David Warshofsky, and more.

Directed by: Louis Leterrier Screenplay by: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, and Edward Ricourt Story by: Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt Cinematography by: Mitchell Amundsen and Larry Fong Original Music by: Brian Tyler

Premise: Four magicians receive a mysterious summon. A year later, they put on a huge show in Las Vegas and seemingly rob a bank in Paris with magic. The FBI and Interpol get involved, wanting to make sure to stop whatever the group is up to, though they have no evidence yet to make an arrest. (Rated  PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Mark Ruffalo was fun as the befuddled and out of his depth FBI agent, whom, despite himself, might just start believing in something. Mélanie Laurent will make you want to believe. Woody Harrelson added a lot witty humor. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman were awesome when going at each other and when working together.

2) Special Effects - Thumbs Up: This may sound weird, but there were a couple of places where I wished the special effects team had figured out how to make a piece of illusion or two with real components rather than CGI. The fact CGI was used stole, in my opinion, from the premise of what the film was about. When the group was on the stage and the sheets twirled up and around, it was too obvious they were CGI, so it took away from feeling of the show being an actual stage performance.

But aside from that, the special effects were very well done! The final trick and light display over the building looked great.

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: From the beginning the audience knows there's a fifth person. Even the symbol for the Four Horsemen is made of five squares. So half the fun of the film is trying to figure out who's behind it all. Clues for motivation are sprinkled throughout, but beware the false leads.

The part of the plot which most impressed me, however were the understated subplots. Several were running concurrently, but one especially means so much more than we initially realize until the end. Even magicians can be surprised by other types of magic. It was fabulous! Yet it's also so understated, it could easily be missed. But I felt it added a lot. And the same concept was done in a couple of ways to more than one person. So that was fun too.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Some great 'gags' are in this film - a super fun fight in an apartment, big car chase through downtown New York, foot chase in New Orleans, escapes, explosions, and more. You'll also see the most bizarre, yet useful use of a kitchen sink grinder...ever.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up:  "Now You See Me" used some great filming locations in Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York City, and Paris. With the large scope of some of the action and tricks, the cinematography showed it all from different angles and panning back enough to show the audience the whole scene. It was used especially well at the site of the third trick, giving the audience an amazing view of the moving art being flashed on the buildings.

Conclusion: "Now You See Me" is a fun ride. Between the magic, the great acting, and the mystery of what set all these things in motion, viewers will have lots to keep them occupied. Plenty of old tricks and new, and the more they show you, the more they reveal while giving nothing away.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Novels


JEWEL OF THE GODS

(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!


Excerpt:
"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."





INNER DEMONS

(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!


Excerpt:
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."



THE PRICE OF MERCY

(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Excerpt:

Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.




CROSS-EYED DRAGON TROUBLES
(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Excerpt:

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.



WILLING SACRIFICE
(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”

Excerpt:

Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”



IN THE SERVICE OF SAMURAI
(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”

Excerpt:

Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.



VASSAL OF EL
(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”

Excerpt:

Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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