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Movie Review: Now You See Me

Iron Man Three, Star Trek, Fast 6, for a while I thought that the summer blockbuster season wasn’t ever going to skip a beat. But then I checked out my options for this week and was reminded that, yeah, if I’m planning on seeing a new release every weekend, I guess I’m going to have an occasional lineup of slim pickings.


And so I almost resigned myself to buying a ticket for Will Smith’s After Earth. I really, really didn’t want to see After Earth. I’ve seen the same way-too-long preview several times, and nothing about it looks interesting. The ship crash-lands. It’s the future. It’s Earth. Will Smith’s in it. Man, remember when Will Smith used to make only good movies? I’m glad I wasn’t writing movie reviews when Men In Black 3 premiered.

But just before I made my post-apocalyptic purchase, Yoda’s voice came alive in my head, “No. There is another.” And sure enough, there was another new release this week, a movie called Now You See Me. Huh. I’d never even heard of this movie. I was about to do a quick Google search to find out the general plot, something that could give me a clue as to what I might be in for, but I decided, fuck it, let’s go in blind.

Now You See Me starts off fast. It’s about four magicians who team up to rob banks, giving the money to the public in a Robin Hood display of vigilante economics. And for the first hour or so, it’s a pretty cool movie. The FBI gets involved and it turns into an old-school New York City heist movie, crazy crime-genre background music and all, something reminiscent of the original The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3.

But shit keeps escalating. Chase scenes give way to fight scenes that give way to car crashes. Instead of even beginning to hint at like a general direction in which the movie might be headed, they just keep on piling on random clues, mysterious characters, a few dead-end leads and even a flimsy romance subplot. After a little while you’re like, what? How? Who is this guy again? Wait, why are they robbing the banks?

And after that first enjoyable hour, the movie spirals out of control. The whole time I was thinking to myself, man, these writers had better have come up with something genius to get to some sort of a resolution, to even begin to answer all of these questions. And yeah, I guess it’s theoretically possible. There are movies out there that weave insane plots together in acts of superhuman storytelling.

But I kept thinking about how it’s so weird that a major movie studio could release a big summer film and not have any marketing campaign at all. Why hadn’t I seen this movie coming? Why weren’t there any previews during any of the other movies I’ve been watching every single week for the past three months?

While I don’t want to be a cynic, while I wanted to hold out hope that maybe they’d be able to yet turn this into a great movie, a moment of realism set in as I deduced that the only reason nobody’s heard about this movie is because maybe it really wouldn’t get any better. Maybe the writers wrote themselves into a corner and couldn’t figure a way out. But you know how big Hollywood is, they already signed Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson. Shooting was to begin in three weeks. If one group of writers couldn’t figure it out, they’d just fire them, get a new group in. Whatever, just write something, just wrap it up boys, we’ve got to get this film debuted by the end of May.

The ending of this movie is just an insult to intelligent life anywhere in the cosmos. I’d equate the making of this movie to the running of a marathon, one in which after twenty-five miles of agony, with only one mile left in sight, everybody just stopped. They just said, eh, whatever, who cares. I’m tired. I don’t feel like running anymore.

And then not only did they stop running, they didn’t even bother walking the rest of the way. They couldn’t manage even a limp to the finish line. In fact, they cheated, they took a cab to the end. Their score was totally disqualified. And then once they got there, they started punching random people in the face, stealing all of the other runners’ medals, knocking over tables of Gatorade for no good reason.

It’s like, what the hell guys, you’re only going to make half of a decent movie? Why bother? Is Morgan Freeman this desperate for work? Is Mark Ruffalo still trying to convince the world he’s a real actor after that ghost movie he made with Reese Witherspoon?

I really am sorry, because I don’t want to be so negative, but Now You See Me is a joke. A stupid, not-funny, fifteen-dollar-a-ticket joke. If you’re on an airplane flying across the country, and the in-flight entertainment system has this movie available to stream, do yourself a favor, just take a nap instead, or just sit up straight and stare at the back of the seat in front of you for two hours or so. Yeah, it might be a little boring, but at least it won’t be as incredibly disappointing.

A bunch of movie reviews

I really don’t like Forrest Gump. I think it’s such a cheap trick, making basically this giant nostalgia video montage of pop culture and Americana. Look everybody, it’s the sixties! And now over here, it’s the seventies! And the eighties! Remember that? Remember the Beatles? Yeah? Remember Vietnam?

I didn’t lake Saving Private Ryan either. Come on. And then what, he’s an old man at the end? Like the whole thing was a dream? Please. How do I know that it ever really happened? Old people have notoriously bad memories. You don’t think that he didn’t spice it up over the years for dramatic effect? I do stuff like that all the time. I think about something that happened to me two years ago, and then I’ll think of it again, and I’ll be bored. It’s like watching the same episode of TV over and over again. So I add new stuff. That’s what’s going on in Saving Private Ryan. Or he could have been crazy.

I hated Toy Story. What kind of a parent gets their kid some lame-o cowboy action figure? When I was a little kid, it was WWF action figures, or Ghostbusters action figures, or superheroes. Not just some generic cowboy. And then you pull that rope and he’s like “Yee-haw!” right? What kind of a name is Woody? At least Buzz Lightyear had some sort of a back story, a cool marketing trick that made me believe kids would actually want to own one. But a cowboy? I already said it. Lame.

You know which other three hours of my life I’ll never get back? That time I went to see Castaway. Honestly, I thought the volleyball was the best part of that whole movie. It was definitely the best actor. You could actually see the pain on its face as it was forced to endure all of those mind numbingly boring years stranded on the island. It got to the point where the ball finally killed itself, drifted off to the sea, just to get away from that wacko. I actually would have much preferred a movie with just the volleyball, sitting there, no other actors, no dialogue, nothing. That would have been better than Castaway.

Hold on. I just started thinking about Apollo 13 and I had to suppress the vomit sensation growing in the back of my mouth. It’s just lazy, you’re going to make a movie about space, about space travel, about the moon, and you pick the one mission where they screw it up so badly they don’t even get to land. What’s next, a movie about the Challenger explosion? Way to applaud failure. It’s like that whole film should have been condensed to a blooper reel that played at the end of a real movie about a space flight that actually succeeded. And why go historical? What’s wrong with sci-fi? I probably would’ve much rather just seen another Star Trek movie. Is it too late to call up the movie theater and demand a refund?

You ever see that movie Big? Do me a favor. Do yourself a favor. If you haven’t seen it, don’t. It’s two hours of a grown man acting like he’s a little kid. Talk about boring. It’s just encouraging everyone to act like an idiot. They should make movies about little kids that act like adults. That way there’s no screaming or crying or throwing temper tantrums or being spoiled little babies. And we should force our children to watch this movie, so they learn how to behave.

The other day I was channel surfing, and this one channel was playing Splash. Mermaid movies? Give me a break. So I flipped the channel. The Money Pit. Fantastic. Let’s watch some stupid married couple bicker over home-improvement projects gone bad. Flipped the channel again. I didn’t even wait for the image to pop up. The cable box told me it was some movie called Joe vs. the Volcano. Nice try cable TV. Trying to get me to watch the unwatchable.

I thought, forget it, I’ll just watch a sitcom, something classic, a sure thing. I turned on one of those repeat channels and Taxi was on. Perfect. The episode had some larger story, but this one scene revolved around Jim, the coked out bum that … well, did that guy drive taxis? That seems a little dangerous. Anyway, they did a flashback to his college days, how he was really smart, a genius, but then some idiot roommate made him eat a pot brownie and he instantly turned into a junkie. It was the worst. Not the story, but the actor, the nobody that they got to play the roommate. What a terrible casting decision. I know it was only a one minute role, if that, but come on, have some respect for the show. That no talent hack ruined an otherwise great episode.