Now You See Me (1 & 2)
NOW YOU SEE ME (12)
D: Louis Leterrier
Summit (Bobby Cohen, Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci)
W: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt
DP: Mitchell Amundsen & Larry Wong
Ed: Robert Leighton & Vincent Tabaillon
Mus: Brian Tyler
Jesse Eisenberg (Danny Atlas), Woody Harrelson (Merritt McKinney), Isla Fisher (Henley Reeves), Dave Franco (Jack Wilder), Mark Ruffalo (Dylan Rhodes-Shrike), Melanie Laurent (Alma Dray), Morgan Freeman (Thaddeus Bradley), Michael Caine (Arthur Tressler)
A quartet of illusionists, known as The Four Horsemen, use their tricks to commit theft and heists, all masterminded by a higher power who will reward them with entry into an elite magicians club if they succeed.
The film uses lots of flashy photography and editing effects, but the story relies on the concept that magic tricks are real, even going full-on Inception (qv) for some scenes as it attempts to convince the audience that hypnotism can be achieved by simple snap of the fingers.
The suspension of disbelief could be upheld however, if it weren't for an incredulous ending, complete with a plot twist which truly is God from the machine. Enjoyable enough if you accept that the film's writer and director are actually mocking your intellect with this nonsense.
NOW YOU SEE ME 2 (12)
D: Jon M. Chu
Summit (Alex Kurtzman & Bobby Cohen)
W: Ed Solomon & Peter Chiarelli [based on characters created by Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt]
DP: Peter Deming
Ed: Stan Salfas
Mus: Brian Tyler
Jesse Eisenberg (Daniel Atlas), Mark Ruffalo (Dylan Rhodes), Woody Harrelson (Merritt McKinley / Chase McKinley), Dave Franco (Dave Franco), Lizzy Caplan (Lula May), Daniel Radliffe (Walter Mabry), Jay Chou (Li), Michael Caine (Arthur Tressler), Morgan Freeman (Thaddeus Bradley)
Now You Don't would have been the perfect title if the filmmakers had any intellect, but unfortunately they went for the simple cash grab route and insult the intelligence of their audience once again...
Following the events of the first film, The Four Horsemen are in hiding and one has quit the group altogether (Isla Fisher replaced by Lizzy Caplan), but it doesn't make one iota of difference.
The illuminati group who seemingly control them need them to take the stage once again to unveil an unscrupulous playboy through the use of magic, but their act is sabotaged by a tech wizard who needs them for his own heist.
The first film was far fetched to say the least, but the laws of physics are completely ignored in this sequel, only to lay bare its twists with the simple explanation of "magic".
The performances are slightly more convincing than the tricks, but the majority are simply annoying, particularly Woody Harrelson (playing a dual role for very little reason), while the rest just seem to be in it for the money.