Posts Tagged ‘ Morgan Freeman ’

Now You See Me

Now You See Me
Release date: May 31, 2013
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Common, David Warshofsky

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t. This line had to fit somewhere. (I missed the start, so I give them the benefit of doubt.)
Forget that you ever read those two lines.

The summer film is a semi-thriller-cum-whodunit with the exception of the actual murder. A group of four performers: Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) and Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) are assembled by an anonymous benefactor, claiming to be a member of the mystical lineage of The Eye. They find a rich sponsor in the form of insurance magnate Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) who pits them as the next big thing in the world of magic.

After they manage to perform a heist on camera, also going against the conventions of the trade. FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) is assigned to be the lead investigator along with Interpol Agent Alma Vargas (Mélanie Laurent) on the whole magic fiasco. Agent Vargas is intrigued by the history aspect of their tricks and does her research 24 x 7. Literally. Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) is a retired magician who makes money by exposing other magicians’ tricks on his TV show. Rhodes and Bradley try tracing the self proclaimed Four Horsemen’s steps.

The characters that are on the run aren’t given much footage, neither their reasons are well-established, except for a few confessions about not knowing what could happen next. The major focus is on the interpretation of their techniques by the people trying to nail them down. Jesse Eisenberg  does his usual fast-talking shtick which very much fits in with the arrogant air around his persona. Isla Fisher plays up the eye-candy quotient with spunk. The tricks and script devices are pretty slick and you are gripped until the intermission.

Mark Ruffalo is tenacious on the job, while Mélanie Laurent has the French accent and all the um, Omelette Du Fromage wonder to her character. The climax is laced with hiccups, it leaves with some questions unanswered and the rest overtly answered. Safe to say, the film disintegrates after the halfway mark. But the disintegration isn’t particularly jarring. The film leaves you half an ounce smarter about a few more magic tricks too!

My review: *** (3 stars out of 5)

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises
Release date: July 20, 2012
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine

Before I get to the actual reviewing part, I make a promise to not dole out any spoilers and ask you to resist clicking even on the Wikipedia page of this movie. I am also going to stay away from the usage of any fanboy terms like: ‘epic’, ‘awesome’ or (in rare cases) ‘godlike’.

Christopher Nolan has given us two of the most absorbing Batman storylines, perhaps in decades. Does the third installment have the same impact? You will not be blown away with flying explosions with painful 3D. As this is a conclusion of the three-part series, we get a final showdown of elements that have played out their roles in the earlier parts.

Harvey Dent, Gotham’s fallen hero-cum-villain in disguise has made way for stringent laws & a much lower crime rate under the order of Police Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is much older, as 8 years have rolled by and he’s a weaker Batman now. Gordon & Wayne are the only ones who know about who the real savior of Gotham was but they still manage to keep it a secret.

Bane (Tom Hardy) has his intentions of overthrowing the existential Western Civilization and create a new one, that puts the oppressed and the poor in power and lead a lawless land. Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) is a non-whip carrying Catwoman, much to my displeasure. With an unclear intent of getting a ‘clean’ ID, Kyle strikes a deal to get some fingerprints and burgles her way out. Marion Cotillard plays Miranda Tate, trying to get Wayne back into his much glorified past avatar. That of a swashbuckling, suave and philanthropic   billionaire.

Bonus poster

Bonus poster! I couldn’t stop myself from adding this.

The tale is of an incapacitated and weakened Batman trying to fight his fears and salvage Gotham’s dilapidating integrity and serenity. Nolan digs into the insecurities of a megalomaniac and secret identities. But along with that, there is a stronger struggle of separate forces that fail to make you connect with the characters’ problems. Surely, the production design and the costumes are brilliantly done. There are a few inconsistencies in the plot which I won’t point out in particular because that would just add up to being a spoiler. But the back-up Batman suit is purely ridiculous.

Apparently, Nolan has taken a liking to Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as they appear in his two consecutive ventures, i.e. Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. They justify that liking with fine performances. At the end, The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t cut through the skin of this viewer although it is entertaining and builds a riveting climax. It is the individual struggles that don’t quite blend in perfectly with the collective plot.

The Dark Knight Rises has the right twists and turns in the story which could possibly elevate it into a superleague of successful third movies from a franchise. It isn’t as magnificent as it was expected to be.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5) 

%d bloggers like this: