Now You See Me

"Come in close, because the more you think you see, the easier it'll be to fool you."

Happy New Year everyone! I thought I would start off the new year just as I spent the last year. By venting spleen into the internet, spewing a white hot spigot of hatred into the aether, about a movie that was indisputably a steaming pile of horseshit. To that end, I picked a movie to watch that I couldn't even imagine liking in any way, and I was not disappointed. What movie am I talking about? Now You See Me of course, a movie that from the previews I'd seen in theaters looked like the hokiest thing ever, as much as it was trying to act like it was going to be cool and clever. Now You See Me stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco as four magicians/illusionists who are brought together by a mysterious benefactor in order to pull off a series of large magic shows/bank heists. They are pursued by Mark Ruffalo (whose secret is that he's always angry), who is an FBI agent, and Melanie Laurent (who killed a theater full of Nazis in Inglorious Basterds) who is an Interpol agent assigned to the case. The two are caught in a web of stupid deception and dumb set piece ruses, that would likely only trick a very dumb person, or say an audience that only gets information the movie wants to give them.

So the four horsemen as they are called (and that in itself is a whole new level of lame) put on big flashy magic shows, and make it look like they are using teleportation or something else wacky to explain what they're doing, but then the movie later goes back to explain the way they actually did it, that as a movie watcher you couldn't possibly know because how would you, you have no choice but to watch the stupid movie. This is basically the pattern that the movie follows, leading you along down a path through the contrived and uninteresting plot, with lots of flashy effects, car chases, ridiculous escape scenes, and other generally disinteresting shit. Everything about the movie is pre-eminently contrived, giving us a perfect idea of what a clever movie looks like when it only THINKS it's clever. I understand that the objective here was to create a like, slick looking, smart and fast paced film that keeps the audience engaged with its mystery, but this movie isn't nearly smart enough to pull it off.This movie is notable because the critics are divided over it, which I found really interesting because I don't understand what redeeming qualities you could honestly find in it.

I don't know what she's smiling about.
Some of the reviews I read described the dialogue as witty, and the cast as being talented. Only one of those things is true, and there is no attempt to capitalize on it. The dialogue is flat and unbelievable, and the writing in general is just not good. The cast IS full of 1st String talent, but the movie is so impersonal and has SO many characters that none of the actors really has much of a chance to come into their own, and even Mark Ruffalo, who I think is great and who DOES get a lot of air time, is cast as a pre-eminently unlikable jackass who is constantly chasing his own tail (until the lame cheapshot conclusion). Jesse Eisenberg is a fast talking megalomaniacal asshole, who I think is supposed to seem witty and charming but just seems like a mean spirited dickbag. Woody Harrelson is also a creepy sexual harassment machine. Actually virtually everyone who gets within 30 feet of Isla Fisher devotes themselves to sexually harassing her, and even if the rest of the movie were good I would have been seriously offended just by that to be perfectly honest. I can't help but feel like the less than subtle sexism in this movie is the screenwriter's own idea of how women should be treated.

Someone else remarked that it was not weighed down by over the top and overdone special effects, or overzealous background music, and I am 100% positive that they must have been watching a totally different movie, because the movie was almost exclusively nothing BUT those things. I honestly have no idea why half of the special effects even happened, aside from the desired sense of scale and MINDFREAK MAGIC. Also the background music is fairly hammy and invasive. Not as much as the cheeseball plot, but still enough to be irritating. All that aside, even people who gave this movie a good review can't deny that the ending was nonsensical, cheap, and just generally plain stupid. I honestly don't know how a movie has a shit ending and you can still call it "one of the best movies this year" with a straight face. That seems like a pretty wishy-washy act to me. So let me clear it up. MARK RUFFALO IS THE MASTERMIND ALL ALONG, THIS MOVIE SUCKED ASS.

That's it for today! Join me next week, when hopefully I will have seen... 47 Ronin.

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