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Monday, September 22, 2014

NOW YOU SEE ME (2013)

Misplaced your VHS tape of THE USUAL SUSPECTS/’95? In denial about a possible OCEANS 14 sequel? Well, you’re in luck. This con-game caper about a gang of magicians who pull off a triple-cross bank job they don’t fully understand might just tide you over. Or will as long as you don’t care about plot, logic, plausibility, character continuity or the satisfaction of seeing things add up even as you’re being bluffed. Magic is notoriously tough on film; even worse with CGI on call. No doubt, that’s why Louis Leterrier megs with so much swooping obfuscation, covering everything up like brown gravy on a blue-plate special. But just as this denies us the homely pleasures of watching a trick neatly accomplished, so too his narrative becomes all flash & dash with no one making the faintest attempt to connect the dots. We’re not being tricked; we’re being dissed. Maybe it would matter less if the cast made more of a connection with each other, but they’re hardly introduced. Poor Isla Fisher, one of the four main magicians, pouts with less to do than her comrades. ‘Heck, even that faceless Franco kid gets his own sidebar sequence.’ (Actual quote.) Head detective Mark Ruffalo is either sporting heavy stubble or working up a beard, anything to keep that French/Interpol gal at bay. Maybe Jesse Eisenberg has the best idea. Talk fast and try for the world’s record in snarky smirks. Wait . . . wait for it . . . He wins!!

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: If you’ve never seen them, USUAL SUSPECTS or the OCEANS 11 remake of 2001, as mentioned above, are fun to watch . . . once.

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