Now You See Me
For an actor, a role that requires him or her to learn a few sleight-of-hand tricks is probably enticement enough to take a role as a magician; it's fun, it's showy, and it's something to replicate at a party. But the four leads of Now You See Me — Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco — get to learn cool illusions AND use those skills as vigilantes helping to make victims of the 2008 financial crisis whole again. What performer could resist a pitch like that?
Now You See Me revolves around The Four Horsemen, as the magicians are known, taking direction from the mysterious, anonymous benefactor who brought them together. Mark Ruffalo plays the FBI agent tasked to investigate them when one of their illusions turns out to involve theft of cash from a very real French bank; Mélanie Laurent is the French cop who joins him. The two have an enjoyable mood-mismatch chemistry, but the illusionists are obviously the real stars: Franco holds his own among the Oscar nominees and winners, and Eisenberg has maybe never talked faster than he does here. It's fun if you don't subject it to too much scrutiny — and a sequel is coming, so you might as well see how the story begins.
New and Notable
Suburgatory’s Jane Levy stars in this remake of the Sam Raimi cult classic.
Michael Shannon plays a hit man in the story of a real Gambino crime-family assassin.
From Up on Poppy Hill
Hayao Miyazaki's son Goro's second feature takes place during the preparation for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and features the voice talents of Jamie Lee Curtis and Christina Hendricks.
The Lords of Salem
Rob Zombie directed his wife in this film about ghosts from Salem, Massachusetts, coming back to get revenge on the living.
No One Lives
This story of hostages fighting back against their kidnappers may be the first collaboration between Pathé and the WWE.
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Themes of the Week
Option A: Hispanic Heritage
To mark Hispanic Heritage Month, we get a collection of films with or about people of Spanish descent, including Love in the Time of Cholera, Frida, The Motorcycle Diaries, Buena Vista Social Club, The Sea Inside, Like Water for Chocolate, Before Night Falls, Under the Moon, Our Family Wedding, Sin Nombre, Duck Season, Pan's Labyrinth, The Perez Family (which famously featured the very white Anjelica Huston and Marisa Tomei in lead roles), and my sentimental favorite, Selena.
Option B: Football Frenzy
In honor of the return of the NFL, here's a package of football-themed movies including Friday Night Lights, the original The Longest Yard, The Express, Leatherheads, We Are Marshall, The Blind Side, Any Given Sunday, Varsity Blues, and Remember the Titans — which may not be the best of the bunch, but is notable for featuring VERY young Hayden Panettiere, Donald Faison, and Ryan Gosling.
Early VOD Release
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
A party at a remote ranch house goes awry when a killer shows up. Killers ruin everything!
Weird Indie of the Week
For some reason, someone cast Colin Firth and Emily Blunt in this movie and made them both pretend to be American. (It's something about a guy who fakes his death and a girl on the run from whatever.)