Seeking out the

5000 greatest films

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Now You See Me

Directed by Louis Leterrier
Produced by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Bobby Cohen
Screenplay by Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, and Edward Ricourt Story by Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt
With: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Michael Kelly, Common, Conan O'Brien, José Garcia, and Elias Koteas
Cinematography: Mitchell Amundsen and Larry Fong
Editing: Robert Leighton and Vincent Tabaillon
Music: Brian Tyler
Runtime: 115 min
Release Date: 31 May 2013
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Color: Color

What a waste of a fun premise! Now You See Me is a summer movie in the grand tradition of overblown big-budget heist/caper pictures like The Italian Job, Oceans 11, Sneakers, Inside Man, Tower Heist and countless others. The high-concept twist of this picture is that it is about four elite magicians who pull off elaborate crimes in front of a live audience! But director Louis Leterrier (the man at the helm of the recent remakes of The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans) shoots the film at a breakneck pace that never slows down to let the audience catch its breath--which is essential to enjoying any kind of ride. The script by a threesome that includes Ed Soloman (writer of Men in Black, Charlie's Angels, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) is a half-baked mess of cliché dialogue and empty-headed plot twists.

Of course movies like this don’t need to be masterpieces, they just need to be exciting, funny and a little surprising. They are always over-crammed with big stars playing one-note characters, but we are supposed to get several memorable scenes in which these famous actors play their one note in a virtuosic way that only they can perfectly execute. I guess producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci forgot to mention that to the team they were overseeing--perhaps they were too busy with their myriad other major projects like writing Transformers, Cowboys & Aliens, Watchmen, Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. Now You See Me isn’t even as good as any of those sub-par pictures and it so easily could have been.  This is a very difficult genre to do badly but these folks certainly have pulled it off.