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Tag Archive: Jessica Biel


Magic trick Now You See Me

It must be hard to portray the art of being a magician on the big screen.  The latest effort is The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk, and Clash of the Titans’ director Louis Leterrier’s Now You See Me previewed earlier at borg.com here.  It has much to offer by way of entertainment, the best reward being the cast, which manages to nail that very Las Vegas magic act schtick of “showmanship” that you only see in a good magic act.  But can you give a theatrical audience a convincing magic show–actually trick us and surprise us in the same way someone like David Copperfield can make the Statue of Liberty disappear right in front of you, or how Teller distracts as Penn causes the very thing you’re staring at to disappear right before you?

Apparently you can’t do that in the movies–or at least no one has dazzled us in that way yet.  But you can at least give us a good show letting us see different styles in which magicians practice their art.

Magic Act Now You See Me

Two recent contenders for the top of the “movies about magicians and magic” list are not at risk of leaving the top because of Now You See Me.  The Illusionist, starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, Rufus Sewell, Eddie Marsan, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and The Prestige, starring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, and Scarlett Johansson released opposite each other in 2006, take on the same themes.  But if you’re deciding between the two we think The Illusionist, from director Neil Burger (Limitless, Divergent) is the better film, over the very typically over-the-top effort by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Man of Steel, Inception) in The Prestige.  It’s the payoff of Now You See Me that doesn’t quite cut it, despite some fun theatrics along the way.

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Total Recall Farrell

By Elizabeth C. Bunce

The 2012 remake of Total Recall was one of our most hotly-anticipated films.  Somehow we missed it in the theater, and our first efforts to catch it on video ought to have told us something (two broken Blu-Rays, an extra-long wait for a Netflix copy, and part of the audience dozing off during the initial screening).  It all seemed so promising–proven material, a top-notch cast (Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, and Kate Beckinsale in her signature running-and-jumping role), and some pretty cool teasers at Comic-Con.  What could go wrong?

Total Recall trip to Australia

Well, as it turns out, everything.  Gloomy set design and glacial pacing dragged down the first act, and while the action sequences are acceptable genre fare, the movie just doesn’t have any zip to it.  The actors seem bored with the material, and the story (which owes more to the Bourne franchise than to Philip K. Dick’s classic short piece “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale”) suffers from utterly uninteresting gimmicks and a preposterous premise.  The villain has one of the least credible goals I can remember seeing in movie (kill everyone in Australia and replace them with robots, and I am not making that up).  But most baffling of all is the filmmakers’ decision to abandon the Recall plot device almost from the get-go.  There is none of the mind-bending “is it real, or is it Recall?” mystery played up so well in the 1990 version starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone, let alone Dick’s bizarre original story.  Why call this film Total Recall at all?  Because they couldn’t get the rights for The Bourne Future?

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In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, the character Maxwell Scott says the memorable line “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”  No director could be called larger than life and legendary more so than Alfred Hitchcock.  Not only a famous director but a well known unique personality with a bloodhound face like Droopy and a slow drawl that was unmistakeable, Hitch has become the subject of a new film starring Oscar winning actor Anthony Hopkins in the title role.  Hitchcock covers the days surrounding the development of his blockbuster, violent horror flick Psycho during 1959 and the romantic relationship between Hitch and his wife Alma, played by Oscar winning actress Helen Mirren.  Whether the producers of the new biopic have an accurate and historical portrayal of the film icon or not, hopefully they get his over-the-top personality right.  The new trailer seems to reflect that may be the case.

The film has an interesting all-star cast with several actors we haven’t seen in a while, co-starring Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers, Iron Man II, The Island, The Prestige) as Janet Leigh–star of Psycho, Jessica Biel (Total Recall, Stealth, Next) as Vera Miles–Leigh’s sister in the film, Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense) as Peggy Robertson–Hitchcock’s production assistant, James d’Arcy (Master and Commander) as the psycho himself, Anthony Perkins, and long-time-no-see Ralph Macchio (My Cousin Vinny, The Outsiders, The Karate Kid, Psych) as Joe Stefano, the screenplay writer for Psycho.

Check out the first trailer released for Hitchcock:

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I’ve got to admit, I can’t get enough of movies based on the works of Philip K. Dick.  And even though I can’t imagine anyone playing Cohaagen better than the great sci-fi character actor Ronny Cox (Robocop, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stargate, Medium), I am sure Bryan Cranston (The Flash, X-Files, Breaking Bad, John Carter) will do nicely.  I’m talking about Total Recall–the new adaptation of Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” originally adapted 22 years ago into the 1990 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger at the peak of his acting career, which became a sci-fi classic.  Since last year when we saw the Columbia Pictures display across the street from the San Diego Comic-Con, revealing one of the future cops and police vehicles, we’ve been eagerly looking forward to this film.

Columbia just released a teaser for a trailer coming this Sunday.  That’s right–a teaser for a teaser.  Check it out:

You can also find some early marketing at the official Total Recall website.

Colin Farrell (Minority Report, Phone Booth, Daredevil), Kate Beckinsale (Underworld, Much Ado About Nothing), Jessica Biel (Stealth, Next), Bill Nighy (Shaun of the Dead, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Underworld, Pirates of the Caribbean), Ethan Hawke (Gattaca), John Cho (Star Trek)–that’s a pretty good cast with something for everyone.  And consistent with past envisioning of Dick’s future Earth, this teaser looks a good deal like the art design is similar to that used in Minority Report, which also featured Colin Farrell.  Still, at 30 seconds this one truly is a teaser in the truest sense of the word.

So we can look forward to even more this Sunday!  But the release date?  August 3, 2012.  Ugh!!  Enough teasing already.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com