Showing posts with label Now You See Me. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Now You See Me. Show all posts

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Great Henley Reeves!

It's not often that I brag about a fictional magician, but in this case I have to brag about the portrayal of Henley Reeves by Isla Fisher in the movie Now You See Me. I should begin by stating that I have some issues when it comes to female magicians. I also have issues with kid show magicians and illusionists and escape artists and comedy magicians. It's probably more a matter of taste for me, what I like and don't like.

Alana Moehlemann
My number one favorite female magician working today is Alana Moehlemann. Alana is a real artist who does a fantastic job with her magic. When she performs the magic looks 100% natural for her and totally believable not to mention incredibly original. That is not always the case with some magicians, both male and female.

Another female magician I like is Angela Funovits. She also looks 100% natural and believable and it's a joy to watch her perform. I'm pretty sure Angela is also a genius because she just became a Doctor, as well as a fashion model, photographer and who knows what else. Everything she does, she does exceptionally well.

But there are some female magicians who I just don't connect with. And please don't think it's because I dislike female magicians, that is not the case. I wish there were a whole lot more and I'm encouraged to see more and more women getting into magic and establishing themselves as true artists in the field. But to me some people 'get it' and some people 'don't get it' no matter how hard they try. One of the things that bothers me are the performers who 'overdo the sexy' aspect. This goes just as much for women who are assistants as those who are the magicians. Sexy is ok, dressing like a pornstar is not.  It's not just female magicians either. Comedy magicians drive me insane because many don't get it. Many of the comedy magicians I've seen ruin the magic by exposing it for a cheap laugh. But then you see a Michael Finney, John Archer, Nick Lewin, Mac King and/or Kyle Eschen and you say, WOW now THEY GET IT! They do strong magic, totally believable and are exceptionally entertaining.

When I saw the movie Now You See Me, I did not think for one second that Henley Reeves was a 'magician's assistant'. She struck me as the archetype for female magicians. Her character was confident, in control, engaging, smart and totally believable. Isla Fisher played her perfectly. And she apparently had a pretty good coach. She studied with a real professional female magician Dorothy Dietrich. I was not aware of this when I saw the movie. But I'm certain that studying with someone who has done magic and escapes for a living made all the difference in her portrayal, as frankly, the most magical of the four magicians in the movie. According to Isla, she also studied all the video footage available on Houdini.

I can't help but wonder if there might be a Now You See Me 2 down the road.  IF there is a NYSM2, I hope Henley gets a bigger part in the movie!!! She is awesome. I can tell you that the first time I saw the movie, I went with a buddy of mine and we thought we were in the wrong theatre because it was us and 90 females! And thankfully they stayed for the whole movie and really enjoyed it. Now they might have been there for the young male stars in the movie, but I can't help think they got a charge out of Isla Fisher's role as Henley. And perhaps, Henley will inspire a new generation of females to explore the world of magic in the same way that magic movies and TV specials inspired so many of us!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Now You See Me - Review

I finally got to see the movie NOW YOU SEE ME today. I think in a previous blog I mentioned it looked like it had potential from watching the trailer. Well, I'm happy to say that it more than delivers.

The movie has quite a cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Michale Caine, Morgan Freeman, Dave Franco, Melanie Laurent, and the drop dead beautiful Isla Fisher. I frankly could have watched the movie with ONLY Isla Fisher and I would have been happy, but that's just me. The story is basically about a group of magicians who are known as the Four Horsemen, who put on a show together and the big trick is robbing a bank in the middle of the show and giving all the money to the audience. That is the premise, but the story is much more involved and there are twists and turns and pieces of misdirection that are worthy of the best magic show. In fact, the opening scene is a magic effect not only in the movie but it also is subtly done to the theater audience, brilliant!

My thoughts on the movie after it was over was that the must have scene David Copperfield's PORTAL Illusion and created this elaborate story around that trick. David is one of the consultant's on the movie, as well as Keith Barry and Jonathon Levit and Dan and Dave Buck. The magic in the movie is exceptionally well executed and frankly inspiring.

One thing I found interesting is the connection to magic that many of the stars have. Jesse Eisenberg is from NJ and his earliest exposure to magic was from a very popular NJ kidshow magician named Bruce Bray. I knew Bruce, he was a great guy and sadly he passed away not long ago from complications due to an accident.  Mark Ruffalo actually co-starred as Theo Hardeen in the TNT HOUDINI movie that came out a few years back with Jonathan Schech in the lead role. Michael Caine of course was in The Prestige and another movie called Is Anybody There in which he plays a retired magician. Then there is Dan Franco, who is the brother of James Franco, better known now as the Wizard from The Great & Powerful OZ. That's as close of a connection as I could put together for Dan Franco, but he does do a great job in the movie. I'm not really sure what the others stars connections to magic are, but I can say that Woody Harrelson and Isla Fisher both did pretty decent tricks on TV Talk Shows promoting the movie.

Now I have to tell you about the strangest thing that happened when I saw this movie today. I walked into the theatre with a buddy of mine, a fellow entertainer. As we sat down we noticed the theatre was fairly packed, pretty unique for a weekday showing. But the odd thing was that the movie was packed with all women. We actually thought that we might have gone into the wrong theatre, so I got up and walked out to make sure we were indeed in the correct theatre. We were. So next we figured THEY were all in the wrong theatre and the moment the movie started there would be a grand exodus. But that didn't happen. My conclusion, "chicks love magic!" That was the line I said to my buddy who cracked up. They were probably there for the young stars like Franco and Eisenberg, but still, they were there and the movie was so well done that it was clear everyone enjoyed it.

As a magician I would encourage you to see this movie because there are moments in the movie that are frankly inspiring. The water torture cell by Isla Fisher is superb. The way the magic show is shot in the round with big video screens around the theatre is honestly, something we should all look into.
Five out of five stars for me!