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Now You See Me 1 & 2

Pick a film any film and hopefully it will make your boredom disappear.

In 2013 director Louis Letterier brought the world of cinema a heist film with a difference. A quartet of up and coming magicians known as “The Four Horsemen” pull off daring robberies before the eyes of their audiences in true Robin Hood style, stealing from corrupt businessmen and giving back to the people they have hurt. An interesting premise that delivered on screen thanks to captivating visual effects and a host of great actors.

The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson and Isla Fisher as the outlaw illusionists. Each of them manages to bring out the characters’ individual quirks creating a team you’ll be rooting for all the way. From the eccentric hypnotist “Merrit McKiney” (Harrelson) to the arrogant, self-appointed leader “Daniel Atlas” (Eisenberg, best known for his portrayal of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the 2010 film “The Social Network” seems to have a knack for playing, as his character describes himself “the smartest guy in the room”) .

Yet the highlight performances aren’t conjured up by The Horsemen themselves but by the supporting cast.  “Bruce Banner/The Hulk” himself, Mark Ruffalo plays the FBI agent assigned to stop the magical thieves. British actor Michael Cain is enjoyable as the dishonest insurance magnate who becomes the target of the magician’s charitable crusade. However, it is the living legend of the screen Morgan Freeman who ultimately steals the show as the magic debunker hoping to uncover the Horsemen’s secrets before the authorities (with many long winded explanations given in his famous voice).

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A sequel, this time directed by Jon M Chu, hit cinemas in July 2016 with many of the original cast reprising their roles (with the exception of Fisher who’s spot as the funny feminine touch is filled by Lizzy Caplan). Fans were undoubtedly excited to learn that a man more than familiar with worlds filled with magic would be appearing in this film. Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe plays a narcissistic computer genius hoping to use the magicians’ talents to his own ends. I will admit that on some level I thought it would be odd to see the actor who was everyone’s favourite boy wizard for over a decade take on the role of a despicable villain. But having followed Radcliffe’s career since he left Hogwarts; from “The Woman in Black” to both seasons of “A Young Doctor’s Notebook” I was confident that he would not disappoint and he indeed ends up owning his major scenes.

All and all while the sequel may not quite reach that golden goose of cinema where it surpasses the original (The Dark Knight, Terminator 2 Judgement Day) it in no way falls into the unfortunately overcrowded category of mediocre follow-ups (way too many to give a few examples).

I have a soft spot for any movie centred on magicians, being a long time follower of the art of magic (even if my own talents never stretched beyond a few card tricks to impress the lunch table) and these movies each deliver a 2 hour magic show with stylish visuals and heist caper excitement wrapped up with multiple plots twists that make for an enjoyable evening of film. If you cannot make it to the cinema I would recommend binge watching the 2 films in one evening once they are released as a DVD set.