Now You See Me 2

Posted on June 9, 2016 at 5:40 pm

now-you-see-me-2The first “Now You See Me” was a deliciously entertaining heist film with “the Four Horsemen,” a team of magicians, engaged in a diabolically clever combination of misdirection and triple-cons for the purpose of revenge, Robin Hood reparations, and showmanship. We know what that means for part 2 — the Empire strikes back, and it is a popcorn pleasure. The Horsemen stole from billionaire Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) and framed the magician turned debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) so he ended up in prison.

At the end of the last film, the surprise twist revealed FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) as the brains behind the operation. As this one opens, the FBI, with Deputy Director Natalie Austin (Sanaa Lathan) in charge, does not know and thinks Rhodes is still looking for three of the Horsemen. They believe Jack Wilder, played by Dave Franco, was killed. They’re wrong about both. Rhodes is working with the Horsemen, including Wilder. But there is a new member of the group: Lula (Lizzy Caplan, replacing Isla Fisher). And they immediately run into a snag involving someone who knows a bit about magic in the movies: Daniel Radcliffe as Walter Mabry, a mysterious, mega-wealthy guy who wants the Horsemen to steal something for him. It’s the usual MacGuffin — some sort of computer thing that would give him access to everything/control of everything blah blah, and it’s locked away in a place with the kind of crazy security reserved for heist movies. All the world’s biggest, richest baddies are after it, and so the Horsemen have to find a way to get in there before one of them gets it.

The first movie had sensational performance showpieces. This one is more “Mission: Impossible” (the television series, not the Tom Cruise movies) until the final scene. But it keeps the sly twists coming, using all the magicians’ favorite ruses, from misdirection to an almost-balletic slight of hand. Just like “The Avengers,” it is a lot of fun to see each of the Horsemen use their skills — mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), lock wizard Wilder, card master Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg). We learned in the first film that McKinney’s brother stole all his money and disappeared; it turns out he was an identical twin brother, and he shows up, played by Harrelson with hair that looks like that awful perm Mike Brady had in the last season of “The Brady Bunch.”

It has all the twists and reveals and surprises we were hoping for, including one saucy switch that is not about magic, just social conventions that have not caught up to reality, some very old school means of communication, and a touch of movie magic in giving us a glimpse of one character’s past with some CGI that looks a little more realistic than the “work” that has ruined so many Hollywood faces. Director Jon M. Chu (the “Step Up” movies) has a superb sense of space and movement, giving the story exuberance and flair. It’s a fitting encore and I hope we will see them all again in part 3.

Parents should know that this film includes some strong language, and some action-style peril and violence.

Family discussion: Would you want to be selected by The Eye? Which magic trick would you like to be able to master?

If you like this, try: the original film and “The Sting”

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Crime Series/Sequel

Movies This Month: June 2016

Posted on June 1, 2016 at 8:00 am

Happy June! Lots to celebrate — Father’s Day, graduations, the end of the school year, and summer movies! Here’s some of what we have to look forward to this month:

June 3

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” The heroes on a half shell take on Shredder and Tyler Perry as a mad scientist.

“Me Before You” The best-selling book by JoJo Moyes is about a cheerful young woman who gets a job as a caretaker for a man who was paralyzed in an accident.

“Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” Andy Samberg, whose musical spoofs with Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone were a highlight of his time at SNL, joins forces with them again along with SNL alums Maya Rudolph and Tim Meadows in this story of a rapper in a slump.

June 10

“Now You See Me 2” Daniel Radcliffe and Lizzy Caplan join the cast in this sequel to the hit heist film about the magicians. More twists this time, including a dual role for Woody Harrelson.

June 17

“Central Intelligence” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart star in this action comedy about a CIA agent to gets help from a high school friend.

“Finding Dory” Nemo and his dad have to help their memory-impaired friend find her family.

June 24

“Independence Day: Resurgance” It’s been 20 years since Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum uploaded that virus to the aliens. Now the aliens are back and so are many from the original cast including Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, and Bill Pullman.

“Free State of Jones” Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Keri Russell star in this fact-based historical drama about a pre-Civil War integrated community that rebelled against the Confederacy.

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Opening This Month

Magic and Puzzles from “Now You See Me 2”

Posted on May 23, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Copyright Lionsgate 2016
Copyright Lionsgate 2016


Now live! #LookCloser encourages fans to reveal riddles & clues planted in the film’s promo materials, under the guise that The Eye (the film’s magical secret society) has put them there to test & recruit new members. For example, look closely at the posters, trailers and social posts already released to reveal hidden clues. Each clue solved and entered on the site, found here, unlocks payoff content (cast shout-outs, 360 BTS footage, etc.) and (1) entry for a sweepstakes to win a grand prize of a BMW F800R motorcycle, like the one seen in the film.


Features include:
AR “Magic Money” – Use the app to scan any $1, $5, $20 or $100 bill, then make it float, transform and multiply in your hands
AR “The Mind Reading Sugar Packet” – Watch as a friend’s favorite number magically forms & floats in the air, out of any regular sugar packet
Learn to flick & catch playing cards like a pro (Step-by-step Tutorial)
Predict a card that your friend chooses from a shuffled deck of cards (Step-by-step Tutorial)
3-Card Monte Game: See how long you can keep track of the queen
Access to the online scavenger hunt


Some of the interactive illusion features include:
An animated funhouse mirror effect for the character posters
The rain scene in London as seen in the trailer, complete with thousands of 3D droplets that stop falling, then “fall up,” all with real-time reflection effects

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Not specified

Win a Fabulous “Now You See Me 2” Prize Package: DVD, Cards, Poster, Tickets!!

Posted on May 21, 2016 at 3:14 pm

You can win a “Now You See Me 2” prize package that can only be described as magical! Blu-Ray DVD copy of the original Now You See Me, plus a t-shirt, deck of cards, hat, a pass for two to see the sequel at any local Washington, DC AMC theater, and posters!

Copyright Nell Minow 2016
Copyright Nell Minow 2016

Send me an email at with Magic in the subject line and tell me a magic trick you wish you could do. Don’t forget your address! (U.S. addresses only). I’ll pick a winner at random on May 31, 2016. Good luck!

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Contests and Giveaways
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