DVD & Digital

DVD review: Resistance


Venezuelan writer and director Jonathan Jakubowicz presents an untold WWII story through the lens of a biopic with Resistance. The plot centres around aspiring mime artist Marcel (Jesse Eisenberg) who joins his brother Alain (Félix Moati) and friend Emma (Clémence Poésy) in the French Resistance. With sadistic Gestapo agent Klaus Barbie (Matthias Schweighöfer) hunting them down, they attempt to escort a group of orphans from Nazi-occupied France across the border to safety.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

The release of ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’, like most superhero movies, has been rife with anticipation, as the comic-book fanboy dream scenario will finally play out on the big screen. Following the critical acclaim of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, the Caped Crusader is re-established to be pit against the Son of Krypton in director Zack Snyder’s follow-up to his Superman origin film. Events pick up exactly where ‘Man of Steel’ left off but through the perspective of Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), watching in horror as Metropolis is destroyed in the battle between Superman (Henry Cavill) and his nemesis General Zod. Fuming at the carnage caused, he plots to bring down Superman to prevent even more destruction. Meanwhile, young business tycoon Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is working to another agenda, to bring his own brand of justice to the city.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Now You See Me

Magic is an art form that can work brilliantly intimately, and can be taken to a larger arena scale and still have the same effect. But to adapt it to film has proved tricky for director Louis Letterier in Now You See Me, where four magicians from different disciplines form ‘The Four Horsemen’. When they appear to rob a Parisian bank by magic, an FBI investigation begins led by Dylan Rhodes and as he follows their every move trying to bring them to justice, they always seem to be one step ahead. The battle of wits becomes over complicated, leaving no room for much needed character development. Even the Nolan-esque inclusions of veteran actors Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine couldn’t save the floundering plot, leaving it feeling too much like it wanted to be The Prestige but wasn’t smart enough to pull it off.
  The opening segment introducing each of the horsemen was nicely done, giving a little bit of background and showing us their individual areas of expertise where it be street magic, mentalism or escapism. There is a card trick shown early on which works well onscreen, performed by the smug Daniel Atlas, which showed a lot of promise from the outset but once the allegiance is formed, the magic is lost and none of the characters achieve any sense of likeability. The cat and mouse chase with the FBI livens it up boasting an acutely choreographed fight sequence but aside from this standout scene, the rest is a glossy mess with too many subplots. An unconvincing FBI romance is wedged in about halfway through, played out in a typical fashion and adding nothing to the key concept of the film, which on paper should really have made for a much more interesting story.
  For a film with such an impressive cast, it is a shame that none of the characters are given enough depth to be likeable. Jesse Eisenberg does another Zuckerberg turn as the cocky Daniel Atlas but where he was arrogant yet charismatic in The Social Network spitting quick witted dialogue, here his know-it-all front becomes irritating very quickly, possibly down to a much weaker script. Woody Harrelson is meant to be the comic relief as mentalist Merritt the Hermit, but offers only a few cheap laughs at most whereas Fisher and Franco are practically in the background making up the numbers. Morgan Freeman used to be a reliable force, and seeing his name attached to a project would nearly always make it watchable but his portrayal as Thaddeus Bradley is tired, as is Michael Caine’s performance as insurance magnate Arthur Tressler. It seems they were written in to offer some credibility to proceedings but neither cope particularly well in the muddled production. It is disappointing to see the big screen icons slumping into trash such as this, but it has been a recurring theme of late.
  Maybe the key to making good magic movies is to keep them light and fun, such as The Incredible Burt Wonderstone or even Mitchell and Webb’s effort, simply titled Magicians, which don’t take themselves seriously. ‘Now You See Me’ was perhaps too ambitious, cramming in elaborate tricks then explaining how they were done thereby losing the mystique and illusion, which you would imagine to be a vital component. In trying to show how intelligent it is, by unravelling the complexities to the viewer, it comes across more cocky than clever, much like the protagonists. As magic flicks go, it misses a trick.
See the trailer: