Tag Archives: jesse eisenberg

Quickie: Now You See Me

A group of four magicians known as The Four Horsemen (Isla Fisher, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco) are enlisted by a mysterious fifth party to undertake a serious of impressive, and illegal, illusions that begin attracting the attention of the authorities, and in particular FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo).

Now You See Me starts off on the right foot. We’re treated to a bit of close-up magic that actually involves the audience, immediately inviting us to buy into what’s on screen. Even up until about half way in, we’re still in a world of mystery and illusion. However, it all suddenly starts to fall away. Gone are any trace of nuance or intricacy and in comes a paint-by-numbers action film complete with car chases, fight scenes and a ridiculously unnecessary romance.

Most of the cast do reasonably well with what they’re given, but none are particularly stand out. Woody Harrelson probably provides the most personality of the four leads, with Dave Franco and Isla Fisher being really rather nondescript. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are also fleetingly entertaining but never do more than hover around the periphery.

Jesse Eisenberg’s character comments at one point that with magic “the more you look, the less you see”, and the same could be said of Now You See Me. Look too closely and the whole thing starts to unravel – some rather sizeable plot holes and laughable exposition prevents you from ever fully engaging with the film. However, there is some fun to be had. Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige this most definitely isn’t, but take it at face value and the various twists, turns and red herrings should provide just enough to provide some popcorn entertainment.

3 pigeons3/5 pigeons

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Quickie: Zombieland


After much of the American population has been infected by a developed form of mad cow disease, turning them into zombie-like creatures, few regular human beings still survive. One of them is Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) who, on his journey to discover whether his parents are alive, teams up with the volatile Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) and two con artist sisters, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), to fight the zombie hordes.

Narrated by Columbus, we learn how he has survived to this point, adopting certain rules to obey, such as “check the back seat” and “avoid strip clubs” with accompanying subtitles each time they are adhered to, and it’s this personality that is the film’s charm. There are plenty of zombie films about, so it takes something a little different for them to stand out from the crowd. However, Zombieland is less about the zombies and more about each of the characters’ relationships with each other.

The comedy (it’s a comedy by the way, in case you’re completely in the dark about this film) is witty, although if you aren’t a fan of Jesse Eisenberg, there’s nothing here that’ll change your opinion of him. He’s likeable throughout and his relationship with Harrleson’s Tallahassee provides many of the film’s standout moments. Stone and Breslin are also excellent, but it’s Harrelson who shines (again).

Despite being a comedy, there is still plenty of gore and a few moments to make you jump. Add to that a truly incredible and memorable cameo scene and you have a film that, whilst cut from the same mould as Shaun of the Dead, is very much its own film and a very entertaining one at that.

Words: Chris Thomson

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