On DVD & Blu-Ray: September 3, 2013

As the films mantra goes, the closer you look the less you see, but if you are going to enjoy this film it is a wise decision to do exactly the opposite. There is no need to investigate or inspect each and every twist and turn this film throws at you because there are bound to be holes. No, in fact what is best to do in order to enjoy Now You See Me is to simply sit back and take it in for what it is: pure, escapist cinema that delivers a relentlessly fun and entertaining ride that speeds by and leaves you satisfied when the credits begin to roll. Kudos to this movie for being able to stand on its own two feet in a season where every Friday was dominated by a sequel, spin off,  re-make or something else that is a familiar product that is sure to find an audience somewhere. Now You See Me is a completely original film in the midst of big studio fare that has the star power, the concept, and the appeal to win over those movie-goers who aren't just looking for an escape from the real world, but from the saturated sci-fi superhero adventure genres that are playing on every other screen. That is not to say I don't enjoy those kinds of movies as well, but simply knowing going into this film that we are up for a fun ride that takes a subject that's commonly considered nerdy, such as magic, and combines it with the formula of a heist film to create something imaginative and fresh is indeed refreshing. Though there are certainly plot holes that will be picked apart now that people have the ability to re-watch the film several times, upon that first viewing it is nothing more than a caper of a good time that has an incredibly strong cast, each member of which is doing what they do best, churning out some solid and genuine laughs while balancing the never-serious tone with a fair amount of action and mystery that is compelling and keeps you guessing until the very end. B+

Michael Shannon has consistently proven himself to be a rather intense presence in films. No matter what type of genre those films might fit into it has always been clear that the guy has a certain set of abilities and he knows how to channel them into his characters with just the right amount of calculated terror, of social awkwardness, and just a hint of the scarce realizations of his own characteristics. He is a captivating actor to watch whether it has been in leading roles in smaller films such as Take Shelter or as a supporting character in major Hollywood productions such as his scene-stealing performance alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road. What he has done in his latest role is to meld those two types of mindsets together and bring to the screen the truly demented and troubled life of Richard Kuklinski, one of the most infamous contract killers for the mafia who is suspected to have killed at least one hundred people between 1948 and 1986. Shannon is an ideal actor for this type of role and he brings the layers of a man who is mentally able to go out and murder people in cold blood, sometimes allowing them extra time to pray to God to see if he will intervene, and then come home to his family and act like a typical family man who works a nine to five desk job. There is a consistent unnerving sense to Shannon's performance that elevates what is otherwise a rather typical genre film in The Iceman. Sure, there is a twist of particular intrigue surrounding this man and there are a few redeeming qualities about the film that help coast you through the hour and a half run time, but it is never enough to make this story as interesting as it should have been. B-

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