Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Illusionist |
Actors: Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Rufus Sewell, Eddie Marsan, Jessica Biel
Director: Neil Burger
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
A magician falls in love with the crown prince's fiancee leading to obsession and crime.
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Sleight of hand...,
Bloodnock | 10/01/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"One minute I had some hard-earned dosh in my hands, the next: poof...!
Things I remember about this piece of codswallop: Jessica Biel, beards, sleep, Jessica Biel, ear aches, nausea, disbelief, Jessica Biel.
I intend to get my money back from Norton if its the last thing I do!
Maybe I should call Jessica Biel instead."
The Illusionist (Blu-ray)
Tony Khamvongsouk | Frisco, TX | 09/08/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Movie - 4.5
The Illusionist is something of an oddity. Though it may have gotten lost in the shadow of Christopher Nolan's The Prestige and coincidentally center around the same theme of magic, the two really don't share much else in common. Nolan's film is a calculated and theatrically-charged mystery/thriller, while Burger's is more a romantic drama with a big twist at the end. Overall, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, regardless of the trivial comparative controversy between the two. Several reasons I like this film are because of its cast, simplicity, and of course that big twist ending. Edward Norton plays the role of a regular guy in love with royalty (Jessica Biel) who, despite her being "socially engaged" to a very villainous prince (played brilliantly by Rufus Sewell), loves him back just as much. Within these events, Paul Giamatti plays the role of an up and coming candidate for police commissioner under the Prince's new regime, but is ultimately a man caught between the future of his reputation and doing what he feels is right. The simplicity of the narrative lies in its characters, their emotions, and a very fine script to bring it all about. It's apparent the two lovers really feel for each other, that the villain truly is a villain, and that somewhere in-between the one man watching all of this unfold is genuinely conflicted with what he should do. With that being said, the film is quite character-driven and builds upon some very basic emotions to tell its story. As we're introduced to them from the beginning of their relationships as children and up to the present, it makes for a refreshing tale of love, loyalty, and longevity. By film's end, I was nearly disappointed with how things were turning out. But the last 90 seconds literally transforms the movie into, what I thought was, a dazzling and ingenious turn of events that made all 100 minutes prior worth the title's namesake.
Video - 4.0
The cinematography for this film is something of a unique situation. It's not flashy or bright by any means, but instead uses (or so I hear) a sepia tone lens, which explains the heavy amounts of darkened browns, tans, and deep, deep blacks. Personally, I like how it fits with that particular time period and setting. It doesn't make much for Blu-ray showcasing, but aesthetically speaking, I think it adds a sense of surrealism to the screenplay and overall plot. Colors are there, though not very vibrant at all, and the monochromatic palette is sure to divide videophiles who might be mistaking this for a bad transfer. But rest assured, it's not. As mentioned, black levels are very deep and benefit greatly from the type of photography used. Contrast suffers as a result, obviously, but image detail is still quite good. Sharpness of objects get a little lost in longer shots, but a lot of the film's closeup shots show some serviceable textures and skin hues, particularly in Giamatti's beard and Biel's flushed cheeks. There also don't appear to any signs of Edge Enhancement or DNR. For what the movie is and considering the kind of content it involves, it's certainly good enough, though nothing to write home about compared to other dramas I've seen.
Audio - 4.0
Much like it's visual presentation, the audio is equally reserved, but accurate enough to warrant some merit. The DTS-HD track for this film very subdued and relies heavily on just two elements: the dialogue and score. Dialogue is very well-enunciated. Taking place in Vienna, I was a little disappointed in some of the linguistic authenticity, being that I didn't believe any one character was actually Austrian, but that's okay. The acting itself and the excellent script sound great through the center channel. I felt as if I was almost watching some kind of stage play, what with the picture framing and audio giving it that "silent, but understood" feeling. The score by Philip Glass is fairly low key, but does a wonderful job enhancing the more emotional and plot-driven scenes. What little sound effects there are disperse and direct themselves accordingly, though are very limited to either horse hooves on the ground, the grinding wheels of a carriage, or crowd noise in and outdoors with some decent separation provided amongst the rears, as well as some panning across the front speakers. There's one scene where the Prince is practicing with a shotgun that really wakes you up, but that's about as loud as it gets. LFEs are next to non-existent, as I'm pretty sure I heard my subwoofer go to standby on multiple occasions. Again, it's not going to wow your guests, but it's serviceable enough.
Overall - 4.0
I was really surprised at how well this movie turned out. It managed to psychologically suck me into its plot from the very start, and then provide me with a great amount of emotional satisfaction in all but 90 seconds at the end. After hearing so much controversy between this and The Prestige, I have to say any and all comparisons are, indeed, unwarranted and needless outside of the one theme they have in common: magic. Other than using magic as a driving force for the plot, they're so thematically different, I urge anyone who hasn't seen both to just not listen to the hype and take each film for face value, as they're both entertaining in their respective rights. With very good A/V quality, though unfortunately no extras worth mentioning, The Illusionist comes recommended on the strength of the storytelling alone."
J. Martin Job | Tampa, FL USA | 08/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Complex story. Pay attention. It is well worth it. One of my favorites, the sort that you can go back and watch again."