[caption id="attachment_179287" align="alignleft" width="300"] Summit[/caption]
This week: Jesse Eisenberg heads up the Four Horsemen, a team of professional illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances in "Now You See Me," which also stars Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman and Melanie Laurent.
Also new this week is the based-on-a-true-story crime thriller "The Iceman" with Michael Shannon, the road-trip drama "Arthur Newman" with Colin Firth and Emily Blunt and the inexplicable cult hit "Sharknado" with Ian Ziering and Tara Reid.
'Now You See Me'
[caption id="attachment_204666" align="alignright" width="220"] Summit[/caption]
Box Office: $117 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 49% Rotten
Storyline: An FBI agent (Mark Ruffalo) and an Interpol detective (Melanie Laurent) try to bust a team of illusionists known as the Four Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco), who somehow pull off bank heists during their performances and give the money to the audience. Morgan Freeman co-stars as a TV personality who debunks magicians in this PG-13 crime thriller directed by Louis Leterrier.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a commentary track and "A Brief History of Magic" featurette. The Blu-ray also has the "'Now You See Me' Revealed" featurette and deleted scenes.
We Say: In order to be wowed by Vegas-style illusionists like Criss Angel, we have to be baffled by how they pull off their feats of magic in public. In "Now You See Me," the stunts we see are all easily explained by CGI, i.e. "movie magic" — no amount of dizzying camerawork can generate enough false excitement to make the big third act twist or the Four Horsemen's illusions seem believable. The best trick is to turn off your Blu-ray player and make the whole pumped-up spectacle that is "Now You See Me" disappear faster than you can say "Now you don't."
[caption id="attachment_204665" align="alignright" width="220"] Millennium[/caption]
Box Office: $2 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 68% Fresh
Storyline: This R-rated crime thriller directed by Ariel Vroman tells the true story of Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon), a notorious stone-cold contract killer who kept his crimes hidden from his wife (Winona Ryder) and daughters until his arrest in 1986.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain several making-of and behind-the-scenes featurettes.
We Say: Shannon yet again delivers and is perfectly cast as Kuklinski, a man who can cruelly toy with his targets before he kills them and simultaneously be a loving provider for his clueless family. An at first unrecognizable Chris Evans shows he is much more than a buff superhero by disappearing into his role as the Iceman's sometimes partner-in-crime, Mr. Freezy. Also, it's great to see Ryder, who has been on the sidelines in recent years, bite into a meatier role as a woman who wants to stand by her man even though his violent outbursts frighten her. Your nerves will be as frazzled as Ryder's as you wait for the crazy-eyed Shannon to reach his boiling point and start cracking skulls.
[caption id="attachment_204664" align="alignright" width="220"] Cinedigm[/caption]
Box Office: $207,853
Rotten Tomatoes: 23% Rotten
Storyline: Wallace Avery (Colin Firth) is a golf pro who fakes his death and sets out on the road for a new life as 'Arthur Newman' after continuously failing to reconnect with his estranged son. Along the way, Wallace picks up a kleptomaniac kook and soul mate (Emily Blunt) who's trying to escape her real-life responsibilities of caring for her mentally ill sister. The two drifters bond by breaking into strangers' houses and temporarily assuming their identities, but soon they realize that what they love most about each other are the true identities that they left behind.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a behind-the-scenes featurette with the cast and crew.
We Say: Although Firth and Blunt are two likable actors, the characters they play here are lost souls with identity crises that don't garner much sympathy because they both choose to run away from their problems. Also, what are the chances that two people with fake IDs on the run would meet and strike up a relationship in the middle of nowhere? Watching them break into houses, engage in role-playing and have sex should be exciting, but this melancholic drama meanders just like the new couple as they drive through small-town America. What we're left with are two adult babies who have lots of mumbled, supposedly revealing conversations in the dark; it might be fascinating for forgiving indie-film lovers, but the rest of us living on 'Planet Deal With It' will scoff at the duo's attempt to drive away from life's problems.
[caption id="attachment_204667" align="alignright" width="220"] The Asylum[/caption]
Box Office: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes: 91% Fresh
Storyline: When a freak hurricane slams Los Angeles, thousands of sharks are whipped into the air and proceed to terrorize the populace in this Syfy movie starring Ian Ziering, John Heard and Tara Reid.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain cast and crew commentary as well as a making-of featurette.
We Say: The Syfy network's trademark low-budget creature features are such unapologetically shoddy productions that they've attracted a cult of spectators who just want to laugh at how gloriously bad they are. If you can get beyond the fishy premise here, you will indeed be treated to shots of a terribly unconvincing CGI cyclone filled with hungry sharks (Really? Out of water?) terrorizing former "90210" star Ziering and Reid. The latter has a hilariously distracted, far-away look on her face — like she's waiting for craft services to bring her a pizza or a drink — as CG sharks whip past her head. "Sharknado" might ultimately lean more in the "Just Bad" direction than "So Bad It's Good," but it generated enough of a frenzy on Twitter to justify a brief release in theaters … and a planned sequel. "Enough said!"
Also New This Week:
"From Up on Poppy Hill" Blu-ray
"The Fugitive" 20th Anniversary Blu-ray