ENTERTAINMENT INSEITZ - No smoke and mirrors here: 'The Illusionist' provides real movie punch

A near-miracle occurred Tuesday when I had a few spare hours to watch a couple movies. People often ask me especially Reflector movie expert Ron Simpson what movies I watched recently. My usual answer is, "none, but I'm planning on watching 'such and such' when the children are grown."
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010

 

A near-miracle occurred Tuesday when I had a few spare hours to watch a couple movies.

People often ask me especially Reflector movie expert Ron Simpson what movies I watched recently. My usual answer is, "none, but I'm planning on watching 'such and such' when the children are grown."

But the stars aligned Tuesday and I am glad for it.

First was "The Illusionist" starring Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, Paul Giamatti and Rufus Sewell.

I had heard good things about this film, which hit theaters around the same time as "The Prestige" a movie with similar magical themes.

The Norton and Biel characters are childhood friends she from money and nobility and he from the wrong side of the tracks. They are forbidden to see each other. He leaves Vienna for 15 years, only to return as a master magician. She is set to marry the vile crown prince played by Sewell.

Norton and Biel meet when she volunteers at one of his performances.

The magic tricks or "illusions" are remarkable, but the master illusion Norton and Biel pull off together is grand.

Giamatti is excellent as the police inspector, who also dabbles in magic tricks. He is at the same time investigating Norton and impressed by him.

I've written this before, but "The Illusionist" is everything good about movie-making.

And along those same lines was "The Da Vinci Code."

I've had this on DVD for a couple months and finally watched it Tuesday.

Not considering all the religious theories this movie contains, I thought, overall, the film entertained me for 2 1/2 hours. I will say, all the theories, which included Jesus Christ being married to Mary Magdalene, were much different than what I learned in 12 years of religion class at St. Paul.

The movie stars Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou. The film sort of reminds me of a religious version of "National Treasure" and that isn't a bad thing because I enjoyed that movie too.

There are so many subplots and secret societies it can be sometimes hard to follow because I never read the book.

* * *

I see the Led Zeppelin tribute band Zoso is playing the House of Blues in Cleveland on Feb. 24. Tickets go on sale Friday and are $10. I think I might go to this, considering I've been on a Zeppelin kick lately and had a good time at the Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd tribute) show a couple weeks back.