ORBzine - Unreality 2007 Movie Reviews

TITLE & REVIEW

The Illusionist

The Illusionist The story takes place in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, around the start of the 20th Century. Police Inspector Paul Giamatti ( Paycheck ) is investigating Illusionist Ed Norton ( Fight Club ) on the orders of Crown Prince Rufus Sewell ( A Knight's Tale ). From there, the story is told in flashback ...

When he was a boy, the Illusionist fell in love with an aristocratic young girl. The social strictures of the time would not allow them to be together, so the boy was taken away. He studied for many years to become the world's greatest stage magician ... When he returned home, the girl had become Duchess Jessica Biel . Unfortunately, she was also engaged to the Crown Prince ...

This turns into a whodunnit of sorts. It is all quite predictable, and this reviewer saw the twists coming. The film owes quite a lot to other, better films - though to name them would ruin the ending.

Biel is the film's real discovery - she had to audition for the role, but plays opposite a trio of top actors and holds her own!

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  • The Number 23

    The Number 23 Jim Carey ( The Truman Show ) is a dog-catcher who has been driven to the point of suicide by the number 23. He recounts his tale, and shows that he is capable of giving a serious dramatic performance.

    Carey's wife ( Virginia Madsen ) buys him a second-hand copy of a novel. He notices several strange similarities between the life of the book's protagonist and his own upbringing. But the number 23 starts to crop up in his life, and coincidences slowly drive him to complete paranoia.

    As Carey digs deeper, he uncovers evidence regarding the disappearance of Rhona Mitra . The plot takes a few unexpected twists, and is very entertaining.

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  • Next

    Next Nicholas Cage ( Face/Off ) is a precog. He can see the future, and uses his talent to win in casinos. FBI Special Agent Julianne Moore is after him - to recruit him in the War On Terror. Surely she should be hunting Hannibal !

    Cage does not care about saving the world. He just wants to hang out with Jessica Biel . Not just for the obvious reasons (she is about half his age!) ... but she somehow boosts his precog abilities so he can see days in advance, instead of just a couple of minutes.

    Lee Tamahori does a great job of keeping the pace up, and the action scenes are incredibly well done. The villains are French terrorists, who want to nuke an American city for some reason. This makes no sense, of course, but they probably forgot about that along the way.

    Ms Biel is building herself up as a genre star, after Stealth, Blade 3, TCM (2005) and the more recent The Illusionist . Let's hope she keeps it up!

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  • Paycheck

    Paycheck John Woo always avoided calling Face/Off a Science Fiction film. However, with this one (adapted from a story by Philip K. Dick ), he did not really have much of a choice.

    Ben Affleck ( Mallrats ) is an engineer who build things for his clients, then has Paul Giamatti ( The Illusionist ) remove his memories so the actual workings are kept secter.

    Uma Thurman pops up as the token babe. Yes, Affleck needs someone to explain plot points and stuff to - but isn't that why he already has Giamatti as his sidekick? Kathryn Harold has a brief appearance as well, although hers is actually relevant to the plot!

  • Blade Runner
  • Total recall
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  • Butterfly Effect Franchise

    Butterfly Effect

    Butterfly Effect Aston Kutcher is Evan, an inmate in an Asylum. His only way out is a flashback - but this is not That 70s Show. Both Kutcher's character and his situation are a lot more serious.

    Evan has a crappy childhood. He is troubled by mysterious flashbacks. His father (Callum Keith Rennie - BSG 2003 ) is in the Asylum ... and his Stand By Me childhood adventures suck.

    When Evan grows up and becomes college-boy Kutcher, he has flashbacks to his missing childhood memories. He even finds out that he can change his past - so he changes things to help his girlfriend ( Amy Smart ).

    Unfortunately, every time he tries it he makes things worse. And every time he goes back in time, the extra memories give him brain damage. This explains why, even when he is presented with the best way out, he continues to attempt other means.

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  • Butterfly Effect 2

    Butterfly Effect 2 The protagonist, his GF ( Erica Durance ) and their buddies go for a car trip together. The buddy's GF is Gina Holden , which illustrates the fact that the male leads are unknowns while their damsels are relatively well-known actresses.

    On the way home the quartet are in a car crash. Our hero gets brain damaged, and apparently a side-effect is that he gets the same time-travel super-power that the hero of the original film had.

    The original film featured a young man whose life and limb were constantly in danger. This sequel features a protagonist whose dilemmas basically concern his work-life balance.

    To spice up the office-work a bit, the plot takes a swerve. It turns out that one of the start-up's investors is gangster JR Bourne ( Teen Wolf ).

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