The novelty’s vanished, but Now You See Me 2 doesn’t cheat

How many stage magic heist films do we need?

When Now You See Me was released back in 2013, the conceit at least seemed original: a quartet of Robin Hood magicians, known as the Four Horsemen, stage (literally) a series of audacious robberies targeted at the rich and unethical.…

Youth captures some of the mixed magnificence of life

 

One of the few statements you can make about life as a whole is that it’s much of a muchness— and that it ends.

The counter-intuitively titled Youth sees two older gentlemen, a retired composer and Stravinsky pupil, Frank (Michael Caine), and still-working director (Harvey Keitel), Mick, both coming to terms with this while on holiday at a Swiss spa; a spa inhabited by red-robed Buddhist monks, a Middle Eastern woman in a hijab, a morbidly obese celebrity with a Karl Marx back tattoo and Maradona hair.…

Kingsman: The Secret Service goes to top of the (working) class

 

Remember when spy movies were silly and fun?

Long before Daniel Craig’s brooding, psychologically complex 007, Sean Connery “yellowed up” to take on a scar-faced megalomaniacal villain in his hidden volcano base, George Lazenby went undercover at an alpine base filled with a bevy of (non-allergenic) beauties, Roger Moore headed into space to battle a metal-mouthed giant (alongside the unlikely named Holly Goodhead), and Timothy Dalton, well, he mostly brooded too.…

There’s no real trick to Now You See Me

 

I’ve always been slightly puzzled when people talk about the magic of cinema.

Sure, cinema can amaze and enthrall – Orson Welles called it a ribbon of dreams – but, unlike magic, it needs to be explicable.

However much The Prestige went on about the final act, the denouement, being the most important, it only works if it feels like what’s preceded has built up to it.…