Recent Movie Rentals

The Prestige

Stranger Than Fiction, directed by: Marc Forster
Mark’s Rating: 5 out of 5

When I originally saw the ads and trailers for this movie, I knew I would want to rent it1. I figured it would be a couple of hours of silliness and that would be it. I never expected that I’d want to add this movie to my collection; but by the time we finished watching it, both my wife2 and I want to own it. Besides having a fair amount of silliness, the movie is also very clever. Visually clever in how the sfx crew generated all the overlay graphics to numerically describe Mr. Crick’s life at the beginning of the film. And cleverly written in well… the whole dang movie. Definitely worth watching!

The Prestige, directed by: Christopher Nolan
Mark’s Rating: 4 out of 5

It’s a shame that The Prestige came out at the same time as The Illusionist. If it had come out months/years prior or even after, the movie might have done so much better. As it is, The Prestige is always going to be known as “The other magician movie. You know, the one that came out when The Illusionist did”. The Prestige was an enjoyable, if rather dark, movie and had its own clever twists. But when compared to The Illusionist, it just falls short.

 

House of Flying Daggers, directed by: Yimou Zhang
Mark’s Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Stunningly beautiful as to be expected of Yimou Zhang, but the story just didn’t click with me. There were parts where it almost seemed like it would, but then the scene changed and those bits were crushed underfoot. Then again, I was pretty exhausted when trying to watch this one, so I’ll probably give it another chance at a later time.

1 Seriously, who needs to go to the theater for a comedy? The only thing I really want to see on the big screen are action flicks.
2 My wife’s expectations for the movie were initially much lower than my own.

1 Comment

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Yeah, Stranger Than Fiction was a neat “4th wall” piece.

I think you’re one of the few people who agree with me that The Prestige falls short of The Illusionist.

SPOILER PARAGRAPH: My gripe — the thing that essentially ruined The Prestige for me — is that the movie sets you up to believe that it is not a fantasy. That everything can be explained, and anything that *looks* like the supernatural or “magic”, is actually a clever trick. And, right up until the very last three seconds of the movie, this could have been true. But then they show the rows of tanks of drowned magicians, which confirms that the Tesla machine was actually a magical, laws-of-physics-defying McGuffin. The movie would have been much improved, IMO, if it turned out that the non-twin magician, in his dying breaths, was *lying* to the twin, fooling him into thinking there was such a thing as “real magic”, in order to keep the secret of his trick (remember? the theme of the entire movie?) to himself, even unto death. Suddenly changing the reality-based, keep your secrets themes of the movie at the 11th hour was, to me, a disappointing and pathetic wrap-up cheat to an otherwise cool movie concept.

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