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January 9, 2007

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DVD of the Week – The Illusionist (2006)

by JAMES BRIGHAM

I liked this movie, but I wanted to love this movie. No, I mean it. I went into the movie theatre brandishing a Riesling wine and a single red rose. The other members of the audience looked perturbed as I attempted to woo the 15 foot tall face of Paul Giamatti, but I didn’t give a damn what they thought about me. I had decided by that point that I was through listening to the naysayers and the critics. I was done with the B.S. constraints laid down by “reality” concerning whom, or in this what, I could preach adoration for.

In the end though, The Illusionist spurned my affection. As the people started to yell at me to sit down, I realized that this movie was only in love with itself. Rejected and lost, I stumbled back to my seat and contented myself by watching this former darling from afar, like the rest of the commoners chomping down on their popped corn and swilling their co-la.

Then, as The Illusionist played before my eyes, something slowly began to occur to me and I thought, “Wait a second. This isn’t The Prestige.” That movie’s not coming out for another month!’ (As of today, neither’s the respective DVD, by the way.)

Still, the appeal of The Illusionist is not composed entirely of smoke and mirrors. There’s a decent story of love, honor, and betrayal weaving through this film that will likely find a place of honor in many 14 year old girls’ DVD collections as “This is, like, the best movie evar!”

Neil “Whopper” Burger’s got a director’s commentary on the DVD and there’s also a featurette called “Jessica Biel on The Illusionist.” I can only assume that this portion of the DVD contains the lost footage from her shower sequence in Blade: Trinity as well as candid video of her playing paddleball on the beach.

What?

Other new releases this week: Bandidas, Broken Bridges, Conversations with Other Women, Crank, Idiocracy, The Night Listener, Quinceanera


3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 9 2007

    I thought this was a charming movie. I especially loved the psuedo-science aspect of it. In the universe that the film created, everything had a rational explanation, and yet, those explanations were still not possible. I think this new take on the fantasy genre should be applauded, not mocked. Or would you rather see swords and elves and dragons again?

  2. James
    Jan 9 2007

    Interesting that you defined this as a fantasy. It does fall into that broad category, but then so do a lot of other movies then: Prelude To A Kiss, Serendipity, Drop Dead Fred, etc. Notice how the quality of those lesser known “fantasies” kept dropping as the list went on?

    I obviously had some disposition of affection for the movie, hence the reason it became my pick. It still wasn’t everything *I* was hoping for though. And if it can’t stand up to my poking, it’s doomed to fail in the eyes of the veteran print critics – and those people can be vicious.

    –James “The Mock Turtle”

  3. Jan 10 2007

    I actually enjoyed Drop Dead Fred, but I may be the only one. I think the film can stand up to your poking and mocking. Your writing seemed to suggest that the film was trite, and I thought there was much in this film that was original. That was the point that I was responding to.

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