Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today
In the autumn of 1945, the first of the war crimes trials against the highest ranking Nazis began in the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Germany. Filmmakers Stuart Schulberg and Budd Schulberg were commissioned by US military intelligence to make a film that would concisely combine trial film footage with Nazi propaganda materials. The original prints were long thought lost until Stuart’s daughter Sandra and Josh Waletzky headed an effort to restore the original film, now in an English-language version of “Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today.”
Laura's Review: DNS
Robin's Review: C+
We recently reviewed the wonderful documentary about magic and sleight of hand, “Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay.” That film explores the history of the art of sleight of hand as seen through the eyes (and hands) of actor-magician-author Jay. So, when I saw that Hollywood has a big budget thriller about bank robbing magicians, I figured, what the heck, it could be fun. “Now You See Me” IS fun, but, except for the introduction of each of the soon-to-be Horsemen, there is little by way of actual magic and misdirection. This CGI-heavy story is about talented magi – J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) – brought together by an unknown patron to exact revenge. They are pursued by a resolute FBI special agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) who is joined in the hunt for the hi-tech robbers by technically savvy Interpol agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent). They, in turn, are advised by master magician Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) who can see through the Horsemen’s illusions. “Now You See Me” replaces the sleight of hand of illusionists (“magic,” as we know it, has been around since the time of ancient Egypt) with the usual Hollywood “magic” of CGI. It is all very slickly put together and designed to entertain the eye (though not the mind) of the viewer. The magic is more along the lines of Doug Henning and David Copperfield than Harry Houdini and there is little, if any, of the “how did they do that?” wonder that a real illusionist evokes. Director Louis Leterrier, know mainly for the “Clash of the Titan” franchise, does yeoman’s work in this F/X-driven whirlwind that is very similar to the “Ocean’s 11” films. “Now You See Me” benefits most by its experienced cast. The younger players – Eisenberg, Fisher and Franco – are well-seasoned veterans and each fills their role deftly. Woody Harrelson is, well, Woody. He is always a pleasure to watch and adds his sense of humor to his hypnotist/mentalist, Merritt. Morgan Freeman is, as usual, a strong paternal character who, though helping the FBI, admires the Four Horsemen. Mark Ruffalo gives his agent Dylan an impatience that is explained only in the end. I have liked Melanie Laurent since I first noticed her in “Inglorious Basterds” and she holds her own as smart Interpol cop Alma. It takes a strong cast like this to be able to rise above the copious visual F/X, making “Now You See It” a cut above the director’s mostly CGI “Titan” flicks. When you strip away the effects and look at the story, it is a pretty routine yarn. The young Turks of street magic are recruited to exact the vengeance of their mysterious employer and a stalwart cop works relentlessly to stop whatever their caper is. I think I want to watch “Deceptive Practice” again and enjoy seeing the art of real illusionists, not hi-tech Hollywood “magic.” It was fun while it lasted.