Now You See Me 2 **
Abracadabra! Now you see the end of a movie franchise…maybe. In Now You See Me (2013), an excellent cast, a handful of dazzling special effects, and a few clever twists carried a fun little movie through to its revealing, satisfying last moments. Despite mixed reviews the movie was a hit, inspiring a sequel. In the first film Jessie Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Mark Ruffalo play out a scenario involving The FBI, The Four Horseman (the magicians), and an evil insurance company executive (Caine) in a Robin Hood-esque bank heist where the good guys win and win big. In Now You See Me 2 it’s time for revenge and the ragtag team is reassembled. Same great cast, with a few solid additions, such as Daniel Radcliff, can’t save this horrible disaster of a film. It was surprisingly unwatchable and made me wish for a magic trick that might have prevented my wasted time.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows ***1/2
You gotta love the Turtles. First imagined as graphic novel characters in 1984, now some 32 years later the four brothers have grown up, but only a little. Using their extraordinary skills, these teenaged mutants-turned City savior superheroes charmed audiences in 2014 with their first feature-length CGI action-adventure. Best enjoyed in 3D, the sequel gives the Turtles their moment out of the shadows facing an intergalactic villain and finally revealing themselves to wary New Yorkers. Shredder, the bad guy foiled in the first film, is back for more and this time he has an alliance with Krang, part robot, part slimy alien. Will Arnett and Meagan Fox reprise their roles? The film’s real stars may be Shredder’s two henchmen, BeBop and Rocksteady, who endure a metamorphosis that is outrageously creative, original, and worth the price of the ticket. See it on the big screen and in 3D to really get the full effect of this dazzling Michael Bay (Transformers) – produced film.
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