21 Jul

Now You See Me

“The more you look, the less you see.”

– J. Daniel Atlas

Hate reading? Listen to us talk about Now You See Me on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Setup

You may ask yourself why we watched Now You See Me, the inexplicable film featuring big Hollywood names like Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and one of the Franco brothers (just Dave, don’t get too excited) in which a bunch of Vegas magicians rob banks and bring order to the world. The answer is that we have begun celebrating Magic Month. This post actually marks the beginning of Magic Month, which spans from the end of July to mid-August. To borrow a phrase, I’m sure was quite popular in the writing room for Now You See Me, “it doesn’t have to make sense, it’s magic!” We’re going to be watching different magical movies in observance of Magic Month and will be bringing your our food interpretations of the films.

The Food

To start it all out, we really wanted to play up the magic show aspects of Now You See Me in each of our dishes, so we drew inspiration from classic magic show acts through the ages. For the appetizer, we decided to homage to the simplicity and enduring legacy of the card trick. Perhaps one of the first tricks up the proverbial sleeve of a magician, it is a perfect stable that is at times just a little bit cheesy for audience effect. So, we made a deck of homemade saltine cracker cards, served with some delicious and creamy pimento cheese, which has a magical taste of its own. The crackers where extremely tasty and the perfect delivery device for the pimento cheese.

We wanted the entree to be our big climax, so we decided to make one of the most difficult dishes known to man: the beef Wellington. A layering of beef, pâté, prosciutto, and puff pastry, the beef Wellington turned out every bit as good as we expected. We cut it apart for you to see (ahhh the classic saw trick), and are happy to show you the backside so you know we don’t have any tricks pulled up our sleeves. How’d we pull it off? We’ll never tell.

For dessert, we made a blue granita using butterfly pea flower tea from Steepologie in downtown Seattle. The butterfly pea flower tea is the key to pulling off this trick (the classic different bouquet of flowers that change color trick) and after steeping the tea we froze for a magical period of time. And for the big reveal a quick squeeze of some lemons over the top and the previous blue-ish purple granita is now a resplendent pink. We’re just magical like that.

The Drink

What is something that always gets the crowd pumped up at modern magic shows when the typical and classic tricks just don’t seem to be hitting like they used to? FIRE! We just had to do a flaming cocktail, and couldn’t think of a better one to do than a flaming Dr. Pepper. Not familiar with that drink? You take some amaretto, pour some rum on top, light the thing on fire, drop it into a beer, and chug. Somehow, it tastes just like a Dr. Pepper. Woah. Magical.

Side note: the rum on top has to be over 80 proof to light up – we had planned to use 151, but discovered it has unfortunately been discontinued. We won’t be making Caribou Lou anytime soon.

The Rules

These rules will be in effect throughout all of Magic Month.

✨  Drink whenever magic happens.

 💫 Drink whenever someone in the movie expresses disbelief in magic.

 😲 Drink whenever you, the viewer, are in shock.

The Movie

Now You See Me is really a head-scratcher. By that, we don’t mean it’s a really deep movie, but it leaves you scratching your head, wondering how they were able to get such a star-studded cast to churn out such a mediocre movie.

We’re assuming not many of you have seen this film, so here’s a quick rundown: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fischer, and Dave Franco are all a bunch of street magicians, and get invited to this magical room. They go there and stare at something we can’t see. Then we cut to a few years later and they’re performing this huge Vegas magic show and rob a bank in Paris “during” the show. Magic. Drink.

The movie started out well enough. There were a few good magic tricks (drink), and even a few tricks played on the audience that came together nicely and left us truly shocked (drink) and impressed. Unfortunately, after about half an hour, Now You See Me begins to lose the plot. It keeps trying to one-up itself with bigger and more outlandish tricks, but we were no longer able to suspend our disbelief. Every trick they pulled on the audience later in the movie felt unfair because they didn’t give the audience enough set up beforehand to have possibly figured out what was going on.

Worst of all, nearly every cast member’s talent was wasted – even Morgan Freeman’s. We’ve seen many of the actors from Now You See Me do great character work in other movies, but it was clear they couldn’t save the abysmal script and all phoned it in for this one. Woody Harrelson was our favorite to watch because we believed that all his eye rolls and snide comments were out of character and were really just Woody rolling his eyes at *waves hands around* this whole thing.

We’re not sure how this movie got picked up for a sequel, and now there are even murmurings of a third movie. Our advice to you: skip this one and go see a real magic show instead. Or any of the other movies we’re going to be watching for Magic Month. Stay tuned!

The Reviews

André: On par with Mindfreak. It may not be fair to compare Now You See Me to Criss Angel, but I did anyway. I see plenty of similarities. They’re both watchable, but only for about half an hour and then you’re ready to watch something else. Magic shows really don’t translate that well to film because you know there’s a million ways to trick the audience during the editing, so you’re never impressed or shocked. At least Criss Angel purports to be a real illusionist, so you can tell yourself that he’s actually doing the brunt of the trick, while the magic in this movie is cut together on the editing floor.

Leanna: This isn’t where the magic happens. The whole movie felt like it was trying to be another Ocean’s movie but with more illusions and fanfare and less social engineering and technology. The big difference was that at the end of every Ocean’s movie, there’s a pretty satisfying reveal with how they pulled everything off. This movie was more or less like, “We did actual magic the whole time.” They don’t actually say that, so that isn’t a spoiler, but I can’t see any other way it makes sense.

Ben: 50%. This is such a weird movie, and I mean that as much as I have ever meant that. This is the type of film that feels like it shouldn’t have been made, it is surprising it was made at all, and it feels like it will inevitably turn into one of those fake movies that other characters are watching in real movies. And that is harsh just because this film seems so surprisingly put together at times I was in disbelief, not because of the magic on screen, more the lack of any magic in regards to the chemistry or construction of this film. So you may be wondering why I gave this 50% that seems pretty generous when so far I seem pretty down on the film, and the reason is because if you told me “I am imaging a Fast and Furious like franchise where instead of everyone being really great in cars they are actually just really incredible magicians.” I would so be on board of this film, that sounds incredible! But, and this is a big but, none of the characters have any on screen chemistry, they also seem to be playing as if they are the bad guys the whole time even though they are actually doing a whole Robin Hood schtick and yet you still hate them for some unknown reason. And don’t even get me started on the twist and the poor excuse for a romance. This movie could have been something great. Now You Saw Me, Now You Never Have To See Me Again.

Want more? Listen to us talk about Now You See Me on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.